Margaret Cho slams SNL for inviting Donald Trump to host

margaret

OUT.com: 

Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump is set to host Saturday Night Live next month, a move that has left many people outraged. Comedian Margaret Cho joined the foray, slamming producers for inviting a “known racist” to participate while failing for decades to promote true racial equality.

Taking aim, Cho said:

Why has there never been an Asian-American host, cast member or musical guest on ‘SNL’ in 41 years? Forty-one years. Yet they want Donald Trump, a known racist, a known sexist, who disgustingly wants to have sex with his daughter. Who does he think he is, Woody Allen?”

“People come at me and say, ‘Oh, Fred Armisen is a quarter Japanese, Rob Schneider is half Filipino.’ Yeah, that makes three-quarters of an Asian-American, not even in one person, in 41 years.

Cho went on to suggest herself as a musical guest and Ken Jeong and George Takei as potential hosts.

Filmmaker Christopher Doyle looks to Kickstarter to help fund Hong Kong Trilogy on Occupy Central protests

Christopher Doyle says he doesn't want to make one film every five years; he wants to make five films a year. Photo: K.Y. Cheng

South China Morning Post:

Filmmaking can be democratic and not dictated by tycoons and auteurs, according to Christopher Doyle, who is calling for public support for his latest project, set against the backdrop of the Occupy protests.

The award-winning cinematographer and his team aim to raise US$100,000 on crowdfunding platform Kickstarter to complete Hong Kong Trilogy, a three-part, 90-minute feature about the city, “told by three generations of Hongkongers amid a sociopolitical vibe reflected by the protests also known as the umbrella movement“.

Initially a 30-minute short named Hong Kong 2014: Education for All, the film, directed by Doyle and part of the short film series Beautiful 2014, premiered at the Hong Kong International Film Festival last year. The film was also available on Youku.com on the mainland and had 1.5 million hits.

Doyle later renamed it Preschooled. “So we move on to make a second and a third film,” Doyle said, in a video introducing his project.

Preoccupied will be about young people in their 20s and Preposterous is about those aged in their 50s or above.

Then Occupy Central came along and gave the whole project much more sociopolitical reference,” said the filmmaker, who is from Sydney.

Doyle was spotted filming among the tents erected in Harcourt Road, Admiralty, during the 79-day protests. But he did not respond to inquiries about what he was filming at the time.

On Kickstarter, the project is branded a “democratic approach to film” as funding is scarce for experimental projects, and public support will be key.

As of yesterday, 586 backers had pledged US$63,944 for the project on Kickstarter. There are 25 days to go before the fundraising period is over.

Doyle said he had not been working in Hong Kong for a while and the project brought him back to the place where he made his name as a filmmaker.

The moving images he crafted for Wong Kar-wai‘s many films, including Chungking Express and In The Mood For Love, earned him world recognition, putting him in the big league of global cinema.

But in recent years Doyle has moved from cinema to art galleries, with some of his shorts being featured at Art Basel in Hong Kong last year – and in a recent interview with the Post he said he had turned down offers to film the third, fourth and fifth Harry Potter films.

I don’t want to make one film every five years like Wong Kar-wai. I want to make five films a year,” he said.

He collaborated with young director Jenny Suen on short film Allergic To Art in “response” to the craze for art, inspired by Art Basel.

You have to question the stuff you care about,” Doyle said. “I want to tell the kids, don’t wait for the money, wait for the ideas. Take the ideas and go somewhere with them.”

 

China takes new stealth jet for test flight during Obama visit

j31_pic.jpg

Fox News:

China‘s military upstaged the Asian economic summit in Beijing this week by conducting test flights of a new stealth jet prototype, as the White House called on Beijing to halt its cyber attacks.

Demonstration flights by the new J-31 fighter jet — China’s second new radar-evading warplane — were a key feature at a major arms show in Zhuhai, located near Macau, on Monday.

The J-31 flights coincided with President Obama’s visit to Beijing for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit meeting. In a speech and meetings with Chinese leaders, Obama called on China to curtail cyber theft of trade secrets.

China obtained secrets from the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter through cyber attacks against a subcontractor for Lockheed Martin. The technology has shown up in China’s first stealth jet, the J-20, and in the J-31. Both of the jets’ design features and equipment are similar to those of the F-35.

The Chinese warplanes are part of a major buildup of air power by China that includes the two new stealth fighters, development of a new strategic bomber, purchase of Russian Su-35 jets, and development of advanced air defense missile systems. China also is building up its conventional and nuclear missile forces.

Meanwhile, White House Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes told reporters in Beijing Tuesday that the president would press China’s leader Xi Jinping to curb Chinese cyber espionage.

Cybersecurity, of course, will be an important focus for the president, given some of our concerns related to cybersecurity and the theft of intellectual property,” Rhodes said in advance of Obama’s meeting Tuesday with Xi.

Top 10 Japanese women throughout history

RocketNews 24:

 

Every nation has women who are remembered throughout history for the impact they had on their country. Today we present you with 10 Japanese women–game changers, if you will–who fundamentally altered the way the nation sees or experiences the world today. Most of these women have achieved fame abroad as well, another hallmark of success in Japan.

Many names you’ll recognize, but a few may be a surprise. But they are all well-known among the Japanese and are looked up to and praised by women and men throughout the country. Ready to test your knowledge of influential women in Japanese history?

Let’s take a stroll through history starting from the year 973 and moving into modern times.

 

1. Murasaki Shikibu (973-1025)

murasaki shikibuBritish Museum

“There are as many sorts of women as there are women.”
― Murasaki Shikibu, The Tale of Genji

Title: Writer

Shikibu is the author of The Tale of Genji, written between years 1000 and 1012, during the Heian Period and is widely believed to be the world’s first novel. At a time when females were precluded from studying classical Chinese, Shikubu’s father indulged her the opportunity to study with her brother. A precocious child, she immersed herself in studies of Chinese but covered up her abilities as an adult so as to not encourage scorn. While living in the court of the Imperial Family where she served as lady-in-waiting to the Empress Akiko, she penned a diary blending the activities of the fictitious prince Genji with the real trivialities of court life. Such “poem tales” constituted a genre of poetic biographies written by women that mixed fiction and non-fiction to produce what is called “Japanese prose.”

Such writing found favor among women, especially ladies of the court and wives and daughters of courtiers, while men still wrote in classic Chinese. The English translation, which encompassed six volumes, was produced in 1933. Murasaki also wrote The Diary of Lady Murasaki, about the birth of the empress’ children, told via a volume of poetry, letters and vignettes.

For being the world’s first modern novelist, we give Shikibu a round of applause.

 

2. Misako Shirasu (Jan. 7, 1910–Dec. 26, 1998) Nagatacho, Tokyo

 

cover

“If you use beautiful things every day, you will naturally cultivate an eye for beautiful things….In the end, you will be repelled when you encounter the ugly and the fake.”–Misako Shirasu

Title: Essayist and expert on aesthetics and design

Shirasu started studying Noh theater at age four and at 14 became the first female to perform on the Noh stage. She grew up among privilege and even attended a prep school in the U.S. Upon returning to Japan, she married and in 1942 she and her husband moved to a farmhouse away from likely bomb targets to wait out the war. It is believed that this was a pivotal time for her when she began to appreciate the simple, austere way of life and where she became an advocate of simple aesthetics and design within the surroundings of nature.

She believed in blending ideas to arrive at practical ways of living such as represented by honjisuijyaku, the importation of Indian Buddhist deities to act as local manifestations of their originals. Regarding design, she emphasized that imperfections are the defining beauty of a piece, a prized natural blemish, an unforeseen treasure, or “natural imperfection.” Rather than setting out to create art, she suggested people put their hearts into making something with great skill and effort, in which art may result, and that folk art should be a bit clumsy. She dedicated herself to the study of the relationship between art and nature, and used flower arrangement as an example: Once flowers are put into a vase, for the first time we can understand the essence of the flower in a controlled and observable format where we can appreciate it on a different level and give it a new life. She saw how the beauty of nature encompasses food and art. These are values that live on today in Japanese art and design.

The farmhouse where she and her husband lived, called Buaiso, is now a museum open to the public.

For having defined the values of aesthetics and design in postwar Japan, we give Shirasu the thumbs up.

 

3. Masako Katsura (1913–1995) Tokyo

billiard

Men want to beat me. I play men, six, seven hours a day. Men no like, they do not beat me.” –Masako Katsura

 

Title: Professional Billiards player

“Katsy” was Japan’s only female professional billiards player in the 1950s and was the first woman to play in a world billiards tournament. She learned the game at 13 from her older sister’s husband who owned a billiard room. She appeared in 30 exhibitions in 1958 and the following year appeared on American TV twice (once on CBS, the other ABC). She married a US Army non-commissioned officer and moved from Japan to the US. The popular Katsy wrote two books in Japanese on billiards: “Introduction to Billiards (1952) and “Improve Your Billiards” (1956). She eventually moved back to Japan to live with her sister and died five years later in 1995.

Known as the “First Lady of Billiards,” Katsura beat most men throughout her career. We know how much guys hate to get beaten by a girl, so we give Katsy the high five!

 

4. Hanae Mori (January 8, 1926) Shimane

Daum Crystal Hanae Mori Hanae Mori Butterfly Soliflore 05293 transitional-artwork

“Fashion reflects a country’s strength as a nation and its momentum in moving toward the future.” –Hanae Mori in an interview with the Asahi Shinbun.

 

Title: Designer

If you recognized the above photo as a Hanae Mori design, then you’re probably familiar with this leading fashion designer’s signature mark: the butterfly. Japan’s most famous female designer and an icon of liberated women, Mori used clothing design to promote the interaction of East-West aesthetic values. As a young woman, Mori took classes at a local dressmaking school. Later she opened her own boutique in Ginza and established a ready-to-wear collection. She entered the world of haute couture while in Paris, under the influence of Coco Chanel. In 1976 she opened a salon in Paris and was appointed a member of the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture, making her the only Japanese designer to be included in Haute Couture. Mori’s designs have appeared on the cover of Vogue and her designs include uniforms for Japan Airlines flight attendants, Japanese athletes at the Barcelona Summer Olympics, and the kimonos and wedding dress for Japan’s Crown Princess Masako. She also has a perfume collection and there’s even a Hanae Mori Barbie Doll!

Mori supports young designers via the Hanae Mori Foundation, and we think that’s pretty cool, so we give Hanae Mori our eye-shadowed wink of approval.

 

5. Sadako Ogata (September 16, 1927) Tokyo

Sadako Ogata

If we ignore the plight of the refugees or the burden of the countries which have received them, I fear we will pay a heavy toll in renewed violence.” — Sadako Ogata at her Liberty Medal acceptance speech, July 4, 1995

Title: Diplomat

Few women impress more than Sadako Ogata, who held office at the Japan International Cooperation Agency until she was 85. She was Chairwoman of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees 1991-2001, on the UNICEF Executive Board 1978-1979, and President of the Japan International Cooperation Agency in which she held office from Oct. 2003- April 2012. Her accolades include the Indira Gandhi Prize and the J. William Fulbright Prize for International Understanding. In 2001 she accompanied then prime minister Mori to Africa, marking the first time ever for a Japanese Prime Minister to visit the African continent. Beloved by her people for her compassion for the vulnerable and less privileged, she is lauded for her dedication to human rights.

Awesome doesn’t even begin to explain Sadako Ogata, who has won numerous international awards. She serves as an inspiration to women and men everywhere. For this we give her a standing ovation.

 

6. Yayoi Kusama (March 22, 1929) Nagano

View_of_the__I_pray_with_all_of_my_love_for_tulips.__installation_at_the_Yayoi_Kusama_Special_Exhibition_at_the_Osaka_National_Museum_of_International_Art

“A polka-dot has the form of the sun, which is a symbol of the energy of the whole world and our living life, and also the form of the moon, which is calm. Round, soft, colorful, senseless and unknowing. Polka-dots become movement … Polka dots are a way to infinity.”

Title: Artist

Yayoi Kusama was a leader in the avant-garde movement soon after moving to the U.S. in her twenties and is said to have influenced artists such as Andy Warhol. She is also part of the minimalist and feminist art movements. Kusama is known for her red polka-dot art, a thought-provoking yet whimsical theme she has turned single-handedly into her own signature genre. She is known for her installation art, and she has turned everything from entire rooms to living tree trunks into red polka-dot canvasses. In 2008, one of her works sold at a Christies New York auction for $5.1 million a record for a living female artist at that time. Once you’ve seen her art, you really cannot forget it. Kusama is candid about her struggle with mental illness and lives in Japan at the Seiwa Hospital in Tokyo from where she commutes to her studio to produce art.

For Kusama and her ability to make us think twice about both mental illness and art, we give her double kudos.

 

7. Hibari Misora (May 29, 1937June 24, 1989) Yokohama

hibari Misoro

“Like the flow of a river, countless bygone days one by one, how gently, how slowly they go.”

Lyrics from the internationally acclaimed song “Kawa no nagare no you ni”

Title: Singer, Actress and Cultural Icon

As an actress, Misora appeared in Takekurabe (1955), Izu no odoriko (1954) and Hibari no mori no ishimatsu (1960). However, it is as an enka singer that she is most remembered. Her first performance was at age eight and the following year she appeared on NHK. Two years on she was touring Japan. Misora recorded over 1,000 songs, among them “Kawa no nagare no you ni” voted the greatest Japanese song of all time by over 10 million people in an NHK poll. Misora is one of the most commercially successful musicians and was the first Japanese woman to receive the Peoples’ Honor Award from the prime minister. She was awarded a Medal of Honor from the Japanese government for her contributions to music and to the public welfare inspiring people and giving them hope after WWII.

Misora died at age 52 from illness. It has been reported that her record sales continue to be brisk and that she has sold well over 80 million records. Tributes and memorial concerts are still performed in Japan live and on TV and radio. For the Queen of Enka, we give her a graceful curtsey of admiration.

Since we hesitate to include a YouTube video of Misora due to Japan’s strict copyright laws, we offer instead an equally stunning version by Jose Carreras. Warning: you will not be able to get this song out of your head after listening!

 

8. Sadako Sasaki (January 7, 1943–October 25, 1955) Hiroshima

Hiroshima_Childrens_Peace_Monument

“This is our cry, This is our prayer, Peace in the world”–The words inscribed on Sasaki’s monument in the Hiroshima Peace Park.

Title: Symbol of innocent victims of war

Sadako (who appears at the top of the monument in sculpture form) lived 1.6 km (1 mile) from where the Atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima on Aug 6, 1945. She was two years old at the time but she and her family survived. However, when Sadako was nine, she developed leukemia, a disease that affected many children in the area, and which was called the A-bomb disease for its association with radiation. Sadako’s friend told her of a legend about one thousand cranes: If one folds a thousand origami cranes, then that person’s wish will come true. Sadako diligently folded paper cranes out of any material she could find. But on October 25 of that year, she died without having realized her goal. Sadako serves as a symbol of children and other innocent victims of war. Using funds collected by children, a memorial was erected in May 1958 in Sadako’s honor at the Hiroshima Peace Park. Children still fold paper cranes to grace her memorial with.

Sadako is a poignant reminder of why Japan instituted Article 9 (outlawing war as a means to settle international disputes) into their constitution. To Sadako we kowtow: the highest form of respect.

 

 

9. Kimie Iwata (April 6, 1947) Kagawa

shiseido store

“If you examine the root of this, it’s not ability or desire. It’s because during maternity, women leave their jobs, and their careers fall to zero.” –Iwata in an interview with The Sydney Morning Herald in regards to why more women are not in high level positions in corporate Japan.

Title: Former Executive Vice President, Shiseido Co., Ltd.

Iwata is a rare woman executive in Japan, where according to the Gender Equality Bureau, less than one percent of executives at top Japanese companies are women and where female managers overall are a mere 10 percent. After graduating from the Tokyo University in 1971, Iwata immediately joined the Labor Ministry where, in the mid 1980s, she helped create the Equal Employment Opportunity Law. She joined Shiseido, Japan’s largest cosmetics company and the fourth largest in the world and in 2003. She served as a Corporate Officer and Executive Vice President for four years until 2012. Iwata has fostered female talent within Shiseido and advocates a more woman-friendly corporate Japan. She has also taken part as Chief Representative of the Working Women’s Empowerment Forum and is a member of the Gender Equality Council.

For being a generally awesome role model as well as fighting for the rights of women in the workplace and promoting a work-life balance, we give Ms. Iwata hoots, hollers and whistles and an encouraging “Gambatte kudasai!” (Go for it!).

 

10. Chiaki Mukai (May 6, 1952) Gunma

Chiaki Mukai

Title: Doctor and JAXA Astronaut

Mukai is Japan’s first woman astronaut and the first Japanese citizen to have flown two space shuttle missions: one aboard the shuttle “Columbia” in 1994, and the other aboard the “Discovery” in 1998. Mukai flew with US Senator John Glenn, 77, the oldest person to go into space. Their launch was covered live on TV in the U.S.

We commend the board-certified vascular surgeon for being one of just 58 women to have flown in space and for encouraging girls to enter science careers.

 

 

Yayoi Kusama

Cambodian-American Rady Mom’s House win makes history in Massachusetts

Angry Asian Man:

Some historic election news out of Massachusetts: On Tuesday in Lowell, Rady Mom was elected the city’s newest state representative, and became the first Cambodian American state legislator in the nation.

Mom, a 45-year-old accupressure therapist who moved to the United States from Cambodia at age 12, defeated Fred Bahou to claim the 18th Middlesex House District, winning more than 61 percent of the vote.

Mom received strong backing from Lowell’s Cambodian American voters, and inspired community members to become more active in local politics:

 

Many in the city’s Cambodian community have said they’ve been energized by his campaign, becoming more active in local politics than they would normally be.

Mom, who is soft-spoken, could barely be heard above the din of the room. He gave his victory speech shortly after 9 p.m.

“This is history. This is just the beginning,” he said, but some still struggled to hear him.

“Speak up, representative. Speak up,” new colleague, state Rep. Tom Golden of Lowell, yelled from one side of the room. The crowd erupted.

Lowell is home to the country’s second largest Cambodian American population. Mom’s victory makes him the city’s first new representative in 15 years. Not bad for a kid who spoke zero English when he came to America. Here’s hoping that he is the first of many political leaders stepping up from his community.
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Chinese buy Waldorf Astoria Hotel and other properties in NYC

Waldorf Astoria
Beyond Chinatown:

Last month, it was announced that Chinese insurance company Anbang Insurance Group (安邦保险集團 /安邦保險集團) purchased luxury hotel Waldorf Astoria New York  for a 1.95 billion USD, the largest ever paid for a hotel and the largest single-asset transaction in New York this year.  Did they seal the deal over WeChat?

The seller, Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc. will operate the hotel under its current name for the next 100 years.  The new owner plans a “major renovation to restore the property to its historic grandeur”.

The US government, who has accused the Chinese government of spying (and been accused themselves), has espionage concerns over the sale.  It’s not just that Anbang’s founder and chairman Wu Xiaohui (吴小辉  / 吴小辉) is Deng Xiaoping’s grandson and its directors include Xiaolu Chen (陈小鲁 / 陳小魯) whose father, Chen Yi (陈毅 / 陳毅), was one of the Ten Marshals of the People’s Liberation Army, former Mayor of Shanghai, and former Foreign Minister and Zhu Yunlai (朱云来 / 朱雲來), son of former Chinese Premier Zhu Rongji (朱镕基 / 朱鎔基).  The Waldorf Astoria is the home of the US Ambassador to the United Nations and hosts leaders and diplomats from around the world.  Of course the Chinese know this.  Deng Xiaoping himself stayed and met with Secretary of State Henry Kissinger at the hotel in 1974.

The acquisition of the property is part of a trend of Chinese real estate investment in United States that sees Chinese nationals as the top foreign buyers of property in the United States by value:

According to the National Realtors Association (NAR) survey, the Chinese spent $22 billion on U.S. housing in the 12 months through March — 72 percent more than they spent the year before. Among foreign buyers, Canadians ranked highest in the share of transactions, at 19 percent, but the Chinese bought by far the most expensive homes, with a median price of over half a million dollars. That’s compared to the $213,000 spent by the average Canadian buyer of U.S. real estate, $141,000 spent by the average Mexican, and about $200,000 spent by the average American.

In 44 states, they are in the top 5 of all foreign buyers.  The boom in foreign real estate investment is due in part to growing wealth, government restrictions back home to tamp down corruption and property speculation, a desire to diversify investments, and a belief in the stability foreign investments.  According to The Wall Street Journal,

Real-estate agents typically divide buyers into four distinct groups: the super-wealthy buying properties upward of $15 million for personal use; those buying homes for a few million dollars, also for personal use; those purchasing investment properties, usually in the $1 million to $2 million range, to lease out; and those buying in bulk, as a commercial strategy.

A Chinese woman is reported to have bought a 6.5 million USD apartment in the shadow-casting ultra-luxury tower One57 for her two-year old daughter.

In New York City, high-profile properties in which Chinese have taken a significant stake include 1 Chase Manhattan Plaza, the General Motors Building (home of the Fifth Avenue Apple Store), and Park Avenue Plaza.   Chinese developers, who have learned to manage large projects from experience at home, are involved with ground-up construction of properties such as a luxury condo buildings in Williamsburg at 429 Kent Avenue (with listings on China’s leading Chinese real estate site fang.com) and in Midtown Manhattan at 610 Lexington Avenue. The Greenland Group Co. will own a 70% part of the Atlantic Yards (now Pacific Park), a controversial development project in Brooklyn that began with the Barclays Center.

Queens, where you may have noticed a lot of Chinese people live, has also seen significant Chinese real estate investment.

Asian American races to watch this midterm election

 

AsAm News:

 

Several Asian Americans are in extremely tight races going into tomorrow’s midterm elections.

A total of 22 Asian Americans are running for Congress. That’s up from 13 just six years ago. 159 are running for state offices including six for governor. By the end of the night, there could be four Asian American governors in the country.

Here are several races to watch:

In Rhode Island, Republican Allan Fung (pictured) is facing state Treasurer Gina Raimondo. According to the NY Times, a Brown University poll has 38 percent of the likely voters supporting Raimondo with 37 percent saying they’ll vote for Fung.  WPRI spoke to The Cook Political Report which recently upgraded Fung’s chances of winning.

In Hawaii, three Asian American candidates are vying to replace Neil Abercrombie as governor. Abercrobie was upset by David Ige in the primary. Ige faces republican Duke Aiono and independent Mufi Hannemann.

In South Carolina, Governor Nikki Haley (R) is favored to defeat Democrat Vincent Sheheen.

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal is in his last year as governor and will be termed out after 2015.

In California, two Asian American incumbents are in close races.

Rep Ami Bera (D-CA District 7) is facing a tough challenge from Republican Doug Ose. Bera won his first term in 2012 by just 2 percent. Ose served three terms before deciding not to run for re-election in 2004. More than $10 million   has been spent by outside groups in this race. Ose has loaned his own campaign $1.5 million, according to the Fresno Bee.

Seven-time incumbent Mike Honda is facing off against Ro Khanna in Santa Clara County’s District 17. Khanna has made up 20 points in the primaries with a series of relentless attacks on Honda and the support of Silicon Valley’s high tech community. Honda has strong support from the unions and the Democratic establishment. California’s District 17 is the only Asian American majority district in the continental United States.

California’s State Senator Ted Lieu (D) is favored to defeat Republican Elan Carr  for the House seat vacated by long time incumbent Henry Waxman  (D) who is retiring in California’s 33rd District.

In New Jersey, Roy Cho is given an outside chance of defeating Rep. Scott Garrett. However, Cho has been slipping in the polls in recent weeks, according to NJ.com.

“Lessons in Dissent” – Film screening and discussion

lessons_in_dissent_joshua_wong_37_300dpi
 

China Town:

 

Before the pro-democracy Umbrella Movement (now in its fifth week) occupied business districts in Hong Kong, the former British colony visibly expressed its desire for autonomy from Beijing under the “One Country, Two Systems” principle with annual vigils of the June 4, 1989 military crackdown at Tiananmen Squareannual marches on the anniversary of the July 1, 1997 handover; demonstrations in 2009 and 2010 against a high-speed rail system that would have literally established a closer link Hong Kong and China; and demonstrations in 2012 against the Hong Kong government’s plan to implement the Moral and National Education (德育及國民教育 / 德育及国民教育) curriculum that was seen as sympathetic to the Chinese Communist Party.

Hong Kongers of the post-Handover generation who have never lived under British rule are at the forefront of this fearless assertion of political and cultural identity.  In his film Lessons in Dissent (未夠秤 / 未够秤), Matthew Torne looks at this generation with admiration and support through profiles of two youth who have taken up activism to defend and promote their ideals:

Joshua Wong (黄之鋒 / 黄之锋), founder and leader of student group Scholarism (學民思潮 / 学民思潮), organized the protests against pro-Beijing curriculum when he was 15 years old and is now one of the most recognizable faces of the Umbrella Movement.  He was profiled by The New York Times and penned an op-ed for the paper.

Ma Wan-kei (馬雲祺 / 马云祺 ), nicknamed “Ma Jai” (馬仔 / 马仔) dropped out of school to dedicate himself to activism.  Taking a different path from Wong, he avoids the media spotlight and advocates his principles by working for the radical League of Social Democrats (會民主連線 / 社会民主连线) political party.

Filmed over 18 months, the film actually follows Wong and Ma’s efforts against the Moral and National Education plan just over two years ago.  It’s timeliness to current events is a stroke of good fortune that will bring an awareness and appreciation of the future parents, teachers, workers, and leaders of Hong Kong.

 

Lessons in Dissent UK poster Landscape clean 

New America NYC, in collaboration with ChinaFile, will screen the film on November 6 with Torne in attendance for a Q&A and discussion with

  • Bay Fang, Senior Fellow, International Security Program, New America
  • Isaac Stone Fish, Asia Editor, Foreign Policy
  • La Frances Hui, Film Curator and Associate Director of Cultural Programs, Asia Society

Thursday, November 6, 6:30 – 8:30 PM
New America NYC, 199 Lafayette Street Suite 3B
Free, but RSVP required

Additional screenings are scheduled in

 

San Jose, CA, 11/9/14
20th Aldeburgh Documentary Festival, UK, 11/15/14
Singapore, 11/16/14
Prince Charles Cinema, London, 11/18/14

Contact info@lessonsindissentmovie.com for details or if you would like to host a screening.

 

Hong Kong’s Chief issues hollow apology for bashing poor people

cy leung protestors

 

Next Shark/South China Morning Post:

Cy Leung, Hong Kong’s chief executive known for his distaste for people who don’t make as much money as he does, just issued an apology that might as well have been said through clenched teeth. Earlier this month, Leung expressed in an interview from his mansion that free elections in Hong Kong would bring only “poor people” politics. “If it’s entirely a numbers game — numeric representation — then obviously you’d be talking to half the people in Hong Kong [that] earn less than US$1,800 a month. You would end up with that kind of politics and policies.

Now he’s backtracking in what looks like a half-hearted attempt to not make the protesters, who have demanded he step down for over a month now, too angry with him. On top of that, last weekend he criticized religious and sports communities for not contributing to the economy. He explained in an Executive Council meeting this week:

I understand I should have made myself clearer on some points … I regret having caused misunderstanding and concerns among grass-roots people, the religious sector and the sports sector.” “What I meant was that we have to pay attention to every sector. This means we should not lean towards any sector or class because of its size or its contribution to the economy.

That’s about as sincere of an apology as you are going to get from a millionaire politician. Protesters have now been camping in Hong Kong’s streets for five straight weeks calling for Leung to resign and for Beijing to allow open elections for his successor.

 

Link

Hong Kong’s freedom is not a threat to China. It’s a model.

 

The Global Mail:

 

When Britain transferred sovereignty over Hong Kong to China in 1997, the two countries agreed that the former colony would be governed according to the principle of “one country, two systems.”

For the people of Hong Kong, the emphasis has been on the “two systems” side of the equation – allowing residents of the territory to continue to enjoy things that are not permitted on the mainland: freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, the rule of law by an independent judiciary, and a large measure of self-government.

Beijing, however, has recently been placing increasing emphasis on “one country” – leaving many Hong Kongers wondering if the institutions that made Hong Kong so free and so wealthy are in danger.

Beijing’s fear has long been that “outside forces” – human rights activists, democracy backers, Western governments, Chinese dissidents – hope to use Hong Kong to undermine China’s one-party Communist system.

Beijing is right to worry: Hong Kong, along with Taiwan, proves that democracy, freedom of speech and the rule of law are not foreign, Western ideas, incompatible with China or the Chinese people. On the contrary, Hong Kong and Taiwan are both more prosperous and more free than the mainland. The Hong Kong example is a powerful argument against the Beijing system, and a threat to it.

This week, China’s State Council issued a white paper on the future of “one country, two systems.” The point of the exercise seems to be to remind Hong Kongers that Beijing is the boss, and that the rights they enjoy are really privileges, given by the Communist government but not necessarily guaranteed.

For example, the white paper recognizes that Hong Kong enjoys “a high degree of autonomy,” but “this is subject to the central leadership’s authorization.” It states that “loving the country is the basic political requirement for Hong Kong’s administrators,” and it lists “judges” as among those administrators.

The Hong Kong Bar Association fears that this is part of an attempt by Beijing to gradually turn an independent judiciary into what it is in China, namely a servile arm of the state.

The ‘one country’ is the premise and basis of the ‘two systems,’” says the paper, “and is subordinate to and derived from ‘one country.’” Or as a headling in the South China Morning Post put it: “Beijing emphasises its total control over HK.”

All of this comes amidst a major pro-democracy protest taking place in Hong Kong, known as Occupy Central. Peaceful protest is largely forbidden in China, but it is perfectly legal in Hong Kong.

Earlier this month, 180,000 took to the streets to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre. To mention the anniversary in China is not allowed; to protest it would land you in prison.

The Occupy movement is about maintaining those unique Hong Kong freedoms, and expanding a managed democracy into a full democracy. On June 22, Occupy plans to hold an unofficial referendum, asking citizens to choose among several possible systems of democratic reform.

Right now, for example, the legislative council of Hong Kong consists half of members directly elected by voters in districts and half of representatives of “functional constituencies,” which include about 2,300 voters from business and professional bodies.

The chief executive of Hong Kong is elected by a committee of 1,200 people, most of them from the functional constituencies. The chief executive, in particular, has to be acceptable to Beijing. Democracy protesters want to get rid of this managed half-democracy and move to universal suffrage.

Beijing has said it is open to allowing universal suffrage at the time of the next elections, in 2017, but the suspicion is that it will control the list of candidates, effectively turning the vote into a sham. This week’s white paper says, among other things, that China will not allow an “unpatriotic” leader to govern Hong Kong.

The move to real democracy is critical to the advancement of a postcolonial city that bridges mainland China and the rest of the world, and to its stability as a major financial centre. It is also supposed to be the “ultimate aim” of the Basic Law of Hong Kong, which went into effect in 1997 and serves as the city and region’s constitution. The people of Hong Kong are only asking for what was promised to them.

An abrupt change in the city’s economic or political freedom could have serious global impacts. Canada alone has as many as 300,000 citizens in Hong Kong. The international community has a huge stake in the next three years of Hong Kong history, and needs to pay close attention. Because the future of Hong Kong – will freedom and democracy be allowed to flourish? – is the future of China.

 

Check out this link:

 

Hong Kong’s freedom is not a threat to China. It’s a model.