It's only five minutes and the acting is notional, but Verax is officially the first dramatization featuring NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. The film, made by Hong Kong-based videographer Edwin Lee and friends, isn't completely about Snowden -- it's as much a paean to Hong Kong -- but it's received ample media attention nonetheless.
Sometimes newspapers bend the truth, or cast a story in its own editorial light. For examples of this, follow James Fallows's sporadically updated series about why he reads more than one newspaper.
But then there's the above. Tens of thousands marched in protest yesterday of Hong Kong chief executive CY Leung and Beijing political influences, but if the only newspaper you read was the China Daily (a hypothetical that applies to no one), you'd be forgiven for thinking all those bodies around Victoria Park were celebrating the 16th anniversary of Hong Kong's handover.
The annual pro-democracy, complain-about-everything rally in Hong Kong drew tens of thousands of people starting at 2:30 pm yesterday in Victoria Park. This happened despite threats of a tropical storm and heavy rain throughout the day. Hong Wrong has basically all the pictures you'll need, including the above, so let's start there.
Next Media Group in Hong Kong, owned by the rabblerousing Jimmy Lai, says one of its distribution centers came under attack on June 30 as part of an assault that saw 26,000 papers get burned. A day earlier, Next Media's office was the target of a "drive-by knife-throwing," in which an unidentified man hurled a cleaver at the front gate. These and other actions, the company says, are part of a coordinated attack against Lai due to his support of the Occupy Central movement and outspoken criticism against China's Communist Party.
Today is National Protest Day in Hong Kong, so here's your reminder that people hate the city's chief executive, CY Leung. That's always good, when your leader, a puppet, is hated. Actually, that's not good at all.
Hong Wrong has the latest example:
This is decidedly not the sort of mainlander-in-Hong-Kong story we're used to. As relayed by SCMP, a mainland tourist, Fu Zhuli, found a bag of diamonds she estimates was worth HK$250 million on June 23 at the Hong Kong Jewellery and Gem Fair. As a good Christian, she went against the urging of some of her friends, who said to keep the bag.
July 1, 1997 marked the handover of Hong Kong from Great Britain to the People's Republic of China, and every July 1 since, hundreds to thousands of people have marched in this city. Since 2003, as this Wikipedia entry informs, the number has sometimes been hundreds of thousands (though, because Hong Kong is terrible with big-number estimates, we never have an exact figure.) This year? "A massive protest is expected," reports Wall Street Journal. On the docket: direct elections and the resignation of chief executive Leung Chun-ying.
And he's gone. Screams the latest SCMP headline (all-caps theirs):
SNOWDEN LEAVES HONG KONG ON COMMERCIAL FLIGHT TO MOSCOW
The report isn't confirmed, but SCMP notes that Snowden "would continue on to another country." The Hong Kong government issued a short statement today, in which it said the US's request for extradition "did not fully comply with the legal requirements under Hong Kong law."
"My name is Daniel Morgan Perry, born March 12, 1978."
On United Airlines Flight 116 from Hong Kong to Newark on Monday, Daniel Morgan Perry, born March 12, 1978, demanded the plane be diverted to Canada, according to passengers, claiming his life was in danger. Also, something about poison and the CIA.
Hong Kong is a city unlike any other, its buildings rising up out of the hills like ridged obelisks, its waters rippling with cargo ships, ferries, and buoys, its mountainside painted the shade of roiling green, its alleys stacked upon one another with overpasses and skywalks crisscrossing as in an M.C. Escher illustration.
I'm in Hong Kong at the moment, and to try to capture a bit of the wonder of this place, I made the above video. Hope you enjoy.
"A few hundred" people showed up to a pro-Edward Snowden rally in Hong Kong on Saturday, the city where the NSA whistleblower is believed to still be residing. Reports Reuters:
Marchers gathered outside the U.S. consulate shouting slogans denouncing alleged spying operations aimed at China and Hong Kong, but the numbers were modest compared to rallies over other rights and political issues.
"Arrest Obama, free Snowden," protesters shouted outside the slate grey building as police looked on. Many waved banners that said: "Betray Snowden, betray freedom", "Big brother is watching you" and "Obama is checking your email".
Edward Snowden sat down with the South China Morning Post yesterday, causing the editors of that Hong Kong-based paper to somewhat lose their minds with SCOOP FEVER. (Which article do I link to? The 3:31 am one that has EXCLUSIVE splashed across the headline -- even though Snowden's spoken with several media outlets already -- or the one from 19 minutes later, or the one from 7:37 am on the same subject? There's another version from earlier, 12:52 am.)
Without a doubt, Hong Kong is a vertically oriented city, with vertiginous towers built upon mountains and hills and other daunting inclines. Which is why we're happy to encounter graphic artist/photographer Romain Jacquet-Lagrèze's rendering of the city in "Vertical Horizon," a project that strives to see Hong Kong as measly mortals must.
For the first time ever, Art Basel opened in Hong Kong on Thursday, where it'll remain a showcase for Asian art, artists and galleries until tomorrow. For a glimpse, you'll want to check out Stephy Chung's latest video for Crane.tv, above, featuring scenes from this international event.
Does Hong Kong deserve Art Basel? That's debatable. "Even a few local boosters will admit that the paucity of Hong Kong galleries is largely a reflection of the weakness of the local art scene," reports the New York Times.
The 16.5-meter inflatable duck in Hong Kong's Victoria Bay remains entertaining. Look at the above. Just look at it.
It was due to air leakage, says Sina. It lasted 12 days, as of yesterday.
Pity the duck. Pity us all.
I don't really have anything to add to Hong Wrong's piece about the 16.5-meter duck in Victoria Harbor, "In Pictures: HK Goes Completely Insane For Big Yellow Duck’s Arrival," or Shanghaiist's guide to SCMP's articles about these rubber ducks (with rolling updates), except to say this is awesome:
All white people look the same -- paunchy with yellow hair -- so the news that a pair of Asian television networks committed two separate Thatcher-related mix-ups during their coverage of the former British Prime Minister’s death on Monday at the age of 87 should come as little surprise.
The first, Taiwan’s CTi Cable, broadcast footage of Queen Elizabeth II greeting well-wishers instead of Thatcher.
Like Lady Thatcher, Queen Elizabeth II is an 87-year-old British politician. Unlike Lady Thatcher, however, Queen Elizabeth II is a different person and had well-wishers to greet.
Margaret Thatcher, the outspoken former Prime Minister who transformed Great Britain during her stewardship of the country from 1979 to 1990 and inspired the global conservative moment during her decade in power, died Monday from a stroke.
Great Britain’s only woman prime minister, the so-called Iron Lady led the Conservative Party to three electoral victories in a streak that was the longest continuous period in office by a British premier since the early nineteenth century.
Thatcher, 87, remained an extremely decisive figure in Great Britain despite stepping away from public office in 1990, continuing to provoke visceral emotional reactions and passionate debate on her native turf and throughout the Commonwealth.
Saturday was International Pillow Fight Day, and if thought Hong Kong wasn't going to pull out all the feathers for this occasion, you don't know our friends to the south. BBC, SCMP, etc., covered the event. Hong Wrong has a collection of clippings, with photos upcoming, and also the above video, which is about as ridiculous of an eight-minute summary as you'll find (created by Dennis Mong). But look at how much fun everyone is having.