Riddle of the Trillion-Dollar Sands

So many excitements still to come: Mainland extradition (the denouement), the imprisonment of Benny Tai and friends (or not), National Anthem compulsory-adoration laws, the ever-toxic Article 23 (risen from the grave) – and of course the Lantau Trillion Dollar Reclamation.

A letter to the editor today brings this one back to mind: What will they fill the sea in with, where will they get it, and how much will it cost?

Yet again, I get this nagging feeling that this absurd idea isn’t going to happen and isn’t really intended to happen. The sheer misallocation of resources – half a trillion bucks-plus for land, thousands of square miles of which already exists around and about. Otherwise known as opportunity cost (think what else you can do with the money). We could buy half of Zhuhai for that, and not have to plunder half the sand in south China. And as with all the Excitements-still-to-come, Beijing makes the final decisions. Surely, the Communist Party is too devious to blow so much cash (which is ultimately at its disposal) on something so pointless. So why does everyone have to go through this long-drawn-out Let’s Pretend this is Real drama?

I declare the damp-looking weekend open with some mainly-dry reading.

If you want to stay awake worrying about the global economy, here’s the extended gloom-and-doom outlook. (Sample: “To be blunt, the idea that a propped currency which Chinese citizens feel compelled to stuff in their underwear as they board a plane, just so they can convert it to anything but RMB, might somehow become a ‘reserve currency’ is delusional.”)

A long look at China’s elite-capture style of economic diplomacy in Central/Eastern Europe (including lots on Patrick Ho’s friends CEFC in the Czech Republic).

And not-so-elite capture – what’s happening to Yang Hengjun, Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, by someone who’s been there.

Onto language, with all you wanted to know about parallelisms – like the Three Intenselys (intensely annoying, intensely irritating, intensely wearisome) – repetitive CCP-phrases, or ‘the rhythm, music and dance of loyalty’.

And for history fans, the CCP’s deep-rooted fear of overseas Chinese movements like Sun Yat Sen’s.


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