It’s such a hassle, dear readers, keeping track of all these grim comings and goings in the news each week. It seems like there’s always a story popping back up we’d lost track of that needs updating, a sector that’s deflating, and sovereign debt that needs re-rating.
Had you forgotten about the summer stock rout? We all but had. But our dear friends at Reuters hadn’t. No, as it turns out, they’d submitted a Freedom of Information Act request that turned up a slew of mortifying emails from the flummoxed folks at China’s securities regulator asking the US Federal Reserve for a tip or two. (Not that it seemed to help.)
Or how about everyone’s favorite self-effacing tech-sector mogul? No, not Ma. No, not the other Ma, either. We mean Mark Zuckerberg! Founder of Facebook and nigh-perpetual supplicant to China’s ruling party. We’d all but forgotten about his little social network here behind the Great Firewall, but then he went on a smog jog right past Mao’s portrait in Tiananmen and promptly popped back up on our radar. And he wasn’t done there: A few days back he met with none other than China’s propaganda chief, Liu Yunshan, in his latest attempt to gain market access to China’s hundreds of millions of Internet users.
(Best of luck with that, Zuck.)
Truth be told, sometimes we forget whole regions of the globe! Indeed, it felt like it had been months since we last heard of the much-contested waters of the South China Sea. But China’s coast guard, apparently no longer content to patrol within the expansive nine-dash line already violating a half-dozen nations’ territorial waters, decided it could do one better by ramming a fishing vessel detained by Indonesia for fishing too close to its shores. We heard Jakarta was none too pleased with the news, either.
But perhaps the least pleasant of the recent returns to China headlines was that of Lee Bo, seller of salacious political tell-alls and, until this week, Hong Kong’s top missing persons case. It seems he popped back up after hopping back across the Shenzhen border to let the police know he hadn’t been missing at all. No, far from having been subjected to extralegal detention, the bookseller explained he’d been “free and safe,” and politely requested his missing person case be dropped.
And drop it they might, but we’d suggest keeping an eye on poor Mr. Lee—these days Hong Kong publishers are disappearing left and right. No surprise, then, that Hong Kong journalists recently told researchers press freedom there had dropped for the second year running. We certainly wouldn’t begrudge anyone headed to Hong Kong for a reporting gig for thinking twice about that decision, dear readers.