YouTube bans Hong Kong election candidate Lee Ka-chiu

Google and Facebook took action against the Chinese candidate in the upcoming elections in Hong Kong. John Lee Ka-chiu (pictured) was sanctioned by the United States in 2020.

The United States Departments of Treasury and State both cited Lee for his actions in support of China’s removal of Hong Kong’s autonomy. For his part, Lee argues that the United States is hypocritical.

Cybersecurity Live - Boston

But when you’re the only candidate, can we even call it a election? In today’s SB Blogwatch, we worry about semantics.

Your humble blogwatcher curated these blog bits for your entertainment. Not to mention: automated technical compatibility testing.

Leekachiu, I choose you

What is craic? Vlad Savov, Dorothy Ma, Kari Soo Lindberg, and Kiuyan Wong report—“YouTube closes Hong Kong leadership candidate’s channel”:

China has drawn a lot of criticism
Google and Meta Platforms Inc. have decided … to reduce the social media presence of Hong Kong’s only chief executive candidate … citing sanctions Washington has imposed on officials allegedly involved in quashing the pro-democracy movement that broke in 2019. Lee…was sanctioned in 2020 for his role in restricting political freedoms under China’s national security law.

Enacting Hong Kong’s own security law, Article 23, will be one of his priorities if elected, Lee said. The bill mandated by the city’s mini-constitution bans sedition and theft of state secrets, but has been frozen since 2003, when it sparked massive street protests. Beijing effectively suppressed dissent by imposing its own national security law on the city in 2020.

YouTube has suspended or banned high-profile personalities in the past… but it’s rare for the world’s most popular video platform to ban candidate content [although it’s] unlikely to affect the outcome. China has drawn widespread criticism for staging the race in Hong Kong…a former semi-autonomous British colony that returned to China in 1997.

With more is Theodora Yu—“YouTube shuts down future Hong Kong leader’s channel, citing sanctions”:

Unreasonable… act of intimidation
Google’s firing would prevent Lee’s team from releasing campaign materials and broadcasting their meetings with industry officials, business leaders and politicians, who are mostly pro-Beijing members of a committee election that chooses the director general. … The move probably won’t affect Lee’s chances, as he’s the only candidate.

“Google complies with applicable US sanctions laws and enforces related policies under its Terms of Service,” a Google spokesperson said. … After a “review and in accordance with these policies”, the company “has terminated the Johnlee2022 YouTube channel”.

Lee called the sanctions “unreasonable”, an “act of intimidation” and a way “to exert pressure to make him hesitate” regarding the upcoming election. … Tam Yiu-chung, Hong Kong’s sole delegate to the National People’s Congress Standing Committee and a key member of Lee’s campaign team, said … it was regrettable but would not affect Lee’s campaign.

And Facebook ? Tom Grundy and Hillary Leung asked—“The United States sanctioned … Lee in 2020 for “coercing, arresting, detaining or imprisoning” people”:

Attack on Hong Kong's autonomy
A spokesperson for Facebook’s parent company Meta said Lee may maintain “demonetized presences on Facebook and Instagram,” adding that they “have taken steps to prevent the use of payment services.” …As a US company, we operate under the constraints of US laws, which vary depending on the circumstances. If we identify accounts maintained by or on behalf of individuals on the US Government’s list of Specially Designated Nationals, we are required by law to take certain action.

Lee … was among 11 Hong Kong and Chinese officials sanctioned by the US Treasury Department in August 2020 for “undermining Hong Kong’s autonomy” and “restricting Hong Kong citizens’ freedom of speech or assembly”. … Lee hit back at the United States, accusing them of being a “hypocrite” who adopted “double standards”.

But but but… censorship! legarbz does not agree :

Following the law not to do business with a sanctioned entity is not censorship, it is a political weapon used in international disagreements. To call it censorship is dishonest.

What does democracy look like in Hong Kong, anyway? This anonymous coward offers a colorful metaphor:

Let us not forget that these “elections” have exactly one candidate. … Whereas before HK had several political parties, now they have all been wiped out – now there are several parties everything with exactly the same points of view.

[It’s] like KFC having five different names and you have to eat in one of them or you are classified as subversive and arrested. Then, strangely, you “disappear”, but you get a “fair” trial… and you are retroactively judged on a law which was recently introduced to suppress any sort of disagreement.

What happened to “one country, two systems”? Zontar_Thing_From_Ve been there several times:

I have been to China and Hong Kong several times. … Nobody really and really thinks that Hong Kong is another country.

The 50-year agreement between the UK and China began in 1997. … The British [had] negotiated a 99-year lease that was coming to an end [so] they agreed to return the entire territory to China in a treaty that agreed to protect many of Hong Kong’s special privileges that did not exist in China.

[But] then a new dictator arrived—Xi. This guy [is] very anti-democratic. When Hong Kong protested a few years ago, Xi viewed the protests as potentially dangerous to his lifelong rule…so he changed the terms of the deal…passing new laws to…make Hong Kong “unfree” and therefore safe for China.

Black is now white, white is black, bad is good, good is bad. … All hail the glorious leader Xi who will save more than a billion Chinese from evil democratic thinking.

Can we hear a real local? Chung Ching Kwon has the feelings:

His constituents are 0.2% of the population – he wouldn’t need a YouTube channel. Just text the 1,500 people on WeChat maybe? Or use Douyin, I really don’t want to see John Lee content near the platform I use.

And 0xdead-dead is fatalistic fatalistic: [You’re fired—Ed.]

As someone living in Hong Kong, it’s quite funny. Being censored by the West is a badge of honor – after all, if you’re not, then you’re not doing anything right.

On the other hand, it also means that we now have to turn to the Chinese internet for all our local information. Well done for America, you screwed up again.

Meanwhile, Operating mode sarcastic waxes:

That’s a shame. I will miss his unboxing videos.

And finally:

Tinder in 1966

Previously in And finally


Have you read SB Blogwatch by Richi Jennings. Richi curates the best blogs, the best forums, and the weirdest websites…so you don’t have to. Hate messages may be directed to @RiCHi or [email protected]. Ask your doctor before reading. Your mileage may vary. E&OE. 30.

Sauce picture: Stand news (used with permission)

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