I am sorry that Snowden chose Hong Kong as his point of refuge […] Hong Kong is not a sovereign country. It is part of China — a country that by the libertarian standards Edward Snowden says he cares about is worse, not better, than the United States. It has even more surveillance of its citizens (it has gone very far toward ensuring that it knows the real identity of everyone using the internet); its press is thoroughly government-controlled; it has no legal theory of protection for free speech; and it doesn’t even have national elections. Hong Kong lives a time-limited separate existence, under the “one country, two systems” principle, but in a pinch, it is part of China.
I don’t know all the choices Snowden had about his place of refuge. Maybe he thought this was his only real option. But if Snowden thinks, as some of his comments seem to suggest, that he has found a bastion of freer speech, then he is ill-informed; and if he knowingly chose to make his case from China he is playing a more complicated game.
James Fallows on Edward Snowden’s choice to seek refuge in Hong Kong
Under pressure from mainland China, Hong Kong’s elementary schools have to start a new curriculum on “national education.” Recently revealed, its module on the “China model” is full of political propaganda, such as the claim that one party dictatorship is more effective than any other democratic political system.
Hong Kong architect Gary Chang transforms his 344 sq. ft. apartment into 24 rooms. The genius here is recognizing that the functional aspects of a room can all be attached to walls, so adding “rooms” now becomes a matter of adding walls instead of floorspace. The part that still puzzles me is how the services (electricity, plumbing, etc.) are routed into and out of movable walls. The video shows a bathtub, but I presume (and certainly hope) the toilet is really in a separate room instead of being attached to one of the walls.
His ability to live in such tight quarters isn’t unusual when compared to other Hong Kong residents, however; as both this video and a New York Times profile note, Mr. Chang’s family of six was squeezed into this very same apartment while he was growing up. Even though he now gains the space advantage of (apparently) living here by himself, this arrangement still lets him live in much grander style than the square footage normally allows.