In Which I Worry about what Might Happen in Hong Kong

Recall this post. Recall in particular this little bleak statement of mine: I’d like to think that this conflict will end peacefully, and with a diminution of the power of the Chinese government. I fear that it will end horribly, with the government asserting its authority in Tienanmenesque fashion. Ahem: Beijing has a harshly worded …

Something Interesting Is Happening in Hong Kong

Link: A wave of protest in Hong Kong that engulfed the city could continue into the week as thousands of residents defied a government call on Monday to abandon street blockades, students boycotted classes and the city’s influential bar association added its condemnation of a police crackdown on protesters. The public resistance underscored the difficulties …

Iran’s Political Establishment Has Not Reformed Itself

To wit: Six Iranians arrested for appearing in a video dancing to Pharrell Williams' song Happy have been sentenced to up to one year in prison and 91 lashes, their lawyer says. The sentences were suspended for three years, meaning they will not go to prison unless they reoffend, he adds. The video shows three …

Quote of the Day

Few of today’s intellectuals would risk a sentence like this one: “The links between Jugend and culture, or more specifically between it and die Moderne, are too obvious to require comment.” They would fear being inaccessible, if not outrageously elitist. Yet it’s clear [Eric] Hobsbawm believes there is a body of knowledge that is the …

This Passes for “Moderation” in Iran

Those who believed that an era of political and social liberalization was about to dawn in Iran will not like reading this article:Eight social media activists in Iran have been sentenced to a total of 127 years in prison, after they criticised the country’s government on Facebook.The eight people – whose identities have not been revealed …

Your Unsurprising News of the Day

"Happiness in Short Supply in Iran." Tell us about it: The media storm that erupted after police arrested six young Iranians for dancing to the Pharrell Williams song "Happy" in an online video prompted Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to tweet, "Happiness is our people's right. We shouldn't be too hard on behaviors caused by joy." Iran's …

“Moderate” Governments Don’t Jail People Over Facebook Postings

Just thought I'd throw that opinion out there: An Iranian court has sentenced eight people to jail terms ranging from seven to 20 years for crimes including anti-regime propaganda posted on Facebook, an opposition website has said. Kaleme, which did not cite a source for its report, said the sentences were delivered last week giving …

Behold the “Moderate” Iranian Government

In all of its glory: An Iranian court convicted on Sunday the editor and a contributor of a banned newspaper over a series of charges, including lying about Islam and spreading anti-regime propaganda, reports said. The media watchdog banned the reformist Bahar daily in October 2013 after it published an article the authorities deemed as …

On Priorities and the Regime in Iran

They don't seem to get along: A red carpet peck on the cheek by Leila Hatami, the Iranian actress at the Cannes Film Festival has been reported to the country’s courts by activists who are seeking a public flogging as punishment for violating Islamic laws. Hizbullah Students, a group of university students with links to …