With robot help, be a star comrade

Central Station | Nury Vittachi 13 Mar 2019

Sneaky tech-heads have created a software robot that acts like a Xi Jinping Fan Boy to help users climb the Communist Party of China ladder.

The robot tricks China's top phone app, which measures how many hours you spend studying Xi Jinping Thought and transmits it to the government.

The Beijing-developed app, called "Study To Strengthen The Nation," is number one in China's app download chart - which is no surprise, since it is compulsory for all party members.

You get one "Good Commie" point a day for logging in, and another for each article or video you read or watch.

But an anonymous source has created a new "robot commie" app called "F#%$ Study To Strengthen The Nation," hosted on the US website GitHub, which does all the work for you.

Tianyu M Fang reported on Supchina.com that he turned on the robot commie and went to have dinner. Forty minutes later it had read eight news articles and watched two episodes of a TV series called Marx Is Reliable-and racked up 17 Good Commie points.

Used correctly, you could spend your life eating pizza and watching YouTube - and rise to Communist Party stardom.

* * *

An image of Financial Times reporter Tom Hancock was used by a China government TV channel this week. It shows him with his hand up at a press conference in Zhejiang as "proof" that the foreign press operates freely in China.

Tom himself was surprised to see it. The picture was taken at a press conference in which he was ignored, since foreign correspondents were banned from speaking or asking questions. "At least my hand-raising makes a decent propaganda image for state TV," he said.

* * *

The annual open day of Government House is coming up on Sunday - but organizers were horrified to find that the star of the show, the garden's famous azaleas, had let them down. Hong Kong had no winter this year so they bloomed too early.

Asia's richest man, Li Ka-shing, started life making plastic flowers -maybe he can help?

* * *

Filipino stars Liza Soberano and Enrique Gil are in Hong Kong this week to launch their new movie, Alone/Together. Aimed at Filipina domestic helpers, the premiere will run at 10.30am on Sunday. The extremely beautiful real-life couple star in a storyline about an extremely beautiful couple being extremely beautiful in various locations for two hours. I'd rather have a root canal operation without anesthetic.

* * *

Freelancers in the creative industries in the Philippines have set up a database of companies that pay bills late or not at all. The list is called Bye Bad Clients and is on a Google Doc so that anyone can add to it. "Needed for Hong Kong," said designer Kristin Law, who complains that it often takes him six months to be paid for his work in Hong Kong.

* * *

Standard Chartered Bank is finally getting ahead of its long-term rival, HSBC. Hong Kong government officials are very impressed with its "virtual bank" program. It basically builds a bank branch on your phone so you never need go to a physical bank again. Will the disaster that befell the recorded music industry now hit the traditional banking industry? I hope so.

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