A government even more useless than it looks

From CCP loyalist Tsang Yok-sing to pro-Beijing business figures to Anson Chan and moderate pro-democrats, the events of the last month have come as such a shock that they are agreed on one thing: Hong Kong’s political structure is dysfunctional and we really really seriously need to restart the constitutional reform process.

They sound sincere. But they are overlooking the fact that, to Beijing, a system that does not receive input from the population is not flawed – it works as intended to fit the Hong Kong administration into the overall Leninist national political structure, in which the CCP core has a monopoly of power which flows downward only.

It follows that our fixation with the ‘Hong Kong government’ – structure or personalities – is a diversion. The ‘SARG’ looks like it’s in charge, but it is more of an ornament, and probably has no more influence in Beijing than the Hong Kong public does in Government House.

We focus on the sideshow that is Carrie Lam and her inept mediocrity-officialdom because they are visible, an easy target and apparently responsible. They are a convenient punch-bag not only for the local public, but for the real power in Hong Kong – the Liaison Office/HK and Macau Affairs Office/State Council, or ‘Beijing’.

The real conflict is between these two sides: Beijing (a chain of command no doubt riddled with duplicity and infighting) and the Hong Kong people (aware citizens and civil society, plus nervous international business interests and vaguely concerned overseas countries). The Hong Kong government is an inert object keeping the two apart.

But mercilessly torment it we must. Perhaps it is good for our sanity.

Unlike this… I am indebted to commenters for alerting me to one of the slightly odder corners of the pro-establishment shoe-shining universe. It looks like a worthy/condescending NGO of rich high-school kids helping their less advantaged counterparts. But it has plentiful links with Beijing-friendly tycoons, including some with a track record of charitable activities that look more like cynical, desperate attempts to keep the increasingly angry peasants at bay. And its young founder seems to be a longstanding, avid admirer of Chief Executive Carrie Lam. I have added the links, and will provide one to a sick-bag shortly.

Comment:

…the teenager whose [article] in the SCMP — which now seems to have vanished? — arguing that Carrie Lam has been really good for high school kids…

Response:

[Do you] mean article by Joseph Wan of Support International Foundation? It only takes a gander at the website to know where he is coming from. International schools co-opted into the pro-establishment network, and let’s face it who else can afford their fees?
Chair is [property developer’s son] Lau Ming Wai, Youth Commission. Funding probably from Bauhinia Foundation. Henderson, Chun Wo and Sino Land also on board and impeccable connections with SCMP/Alibaba ensuring media coverage.
Allan Zeman is an advisor, say no more.

For all its irrelevance, the ‘SARG’ is a Big Deal at the local-shoe-shining level.

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7 Responses to A government even more useless than it looks

  1. British Beaver says:

    My god, that op ed was filled with so much fecal matter, it’s a wonder that the kid who wrote it could see through the computer screen to push send… What on earth???

    If I understand his point, he is saying:

    Carrie Lam is a god send, she’s done more to help Me, i mean, kids, than Tung Cheehwa ever did, and that’s a lot!
    My property developer son of a son of a bitch and his dad are amazing people
    My old headmaster! (Ted Faunce), who grovels at the foot of billionaires in China has really helped me steer this shippp… wait…

    No, what he’s really saying is that the protestors are creating division by wishing for a Colonial government! Did I read that right?

  2. Chinese Netizen says:

    Try as they might, Support! International Foundation has nothing on the Hitler Jugend or Red Guards. Boot licking will never supplant good old violence.

  3. Campbell says:

    Quote: Allan Zeman is an advisor, say no more.

    Yup. Got no shame, that Zeman.

  4. old git says:

    The Financial Action Task Force must be an existential threat to the CCP.

    Look at what WHO did during SARS: the CCP was shocked to discover that WHO controlled PRC borders. So the PRC got one of their own appointed as head of WHO.

    The existential threat to the CCP is that FATF dictates HK policy on AML related extradition and asset freezes. It’s a bit tricky to get the extradition and asset freeze bills withdrawn because FATF can sanction the PRC’s pride and joy for doing so.

  5. Mary Melville says:

    In line with the adage that ‘Charity begins at Home’, hopefully the no doubt committed students participating in the Support activities have first of all taken a long hard look at their own schools’ modus operandi.
    The government has been allocating vacant school premises and greenfield sites for developing international schools for nominal sums, as well as providing interest-free loans for their construction. In return these schools should provide a quota of scholarship places for underprivileged students. However most have managed to manipulate conditions and circumvent or ignore obligations with regard to their tax free charitable status.
    Hopefully the students have checked out the lease and tax conditions relating to their own schools, copies presumably available in the school library?, to ensure that the required scholarship places are both available and genuine.
    Zubin Foundation has looked into this matter and found many shortcomings:
    https://www.scmp.com/lifestyle/family-relationships/article/3012842/needy-hong-kong-minority-children-miss-out
    Among the findings of the report by The Zubin Foundation, which focuses on issues faced by the city’s ethnic minorities, is that almost 60 per cent of financial-aid-based scholarships offered by Hong Kong’s international and private schools went unused. Low-income families are failing to enrol for scholarships worth a combined total of more than HK$300 million, the report’s authors say.
    Another interesting read is:
    https://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/article/1524102/tax-free-status-hong-kongs-international-schools-attacked June 2014
    The very generous concessions granted to these schools are long overdue a thorough investigation. Like the private hospitals they are big money pits into which a lot of revenue flows and demonstrably little in the form of public benefit subsequently materializes.
    Some pro bono investigation into the matter on the part of the students would be most welcome to over stretched community groups.

  6. Din Dan Che says:

    @mary melville – What you’ve highlighted needs a blast out on Twitter in the direction of students and activists, who tend to gather there. I guess it would get much traction – though Big Lychee is an eminent place to start

  7. Mary Melville says:

    Din Dan Che, I am from the era of the manual typewriter. For sure there are younger and more adept participants who can disseminate the message far more effectively than I ever could.

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