Hong Kong people desperately want to keep a political system that disfranchises them and concentrates power in the hands of a self-serving little clique of bureaucrats and tycoons. So says a public opinion survey organized by the Bauhinia Foundation, the think-tank run by – it so happens – bureaucrats and tycoons. By pure coincidence, this comes hot on the heels of the Alliance for Constitutional Development’s 27 million-signature campaign, also showing widespread support for the government’s proposed non-reforms to the electoral system.
What a relief it must be to Chief Executive Donald Tsang to find that the community overwhelmingly agrees with the things his government agrees with and disagrees with the things it disagrees with. Thus, “65.5% of the respondents agreed that the number of seats of the Election Committee (EC) should be increased to 1,200,” while “62.3% of the respondents did not agree that replacing ‘corporate votes’ with ‘director’s/executive’s/association’s/individual votes’ in the FCs would help enhance the FCs’ electorate base.” (The last bit refers to the idea of letting only humans vote in functional constituencies. The pollsters’ questions simply replicated the leading wording of the government’s public consultation paper.)
BF surveys can be quite startling: the last one found that 51.5% questioned about the Express Rail Link said “any delay in the rail project would hinder economic and social integration between Hong Kong and the Mainland and weaken Hong Kong’s long-term competitiveness.” I look forward to their opinion poll of farm animals showing that 72.8% of all turkeys say Christmas is their favourite time of the year.
What purpose does this serve? Are the organizers of these methodologically biased surveys and petitions cynically hoping for some reward from our local officials or their superiors in Beijing? Does Sir Bow-Tie encourage loyalists to exaggerate evidence of public support because he hopes it will demoralize the opposition? Or because he finds it psychologically comforting? Does he think that if enough polls appear to show the community is behind him, the community will in fact come to be behind him? Does he think that if enough polls show the public think his policies are wise, the policies will in fact become wise?
A bit of good news: A Brit (“Look at me. I’m white.”) who wouldn’t let airport security guards X-ray his food yesterday ended up looking down the wrong end of police guns and missing his flight. So we can at least console ourselves with the thought that we’re not being run by the very stupidest person in town.
The important thing is how many pictures of BF chairman Anthony Wu appear in the latest Bauhinia Perspectives, the Foundation’s glossy newsletter. In October we counted 15 definite photographs plus one probable. To my intense dismay, the second edition has but 11, though we should perhaps award extra marks for the photo that captures not only the man himself but his likeness on an adjacent, suitably extensive, video screen. (The grinning cover star is tobacco heir and Sing Tao/Standard owner Charles Ho.) I am beside myself with impatience for issue three.
This just in: the widely respected/feared Hong Kong University POP survey – which asks simply “would you vote for Donald to be CE tomorrow?” – finds a 33% approval rating, the lowest since he took office.