Vice-Premier Li Keqiang’s visit to Hong Kong begins with a dazzling display of official grins, a high-speed Santa Claus-style bestowal of consumerist alms upon the poor and earnest ritualized incantations about cooperation, prosperity and the Big Lychee’s ever-mysterious but exciting role in China’s 12th Five-Year Plan. In the absence of substance, we return to Joseph Yeung.
A quick Google search for Joseph Yeung Chi-keung and the Hong Kong Industry Commerce and Professional Association reveals that we have tried this before. The comma-eschewing HICBA has a rudimentary website and what appears to be an unfortunate tendency to be confused with Sir David Akers-Jones’ Business and Professionals Federation. (Yeung issued a clarification after he took out a full-page ad in several newspapers in late 2009 warning of emerging radicalism in Hong Kong; the ad declared Yeung to be the boss of 香港工商專業聯會 rather than 香港工商專聯會會長.)
On the subject of easy mistakes to make, there are lots of Joseph (CK or not) Yeungs around, so he may or may not be the renaissance man the Internet search suggests: PhD, running a steel-trading company, noted photographer, something even of an intellectual and, more to the point, member of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference of Jilin or somewhere and advisor to the politically correct blather-factory that is the HK Central Policy Unit.
We can be sure that the individual in question contributes note-perfect politically correct commentary to China Daily. He blames the “impractical elitism and bureaucratism … of the authorities” for the way the government lost public support in its haste to ban evil by-elections. This is a classic example of cognitive dissonance: United Front-land can’t accept (or say) that the public never supported the idea in the first place.
On the subject of National Education in Hong Kong schools, he repeats the party line that such indoctrination is fully in line with international norms. He also claims that “the British tried every possible means to dilute the Chinese identity in Hong Kong.” Are we sure? They didn’t do it very well, apart from banning dog meat – unless by ‘Chinese identity’ you mean admiration of the Communist system, which Beijing surely diluted itself when it drove its own starving people across the border in the 50s and 60s.
Many people, when faced with (often eerily similar) pro-Beijing opinion, may wonder whether the writer genuinely believes what he is saying, or if he is repeating and augmenting the official stance in exchange for some material or symbolic reward. This is unfair, however, because it overlooks a third possibility: the guy’s on drugs.
Which brings us rather neatly to his piece last weekend, in which the legal, constitutional, administrative, logistical and other details about maids’ permanent residency are all done deals, and no fewer than 600,000 Filipinos have descended upon Hong Kong and joined the Civic Party, which now ruthlessly takes power over our city and orders its suede-denim secret police to make every family put a big photo of Audrey Eu on the living room wall and bow to it every morning.
Meanwhile, Vice-Premier Li is presenting a group of elderly grassroots with a 55-inch flat screen television and assuring them that the central government will assist Hong Kong in its development as an offshore Renminbi centre.