The South China Morning Post’s recent opinion poll asked supporters of third candidates which of the two front-runners they would vote for in the forthcoming Chief Executive contest. The response shows an overwhelming preference for CY Leung by a ratio of roughly two to one. Rita Fan’s supporters’ 48% to 27% preference for CY over Henry Tang is statistically significant given that they accounted for a fifth of the total survey sample. In a run-off between the two with no other candidates, this result, the SCMP says, indicates that CY would get 52.3%, with Henry sharing the remaining votes with a healthy number of abstentions.
This all looks very exciting to psephological geeks and people who swallow the line that Beijing will not simply appoint a winner this time round because it would look bad. The fact remains, however, that unless the Chinese Communist Party leopard has changed its spots, it, not public opinion, will decide who the next Chief Executive will be. The Chinese leaders may, for public-image purposes, engineer something that looks more like a race than the summary anointments we have seen in the past, and they may even have a stab at being subtle about it, but they will decide the outcome. Among other things, it’s just human nature. If you could decide, alone behind closed doors, you would.
Meanwhile the Rottweiler-like savaging of publisher Jimmy Lai and his donations to Cardinal Joseph Zen and the Civic Party continues. The orchestration of this contrived mouth-frothing is starting to look embarrassing enough to suggest that an order has come down from on high in the Chinese government’s local Liaison Office and loyal media and propaganda folk are scurrying to be visibly obedient. Not much subtlety here.
You can learn of Zen’s ‘admission’ that he channeled funds to underground churches in the Mainland. You can wonder at the possible illegality, according to a quote from an obscure commentator on a pro-Communist satellite TV station, of such funding. And you can read that only simple-minded teenagers would believe that the uproar about Lai’s donations is a conspiracy theory or smear campaign – sorry, I mean “conspiracy theory” or “smear campaign”.
Alternatively, you can go straight to Jimmy Lai and see what the man himself has to offer. And, yes, we are in for a treat. See Henry sipping red wine and falling for Cherry, in totally accurate, as-it-happened, re-created computerized animation, all done in the best possible taste. See him kick her aside (literally) and take up with her buddy Josephine, before dumping her too, and then (on real live video) looking like an idiot yesterday when answering Apple Daily’s questions about it. I take back everything I said about people mentioned above not being subtle. This is depraved and vile. Can’t wait for the next episode.