Nothing to worry about – just do some dusting

Like millions of others, no doubt, I was inspired by the photo in yesterday’s South China Morning Post showing a cheerful woman engaged in what I suppose is a variant of grave-sweeping: fetus-dusting… 

It just goes to show that all of us, in any walk of life, can always find something to smile about. In the beaming young lady’s case, perhaps she was thinking of the spaghetti meatballs she had planned for supper.

Not all of us, however, are of such a sunny disposition. Despite the cheeky grin in the China Daily photo, patriotic commentator Lau Nai-keung seems to spend his whole life in a ranting, sulking, blustering sulk about ‘dissidents’ – his term primarily for pro-democrats, but more broadly for anyone among that overwhelming majority of the Hong Kong population who do not bow down faithfully and worship the Chinese Communist Party. His column today is yet another salvo in the intense, orchestrated and increasingly tedious barrage by official and pro-Beijing media against publisher Jimmy Lai and his donations to such pro-democracy figures as Cardinal Joseph Zen.

The thing that stands out in this particular diatribe is the assertion that what Jimmy Lai did would be illegal under the security legislation required by Article 23 of Hong Kong’s Basic Law or in “any other country” (loyalists are allowed to get away with accidental implications that Hong Kong is independent)… 

China’s requirement following 1989 that post-1997 Hong Kong pass a serious-sounding law against treason, secession, sedition and theft of state secrets was always controversial and sensitive. The hapless administration of Tung Chee-hwa increased anxiety through clumsy attempts to reassure the public there was nothing to worry about. It then tried to ram the bill through the Legislative Council at just the time the city had run out of patience with its floundering leader, and it all blew up in Tung’s face.

Since then, Article 23 has acquired a sort of mythic, cursed status. Clearly with Beijing’s blessing, Chief Executive Donald Tsang has been allowed to disown the issue throughout his one and a half terms. It is only a matter of time before someone asks CE hopefuls Henry Tang and CY Leung what their policy will be.

Left to their own devices, Henry will say whatever the audience wants to hear (one of Tung’s weaknesses), while CY will consistently reply that a security law is unfinished business. If Beijing wants to bolster Tang a bit, it could let CY sound hawkish and scary before letting Henry know he can follow in Donald’s footsteps and tell us we can forget the whole thing for years and years. After all, the longer we go without a replacement for the archaic and unused colonial security laws still on the books, the more obvious it seems that Hong Kong’s standard criminal laws against violence and theft protect the state perfectly adequately.

Alternatively, an increasingly paranoid Beijing could decide that the lack of a security law that can be used to suppress bad elements makes Hong Kong a glaring chink in its armour and needs to be fixed. This would imply that what they would see as turmoil within the city – Tung’s attempt got some 10% of the population onto the streets in 2003 – would be acceptable for a greater national purpose. It just doesn’t wash; life doesn’t get that interesting around here.

So we can probably, as Deng Xiaoping said, put our hearts at ease and dismiss Lau Nai-keung’s ravings as one of his frequent hate-filled, mouth-frothing loon acts. He is saying that Article 23 would make you a criminal either for financing the legal political activities of people whose views are not correct (donating to the pro-Beijing camp is OK) or for making donations to someone who sends the funds across the border to religious groups not authorized by the Chinese government. Such a claim would set alarm bells off, if Lau were worth bothering about. The fetus-dusting lady would no doubt assure us that he isn’t.

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11 Responses to Nothing to worry about – just do some dusting

  1. Iffy says:

    Lau Nai-keung is about the worst imaginable ambassador from China to the world. I’d be surprised if he doesn’t shoot dissidents for pleasure in his spare time. It is vomitous that such a person has any influence over the future of this city, or in fact any place other than perhaps a supermax prison.

  2. maugrim says:

    I’m not sure what ‘any other country’ Lau is referring to unless those places start with ‘C’ and end in ‘hina’. Lau Nai-keung needs to be careful about what he wishes for, he might just get it.

  3. Real Tax Payer says:

    I find the cartoon above Lau’s article rather odd. with Jimmy Lai leaning on the “for opposition only” sign. I’m puzzled by what Lau means by “the opposition” . By definition the parties not in power are the opposition in whatever country ( even where there is no democracy !), and the CCP was once “the opposition” in China pre-1949. But no-one in any of HK’s political parties are opposed to China or BJ or the CCP.

    In any HK constituency where a democrat wins, that automatically makes the DAB candidate “the opposition” , so I guess that those who do fund the DAB should have their funds cut off , or else be transgressing the spirit of Article 23.

    Either way, Mr Lau seems a bit off his rocker

    Talking of being of his rocker , Henry has done it again. Do read Jake van der Kamp today in the SCMP as he nails down dear old Henry good and proper for making totally stupid suggestions to the Heung Yee Kuk in order to win a few votes.
    Sometimes Jake’s op-eds are pure gold, and this is one of them.

  4. Stephen says:

    If Lau Nai keung authoritarian ravings are limited to The China Daily, which few read, then little harm is done. My free paper of choice is the redoubtable Sub-standard – which is piece of utter bubble gum but lasts for my 4 stop MTR ride to work. Fortunately ‘Lau free’ but we do get the inane editorials (Mary Ma) and the tycoon / CCP arse licking hilarity of Siu Sai-wo.

    However you could apply this test for the forthcoming CE selection. Will Beijing go for bubble gum – Henry the Horse or (mild) authoritarianism CY Leung ? Wonder who Comrade Lau is plumping for ?

  5. Iffy says:

    Stephen, I have a feeling Comrade Lau would like nothing better than to wind the clock forward to 2047 and do away with HK’s nasty, foreign-influenced system altogether.

    I seem to recall reading his patriotic, mouth-frothing rants in the SCMP as well, apparently written in his capacity as a member of the Basic Law Committee.

  6. Bitsy says:

    It is simply amazing the bubble in which our leaders and their poodles in HK reside. Never has there been a greater threat to Hong Kong freedoms than we are seeing now with a government and United Front so aggressive against the wishes of the people.

  7. anon says:

    hip hip hurray for N.K.LAU…

  8. paul says:

    1. Is Lau Nai-Keung really a member of the Executive Council body called Commission on Strategic Development?
    2. If so, he should be sacked forthwith. His article is an affront to the democratic process. The vitriol is appalling and as is his ignorance. Is the man mad? There can surely be no other explanation.
    3. It is obviously necessary to establish a fund to sue Lau for libel. You can’t go around accusing a newspaper publisher of “questionable contributions and treasonous activities” There’s nothing illegal about what Jimmy Lai and other mentioned in the article did.
    4. Does the Apple Daily not have a lawyer experienced in the dreaded “common law” who would have advised you can’t go around making crackpot allegations like this?

  9. Real Tax Payer says:

    From today’s SCMP ( tuesday 26.10) – Albert Cheng’s op-ed:

    “The Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong was quick to realise it wasn’t wise to continue to lash out at Lai as limiting political donations to parties would be the equivalent of dropping a rock on their own toes.

    The DAB receives political donations from outside the party of between HK$50 million and HK$60 million a year. Their donors no doubt also wish to remain anonymous. So if they had insisted on attacking Lai, the outcome might have hurt them just as much, if not more.”


    I wonder who is the DAB’s funders ? Betcha there’s more than a few tycoons there, and that their donations as a % of personal wealth are less than 0.1% of what Jimmy Lai has donated as a % of his personal wealth.

    If tossig a few cents into the collecting plate of the DAB is what keeps the property cartel tycoons going strong in their collusion with govt, then full marks to them for being smart and keeping their donations under wraps.

    But elsewhere in the same op-ed, Albert Cheng says that “60%” of Hong Kongers support the pro- democracy parties in general (which I assume means the anti DAB parties in general)

    I cannot personally say whether that’s true ( and usually local elections don’t seem to show such a big swing towards the pro-dem parties as far as I recall). But IF true …… surely that makes the DAB et al THE OPPOSITION .

    Now ” in any other country” such opposition-supporting donors would be put in prison . Seems like Mr Lau has not such a bad idea after all…..

    Pity he is most unlikely to be reading the Big Lychee, not to mention the comments

  10. PropertyDeveloper says:

    Lau Nai-keung’s ideas are so bad that they’re good. His rant is tantamount to saying: let’s criminalise the activities of those we don’t like, and it doesn’t matter if it’s retrospective.

    Surely the woman on the Fanling omnibus can now “better understand” the “intent” — that numinous concept brought in to argue that black is white — of Article 23 and of Lau and his ilk?

    Perhaps “bad egg” Jimmy Lai could slip some tea money into his office (and then of course deny it)?

  11. Probably says:

    If Jimmy Lai is the embodiment of all that is evil for donating to the Catholic Cardinal Zens’s charities what does that make our Donald when he no doubt places his money in the collection tray at his Catholic Church every Sunday?

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