United Front repair work begins

Perhaps unaware that Hong Kong has just undergone a sort of coup d’etat – or simply to try and keep the excitement going for another 48 hours – the South China Morning Post describes Sunday’s Chief Executive ‘election’ as virtually too close to call, with a second round a distinct possibility.

The reality of this carefully rigged system is that Beijing can and will control the outcome, and that outcome will be CY Leung. There is a complication in that part of the Election Committee’s inbuilt pro-Beijing majority is seething with resentment at this. The Inherited Wealth Spoilt Brat Sector, mainly the Liberal Party and allies, is in a fit of disbelieving pique at the last-minute tossing aside of Henry Tang. As former Education Secretary Arthur Li amusingly puts it, they are “acting like a group of children who don’t want to play with him [Leung].”

However, Beijing knows full well that the Liberals’ grasping selfishness and opportunism make them unreliable (such as when they pulled the plug on the Article 23 security law in 2003). The rigged system has enough built-in redundancy to do without them. After refusing to be drawn at any point in the campaign, the totally dependable Federation of Trade Unions has unanimously declared it will plump for CY. Its stable-mate the Democratic Alliance for the Blah Blah of Hong Kong will do the same later today. Then we have all those tragic folk like the Chinese Medicine Sector who, after complaining no-one had told them who to vote for, have now had this gap in their knowledge filled. Added to existing supporters, this probably gives CY a good 80% of the votes he needs.

The one danger is that people who don’t much like either CY or Henry will abstain and CY’s share of the vote will fall just short of a simple majority. The Liberals have been discussing the blank ballot as if it were a noble gesture. Mainland officials have responded by making it clear that not ticking a box is a dirty, unpatriotic trick and part of a pro-democrat plot. This is absurd, as the mainstream pro-dems have their own third candidate, Albert Ho, to vote for; but Beijing needs to patch the United Front back together, so (as with Tibetan unrest and so many other problems) it blames ‘foreign forces’. The bottom line is that most of the Election Committee members tempted to indulge in the non-voting fad would, if they had a gun pointed to their head, dutifully tick the CY box. Here, in China Daily, you are looking down the wrong end of the barrel…

So, officially, the pro-Beijing camp is all one big happy family, with excited nonconformist supporters of CY, gloomy plutocrat friends of Henry, dullards who nod at anything, and hardline party automatons all joining together to confront the true enemy, the evil pan-democrat opposition. The truth is that some puffed-up, self-important ‘elites’ have lost big face in the last week, and they are bitter. That said, they are shallow and greedy and easy to buy off. It will be interesting, though perhaps ultimately a bit nauseating, to see how CY goes about meeting Beijing’s wishes to get them back on board. Meanwhile, because stringing them up from lampposts is sadly probably not on the agenda, we can dream that Hong Kong turns on its tycoons.

Click to hear ‘Let’s Get Together’ by the Jefferson Airplane!

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33 Responses to United Front repair work begins

  1. Bela Lugosi says:

    I can’t wait for CY Leung announcing to the tycoons when he wins:

    ” Thiose who approve of the result can applaud. The rest of you can rustle your Lane Crawford bags.”

    Why does C Y Leung have no friends?
    Because he’s a pain in the neck.

    What ferry does CY Leung use to go to Macau?
    A blood vessel.

    What does CY Leung have at eleven o’clock every day?
    A coffin break.

    Hong Kong is fun again.


  2. Spud says:

    Tang’s backers need to blame themselves for not replacing him with another stooge weeks ago. Although I admire the HK spirit that seems to be coming back, let’s face it, we are only talking about CY because Tang spectacularly snatched defeat from the jaws of a certain victory.

    Maybe though it reveals the real position of the tycoons, that even with Tang in such a ridiculous and disastrous position they still believed that HK was theirs to play with could not be bothered to find a replacement.

  3. Real Tax Payer says:

    The popvote.hk website seems to be down.

    Has anyone else had the same problem?

  4. Incredulous says:

    PopVote is still down!

  5. Bela Lugosi says:

    Popvote has been attacked by hackers.

    The forces of darkness, my children.

    Go vote at one of the centres instead:

    POP has confirmed initially that there will be 10 polling stations in different districts of Hong Kong on the day of the “3.23 Civil Referendum Project”:

    1 .The Hong Kong Polytechnic University
    2.The exhibition gallery of the Tuen Mun Town Hal
    3.Y-Square (Y2) in Chai Wa
    4.Assembly Hall, 6 Sassoon Road, Pokfulam, Hong Kong (HKU)
    5. Ho Tim Hall of The University of Hong Kong
    6. Main Campus of The University of Hong Kong
    7. City University of Hong Kong
    8. Hong Kong Federation of the Blind (Shun Chi Street, Kwun Tong)
    9. Silence Association (Pak Tin Estate, Shek Kip Mei)
    10. Hong Kong Association of the Deaf (Ap Lei Chau Estate, Aberdeen)

  6. Sir Crispin says:

    Doesn’t all this “tell me who to vote for” nonsense just confirm Jacky Chan’s controversial comments a few years ago: they’re just not mature enough to vote?

  7. King of Mui Wo says:

    “Then we have all those tragic folk like the Chinese Medicine Sector who, after complaining no-one had told them who to vote for, have now had this gap in their knowledge filled.”

    All this indecision means that it could be some time before I visit my local witch doctor requesting some potion to alleviate “floppy-cock syndrome”.

  8. Civil Servant says:

    There are reports that its been hacked

  9. Real Tax Payer says:

    Who is hacking the popvote site?

    Who is an old hack?

    PS : It’s worth another plug for Steve James yesterday : check the RTHK site / Radio 3/ 15.00 PM Steve James program . Some delicious bits – on both sides of the CE- Election

  10. Walter De Havilland says:

    I agree Mr. James has excelled in taking the piss in the last few weeks. I celebrate the fact he can still do this stuff.

    I’m wondering if Donald will turn up to the 7’s presentation ceremony on Sunday, as I hear he is concerned about getting heckled by a load of sloshed expats. Maybe he will use the excuse of the CE election to stay away.

  11. Walter De Havilland says:

     Just came across the Hong Kong review, which says the following …

    “This blog, BIG LYCHEE, is a magnet for the “sour grapes” and “has-beens”, incessantly talking about a people they care little to talk with. ”

    As a person who spends 80% of his day speaking Cantonese in darkest Kowloon, I’m a somewhat baffled by this assessment.

  12. Bela Lugosi says:


    The sneaky way of voting by means of the iPhone application Popvote also seems to be blocked…reporting “communication error”.

    It’s deja vu all over again.

    (That’s enough Bela Lugosi. Ed.)

  13. Mary Hinge says:

    WDH. Thanks. The blog review you referred to is below (link) and, having read it, all I can think is ‘wow, what a sad, sad person’. You would have hoped that somebody reviewing blogs could at least have an open mind.


    Onto the Hobson’s Choice ‘election’. Still have fingers crossed here for a no-score draw, inspired by lots of blank-ballots. Gotta love that last China Daily paragraph about realism, mutual accommodation, honesty and straight-forwardness. If only we could say the same for the CE candidates!

  14. Bigot says:

    What planet is that Luo Jie from? Shouldn’t the “valid votes” in his/er caricature be a simple “1” instead so as to drive home the point?

  15. @walter –
    The Hong Kong blog review crew are the Queens of Projection. The Ta Kung Pao of internet reviews.

  16. Real Tax Payer says:

    @ WDH

    I think that’s very fair comment on the BIG LYCHEE.

    I have absolutely no desire to talk with people like Tang, ( Sir) D. Lee, J. Yam, LKS etc

    (BTW: does LKS also own the HK Review …. ? )

  17. Reductio says:

    Walter DH:

    The reviewers at the Hong Kong Review are very much into touchy-feely, nice websites, which have (quotes from their rating scheme) “broadness of perspective”, “sensitivity to host culture”, “friendliness towards vistors outside of the blogger’s own background” and, the not-subjective-at-all, “attitude”. They seem to have a particular chip on their shoulder about British expats supposedly not being to let go of the past.

  18. No cheese says:

    HK blogs review also describes the writing on this blog as ‘sinuous’! That’s a compliment, surely 😉
    (edit- sorry wrong link. Albeit a funny one.)

  19. Iffy says:

    Bela Lugosi, I’m rather liking your work. Much wittier and more coherent than the last drag queen of dubious provenance to inhabit this comments section.

    As for the substantive issues of the day, I don’t even know where to start. Persons from outside this time and place would doubtless assume the whole scenario was a bad work of fiction.

  20. Iffy says:

    Clarification to the above: for “bad” read “far-fetched dystopian”.

  21. Tiu Fu Fong says:

    “has been”?

    Please, I regard myself as a “never was”.

    Also, “one should keep in mind that the people who frequent this blog are in a minute percentage of the HK population. Traditionally, they have little or nothing to do socially with HK’s majority population. Because of their political and soical isolation, they likely hold minority views and may be out-of-step and out-of-touch with Hong Kong’s mainstream.”

    Of course, such comments could never be applied to our ruling classes.

    I’m looking forward to CY Leung being reduced to the humiliation of riding Donald’s old “meet the public” bus around Hong Kong as he studiously gets in-of-step and in-of-touch.

  22. darovia says:

    The reviewers have a point – we are out of touch with the culture. Time to drag ourselves into the present. Ed, let’s kick off with a series of Hello Kitty and Dear Daniel pics. Next week a photo of lunch with a few guests making rabbits ears with their fingers.

  23. Joe Blow says:

    “They seem to have a particular chip on their shoulder about British expats supposedly not being to let go of the past….”

    In all fairness…………………………..

  24. Maugrim says:

    As much as the authors of that site are wankers, it would have been amusing to have read comments about how great the sevens are which would have possibly proven their point 🙂

    However, from all of this is an interesting subtext about social dislocation in general and how it will eventually relate to CY. Eating egg tarts? Tours of wet markets? Chasing rats? What I can say is that if CY is secretive and emotionally reticent, it’s going to be fun watching him cope with his forays into the great unwashed. Better than a scooby do suit and I like to move it, any day.

  25. PropertyDeveloper says:

    @ Mary and Walter

    Thanks for the link. The writer of that “review”, it seems to me, falls into a racist trap. Because English speakers in HK are in a distinct minority, goes his innuendo, supported by wobbly grammar (“the majority of their writing style”), they have no right to comment on local issues…

    By his own logic, unless he’s a Native American, I hope he doesn’t discuss American issues.

  26. Hendrick says:

    ET has maybe inadvertently ensured that we will never see tear gas or restrictions on the press as CY is likely to avoid such measures like a rabid dog.

    It’s not too late for ET to make other valuable contributions such as claiming CY suggested:

    – filling in the harbour for commercial development
    – maintaining current API levels
    – having Long Hair kicked out of Legco and locked up indefinitely
    – banning alcohol at the Sevens
    – increasing income tax
    – inviting BJ to have more active roll in running HK
    – no universal suffrage.

    Come on Enery, it’s your last chance to do something good

  27. HKsven says:

    Hysterics about the CCP and its internal fights. Bear in mind 1 that the PRC is ruled by the equivalent of M Farthing and D Richbastard writ large and multiplicity of the hopelessly corrupt hangers-on.

    They want cash, women, women and cash and un-ending wealth and are scared about the military

    The Viets creamed them in 1979, forcing the CCP to go cap in hand to Barings to beg them for their gold to spend same for weapons (all US style) – so they bribe and suborn.

    Bear in mind 2 that CCP members always just creep into the crypt, crap and creep out and tremble whilst doing so.

  28. Walter De Havilland says:

    The so-called people’s poll conducted by HKU has thrown up one interesting result that has escaped comment in the mainstream media … Albert HO, that great democrat, could only secure third place with 11.4 percent of the vote. Even with the vast majority tactically placing blank votes, as a mark of their anger at the small circle election, I anticipated that would Albert garner more votes then Henry. The people have spoken in the nearest thing we have to a open, one man one vote election, and Albert got trashed! Can we expect his resignation?

  29. stanley gibbons says:

    WDF et al for that matter- There is no “people have spoken” are you fcukin nuts? Get with the proogrom FFS…..grrrrr

  30. Real Tax Payer says:

    @ ALL

    Well, the deed is done and the Wolf is IN.

    And Albert Ho only scored 76 votes – far less than the number of his nominees, which suggests to me that the pan- democrats finally got their act together , just for once in their well-meaning but totally disorganized history. Obviously a large number of them voted for CY in the end. Well done ! Unbelievable !

    The cynics among you all will now start to bite the Wolf at his heels at every step he makes ( I see that Art 23 has already come up again as a “huge” issue , but unless and until The Big Lychee is shut down I will not believe it is anything other than a token law )

    You may think RTP is a CY man – but that’s not the case.

    RTP ( who by the way does indeed pay his full share of taxes, unlike our previous FS / CS who cheated on his taxes , spoilt rich kid as he ever was ) is just ABH : Anyone But the Horse and all the real evil and collusion he stands for, and Anyone But the Ho, and the total incompetency of the pan- demos who , though well meaning, could not organize a booze-up in a brewery.

    Time alone will tell whether this was a GOOD or BAD thing ( to quote “1066 and All That” )

    I sincerely hope it will be a GOOD thing, because my heart, soul, home ( and taxes) are here in the Big Lychee, which I sense has got a lot of life going for it yet

    And if any of you were yesterday in the HK Stadium watching the Sevens, the final, which Fiji won vs the Kiwis, was a series of the most beautiful clinically-executed tries I have ever seen in over 20 years of Sevens. As a lifetime Kiwi fan I was sorry they lost, but I must sincerely congratulate Fiji on a superb and well-deserved win.

    Which perhaps also sums up the feeling of much of HK about the CE – Election

    Especially what the tycoons must now be thinking……

  31. N8Ma says:

    Has anyone been keeping tabs on Hemlock’s predictions? He seems to be very good at them, from what I can tell.

    The SCMP et al have taken the weak-kneed “too close to call” approach, but Hemlock knows it’s going to be CYL and he says so. Maybe he has made some bad calls in the past, I don’t know, but I find his willingness to put his opinions out there refreshing. (I’m saying this in light of the fact that I spent a large chunk of the early 2000s really believing that Bejing would allow for “unpredictable” elections via universal suffrage, if only the politicians in HK would play their cards right. Hemlock disabused me of any and all such fantasies).

    Anyway, I read the linked Standard article for more quotes by Arthur Li. Wow, that guy REALLY knows how to twist the knife:

    “Tang has served as secretary for commerce, industry and technology and chief secretary, and his father has close ties with former president Jiang Zemin, and his family is rich, so he probably felt assured of the chief executive post,” Li added.

    “However, he did not anticipate the numerous scandals that were revealed after announcing his bid. As such, he might have lost his temper.”

    Man, that’s the kind of talk that would make Karl Rove & David Axelrod proud!

  32. N8Ma says:

    Oh and am I the only one who thinks it’s kind of gross to always refer to Beijing as BJ?

  33. Real Tax Payer says:

    @ N8Ma

    I must commend you on your early posting today ( but later than mine).

    Yes it’s OK to refer to Beijing as BJ, and in case any of us forget it : despite all the Deng Xiaoping promised HK re “one county two systems” we only enjoy the freedoms we have ( and the awful air) courtesy of BJ.

    And I’m certain that China is using HK as its experimental democracy ” SEZ” just as BJ used Shenzhen as its experimental economic ” SEZ” 30 years ago.

    30 years in China political time is but a blink of an eye in the western sense of political time ( and for those who understand Einstein, time actually does go slower the stronger the mass and therefore the stronger the gravitational field )

    China just HAS to get it right in HK re democracy, whether it takes 30 or 300 years

    But N8Ma you are wrong about Hemmers : he boldly predicted a Tang walkover in his historic “Time Out” article last year . It was only when ET become un-elect-worthy that “BJ” allowed the one thing that the current awful CE- election system does not forbid – i.e. the veto of the PEOPLE

    Sure there will be a big march next 1 July , but there would be an even bigger march if ET had won

    My Chinese wife just told me that the Chinese news says 60% of HK don’t like CY, but she was quick to agree that 80% of HK don’t like ET

    Let’s play the hand we are dealt and thank our lucky stars ( and BJ) it was not an even worse hand.

    Me… ? I’m going to do my level best to help CY do a good job by hook or by crook.

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