Rabid patriot Lau Nai-keung is back in at least semi-mouth-frothing mode on the subject of the 2017 election. His thesis rests on two assumptions: first, that the pro-democrats are capable of devising a cunning subversive conspiracy; second, that Beijing would allow an election system that would accommodate such a plot. It is hard to say which is less likely.
He foresees the pan-democratic ‘dissidents’ camp agitating, bullying and outwitting conservative forces, and managing to push through liberal democratic reforms. The pro-dems would then use this open election structure to get one of their own elected as an unpatriotic Chief Executive hell-bent on confronting Beijing, thus condemning Hong Kong to chaos as China refuses to appoint the rebel. Lau concludes with a glimmer of hope in the form of a pro-CY Facebook page that transforms itself into a force for good, or something (I think his deadline was approaching).
While this scenario would be undeniably entertaining, it is impossible. The pro-dems will have no say in constitutional reform for the same reason the tycoons, the functional constituencies, the civil servants and CY Leung himself will have no say: Beijing makes the decisions on this. It might look like local elements are lobbying for this or that structure. They might believe they can or even do influence the outcome. Indeed, the pro-dems in particular will play a leading role in legitimizing the farcical public consultation process, by taking it seriously, oblivious of the inescapable fact that a one-party communist state will not accommodate an election whose result is not pre-arranged.
What we will probably get is a guided form of democracy. The current Election Committee will be renamed the Nomination Committee. Being ‘broadly representative’ of the community, it will comprise 50% local United Front/Communist Party members, 25% businessmen with Pinyin names, 15% local tycoons who make an extra-special promise to do what they’re told this time, and 10% pan-dem lawmakers, social workers and troublesome priests. With Beijing’s local Liaison Office working overtime on the phones, this body will ‘nominate’ two people acceptable to the Central People’s Government. It is unlikely that Beijing would try to be clever and put one strong, favoured candidate on the ballot alongside a presumed no-hoper – Hongkongers might vote for the wrong one out of their usual ingratitude and awkwardness. So a real contest will probably take place at this stage, albeit between two similar, patriotic loyalists. Include a free press and rule of law in the mix, and it’s a better deal than Singaporeans get. Universal suffrage with Chinese characteristics. (This all assumes the Party isn’t overthrown following defeat by the Japanese in the Great Diaoyu War of 2016.)
So why is Lau Nei-keung delivering a ‘dissidents engineer dangerous election system’ scare story? Maybe he is paranoid and delusional enough to believe it; after all, it would be much harder to hate a pro-democracy/anti-Beijing movement that is an ineffective joke, and as something of a convert to the patriotic cause from years back, the hatred seems important to him. Alternatively, this may be the start of a public opinion offensive designed to make us think the consultation process is authentic, and/or the pan-democrats’ proposals will represent a threat.
Onto far more serious matters…
‘Headline of the day‘ goes to CBS.
‘Mystery of the month’ goes to North Dakota, home of what looks like a huge city that shows up on satellite photos at night but oddly isn’t there during the day. Pretty easy to spot cities on this photo…
Moving east-northeast from Chicago (‘C’ in the middle) you cross Detroit, Toronto and Montreal; head south from there and you hit the DC-Philly-NYC-Boston corridor. Go northwest from Chicago and you cross what I guess is Twin Cities, and then that question mark. A big city out in the middle of North Dakota, where the biggest conurbation would fit into a corner of Lamma. One clue is that, unlike the other metro-regions, this blob of lights has no core. The answer is here.
Lastly, I declare that the bottom of the cooperation barrel has truly, finally been scraped, now Hong Kong Public Libraries have signed some sort of mutual-backscratching ‘cultural exchange’ agreement with something called the Bavaria State Library, repository of many famous works on lederhosen, beer-hall putsches and the magnificent, toffee-making Crown Prince Ludwig, plus all those yodeling chocolate cuckoo clocks…
the current batch of pro-dems are too stupid, or more precisely, lacking in political prowess, in pulling together a revolt. i’ve given up hope on them
Democracy for Hong Kong….oh dear, as if there is any in the UK, ruled by a gang of glass-jawed, toffee-nosed Etonians with the help of spineless last-chance-to-be-famous LibDems.
And in the US of A, huggy-feely-droney Obama, who takes “especial care” each week to nominate who is going to be incinerated from the sky. Try demonstrating against that and add yourself to the CIA special watch list. Maybe you will finally be tortured in Poland.
You can demonstrate with a force of half a million people in the UK and you will be kettled, watercannoned, infiltrated and ignored.
Get together a hundred people in Hong Kong and you can start dictating to Government.
I know which place I like better.
Why do you keep providing a (secondary) platform to that bigot Lau Nai-keung ? There is nothing these people hate more than being ignored.
The Bavarian connection will be a cause for jubilation if our local archivists learn something about library architecture.
“What we will probably get is a guided form of democracy” – 10/10
This is exactly what they proposing which, is why they allowed a CY Leung / Hank Tang dogfight (however I think they were unaware of the latter’s spectacular blow out). So it’s CY and (pick one from three) Jat, Bernard or Carrie. CY will lose. I think we can rule out Vagina, Jasper and Rita as they will be getting a little long in the tooth by 2017.
However as the Pro-Dems have their veto and will use it. Meaning same same. CY wins.
The Legislative council “elections” for 2022 will be far more interesting however I probably will have taken myself off the South East Asian beach by then.
Haven’t seen a satellite image of China at night. I guess it’s hard to find – conspicuous by it’s absence under an impenetrable, suffocating blanket of industrial crap. Anyway, if it was visible it would be off limits; it being a state secret.
Just looked out of window – well done CY, you’ve sorted HK’s pollution much sooner than expectations. Tomorrow I expect to see a new tower of people boxes next to me.
Fracking hell, Hemmers! I agree with Joe. Just because we now know that LNK reads this blog, does not mean that we should link to his every word in the China Daily.
On the other hand, the line: “(I think his deadline was approaching.)” did make me laugh …
Must be a day for agreement… well said, Monsieur Bastille.
Thanks for the fracking article link
Very useful indeed , because my company is currently studying this whole industry
(yes I do have an actual job….)
PS : @ Bela – check out Youtube “Gagnam Eton style” if you need any persuasion to continue thinking HK is after all preferable to England.
China at night from Thunderbird 3.
Hemlock, I think you’re being a bit unfair on the pro-dems. On one hand, you’ve often condemned them for being unduly negative towards the government; but now you say that by moving us, perhaps rather slowly, in the direction of universal suffrage, they’d be legitmising that movement.
That the Selection Committee will prevent honest candidates standing in 2017 has been obvious for a decade or two. But, admittedly without much for us to go on at this stage, won’t Peking be a little bit more subtle about it? Somehow maintain the pretence that all compatriots of the correct skin colour are eligible, while erecting invisible barriers to all but a hundred or two names?
A challenger appears!
Abe diverting attention from financial woes
The Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has announced that there is no room for negotiation on the issue of the sovereignty of the Diaoyu Islands.
Are the bare islands in the middle of nowhere really so important for Abe to antagonise Japan’s most important trading partner worth US$340 billion a year, or does he have an ulterior motive?
Abe’s real objective is to revive the ailing Japanese economy, which has been struggling between stagnation and recession for over two lost decades. His shock therapy is to print money and to step up government spending.
Whether such an unconventional policy will work, in a peaked-out economy with a shrinking population, is questionable. So the veteran prime minister needs to divert his electorate’s attention to China, Japan’s arch rival for centuries, so that they do not complain about the economic pain when his economic policy fails.
Meanwhile, by stoking nationalistic sentiment, Abe was able to win back his position as prime minister. Remember why Argentina waged war with Britain on the Falklands.
Abe’s smokescreen strategy fits well into US President Barack Obama’s Pacific strategy. After defeating the Soviet Union in the cold war, the US has no equal, except perhaps China. The 2008 Olympic gold medal count sent an alarming signal. Americans are concerned that what happened in sports may also happen in economic and other areas.
At the present growth rate, it looks likely that the Chinese economy will surpass the US before 2020. That is, unless Chinese high-speed growth, which is still driven by exports to the West, is derailed by a war with Japan, a Western ally.
But Deng Xiaoping , the architect of modern China, has already prescribed the solution: keep the head down and build strength.
Guy Lam, honorary chairman, the Association of Experts for Modernisation