Beijing identifies new threat: tall female lawyer

CPPCC chairman Yu Zhengsheng states that China will “more strictly follow the socialist path of political development with Chinese characteristics [and] not imitate Western political systems under any circumstances.” We have been hearing this from dozens of top officials, what – once a month on average? – for at least a couple of decades now. If they’re so sure about it, why do they need to keep saying it? My guess is that they know the current system is unsustainable, but, out of self-interest or genuine practical doubts, cannot accept the only known viable alternative. There is nothing left to do but rule out the alternative with frenzied vehemence and pray the Beijing Model ‘China Dream’ comes true. In fact, it is rising vehemence: note the “under any circumstances” added to the usual phrasing.

It is our friend Mr Yu, of course, who prompted the recent fuss about how any future Chief Executive of Hong Kong must be a patriot who loves the country and loves Hong Kong. More than a few rumours suggest that Beijing is petrified of the Civic Party’s Audrey Eu getting on the ballot. For what it’s worth, the Standard’s ‘Mary Ma’ column alludes to this. (Perhaps someone on the Mainland is still smarting from then-CE Donald Tsang’s awkward TV debate with the 5ft 10in barrister in 2010.)

Audrey will be a sprightly and fragrant 63 at the time of the 2017 election, with – one might venture to suggest – a trace more charisma than the Democratic Party’s Albert Ho. If Chinese officials really are that worried about her, she has an intriguing opportunity to engage in some effective realpolitik: essentially, do a deal for better governance in exchange for not trying to run in 2017.

One way would be to produce, sooner rather than later, a dynamite policy platform guaranteed to win strong public backing (all our favourites: land reform, a cap on tourists, proper health funding, a fairer school system, crush the Heung Yee Kuk, kick Disney out, free beer on Fridays, etc, etc). This would put Beijing in a spot. They might push their preferred man to promise to match her reformist proposals; they might offer her a minister-level job in exchange for backing their guy – who knows? Sadly, such a practical, results-oriented, getting-your-hands-dirty approach hardly seems likely from Audrey or any of our pro-democracy idealists. It’s so much more fun being a martyr for an abstract cause.

On a far more serious note, respected China-watcher Steve Tsang explains the black hair dye conundrum: the top leadership in Zhongnanhai sport identical heads of hair (and suits) to avoid standing out, which could mean being blamed for mistakes. Danwei’s Jeremey Goldkorn adds that the uniform look also reinforces the image of group responsibility as opposed to rule by an individual. It all makes sense: the idea of ruthless, Communist-trained engineers indulging in vanity-driven preening always seemed a bit jarring. So, logically, we can infer that anyone who does stand out is someone with no power or influence at all, but is present purely as a token. Thus…

Click to hear ‘Song for Audrey’ by Backseat Goodbye!

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18 Responses to Beijing identifies new threat: tall female lawyer

  1. Audrey Eu is morbidly prone to aneurisms so wouldn’t consider a high-stress job.

    If she did, it will probably be a very short tenure, sadly.

    She also suffers, like many PanDemocrats, from chronic annoyism but that is another story. For example, I bet she doesn’t really know where Kwun Tong is.

    I thought you would have highlighted the fact that Hong Kong bankers are now dropping like flies. I am wearing a black armband.

  2. Sojourner says:

    Am I posting before Bela?

    Let me just predict some snide remark re. the gorgeous, pouting Audrey.

  3. Maugrim says:

    I thought Audrey had a blood vessel tumor in the brain? Health and other personal considerations may exclude her then. While she whupped Tsang’s butt, I share Hemlock’s cynicism.

  4. Dream Bear says:

    That’s a flattering picture of Ms Audrey.

  5. Sojourner says:

    I was right! Bela, much of what you write is amusing and occasionally prescient, but you are a tad predictable.

  6. Failed Alchemist says:

    Many may disagree but we are overtly obsessed with “regime change”. Politics is like any ecosystem that needs to evolve by itself and we have terrible examples in this century of where efforts to stimulate or force change ended disasterously. Like any family, what works for one need not work for another.

    HK is different, the CE is another example of a more glorified mayor. Is Singapore a country, a city or city state? Like all countries, HK needs visionary leaders and her own definition of existance. Managing it may be easier than running a country (again, not trying to simply things since we don’t have things like national defense to think about).

    But Albert examplfies this incessant mantric call for democracy and reform.. even to the point of the tail trying to wag the dog. Will force resignation lead this public discourse? Been there, tried it… So get real… they are political and administrative midgets.

    Audrey is the darling of most (except ahem Starry starry Night and co) but she isn’t a Thatcherite…

  7. Phil McCracken says:

    I once saw Audrey campaigning in the street. She is a doll: she has that “I love everybody” look. In sharp contrast to Vagina Ip who has that “I haven’t been laid in decades and I hate everybody”-look.

    My vote for Audrey.

  8. Sojourner says:

    I agree, Phil. I’ve certainly never been tempted to peek at Vagina Ip’s “Chinese characteristics”.

  9. Property Developer says:

    It looks as though Fred and the other 56 “nationalities” don’t love the Han Chinese enough: “Beijing will put up hurdles to restrict access to the race”.

    But it’s when “Mary” “Ma” starts making some sort of sense that increased scepticism is called for. It’s bound the be in the I-Ching: if you fear an attack from the right, put up a straw person on the left. Only use the leaked police files, character assassinations and dawn raids when things get really sticky.

    I’d welcome some debate from the learned company about the nature of the hurdles. In France they let anyone stand, then whittle it down to the two most popular. A three-stage process would allow the no-hopers to be eliminated. In my view a moderate pan-dem would normally get about 55% in a two-horse race in 2017, but maybe not in 2022, the way things are going.

    The role of the “nomination” “committee” seems to be have left deliberately muddy: no doubt a compromise by the beleaguered British side, rendered desperate by years and years of stonewalling. The CE is similarly “nominated” by Peking, which some might consider meaning a mere formality, but the term has since been pushed to its limit.

    The essential question, from Peking’s point of view, is how to eliminate from the start anyone they don’t like, with Ah Hing only being brought in in extreme circumstances.

    Anyone got a coherent view of how to determine the result beforehand?

  10. That was very predictable, Sojourner.

  11. Stephen says:

    Bela and Maugrim have correctly pointed out the tall lady suffers from aneurisms so is unlikely to want to put herself through this – shame, as I agree, she is for HK a decent campaigner and politician and streets ahead of Al Ho.

    However whether it’s by a nomination committee (doesn’t reach the threshold) or an election committee (doesn’t get the votes) she will be screened out and hence not be included on the ballot – as she would in all likelihood win. So Starry will get nominated to run as does either CY (unless he’s elevated to vice chairman of the CCPCC or whatever) or Carrie. It’s a democracy of sorts and about all you are going to get from a one-party dictatorship.

    As for producing a “dynamite policy platform” sadly history does not suggest this is within their capability. However perhaps Paul Zimmo, who reads this blog, could suggest it next time he meets with Audrey, who probably doesn’t.

  12. Tiu Fu Fong says:

    Is a platform that is dynamite for the handful of remaining ex-pats in Hong Kong dynamite for the Hong Kong people who actually vote?

    The modern day ex pat cognoscenti’s white man’s burden is knowing what the locals allegedly really want/need better than the the locals themselves. The ‘knowledgeable’ condescension in that perspective is a like a slightly more mature version of the contemptible condescension voiced by the likes of Bela.

  13. Old Timer says:

    “not imitate Western political systems under any circumstances”. Where do they think Communism sprang from, then? And those suits.

  14. Maugrim says:

    Having met Mrs. Ip I had the opposite impression as to her batting average, a completely different vibe.

  15. Joe Blow says:

    Why don’t you tell us more, Maugrim ?

  16. Maugrim says:

    The vibe I got was possibly had a toy boy or plural. Having a young male assistant added to the vibe

  17. Local Tax Payer says:

    TFF, Although there’s still room in Bela’s fan club, do rush as places are limited. But perhaps the Ku Klux Klan or the neo-nazis might be more your cup of tea?

  18. Real Facts Abattoir says:

    Tiu – “Is a platform that is dynamite for the handful of remaining ex-pats in Hong Kong dynamite for the Hong Kong people who actually vote?”

    Oh Bravo! WELL DONE!, golf-claps and platitudes all round! yes, real insight! you’ve rumbled them, one and all – you know all the foreign-interlopers are just hoping to inact more policies that will keep the right-kind of Hongers subjugated; we DEMAND higher yields, 50% asset price increases year on year in Sheung Shui, Sai Wan and especially Tin Shui Wai, HAHA! Rape and Pillage time, idiots! wherever there is a chance of hope, we’re they’re to cynically make a down-payment of 250% on the rent of some mum and dad wun tun shop in a inconspicuous part of Chai wan. We’ve been creating investing and employing, sharing our humanity for all this time to reap these rewards right now, 200 API !! hahaha, I writhe in ecstasy at the Utopia we’ve realized together!

    The modern day ‘ex-pat’, especially in the context of this blog, IS A HONG KONG LOCAL

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