Much frothing of mouths, as Hong Kong learns that Chief Executive CY Leung notified the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office in Beijing last October just before announcing a 15% ‘buyers stamp duty’ on non-residents buying property. Even pro-Beijing lawmaker Tam Yiu-chung seems to have found it noteworthy that HKMAO boss Wang Guangya said there wasn’t enough time to bounce it off the central government but to go ahead anyway.
The idea that this represents a breach of confidentiality of Executive Council proceedings is a bit of a stretch given the supremely hierarchical nature of China’s governing structure; things can leak downwards but not upwards. And as for the possibility of Mainland officials abusing the insider information and rushing out to buy a Hong Kong apartment or two, we can only declare ourselves shocked – shocked! – that anyone could imagine such a thing.
On the one hand, the exchange sounds rather like one between a company’s CEO and its chairman, with the latter saying, yes, strictly speaking we should’ve notified the board – leave it to me. Which doesn’t say a lot for the ‘two systems’ bit of the ‘one country, two systems’ formula. On the other hand, this particular policy initiative was aimed squarely at Mainlanders, and, as with limits on baby milk formula exports, it has gone down badly among some members of the public up there, fed up with spoilt, bratty Hong Kong.
Should we be surprised that Leung picked up the phone to Wang? Should we have been surprised if we had learned that he had not? Or should we be surprised to find that we’re not sure either way?
Not at all surprisingly, witless reporters compete to ask Cheung Kong boss Li Ka-shing the most inane questions at the conglomerate’s earnings results press conference. How would the property tycoon and asset trader define ‘love of country’ – a quality Beijing officials say Hong Kong’s CE must have? Among other things, the great man says ‘speaking the truth’. As in not saying an 886-square-foot apartment is actually only 664 sq ft? Or not portraying a high-rise cluster of shoeboxes in noisome Tseung Kwan O as occupying idyllic verdant wilderness? I can only agree.
But wait! Good news: one-country-two-systems is alive and well. China says its exports to Hong Kong rose 35.6% in the year to February. Hong Kong says its imports from the Mainland dropped 18%. One-country, eat your heart out (leaving aside the fact that ‘one country’ shouldn’t be exporting to/importing from itself in the first place). Even better news, for both Mainland export scamsters and Hong Kong taxpayers: no 61-year-old public housing tenant is involved here, so there will be no need to sentence anyone to 10 years in prison (@ approx. HK$0.5mn p.a.) for this.
Finally, Hong Kong’s biggest teachers’ union is producing Liberal Studies materials on the barely nascent Occupy Central pro-democracy campaign. Is this brilliant or what? You can’t get National Education into schools, but you can teach kids how to bring the central business district to a halt through non-violent civil disobedience. I almost feel sorry for the pro-Communist brainwashing brigade sometimes.
I’ve devised a Hong Kong Womble Song to cover the Democrats but inventing a song to cover KS Li’s views on democracy is doomed to failure, a bit like trying to write a Goebbels appreciation of Kosher cuisine.
To tell the truth, I’m fairly sure KS Li doesn’t listen to music much. A man that has no music in himself has a soul as black as Erebus, or something in garbled Shakespeare. KS Li is undoubtedly tuneless and couldn’t recognise the truth if it stood up and bit him.
Hurrah for Occupy Central. Do I detect a few brain cells working here? Please OC, keep the Democrats out of it. They re much happier on Causeway Bay common, wombling twee.
But but but… everybody, including the Big Lychee, told me the reason for the rise in HK house prices was US Quantitative Easing and low interest rates. So wouldn’t it make sense then that the real target for the non-resident stamp tax was pesky Muricans with bags and bags of loose cash? Should’ve called US Consulate instead of HKMAO?
I must be missing something here …. this no news at all and certainly not worthy of a full day’s Hemlock
KS Li not speaking the truth when it comes to the properties CK sells. That’s normal. Because :for KSL lies are truth and truth is lie
Likewise the conflicting trade figures. hat’s “up” inChina = “down” in HK, and vice versa.
Doesn’t anyone understand the One Country Two Systems concept?
What is particularly inane about asking pro-Establishment figures and Beijing lackeys to define what is meant by “love of country”? This is, after all, meant to be the criterion by which candidates for CE will be chosen. They needed to be cornered, prodded with sticks, and forced to loudly bark out their definitions.
And as Li Ka-shing’s answer has demonstrated, hilarity — and doubtless a glistening rainbow of Doublethink definitions — will invariably ensue.
Personally I would be surprised if CY Leung didn’t hand in his daybook at 6pm each evening to Wang Guangya!
Recently in a land far far away a prominent Mayor was taken apart by a journalist, who asked the right questions and had done his homework, it’s free on You Tube. Now imagine our local reporters (and Chugani on Newsline) would do their homework and ask questions of KS Li that would make him wince because there is plenty of ammunition out there on him.
Quick ‘Love China’ definition update – it is not “I love China so much that I want its people to live in prosperous, free and fair country” rather, “I believe in the divine right of the CCP to rule China forever and believe its leaders (and me) have every right to accumulate gargantuan sums of money by corrupt means in the process”
In the black-and-white, those who are not for me are against me, paranoid, parallel universe of our leaders, compromise is impossible, the middle is excluded, the centre cannot hold, meaning that appeasement will just make them worse. Loving China means hating the rest of the world.
Frank Ching in yesterday’s SCUMP finally recognised what poor Chugani, Kammerer and Wu will never dare to get, that the nationalism has got out of hand (and he’s only allowed to say so because he’s Chinese).
These people will never catch up with Hemlock on a good day, but at least they might read his older posts as a way of increasing their critical awareness, analytic abilities and writing skills.
Tseung Kwan O isn’t that bad… lived there twice. It’s a bit far from where most of us work, and not that well served in some ways, but it’s clean, safe etc.
Difference between Boris and LKS: Boris is “an elected representative of the people” (ref. modern democratic ideological cant) and LKS is a “banker” (ref. progressive ideological cant). People tell lies… there’s a surprise.
Funny how you can conflate political chicanery in HK with the London variety. Tells you something, though I am not sure what. Much like “Occupy” movements. They are zealous about something, though what they want has never actually been made concrete.
I am glad Hemlock was able to snap some nice panorama photos with his iPhone before it gets outlawed in the name of patriotic love. One country, two systems, no Apple.
I wonder if this is the first shot in a CPC campaign to foster domestic consumption of domestic brands in the name of the promised wrist-slitting economic transformation. Driving a Buick, running on Adidas shoes or owning a Chanel handbag may soon become an affront to Chinese Pride. Or at least a covert act of civil disobedience.
Rally’round the flag y’all!
“Recently in a land far far away a prominent Mayor was taken apart by a journalist, who asked the right questions and had done his homework…”
I think I found the youtube you averred to : “Boris Johnson taken apart by Peter Marr ” ( forgive some spelling mistakes)
What total BS : I turned it off halfway through because, @ Stephen, you were SO RIGHT
Sh1t ! If that’s the best the world’s “mother of democracy” can do these days then herald HK’s simple attempts at the same
RTP, Is that the sound of points arrowing way above your head……
RTP, you should organise a March on London and seize power in the name of Social Harmony, sweeping away that corrupt, decadent and useless detritus of politicians and journalists.
The difference in trade figures may just indicate that one includes re-exports and the other doesn’t. Most statistics are meaningless unless one knows on what basis they are compiled. As for MM’s suggestion that “running on Adidas shoes or owning a Chanel handbag may soon become an affront to Chinese Pride”, does this apply even when (as is probable) they are fakes?
Nice to see I’m not the only one who remembers Joe Byrd – I not only have this album, but his Christmas album as well, which I doubt if more than 100 people have ever listened to.