HK Government goes Red Guard

Hong Kong’s pro-democrats accuse Chief Executive CY Leung of using Cultural Revolution-style ‘white terror’ to try to intimidate opponents into silence. While the language is flamboyant, there seems little doubt that he is trying to stir up some sort of popular backlash against supporters of teacher Alpais Lam and the Occupy Central civil disobedience movement. Aside from divisive remarks at his recent town hall meeting in Tin Shui Wai, we have his peculiar, some might say sinister, decision to ask the Education Secretary for a ‘report’ on Lam’s Teacher-Swears-at-Police Shock Horror Outrage.

The pro-dems are picking up on journalist Willy Lam’s analysis that this is the doing of Beijing’s officials, who are growing increasingly paranoid about Occupy Central. In other words, the government is now openly joining the orchestrated campaign that has seen the contrived appearance of multiple pressure groups and daily propaganda screeching against Occupy Central.

His predecessor, knowing that such action would probably be counterproductive, would have made a few disapproving comments and sent them to the Liaison Office to show what a good boy he was. He might even have explained to the cadres why bullying and barracking won’t work in this pluralistic community. CY, however, is either too obedient and unquestioning to argue, or actually imagines that he can rouse some ‘silent majority’ of the population to turn against and marginalize the pro-dems.

Coming at this time, with a political reform process due to start and the administration losing members to incessant quasi-scandals, encouraging and widening the division within the community is irrational. Even government itself is affected: Executive Council members are offering conflicting opinions about the wisdom of ordering an ‘Alpais Report’, and one minor civil service union has issued a statement accusing the cops – public-service colleagues – of bias. But then, the inevitable worldview of the one-party state in China, seeing plots and conspiracies behind everything that goes wrong, is irrational. It’s just that under ‘One Country Two Systems’ the craziness usually stops at the border.

It will be intriguing to see where this goes next. Much depends on the fate of Alpais Lam. Does CY, egged on by the Liaison Office, build her up as a public enemy and crucify her to expunge Hong Kong of its sins? In which case, opposing groups of teachers and everyone else march in the streets, and someone, somewhere ends up having to admit defeat. Or do calmer bureaucratic and other heads convince authoritarians and ideologues to calm down and restore society to its usual happy state of bickering and sniping about how to achieve consensus and harmony? There are pros and cons to both.


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18 Responses to HK Government goes Red Guard

  1. It’s less Red Guard and more the time-honoured tradition of Hong Kong gentry and the ruling elite having:


    Amazing how the Lis can call up phantom Internet hackers, the Emperor Group can call up hooligans of all kinds and the Patriotic triads can suddenly become all political and start burning piles of newspapers.

    Remember that the first thing the Japanese did in 1941 was to seek out the triads to keep order and when the British returned, the triads were their auxiliary police.

    ‘Twas ever thus. It’s traditional. If they had ever wanted to do away with the triads, they would have been dead meat circa 1980.

    Become Patriotic Hooligan Now. Sun Yee On Needing You!

  2. Gin Soaked Boy says:

    Pot calling the kettle black. The pro-dems are not above using similar tactics by disrupting meetings and making false accusations. In this regard, Emily LAU’s performance this morning on Radio 3 was a piece of breathtaking hypocrisy. She refused to apologize for the false allegations against an Exco member to the ICAC and trumpeting of the report in the media for maximum publicity. Never mind the waste of ICAC investigators time, the distress caused to the innocent and the willful floating of the principle ‘innocent until proven guilty.’ In this town if you are fighting for democracy you can do what you like, including trample on other people rights.

  3. Gin Soaked Boy says:

    Sorry, that should be ‘flaunting’. Note to self … Stop writing these posts with predictive text and two thumbs.

  4. Sojourner says:

    The alleged triad associations of those who have been physically intimidating and beating anti-government dissidents, and the increasing failure of the po0lice to intervene, is truly disturbing.

    Thanks, Bela, for pointing out the historical antecedents for this.

  5. LTP says:

    CY should start reading Hemlock at the first opportunity to gain some insight into his present political situation. The Achilles heel of the CCP and its acolytes, even as far down as the foreigner-tainted pimple on the Pearl River, is its black-and-white, all-or-nothing, excluded-middle, ultimately fascist view on society.

    The Tiananmen Square massacre and the victimisation of Alpais, both predictable with hindsight, are mere symptoms of that arrogant mindset, which is alienating the waverers, the middle classes and the intellectuals. The police are relatively blameless, since like the legal system, they are government servants.

    I can’t see any way that CY can flounder out of the present morass. If he shows weakness, he’s damned in his bunker. If he clamps down further, the reactionaries and assorted hangers-on that have crawled out of the woodwork will go strangely quiet; the international press will crowd round; and the Liaison Office will have to start issuing orders openly.

    So much for the two sysytems and autonomy we were promised.

  6. Karen Eliot says:

    Ah, White Heat/White Light. The title track of the Velves’ second album. A refreshing tonic to accompany a wet and windy lunchtime. Splendid!

  7. Jason says:

    CY is becoming more and more embarrassing. I still don’t understand, how this man could earn so much praise among some of the regular commentators (Bela, RTP et al.), just some months ago. I fully agree with Hemlock that he looks bad, even in comparison to our beloved former leader Donald.

  8. “If they had ever wanted to do away with the triads, they would have been dead meat circa 1980.”

    As i recall, around the 1980s the police were more or less claiming that the triads had effectively been wiped out. This claim proved about as accurate as police estimates of the numbers participating in pro-democracy demonstrations.

  9. aghast says:

    @Gin Soaked Boy.

    Don’t blame predictive texting; your English is on a par with your analysis. The word is ‘flouting’.


    Absolutely right. Bela in particular was rooting for CY like a bastard. Bit rich for him to be giving history tutorials.

  10. Gin Soaked Boy says:

    @aghast. It’s not an analysis, it’s an opinion with all its attendant prejudices. That’s the beauty of free speech.

  11. Stephen says:

    @Jason / Aghast,

    Mr Adams posts tend to be very tongue in cheek ! The only out and out supporter of CY, I recall, was RTP. Many of us (me included) when asked to compare Henry and CY plumped for the latter. If it was the former, who was successful, where would we be now on, for example, property prices, mainland mothers, Government / Developer collusion ? Would we have had a more serious breakdown in public order?

    CY was never going to favour a democratic electoral model for Hong Kong. I think he felt he could pull off a few populist measures – real estate prices dropping, mainland mothers not swamping hospitals, increasing the old age allowance and like, all before him (including some Governor’s), we would all forget about silly democratic ideals because China doesn’t like them. Worse than Donald? No. Worse than Henry? Probably not.

    Hu Jintao would never have sanctioned any democratic model for Hong Kong and would prefer the f*cked banana republic model we have now to continue. Will the new guy … ?

  12. aghast says:


    Thanks for a reasonable reply. Do you believe Henry Tang when he says that CY wanted to call in the PLA in 2003? Can you imagine it happening in 2014? I think I can.

  13. LTP says:


    Agreed that Henry would have been the worst of a bad lot. But between Donald and CY, it’s still a bit apple and orange-ish, with neither offering a clear vision and both refusing to say boo to Peking.

    With Donald, we at least knew that he’d be an efficient administrator. The problem with CY is his lone wolf character ie his secrecy and his not belonging to the main HK establishment: effective during the brief honeymoon period, with RTP rooting for him twice a day.

    But it’s ultimately the system, as all CEs have done badly. Only a CE representing HK people can have legitimacy. And this simple truth will become blindingly obvious as CY struggles more and more.

  14. Joe Blow says:

    The Cultural Revolution has been terribly under-rated. In those days a de facto civil war was raging in China, PLA vs Red Guards. Major battles were fought: tanks of the PLA vs the numerical superiority of the Red Guards. The Pearl River had more dead bodies floating downwards in 1968 than diseased pigs clogging the Whampoa in 2013.

    If only we can rekindle the spirit of the Chairman Mao……………………….

  15. Bela Red Pole says:

    Late Update from RTHK…in the month when three police officers attempted and two succeeded in committing suicide because of their (triad-owned) gambling debts.

    LSD accuses police over triads


    Members of the League of Social Democrats have accused the police of joining forces with triad gangs to suppress demonstrators against the Chief Executive.

    The party said police officers failed to protect anti-CY Leung protesters from being attacked by rival groups during clashes outside a forum in Tin Shui Wai on Sunday.

    The party said it feared that Hong Kong will revert to the days of the 1967 riots and enter the darkest age in history.

  16. Veritas says:

    @Bela. One of the police officers who succeeded in committing suicide had serious health issues and gambling debts was not a factor. The Chinese press reported it extensively.

  17. Bela Red Pole says:


    He’s an exception then.R.I.P..

    The triads have had a hold on the police through gambling debts for decades.

    Perhaps the deal last Sunday was:

    ” Let us bash the League of Social Democrats and you can have longer to pay.”

  18. Oneleggoalie says:

    The stupid woman has no business teaching when she cannot swear properly in English…WTF is essential teacher lingo…whatever subject one teaches…and she’s ugly…

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