The South China Morning Post stuns the world by revealing that the microblog feed of transcripts from the trial of Bo Xilai does not convey the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. For example, censors have deleted interrogators’ testimony of the disgraced Politburo member whining for mercy, lest we feel sorry for him. However, this overlooks the fact that the entire show trial has brilliantly diverted attention from – indeed, possibly deleted from the historical record – the huge scale of Bo’s true crimes, and thus the extent of corruption-verging-on-warlordism throughout the Chinese power structure. Even the international press has become engrossed in trivia about Bo hitting his police chief, the family steaming the son’s African mystery-meat, and the connection between the French villa and some newscaster-bim. It’s as if no-one was tortured to death, and no sprawling business empires were stolen, and the rest of the country’s political, military and state-business elite are far away and clean.
At the other end of the paper, one of the SCMP’s more insipid columnists spirals away into another alternative reality. She insists that the Hong Kong government’s pretentious travel alert system continue to put the Philippines in the same category as Syria and Egypt. “Some see it as nonsensical,” she says of the destination’s Black travel alert, as it “has done little to get the Philippine government to budge” on apologies or compensation for the shooting of some Hong Kong tourists three years ago. What is truly nonsensical is the idea that the purpose of a travel alert system is to get any overseas government to budge, or (to be more accurate) to pander to sentimentalized local public opinion by pretending to be pressuring foreign authorities who have far more important things to worry about.
The shooting was a tragedy, and anyone personally affected has every reason to mourn and to be angry. But as a community, Hong Kong has to drop it and move on. In Boston, London, Madrid, Bombay, Bangkok and a thousand other places crap happens. Most months, if not weeks, some Islamo-lunatic with a bomb or some mental case with a gun will kill innocent bystanders. It is only a matter of time before someone else from Hong Kong is murdered in some overseas mayhem; statistically, it will probably be in a country not even listed under the Yellow alert in the Security Bureau’s pointless list. To go on bleating about this one instance, and to endorse such bleating by stripping a travel alert system of any integrity, is puerile.
Which bring us rather neatly to James Tien – surely Hong Kong’s most distasteful excuse for a politician. What makes him so odious is his lack of self-awareness. If he pushed his slimy, self-serving, anti-consumer, anti-people, pro-landlord, pro-inherited-wealth agenda with a bit of attitude, that would be one thing. But he doesn’t seem to realize that the rest of us are sitting here, watching him, in the full understanding of what he is up to.
He declares that CY Leung is a worse Chief Executive than either the bumbling Tung Chee-hwa or the developers’ pet Donald Tsang. He also demands that CY ‘listen’ to pro-establishment parties – in other words, align policy more closely to the property, construction, retail and other interests that infest our political structure and cartelized economy. And in his naivety, the nematode imagines we will nod and take him seriously. Still, as praise for the beleaguered CY Leung administration, it is even more glowing than it is unwitting.