After radicals hijacked its lovingly crafted people’s deliberative process, Hong Kong’s pro-democracy Occupy Central civil disobedience movement could use a credibility boost. Not one but two hapless pillars of the establishment step forward to oblige.
Education Secretary Eddie Ng warns teachers against encouraging or taking part in the more-or-less planned sit-in, and warns of career consequences should they be convicted of an offense. Activists accuse him of ‘trying to create fear’. Operative word here is ‘trying’; the idea of Eddie seriously scaring anyone is hard to imagine.
Meanwhile, broadcaster Robert Chow’s rather pitiful ‘Silent Majority’ also warns schools of the harm that could befall vulnerable students lured into taking part in the protest. Chow says he doesn’t mind if the media accuse him of creating a ‘white terror’ (no jokes about his hair, please) so long as he saves just one student. From drowning in the criminal chaos of… whatever.
It all sounds about as convincing as the government’s wretchedly bad anti-drugs propaganda. And needless to say, if it doesn’t get thousands more high-school kids turning up to risk a consciousness-raising squirt of pepper spray if and when the event happens, what will?
A New York Times piece by Baptist U’s Michael Degolyer also warns of violence resulting from Occupy Central if Beijing and pro-democrats continue on the current collision course, especially given property prices, the ‘locust’ invasion and other tensions. He says if Beijing ‘kills political reform in Hong Kong’ it will suggest that China is heading for a more rather than less authoritarian future internally – and externally, as it tries to replace the US, blah blah.
This is obviously how the NYT would want and expect such an article to end. Beijing is not, however, trying to ‘kill’ political reform in the Big Lychee: it is trying to avoid it from coming to life in the first place. China started post-97 by reversing Governor Chris Patten’s quasi-reforms. Subsequent ‘reforms’ meant only silly symbolic changes to the rigged electoral system. In desperation, China did the unimaginable and put British running dog Donald Tsang in charge, and then, in a last-minute change of plan, let the sinister CY ‘Wolf’ Leung succeed him.
Nothing worked. And so, with extreme reluctance but no other obvious choice, the Chinese Communist Party is preparing to let the people of Hong Kong choose their own leader. From a carefully picked list of candidates, to be sure. This is not about ‘killing’ political reform. It is an admission that it has to be born, and an attempt to deliver it in such a way that an uncontrollable monster does not come into existence, as communist paranoid logic dictates it easily could.