Carrie keeps Occupy going

Carrie-RevitalizationOne minute the Hong Kong government is making a big show out of planning to sit down with pro-democracy student protestors for some sort of deep and meaningful ‘dialogue’; the next minute, officials are making a big show of cancelling the talks on the grounds that the students have threatened to bolster their ever-so illegal sit-ins if the discussions don’t lead to big concessions over political reform. Since Beijing won’t permit any serious concessions, the government was faced with a choice: meet the students, and then see more kids come out and occupy the streets, or don’t meet the students, and then see more kids come out and occupy the streets.

There was nothing to lose by giving the students a bit of face and listening to their demands. If handled cleverly (fat chance, but still…) the meeting could even have been an opportunity for the government to recover some credibility after its dismal handling of events. For example, officials could concede that past and present policy errors have created anger and need to be reversed, and they could employ refreshingly honest, less coded language to explain Beijing’s quandary in allowing part of the one-party state any form of universal suffrage. Instead, Chief Secretary Carrie Lam chose to counter childish petulance with more childish petulance.

What were officials thinking? An observer can’t even detect what their intention was. Were they looking for an excuse not to meet with the students? Did they imagine Stan-TalksOffthat high-minded principles about the legality of sit-ins and the inconvenience to the public would propel them onto the moral high ground and boost their popularity? Or were they deliberately trying to re-energize the Occupy-Umbrella movement as it loses momentum – just like the last time and the time before that?

The incoherence suggests that more than one person is in charge. Perhaps a no-nonsense Beijing cadre who specializes in crushing evil forces attempting to overthrow the state had been up in Shenzhen for a few days and returned just in time to overrule this namby-pamby be-nice-to-the-kids stuff and get Hong Kong officials back onto the correct path of bludgeoning and smiting, or at least demonizing, the protestors.

So, once again, just as it’s looking best for the last activists on the streets to pack up and go home before it gets embarrassing, the government manages to find a way to inject a bit of new life into the movement, assuming a few thousand more turn up at Admiralty tonight. And our obsessive-compulsive leaders, egged on by paranoid Beijing minders, will get even more fixated on the Great Battle of the Barriers and Intersections – The Government versus The 17-Year-Olds – as the most important challenge in the universe today, while issues like political reform or a society more unequal than Rwanda just sit unnoticed and gathering dust.

When we look back at all this one day and laugh (OK, if…), we might see this not so much as a clash between government and protesters, but between Mainland and Hong Kong styles of political and civil authority. From the fake consultation on reform, to the White Paper, to the United Front intimidation, to heavy handed police action, this whole mess is an example of what happens when Communist approaches to control and the crushing of opposition are tried in a free and pluralistic society: it doesn’t work, and it’s counterproductive.

I declare the weekend open…


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22 Responses to Carrie keeps Occupy going

  1. Maugrim says:

    It’s all very Chinese in its approach, a psychologist’s field day . Ironically , I wonder what the civil services’ own conflict resolution guidelines are, both internally and advice given to stakeholders ? One wonders if the EDB would nod sagely if a Principal refused to meet a disagreeable parent etc? The only other thought I had was that of Carrie was going to be bumped upstairs, Beijing wouldn’t want a leader who had, ugh, negotiated or consulted, feeling it was poor form

  2. Real Tax Payer (Retired) says:

    David Webb published a very perceptive article yesterday titled:

    “One HK, two possible outcomes”


    “HK is probably the only place in the world that seeks to combine the core civic freedoms of speech, assembly and the media with an authoritarian unelected Government. That’s because the combination is unsustainable”

    “Take a look at this table…”

    (You need to access for the table)


    Personally speaking I’m totally pissed off that the couple of hundred students who are still bothering to hang around the barriers can hold HK to ransom.

    If I had access to a cement lorry I would just drive it straight through every barrier and to hell with the consequences. After all what could the police charge me with : driving a vehicle on a public road ?

  3. Stephen says:

    What has happened to Carrie Lam?

    Towards the end of the Donald Tsang reign, which was mired in sleaze, Carrie seemed like the one shining beacon in a sea of ineptitude (Stephen Lam anybody?). Now with an unprecedented crises and a boss who at best is dead man walking, this is a time for her to talk with the kids, lay on the charm, empathize and diffuse the situation. But no its toys out of pram time.
    And if she can’t diffuse this who can ? Lover of French movies, but can’t do his sums, Mustache John ? Paul Chan who along with his wife has at least got form with students or Eddie who helped invent scholarism ?

    I’m beginning to feel a little sorry for the HK Government and that can’t be right ! Thank f*ck the weekend is open.

  4. PD says:

    Ex-RTP, I seem to remember that, not so long ago, you were one of CY’s most ardent supporters, even attending meetings or something to promote the cause.

    In your desire to use strong-arm methods against the democracy movement, are you still following the same thread of thought?

    The demonstrators would be advised to wind heavy-duty steel cables round a few lamp-posts, tram shelters and so on.

    If they wanted to be clever, they could hide the cables inside those water-filled barriers or bamboo and/or attach them to traffic lights or power cable supports.

  5. old git says:

    Communion cancelled: Chief Secretary Carrie Lam announces on October 9 that the Government has called off the meeting with students to discuss political reform, in response to the students’ plan to continue their protest.

    Friday Prayers are also cancelled: the stock markets are up and civil servants’ unfunded pension funds are now only 70.4% of entire Government Reserves instead of 72% earlier

  6. Not a former Real Tax Payer says:

    Carrie’s decision not to sit down and hold hands was a mistake in both tactical and strategic terms, for both moral and realpolitik reasons. If she’d wanted to highlight why the people hate the government, she couldn’t have chosen a better method.

    Or, since devious conspiracies are in the air, perhaps she behaved so stupidly to avoid becoming the next CE, a poisoned chalice if ever there was one?

  7. AHW says:

    RTP, it would depend on whether you have the required licence to drive a cement lorry. And I imagine other offences would include driving without due care and attention, or even the wonderful HK law of “driving furiously”, because you do sound rather angry.

  8. Stanley Gibbons says:

    This just in:

    “Senior officials will visit Guangzhou on Saturday to attend a development forum and trade fair, the government said on Friday.
    They include the Chief Secretary, Carrie Lam, and the Secretary for Constitutional Affairs, Raymond Tam.

    The Chief Executive, C Y Leung, will go on Sunday evening. He will join the Hong Kong officials the following day for a joint conference with leaders from Macau and the governments of various provinces in the delta region.

    Mrs Lam will return to Hong Kong on Sunday. Mr Leung and the other officials will come back on Monday afternoon.”

    Seems an inappropriate time to be doing this, and no need for them both to go (at different times). Looks like CY is about to get his marching orders, and Carrie is in.

  9. Fiona says:

    Perhaps the owners of the barriers could simply come and reclaim them? In Central they appear to be police-owned and utility company-owned.

  10. Scotty Dotty says:

    Good summary of the Hong Kong mess this week.

    In fairness to Carrie, the whole “Let’s Talk” drivel emerged from the collective panic attack last week, at the centre of which was the blubbering CY.

    During that panic attack, it dawned on CY that CS gas and riot police might not be enough, but as Beijing had not cleared him for Tiananmen 2 he had sod all options left

  11. Not a former Real Tax Payer says:

    CY would be “a corrupt public official, unethical, willing to engage in fraudulent activity at the public’s expense for his own gain, dishonest, and not a fit and proper person to hold public office”, if John Garnaut’s (draft) article proved to be true.

    So wrote CY’s lawyer. My case rests, m’lud.

    What gets interesting is if the ICAC and Australian federal police reach conflicting conclusions on whether CY has been corrupt.

  12. Joe Blow says:

    RTP, it is fortunate indeed that nobody cares what you think, or do, or say, or are.

    I hope the kids keep annoying the Government, the shopkeepers and their triad friends, the DAB, the cadres, the NT truck drivers, RTP and all other reactionaries till those folks see red in the face with 5 yellow stars on their forehead.

  13. Joe Blow says:

    Ah, yes !!

    CCP Robot CY Leung: the man who lost Hong Kong !

    I am still itching to see who will resign first.

  14. PCC says:

    This comment section is notable for its high standard of civility, low standard of humour, and the absence of personal invective between participants.

    As Rodney King inveighed plaintively, “Why can’t we all just get along?”

    Detective Mark Furman then clobbered him even harder.

  15. anon says:

    1. Unaffordable Housing is the basic HK problem, isn’t it?
    2. If “DISMANTLE the PROPERTY CARTEL” seems the solution, correct?
    3. WHY this ridiculous CYLeung being attacked

  16. anon says:

    1. Unaffordable Housing is the true HK problem, correct?
    2. If so, then ‘DISMANTLE THE PROPERTY CARTEL” seems the correct solution? Why not TRY do that?
    3. So why instead, these ridiculous personal attacks upon CYLeung? He is a better endowed person, than most HK persons
    4. HK people (and China also) have NEVER HAD IT SO GOOD! What are the Alternatives?? Maybe it is time for the JAPS TO RETURN & REMIND US (students in particular) of some alternatives?
    5. But worse than Japs, would be DYSLEXIC TEENAGERS feeling entitled to run the show. What on EARTH is “Scholarism??”

  17. Hills says:

    Anon, CY is a better endowed person? You mean he is well hung? I doubt it, but I guess you know him more intemately.

  18. nulle says:

    You are a moron, period. I would advise the students to get arc welders and weld the barricades to the bridge supports/lamp posts, whatever is I can attach to. Plus I would borrow a cement lorry and some rebar and pour a few concrete barriers in front of the barricades.

    Then grab some fertilizers and fill up a van with it and hire a mainlander to drive it straight into the CCP HK and Macau Affairs Office, then repeat the process and send it to the central CTS office at Sheung Wan. 🙂

    @anon, another 50 cent-er at work…

    1) Unaffordable Housing is NOT a HK problem, at least HK and China problem.
    2) Dismantle the property cartel and the HK/CCP gov’t for their land policy and poor management. Let’s try that..
    3) Nah, let’s not attack CY Leung, let’s attack Jiang Zumin AND Xi Jinping along with every CCP member…
    4) HK people have it better before 1997. HK economy and as a whole been downhill since 1997. The alternatives, HK independence. what’s wrong with HK people governing themselves without PRC interference.
    5) Worse than the Japs, its Mao Zedong, Deng XioPing, Jiang ZuMin, Wu JinTao and the worst of all, Xi JinPing. These are the immoral scums of the earth and billions in their offshore account at BVI and Cayman Island.
    6) At least these youths are NOT sheep or NOT selfish-mindless idiots of communism.
    7) At least one won’t land in black jails, mental hospitals for speaking whats on my mind.
    8) the PRC puppets are welcome to destroy the Japanese embassies in China anytime (vs. one every four years per the CCP), especially the one in Shanghai

  19. nulle says:

    where is the ICAC regarding Rafael Hui’s 11 million bribe from the CCP Office of HK and Macau Affairs?

    probably get swept under the rug/carpet…

  20. @Stephen – at least Stephen Lam usually looked uncomfortable when spouting obvious nonsense – today’s lot are either too dishonest to be bothered or too stupid to notice they are talking BS.

  21. Joe Blow says:

    Hong Kong’s Police Commissioner must be forced to give up his No. 1 license plate.

    HK Police do no longer represent Hong Kong people. They are now a tool of oppression, serving CY Leung and the Communist Party.

  22. Noodle Soup says:


    “Personally speaking I’m totally pissed off that the couple of hundred students who are still bothering to hang around the barriers can hold HK to ransom.

    If I had access to a cement lorry I would just drive it straight through every barrier and to hell with the consequences. After all what could the police charge me with : driving a vehicle on a public road ?”

    Oh the horror….. 3 intersections are blocked, shut down the city everyone to the air raid shelters!!!!!!! Pathetic is too decent a description of this drivel.

    As to your last incoherent stab at humor. Actually, I believe what you’re suggesting is called Attempted Vehicular Manslaughter if there are people in the way of your imbecilic act; sans bodies it would rate a Vehicular Assault, Mayhem, Disorderly Conduct. We could go on. Amazing these pathetic trolls live and breed amongst us, taking our own liberties utterly for granted.

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