Better late than never (or probably not)

In a reversal from an unwise and counterproductive decision a week ago, the Hong Kong government announces a willingness to hold talks with pro-democracy STan-WereReadystudents. The two sides still need to solve massive problems like where to get together, for which they need the services of an intermediary – possibly a university head, or maybe the United Nations or Jimmy Carter.

Students claim it is impossible for the government to plan talks and dismantle Occupy Central protest sites simultaneously, though the re-opening of some roads in Mongkok suggests that this is not so. The government warns that it is impossible for the discussions (or anything) to change Beijing’s position on electoral arrangements for 2016-17, which is probably true but raises the question of what the gathering is for. The only thing they agree on is the need for complete intransigence. Perhaps the CY Leung administration will seek hints from the group of 17-year-olds on image management and in particular how to match the kids’ air of legitimacy, authority and confidence.

It seems fairly safe to predict that the meeting will either a) ultimately not take place or b) finish in seconds when someone storms out in a huff. In fact, that will be the rule of the game: first one to walk out in a huff loses. Handled badly enough, it could rejuvenate the Occupy Central sit-ins for another week.

I declare the weekend open with historic proof that Hong Kong is not the first place in the world where umbrellas played a key role in the fight for universal suffrage (women demanding the vote in the UK circa 1910) …

Suffragettes1

(OK, so they’re not umbrellas.)

Suffragettes2

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13 Responses to Better late than never (or probably not)

  1. Jimmy Carter? United Nations? Foreign interference in China’s internal affairs! The Hong Kong government is perfectly capable of screwing up things on its own without overseas assistance. All it needs to do is keep repeating the empty slogans we’ve been hearing for weeks, and keep insisting that the only possible reform proposal is the one already clearly rejected by Hong Kong people. What is interesting is how increasingly irrelevant the government seems to be – just a static lump of rock around which the tide of history is flowing.

  2. PD says:

    I don’t think a “foreigner” would be able to serve as arbiter/intermediary/chairwoman.

    If the government can spin out the talks-about-talks for another few days, they could possibly squeeze out any puff left in OC. They’d then be home and dry.

    Surely the protesters are savvy enough to realise that negotiating with the circa twentieth-in-command means at least 19 rounds of negotiation. After all, Carrie (let’s hope!) is under CY, who ranks well below virtually any mainlander we’ve heard of, without even taking into account the CP’s multiple levels.

    Otherwise CY can just say: interesting idea, let me just see whether it can get any traction, will get back to you in a week or two.

  3. Scotty Dotty says:

    Probably CY thinks he’s Boy Wonder for tricking the kids into thinking something might come of this.

    I deduct two points and a lollipop from the students for attending (trying to) talks. Should have stuck to their guns.

  4. reductio says:

    We need somebody who is non-partisan, embodies dignity and thoughtfulness, and is held in high regard by all parties. Alan Zeman: cometh the hour, cometh the man.

  5. Cassowary says:

    CY is obviously jerking them around. He’s happy to watch his government’s and his police force’s credibility burn down around him, so long as he gets to blame a bunch of university students for it. He’s probably looking forwards to his inevitable cushy promotion to the CPPCC with its attendant hobnobbing, boot-licking and money spinning opportunities.

  6. gweiloeye says:

    University head, as long as it not that gweilo Mathison. That would definitely not work Just look at the gweilo copper leading the police charge the other night. Talk about lamb to the slaughter.

  7. Joe Blow says:

    @ reductio says:

    “We need somebody who is non-partisan, embodies dignity and thoughtfulness, and is held in high regard by all parties. Alan Zeman: cometh the hour, cometh the man.”

    This is no time for sarcasm !

    Something else: Jacky Chan has announced that he is going to face Koko the Gorilla in a chess match (Cotai Strip, Macau).

    I am putting 10 bob on Koko.

  8. Joe Blow says:

    It warms my heart to see that the “spirit of Mongkok” is still alive. I know Mongkok: I worked there for many years. You don’t mess with the People’s Republic of Mongkok.

    In the early 80s a taxi strike got out of hand: Mongkok exploded. All the blond-hair Keungs, the triads, the ho’s, the punks, the old-time residents and the “gritty” grannies came out, hi-jacked buses, ransacked jewellery stores and had a street party. The message: don’t mess with Mongkok.

    And the police boneheads are going to find out just that, this weekend.

  9. Dan the Man says:

    Anybody got the name of the “middleman” the HK govt was talking to who was supposed to help with talks with the students? It appears everybody’s forgotten about him already, and I’m beginning to think the “middleman” was just a lie.

  10. Doug r says:

    Jimmy Carter? I think that’s a great idea. He’s the closest thing we have to Richard Nixon now, anyway.

  11. Scotty Dotty says:

    @ Dan The Man

    I recall Professor Joseph Cheng from City University was mentioned at one stage.

    Although it now seems Hong Kong University and Chinese University have elbowed themselves into the mix.

  12. Kepala, Kelapa, Kepal - take your pick says:

    It cannot be long before Occupy-this-bollocks-of-a-town gets turned into a musical. I predict it will be a mixture of Les Mis, Miss Saigon, Evita and Mama Mia. Gazillions could/will be made. Currently, the only lacking feature is a glorious female lead: Snapdragon Emily and Princess Audrey are both well passed their sell-by-dates. Perhaps we’ll have to go with Josh “played” by Lady Gwyneth-of-Paltrow.

  13. PHT says:

    Joe Blow – I think you mean the Democratic People’s Republic of Mongkok

    Good to see that Angry Andy came out of his hole for the free champagne and canapés. I guess we will see him again at the next government sponsored circle jerk.

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