Well – you can’t say CY’s boring

Fresh from accusing un-nameable foreign forces of masterminding unrest, Hong Kong Chief Executive CY Leung declares that open elections based purely on numbers of votes are unacceptable because the poor will gain more political power. Brought up to assume this issue had been sorted out around 1789, the overseas media he was briefing were suitably intrigued. More here, here, and elsewhere.

He was justifying the Basic Law’s concept of voting via rigged ‘broadly representative’ bodies (as opposed to directly by individuals). This is how we get corporatist-style quasi-electorates of interest groups like Functional Constituencies, the CE Election Committee and the proposed Nominating Committee. In the New York Times Quartz-HKPoorpiece he cited his need to pander to the sports lobby (taxpayer-funded parasite cyclists) as an example of the superiority of this system.

As with the ‘foreign influences’ thing, CY is simply parroting the Chinese Communist Party’s official line on the need to protect Hong Kong’s ‘capitalist’ class of cartel-owning landlords. It is stunning and grotesque to see a Marxist sovereign power declare that its mission is to shield a small, mainly hereditary, landed oligarchy of hyper-wealthy from the poor (not to mention a large chunk of the in-between middle class). How do we get our heads around this?

We can attribute Beijing’s 1980s-90s co-option of Hong Kong tycoons to simple United Front-building. There are two possible – and overlapping – reasons why this unholy relationship has subsequently grown stronger.

One is that the post-Deng Xiaoping Communist Party has metamorphosed into a crony-capitalist kleptocracy, a la mid-20th Century Latin America. Asset-stripping, land-grabs, nepotism, pocketing of infrastructure funds, Bo Xilai-style confiscations and all the other horrors have turned the one-party state into a pyramid of corruption into which Hong Kong’s developer-dynasties have been absorbed. In other words, it’s all about money.

The other is that Beijing under Mao-messianic Xi Jinping and other princelings supposedly above such grubby crassness see the Hong Kong plutocracy as a shield Atla-HKLeaderagainst the spread of the democratization disease into the Mainland. By ensuring that the tycoons and cronies fear and oppose universal suffrage here, the Communist Party can feel that bit more secure up in Zhongnanhai. Seen this way, it’s all about power.

To the extent that it’s more about power than money, Beijing would be prepared to drop the tycoons if their unpopularity in Hong Kong became more trouble than it was worth. It would be great if the students meeting government officials later today grilled CY’s top officials on this subject. ‘Do you believe people earning HK$14,000 a month [CY’s benchmark] are a danger to governance if given the vote?’ There’s a dozen questions about the tycoons’ economic dominance that students could utterly skewer the officials with. (They could also ask if the officials believe foreign forces are manipulating the pro-democracy movement, and if so, to name them.)

Sadly, we can be pretty sure they will let the government off the hook and zero in on the mind-numbing subject of nomination systems.

Meanwhile, an excellent opportunity to dig this out – by an unknown genius amateur cartoonist…


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30 Responses to Well – you can’t say CY’s boring

  1. Maugrim says:

    Let them eat tofu. Seriously, in any other part of the world such comments would not only be deemed an embarassment to the state concerned, the emitter would be forced to resign . But this is HK. The irony is also that many of the older poor within the SAR would vote for groups such as the DAB, a supporter of the hand that has just insulted them . Only in HK.

  2. Tiu Fu Fong says:

    If you’re not listening to Wong Yeung Tat from Passion Times in Cantonese, you’re missing out on a lot. The guy is the Cantonese John Stewart of this movement.

  3. Faybay says:

    Wong Yeung Tat is absolutely not the Jon Stewart of even my bowel movements. He has an extensive history of tasteless self promotion, most notably showing up to the memorial of Li Wang Yang, a prominent figure in Tiananmen protests whose suicide is widely believed to be staged, in yellow (his family name literally means the colour). If anything, I’d attribute some of the more physical and aggressive behavior in MongKok to his online rallying on facebook.

  4. mjrelje says:

    what an utter Twat. Can we set a date to encourage a million people to gather at Tamar and shout in unison for his resignation?

  5. Cassowary says:

    Mitt Romney said it in fewer words. “Corporations are people, my friend.” Only here do we take that entirely literally.

  6. PD says:

    CY should go back to his colonial bunker, if he knew what was right for him.

    So all the supposed well-wishers telling the protesters to give up, scale down or fight for a different cause than democracy have been wrongfooted again.

  7. Oneleggoalie says:

    …Jon Stewart is a foreign influence man…CY may be on a lot of drugs at the moment…(Oneleg sold him some)…but he knows how sneaky white guys love to influence sneaky yellow guys…like illegally man…

  8. Chris Maden says:

    Did it occur to anyone in the CCP that, quite apart from its own roots, the best way to unwind the social unrest would be to create a population wealthy enough that considerably less than half were forced to live on $1,800 per month?

    Does it occur to CY that what made HK the wealthiest part of China was that people who arrived with nothing had the opportunity to better themselves whereas now 90% of the population is trapped in low- to middle-income?

    Of course it does. They just don’t give a fuck…

  9. Gooddog says:

    Beijing should just cut its losses.
    1. Sack CY
    2. Give HK public nomination.
    Everything goes back to normal.

  10. Stephen says:

    Fanning the flames !

    This man must have had media training ? He’s not stupid (a card carrying true believer doesn’t necessarily equate to him being stupid) and he must have known, or been informed, what sound bites people are going to pick up on “Foreign Forces at work” and “Poor People controlling the vote”?

    So why has he emerged from his fuhrerbunker at this time to make these comments? Has he already been shown the script (directed by the CCP Liaison office) which calls for him, after an appropriate period, to exit stage left hence, he no longer cares? Or is he playing bad cop to good cop Carrie ? The only card they have is to open up the nominating committee just enough to get those handful of legislative votes the administration needs?

  11. Chinese Netizen says:

    How could someone like CYL even live with himself, much less simply resign after his utter, intransigent douche-ness these past several weeks?
    ANY person of honour would have either resigned or killed themselves long ago.

  12. Maugrim says:

    I’m shaking my head. This (and similar from his daughter) who, as the son of a policeman, would never be allowed to vote using his own reasoning .

  13. Cassowary says:

    Two things:
    1. I wouldn’t be as disgusted by the Sports, Performing Arts, Culture and Publication Functional Constituency if it were composed of real artists and athletes. But no. It is made up of philanthropists who sit on cultural and sporting organisations. Philanthropists = tycoons and their wives. Plus the likes of Albert I’m Not A Triad, Honestly Yeung.

    2. If you had been paying attention to the government’s public consultation documents on electoral reform over the last few years (if you managed to wade through all the stultifying prose to the evil core, congratulations), you would have noticed that one of the key starting assumptions of the whole exercise was that Poor People Voting Will Ruin The Economy. CY is merely trotting out that old line in public. Such Neanderthalish beliefs are conventional wisdom among the elites, and it appears, fully endorsed by Beijing.

  14. Tom says:

    @Gooddog: I agree but feel you’ve left out two steps:

    Beijing should just cut its losses.
    1. Sack CY
    2. Give HK public nomination.
    3. Wait for mainlanders to complain.
    4. Tell them to shut up.
    Everything goes back to normal.

    That’s basically what would happen. The central government is supposedly terrified of Step 3, where the plague of protest creeps onto the mainland, but… really? What makes that different to the other thousands of “mass group incidents” that happen every year?

  15. gweiloeye says:

    Poor=Stupid. How to piss off even more people. What an absolute nob head. But was it deliberate. I smell a rat. or..Maybe a way to get himself the sack because he refuses to resign to save face and really wants to get the fuck out of the job…just maybe.

  16. Sir Crispin Bentley-Smythe IV says:

    Rame, Chris, ramen.

  17. PD says:

    I’m afraid CY really does believe foreign forces are at work, and that HK would be governable if they could somehow be eliminated.

    After all, the mainland is intensely xenophobic; the term for him and much of the HK population includes all non-Chinese; and he desperately needs a scapegoat.

    It’s really just a reflection of the racism that has arisen here in the last few years.

  18. Central Utsire says:

    Uploaded just 2 hours ago to the SCMP website:

    “Al-Qaeda magazine calls for Xinjiang to be ‘recovered by the Islamic Caliphate’”

    We certainly are living in interesting times – Al-Qaeda now produces a magazine. Marvelous.

  19. gumshoe says:

    Seeing online commenters even try to defend what was said is, in itself, a horror show.

  20. gweiloeye says:

    carrie lam. a bit too smug for my liking. or is that her normal face.

  21. Mjrelje says:

    Why oh why did TVB cut to the news at 7:30 when the debate was the news? No mention of ‘foreign forces’ or ‘too poor to vote’ just NPCSC this and that. How did it end?

  22. Joe Blow says:

    I guess this stupidity, along with the Aussie $$$ payment, the “foreign interference” thingy and the Ken Tsang- gestapo brutality should be enough to keep Occupy going for at least the next 4 weeks or so.

    As a private citizen I cannot do much, but I can do something, to hurt the tycoon parasites where it hurts most:

    1. Boycott Lan Kwai Fong

    2. Boycott Park’n’Shop (yes, that leaves Wellcome for most people, but this way at least someone gets kicked in the balls, and we know who that is).

    Any more ideas ? Please add.

  23. Hills says:

    Maybe CY Leung means with foreign influences, alien influences, from out of space?
    Makes more sense then Americans or Brits.

  24. Joe Blow says:

    Today’s dialogue has very interesting historical parallels: when ‘le peuple’ started their revolt against Louis XVI, their representatives actually had many conversations with the court and the king, explaining the position of the people. It was quite civilized.

    At the end of the day, Louis and “Regina” Marie Antoinette were loaded on a cart and hauled off to the guillotine.

    chop chop

  25. Scotty Dotty says:

    Great article by Hemlock today.

    Strips through all the bollocks.

    I never thought in my lifetime I would hear an elected politician say that universal suffrage is bad because it means the poor get a say. Wait…. CY… not elected… *slaps forehead*

  26. PCC says:

    Just holding the meeting means the students have won and the government has lost. Play the long game. Gandhi & MLK understood.

  27. Billy Nunchuk says:

    Let’s have a pumpkin riot instead. No foreign interlopers needed.

  28. Incredulous says:

    He’s basically twated himself – own goal. His PR people must be in total despair. And to foreign press too – a complete numpty.

  29. White Tiger says:

    Oneleggoalie for CE.


  30. Cassowary says:

    I am not so optimistic. The British and Chinese authorities have been betting for 30 years that Hong Kong people would rather be walked all over than take a bullet to the head and so far they haven’t been wrong. Nothing will change.

    The government will submit a report to the HK and Macao Affairs Office saying that there were a lot of different views but ultimately the public supports the NPCSC decision and that 51.2% of people in a survey expressed the view that the Occupy movement was merely a bunch of foreign brainwashed hooligans blocking traffic who should be rightly locked up.

    Student leaders and most of the pan-democratic camp are prosecuted and handed down small fines and lenient sentences to avoid setting of another protest.

    The Democrats will vote down the government’s reform package but after a brief moment of celebration, realize that they’ve locked us in for another useless handpicked CE in 2017. In 2016, they go down to crushing defeat in the Legco elections due to a combination of poor turnout, mobilized DAB grannies, and blatant ballot box stuffing.

    In 2018, the DAB-stacked LegCo will vote through a new package, which is the same as the old package. They also pass a bill barring anyone with a criminal record (e.g. anyone involved in Occupy) from standing for political office.

    Another attempt at Occupy fizzles out quickly due to general cynicism and despair.

    In 2023, there is the requisite CE election. There is a 41% turnout. 35% of those voters turn in blank ballots. Beijing deems this an acceptable result.

    The long slow brain drain ramps up again.

    And Hong Kong shuffles towards 2047 like a rotting zombie with bits falling off.

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