Imposing harmony, Communist-style


We don’t normally associate the words ‘thoughts’ and ‘ideas’ with Hong Kong Liberal Party leader James Tien. Still, there they are. After the shallow and opportunistic SCMP-LiberalLeaderrich-kid tycoon guilelessly blabbed that Chief Executive CY Leung might consider resigning, he gets expelled from the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Snore-Fest.

Beijing is sending two messages. The first is aimed at Hong Kong’s plutocrat caste: You will be publicly totally loyal to CY even as his authority visibly crumbles – or else. The second is aimed at the rest of us: We are totalitarians who require robotic obedience, and those of you who cherish freedom have every reason to be out on the streets.

And so, one of the slimiest invertebrates on Hong Kong’s political scene finds himself improbably cast as a cheeky, loveable, roguish maverick and rebel-hero of the people – for a second time. The first was when he stabbed then-CE Tung Chee-hwa in the back over the Article 23 national security law in 2003. He had visions of the developer-centric Liberals attracting a certain strand of middle-class voter and was desperate to distance the party from the floundering Crop-Haired One, and Beijing indulged him. But this time it’s different. The tycoons’ hatred of CY cannot undermine the struggle against the evil, foreign-backed Umbrella movement.

James’s relatively cerebral kid brother Michael seems unsympathetic, saying that CPPCC delegates have a duty to stay in line and ‘should be prepared to pay a price if they feel a need to air their views’. Michael is a member of (Tung’s Article 23 mastermind) Regina Ip’s New People’s Party, which also targets that certain strand of middle-class voter. It possibly has a better chance of success, being more bourgeois-bureaucrat than cartel-inheriting entitled elite. But Beijing’s harsh with-us-or-against-us clampdown doesn’t make it easy.

The more authoritarian, student-hating, tycoon-admiring segment of the middle class (typically social climbers, no-hope HK Golf Club applicants, Bible-bashers or cops’ relatives) do exist, and they are more than happy to believe that Occupy Central is ruining the economy and harming rule of law. But these people should not be confused with mindless and devout followers of the Communist faith. As James knew in 2003, they will draw a line at some point, and it is quite possibly where someone says ‘you cannot have your own thoughts or ideas’, or ‘you must pay a price if you feel a need to air your views’.

The defenestration of James Tien is a tightening of the United Front squeeze machine: you submit to being squashed into the correct shape and stay with us, or you pop out and fall onto the wasteland with the other hostile forces. There’s no in-between. If – as someone with business on the Mainland or anything else to lose – you are very lucky and/or quite smart, you just might get away with keeping your head down (as a contrite James will no doubt now do).

Even looking like the Smarmy Idiot-Loser from Hell and endorsing Robert ‘Silent Majority’ Chow’s clownish anti-Occupy freak show won’t help you…


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24 Responses to Imposing harmony, Communist-style

  1. Real SCMP Commenter says:

    Is it not plausible to assume that Jimmy Tien wouldn’t have had the balls to make the suggestion that CY resign without being told by Somebody Somewhere that this was the way the wind was beginning to blow in Beijing?

    And if we assume that, then his excommunication could be seen as a sign that there are at least two winds blowing in opposite directions up in Zhongnanhai as regards the situation in HK. The old factions theory, in other words.

  2. Cassowary says:

    Punch James Tien in the face! Punch Benny Tai in the face! Punch Martin Lee in the face! Punch all the students in the face! Hong Kong would be so prosperous and harmonious if only more people got punched in the face. Remember kids, always solve problems with your fists.

  3. Oneleggoalie says:

    …Oneleg confesses to having done experiments on James as well as Robert…they used to hang out in a corner together and stare at girls…

    …and if by seeking CY’s resignation they hope to re-instate Henry…would that entitle him to being…-689 ? …

  4. Gooddog says:


  5. anon says:

    How do you MANAGE it — to DAILY spout so much hatred…?! Does your Bible teach anything about the matter? Just wondering…

  6. Scotty Dotty says:

    “One of the slimiest invertebrates on Hong Kong’s political scene”

    A classic for the Hemlock quote book.

    The Slimy Back Peddle in full: what he meant was to give the Party options; it was only to help the Motherland encourage and control CY; it was to show the Hong Kong patriots that the Communist Party stands for good governance.

    Don’t be surprised if they work and he survives

    He’s even wheeled out his brother to say he didn’t actually say CY should resign, he just said “consider resigning”. What utter urchins

  7. Nightmare on Lockhart says:

    Keeping the United Front in line is the crucial element in one possible evolving narrative. Beijing has little to do other than to ensure the UF line holds. The protesters have taken the bait. The protests can continue and will progressively alienate more and more of the community, including those in the middle classes who endorse greater democracy in principle but are increasingly agitated by the cost and inconvenience. The Pan-Dems have been called out by the protesters but there are few signs of movement or visible support. The P-Ds must be getting seriously worried as they see the words “democracy” and “democratic” becoming an anathema to much of the community and they must be getting fearful of the electoral consequences. Eventually the democratic movement will implode thereby demonstrating that Hong Kong neither wants nor can it handle greater democracy. There is a inevitable backlash with demands for a more “ordered” society. Beijing uses economic sweeteners, as in the Mainland, to distract attention from the political sphere and in Hong Kong we get some more sweeteners of our own in the next few budgets. Or it could be a case of “And now for something completely different”

  8. Hills says:

    Anon: it is not daily, just five times a week.
    He reads his bible (?) the other two days.

  9. LRE says:

    It will be interesting to see whether the Liberal Party will now re-style itself from sycophantic CCP supporters with the single one-size-fits-all “What Would Beijing Do?” policy to an actual party of opposition to Beijing, albeit a very wet and slimy one.

    No doubt the new-look Liberal Party would still be eminently prosecutable under the Trade Descriptions Ordinance for having a deliberately misleading name.

    Beijing’s “with us or against” policy seems somewhat short-sighted — that sort of thing only really flourishes in a one-party dictatorship, but in pluralistic Hong Kong, the more they put a bit of stick about, the less invested anyone is in supporting them.

    The ugly truth that Beijing has forgotten — thanks to the clamour of sycophants — is that nobody sane in HK actually likes the CCP or believes in any of their bullshit politics — they just think they’re inevitable so they voice support to get financial benefits or social status and avoid trouble.

    If you give them trouble and take away their benefits, and they have no incentive in following or supporting CCP policies.

  10. Brob says:

    Is “People increasingly agitated by the cost and inconvenience” a factual statement? Another hypothesis could be “People have adapted to the cost and inconvenience, and are not that bothered by it.”

  11. PD says:

    Real SCMP C, I know it’s politically un-PC, and I do apologise, but Ogden (I believe) said: How odd of God/To choose the Jews, IN SPECIFIC RESPONSE to (a?) RELIGION which claimed to be God’s exclusive mouthpiece.

    In the same way, if Peking had chosen to beam thoughts, well words, into the rest of us, could they not have (s)elected a more suitable medium than the Nematode?

    Anon, Hemlock, as the name implies, employs bile and venom as rhetorical weapons, not hatred. Remember, Hate the Sin, not the Sinner? Anyway the Old Testament is full of smiting and killings of first-born and suchlike, so what’s your point?

  12. Chinese Netizen says:

    “that sort of thing only really flourishes in a one-party dictatorship, but in pluralistic Hong Kong, the more they put a bit of stick about, the less invested anyone is in supporting them.”
    I’m beginning to wonder if HK is indeed the “pluralistic society” that is allegedly open minded and wary of big brother.
    Based on (purely subjective and not at all scientific polling of the vast populace) what I see, I’m starting to think HKers DO in fact want to not think about such bothersome matters as governance, civic responsibility, anti-trust business practices and accountable government. It’s like the whole Confucian claptrap that even the CCP has gleaned onto…obey your elders and do as we say for the good of society…has resurfaced and people (other than the students) are buying into it! Gawd, will we even start seeing open praise for the tyc*nts and their “we know better than you” b.s.?
    But then again, maybe it’s just the NT “native birthers”, triads and easily paid off old folks that are getting so much of the “anti” press??

  13. Real SCMP Commenter says:

    PD, that is a good point, and a tough question to answer. I was thinking more along the lines that Tien was hearing things from up north that led him to believe CY was toast, and that he decided to repeat his previous coup. I guess I just struggle, precisely because of his nematodism, to believe he’d have the gumption to make such a bold move based on gut feel and cunning alone (mainly because he is gutless and has an observable cunning deficit).

  14. Not In My Back Yard says:


    I think he got his vocabulary from the Bible, you should know those chapters by heart about raping daughters, seducing drunken fathers, doing genocide on various tribes that don’t remove their foreskin… anon and anon it all goes.

    The CCP hates Christians most because the Bible has made public too many techniques for perversion, crowd control, that the the party considers it’s own intellectual property.

  15. Cassowary says:

    I don’t necessarily think there was any calculation behind James Tien’s comments. He is prone to blathering off the top of his head without thinking things through. Many years ago I watched him give an election speech in which he asserted that improving the economy was much more important than messing about with “politics”. When asked about his top 3 economic policies, he could not name a single one.

  16. Joe Blow says:

    What’s up with Jasper Tsang, telling us that there is NO outside interference in Hong Kong re Occupy ? Taking a position that diametrically opposed to The Liar AND the China Daily ?

    How does Jasper know that there is no interference ? Or who told him to say that ?

    Why does former bomb-throwing Red Guard Jasper choose to be so controversial (and out of character) ?

    He has Beijing’s ears. Does he know something………………?

  17. Real SCMP Commenter says:

    Cassowary makes a good point, and (along with PD) had me convinced I was reading too much into it… until Joe Blow showed up. In these interesting times I find I am tending to see conspiracies everywhere, doubly so where no conspiracy is in any way evident. My tinfoil hat went missing today, and that cannot possibly be a coincidence.

  18. Knownot says:

    I don’t know anything about James Tien’s spine, but I am surprised by Big Lychee’s animosity. The writer of this blog, and most of its readers, probably opposed the Article 23 legislation, so instead of speaking of a stab in the back, we should be grateful that his party forced, or enabled, the government to yield to popular opinion.


    Thanks to another commenter, I have learnt the word ‘nematode’.

  19. Cassowary says:

    James Tien is like a stopped clock. He’s right twice a day. As a politician, he is a waste of space, a member of the textile quota tycoon class who made their money off regulatory favours in the 1970s and strut about like they’re God’s gift to humanity. People I know who’ve had dealings with him say that he possesses astonishingly retrograde views, like women should get back in the kitchen, and corporate social responsibility is none of his concern because his wife deals with all that philanthropy stuff.

    As for Jasper Tsang, I suppose he’s playing good cop to Leung’s bad cop. Why, I do not know.

  20. Cassowary says:

    My guess is that Jasper Tsang has an interest in people not probing too deeply into the Imperialist NED Mastermind Conspiracy Theory because once upon a time the DAB and the Liberal Party also participated in NED training workshops. If the media points this out, the DAB has to cop to being stupid enough to be duped by evil foreign spies, or admit that the NED was hosting perfectly ordinary seminars of the sort that happen all the time in this city.

    It’s a bit rich to brag that you’re Asia’s World City and then run around screaming “Oh my God, who let these foreigners in here?!?” I’m hoping that at the back of his mind somewhere, Jasper Tsang knows this, but just isn’t allowed to say it out loud.

  21. PCC says:

    I think the criticisms of Tsang Yok-sing are unwarranted. He is a decent person. His personal integrity is intact. He is no friend of the tycoons. He is pro-Hong Kong rather than pro-establishment. He is as independent-minded as one can be and still be tolerated by the black-hair dye gang. He would be a better and much more fair-minded CE than the malevolent creep who currently holds the office.

  22. Dan the Man says:

    PCC, the reason why many people distrust (Jasper) Tsang Yok-sing is very simple. He’s a card carrying member of the Chinese Communist Party. One of the things the CCP has done recently is to pick a communist be the head of Legco and pick a communist be the HK CE (Leung). Both Leung and Tsang are party members. And the reason they did this is they wanted people who would follow their orders without question. Because Tsang is a party member of the CCP, I doubt he would act any different than Leung because the CCP would never let anyone be a member who would do otherwise.

  23. Alan says:

    I agree with both PCCW and Dan the Man. Jasper Tsang is honest, has integrity and (I think) wants the best for HK. He is generally fair handed in legco. However, he is still a member of the CCP (we can be fairly certain). So I am not sure he can be trusted.

  24. PCC says:

    Yes, he is almost certainly a card-carrying Party member, but I don’t think he is crazy about some of their policies. His Party status has not prevented him from meeting with Jimmy Lai or Martin Lee to try to find a way out of our present predicament nor has it prevented him from making statements and espousing positions over the years that have deviated from the Party line. I’m not saying he’s a saint, but he’s not the devil, either.

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