We declare the weekend open with much hand-wringing and anguish over the possible precise meaning of this year’s Hong Kong-related ceremonial chanting at the ‘two meetings’ in Beijing. Last year, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang’s recitations did not include the catchphrases ‘Hong Kong people running/administering Hong Kong’ or ‘high degree of autonomy’, but this year they did. Or the other way round. Does this mean something profound, and if so what could it be? No-one is sure, though we can perhaps consider the possibility that the grander the hall, the more numerous the red flags, the gaudier the flowers, the larger the number of snoozing delegates, and the more page-one newspaper space occupied – the more vacuous the statement.
The big Hong Kong-related announcement this year is that ‘One Country Two Systems’ must strictly comply with the national constitution. Does this mean that in the past the 1C2S principle needed only to loosely comply with the constitution, or could flagrantly violate it? We’re unable to say. To confuse matters, some reports suggest that 1C2S has to ‘unwaveringly’, or perhaps even ‘steadfastly’ comply with the founding document. And to remove any remaining possibility of clarity, the constitution itself is anyway unknowable, as under China’s rule-of-man system, the wording of laws is irrelevant, and their meaning decided by the Imperial or Communist overlords from day to day depending on their mood. We have no clue what it is that 1C2S must comply with – unwaveringly or steadfastly.
Enter Lau Siu-kai, to add a weasel-like dash of the surreal as we mull over the terminology of slogans that have no clear meaning. Lau Siu-kai – a litany of misery and wretchedness: a CPPCC delegate, a professor of sociology (eewww), and the former Central Policy Unit head whose forecast turnout for the July 1 march in 2003 was about one thirtieth of the eventual half-million-plus. He is also one of Hong Kong’s most reliable and mechanical apologists for the Communist Party, taking loyalty to extremes above and beyond the call of shoe-shining, to the point where it becomes clear something very dark and horrifying must have happened to him as a child.
So along comes Professor Lau to tell us that Beijing and Hong Kong should work to ensure a more active role for the latter in China’s 13th Five-Year Plan, and that this would help ease cross-border tensions and discourage separatist ideas in Hong Kong. Let’s look at this backwards. Are separatist ideas (which are in fact fantasies mischievously peddled to provoke the likes of Lau into mouth-frothing) caused by cross-border tensions (aka locust-kids doing pee-pee in the street)? Yes – we have a clear linkage here. Does a ‘more active role’ for Hong Kong in the redundant Stalinist ritual called a Five-Year Plan actually mean anything? No – it’s another fantasy, in this case peddled to make Hong Kong feel it is normal and necessary to partake in alien and brainless Communist-Mainland stuff. Would such a contrived ‘more-active’ role in this inert and meaningless bit of theatre translate into eased cross-border tensions? No more than it would change the weather on Mars.
We have escaped relatively lightly in this first week of the ‘two sessions’ marathon bore-fest snooze-in. If the slogans have any meaning it is intolerance, resentment and hatred to Hong Kong for being different and uppity and clinging to the wrong values. You must be punished – for not censoring the Internet, for not putting poison in your milk powder, for not producing counterfeit Ferrero Rocher chocolates, for not kicking penguins when you go to the Antarctic. That’s the message.
The “pro-Dems” prove no threat to mainland China as their call for universal suffrage isn’t a realistic challenge to the central government…there’s little chance it can come about…all China has to do is ignore the demands.
However…if the Dems were to demand better governance from CCP with regard to Hong Kong…it would pose a serious matter to the control freaks up North…
Not going to happen right ?
Back in Asia after a pleasant two-week sojourn to the Antipodes, where I was able to witness the nascent symbiosis occurring between new bio-organisms such as Mainland Chinese tourists/immigrants and a new host environment, New Zealand… quite amusing to read in the NZ dailies about serious, stoic and public-spirited Kiwis blocking dangerous Chinese drivers in access roads or driveways, and then forcibly confiscating keys and providing them to police. Perhaps we could start to implement the same in HKG with parallel traders who have more than 2 cans of milk powder in their possession, and confiscate suitcases and car keys?
Translations (keep in mind media messaging at Lianghui is directed towards our 1.2b mainland brothers and sisters – and CCP cadres – not us ungrateful running dogs in Hong Kong):
1/ Hong Kong people running Hong Kong / high degree of autonomy = those Westernized fuckers are running Hong Kong, not us, therefore if the situation deteriorates further, it is due to this fact (and implicitly, the presence of “democracy” and “Western values” in Hong Kong politics). Solution – further integration with Chinese political, judicial and security system. This fits in nicely with the narrative in the Chinese state media of the ongoing collapse of Western economies and democratic political institutions. And it is a very Chinese play at managing perceptions in power relations – if they succeed, it is only because i, in my infinite wisdom, granted them autonomy – i am responsible. If they fail, its because they are incapable of handling the autonomy i allowed them – they are responsible.
2/ adhering to the Chinese constitution
this is a roundabout way of talking about the primacy of the party and democratic centralism (first segment of the constitution). they cant come out and directly say that Hong Kongers must obey the party and follow leadership etc etc of CCP, because there is no historical justification for doing so. so by referring to the constitution, which enshrines the role of the party in politics, the CCP is basically saying, the political development of Hong Kong must occur in a manner which does not threaten or challenge our role in Chinese politics, but you see its not about the party, its about the importance of following our constitution. LOL.
Notice the softly softly talk about the “Chinese constitution” instead of the usual bluster about the glories of the CCP … seems like someone in BJ is bit sensitive about perceptions of the political legitimacy of the party with the glorious, yet potentially ungrateful, masses …
edit: oops brain fart … “confiscate suitcases and car keys” should be “confiscate suitcases and milk powder cartons”
What is with all the mouth frothing from Hemlock about the Chinese communist party not being able to tolerate democracy?
As this article shows, democracy is thriving in China: http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2015-03/06/c_134043148.htm
A welcome new tone to Hemlock, less humorous, low-key mocking slaps and more hard-hitting, censorious punches, but with all the classic word-play and pirouettes.
Final-year essay: should “One country, two systems” be considered a principle or political doublethink? The expressions”dotage”, “spittoon”, “ad hoc paraphrasing”, “rule of man”, “verbless gobbledygook” and “cynical ambiguity” may prove useful in your answer.
Just back from Vietnam: the driving can be just as manic as in the Centre of the Known Universe, but without that delicious je-ne-sais-quoi of malice and self-destruction.
“The ongoing collapse of Western economies and democratic political institutions” seems to be taking an awfully long time – at least 167 years so far.
Lau Siu Kai was a petty authoritarian long before the Handover; he was the one who came up with “utilitarian familism”, the politically convenient idea that Hong Kongers were a bunch of Confucian, patriarchal, politically apathetic sheep motivated only by money and family advancement. That is how he got the turnout numbers for the anti-Article 23 march so embarrassingly wrong. (Note that being wrong by an order of magnitude did not cost him his job at the CPU).
For a systematic takedown of the myth of “utilitarian familism” see “Understanding the Political Culture of Hong Kong” by Lam Wai-man. It’s a bit out of date now, but still very relevant. It’s something to keep in mind whenever the Robert Chows of this world start nattering on about silent majorities and everybody shutting up to focus on livelihood issues. Such people have been singing that tune since the 1950s.
Front page headlines of the China Daily on Wednesday March 4th.
‘Military parade to highlight peace commitment’ and ‘HK falls behind Shenzhen as start-up hub’.
Good to know there is an alternative to overpriced toilet paper.
1C2S to comply with the ‘constitution’? Whilst I was not aware o such a document it would be enlightening if it were shared in order to remove any potential ambiguity. And to whom should recourse be directed should anyone concerned consider that the said constitution has been infringed ? To which Independant court do we head to? LOL
PD says “A welcome new tone to Hemlock.”
I wonder whether it’s a different writer.
Hemlock: “Lau Siu-kai is also one of Hong Kong’s most reliable and mechanical apologists for the Communist Party, taking loyalty to extremes above and beyond the call of shoe-shining, to the point where it becomes clear something very dark and horrifying must have happened to him as a child.”
Is it not one of the most bizarre sides to Hong Kong that it can produce so many fantastic, smart, efficient people while also cultivating retards like Lau and Robert Chow and etc
Wonder if Obama will take up comrade Xi on his invitation to attend China’s “We (the CCP) won World War II single-handedly and booted the Japanese out of Asia/Pacific” parade?
Only those with no genuine public support need to invoke the mythical “silent majority”.