Hong Kong’s pro-democratic politicians are to be deprived of the pleasure of a meeting with Beijing official Li Fei. This follows the pro-dems’ laborious and self-important pronouncement that they (still) all plan to veto the proposed political reform package. You’ve heard of a win-win; this is a huff-huff.
The cool and mellow ‘soft power’ thing for Beijing to do would be to ignore the pro-dems’ repetition of what they have already told us about a veto, and sit down with them anyway. But of course this is not the Chinese Communist Party’s way of doing things. They are freaking out over faded pro-democrat Martin Lee’s appearance before a Canadian parliamentary committee. They are frothing at the mouth over the Dalai Lama’s whimsical decision not to be reincarnated, insisting with a straight face that he must. So no ‘warm and fuzzy’ for Hong Kong’s opposition – as punishment for not being ‘sincere’.
Similarly, the laid-back and relaxed thing for the pro-democrats to do would be to shrug off Li Fei’s snub – let him look like a childish, sour-faced loser. But no, they have to go into hyper-defensive mode, accusing Li of smearing them or otherwise casting them as being to blame for failure of the meeting or the reform package.
What we need is some adults to come and take charge.
Meanwhile, Hong Kong Justice Secretary Rimsky Yuen on why the corruption investigation into former Chief Executive Donald Tsang has taken three years…
“I think by the time when we are in a position to explain what we have done, then I think the general public will understand why it has taken the time that it has taken.”
Why do I get the distinct impression he is tipping us off that there will be no or insufficient grounds to prosecute? After all, on the face of it, Rimsky’s wording is as neutral and non-committal as it is ponderous. Maybe it’s the phrase ‘explain what we have done’. It sounds apologetic, almost like an admission of guilt, where ‘explain’ means ‘excuse’, and ‘what we have done’ means ‘letting Sir Bow-Tie off’.
What we really wanted was for Rimsky to grin and rub his hands and say with an evil gleam in his eyes: “I think the people of Hong Kong will find it has been worth the wait.”
On the one hand, the hospitality in Macau, the luxury yacht trip, the private jet ride, the Thailand thing and the Shenzhen apartment murkiness – it’s all a bit lame. Anyone with an ounce of sophistication would need a bribe to hang out with some thuggish second-tier property scumbag. Even an unworldly and naïve pen-pusher like Donald would surely get over the cheap excitement without debasing himself and his Catholic principles very much. On the other hand, he signed off billions in ridiculous infrastructure projects and tilted land and planning rules massively in favour of the tycoons – essentially transferring vast wealth in the cartels’ direction. Why? But the investigators didn’t ask that (did they?)
This is one of those occasions it would be great to be wrong.