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.
The Donald file probably got sent to Beijing for a decision and it’s a difficult one for them. On one hand you have Emperor Xi’s campaign to root out all corruption so he can rule supreme and on the other hand another one of your annointed CE’s falls flat on his face. Whether accepting a flight back from Thailand in a Lear Jet and refunding Tycoon the cost of an economy class ticket is illegal and / or against Civil Service guidelines I don’t know. However it stinks which is why Donald never gets much exposure anymore. I fear we are in for a letdown and will have to be satisfied with Rafael.
With respect, I read Rimsky’s pronouncement in the other direction — unless of course it’s deliberately misleading.
“Done” — instead of for instance “decided” or “attempted” — would seem to be the operative word. “Decided” appears neutral; the subtext of “attempted” is “but failed, and we hope for your sympathy given the (Pekinese) brick wall we hit”. “Done” may be tantamount to “achieved”, or at least “moved forward”.
That said, I always thought Donald’s sins paled in comparison with, say, CY’s. The guy was just a pen-pusher, not devilish.
The Dalai Lama’s principled stand is worth treasuring, when nearly everyone is kowtowing. The Catholic church and he are among the rare groups not to have totally capitulated.
Other reasons why Donald doesn’t get much exposure are: (1) no one likes him, (2) no one respects him and (3) no one gives a damn about him.
if they send Donald down for this kind of “corruption lite”, every single CCP member would be guilty of corruption when measured to the same standard. a dangerous precedent to set if you plan on further political integration between HKG and the CCP, and the wrong kind of message to the HKG people (i.e. you deserve accountable, transparent, modern government). i side with @Stephen on this one.
plus it might be interpreted as an early broadside against tycoon – bureaucrat collusion, at a time when the CCP is attempting maintain their shaky coalition in HKG and isolate and “crush” opposition and dissent here. 50 bucks Donald is cleared or at most lightly slapped on the wrist, with damage to his public reputation. i dont think he is seen as a potential asset to argue for the CCP, because of his relatively HKG-centric mindset.
Sir Donald will have known for months where the case is focusing and how he can weasel out of it.
He shouldn’t – for he crossed the line, in a very ballsy way – but in the post-handover world he operated in such sins didn’t (and don’t) mean as much as before 1997.
Perhaps it’s a good time to remember when Rafael and the two Kwoks trial reached the deliberation stage, Sir Donald was quick to plea on their behalf – service to the community, recognising their long service etc. He will have had an eye on his own case in doing that.
I’ve heard from people who claim to know, that he will be tried – the question is, on what charges?
Imagine instead this kind of democracy in HK. It would be a true blessing.