The struggle to stay a) relevant, b) in the public eye and c) in Beijing’s good books never ends. Former Financial Secretary Antony Leung inserts himself into your face to remind you that he still exists. RTHK3 this morning broadcast a clip of him reciting the most cringe-makingly laborious and redundant possible rejection of Hong Kong independence, in what sounded like a tone of ‘Do I really have to read this stuff out in English as well?’ after presumably doing it in Cantonese and (bearing target audience in mind) Mandarin.
Back in the late Qing Dynasty, imperial Chinese officials made it clear that Hong Kong would one day be returned to its rightful sovereign. The Kuomintang said the same at the end of World War II. Mao Zedong and comrades said it even as Communist troops refrained from crossing the border in the late 1940s; they repeated it through the 1970s and had the territory removed from the UN Committee on Decolonization’s list of places that should be free. And then in the early 80s the Sino-British joint declaration was welcomed and endorsed by the whole world. So to urgently and loudly insist that Hong Kong cannot and will not be independent is like banging the table with your fist on prime-time TV and angrily denouncing the ‘totally false proposition’ that the world is flat rather than round. It is ritual self-humiliation in order to prove loyalty – a public kowtow and backside-lick of the most nauseating type.
The funny thing is: the more you do this sort of thing and convince Beijing of your suitability to be Chief Executive of Hong Kong, the more the people of the city will see you as slimy and unacceptable (yes, even if you are pretty odious to begin with).
Among his other blather: ‘gradual and orderly approach’ to political development (an outdated slogan – he’s a bit out of touch); ‘balanced participation’ (code for ‘functional constituencies’, thus rigged votes and favours for vested interests); and contribution to ‘one belt, one road’ in the form of ‘lawyers and accountants’ (excuse me while I slash my wrists). He also says Hong Kong students should be ‘more creative and adaptable’. I declare the weekend open with the hopeful and scintillating thought that, faced with Antony ‘Lexus’ Leung as a possible Chief Executive, they definitely will be.