The South China Morning Post ‘reveals’ the tycoons and others who have an inordinate say in the quasi-elections for Hong Kong’s Chief Executive. It is in fact all on the public record. But the numbers are interesting, if not faintly ludicrous.
A quarter of Election Committee members have been on the body for at least a decade. (The Committee has grown in size over time, so that quarter would have been a bigger proportion in the past.) This group of veterans are mostly either delegates to China’s rubber-stamp national assemblies or tycoons – mostly of the aging, property-cartel variety. They get their seats either automatically as delegates, or in uncontested polls in which the voters are not humans but corporations (many of which have the same owners, so these old tycoon guys vote for themselves, multiple times).
The more representative ‘sectors’ have more frequent turnover of Committee members, the paper notes. To which our response is basically ‘so what?’, as it means nothing of any consequence. The only thing you need to know about the Election/Nomination Committee is that its composition is carefully and minutely arranged. If you went through the 1,200 names one-by-one, it would work out something like 15% pro-democrats, 34% tycoons and shoe-shiners likely but not totally certain to do Beijing’s bidding, and 51% puppets directly controlled by Beijing’s officials. The SCMP, like so much of the media, perpetuates the untruth that, in its small-circle way, the body exercises a free and open vote – one that could go one way or could go another. This is completely false: the result is decided in the Politburo first, then the ‘vote’ takes place.
Gluttons for this sort of thing also get an in-depth look at the Sports sub-sector guy, who says ‘it may be inappropriate’ to let all members of a football club vote.
In public, all pro-establishment Committee members maintain the fiction that they are taking part in an unrigged process. Amusingly, a few of the most easily flattered seem to believe it. As if the Chinese Communist Party would allow someone else to choose. It’s almost charming.
Still, the article accentuates the rottenness of the system, and deserves an audience if only to make people angry. For example, whatever happened to the CCP that went around killing landlords?
For [faithful patriot] Ann Chiang Lai-wan, who served on all four committees before becoming a lawmaker, no cap should be placed on the number of terms of membership. She said: “Imagine if Li Ka-shing ceased to be on the committee – that’d be a matter of concern.”
Needless to say the reporter asks ‘to whom?’ and ‘why?’ and ‘what about when he dies?’
Just kidding – of course he doesn’t. Any more than he admits that it’s irrelevant how long anyone is on the Committee.