Beijing’s HK fail

Ever since Beijing announced its restrictive quasi-democratic model for universal suffrage in Hong Kong, it has often looked as if Chinese officials were deliberately trying to goad pro-democrats into rejecting it. The cadres ranted and raved. They belittled Hong Kong’s autonomy and questioned its loyalty. They denounced opponents as ignorant, if not treacherous. So belligerent was the hectoring that a plan to provoke pro-democracy lawmakers into vetoing the package – for whatever cynical and devious reasons – seemed a reasonable explanation.

However, as the year-long political-reform struggle-session comes to an end, it becomes apparent that Beijing really was trying to get the proposal to go through all along. State- or party-backed national propaganda organs, which rarely mention Hong Kong affairs, are voicing support for the package, and central government officials are issuing veiled threats about what might happen to pro-democrats if the package fails.

The fact that an onlooker couldn’t necessarily discern these table-banging, mouth-frothing emissaries’ true intentions suggests a serious communication gap. China’s officials are thumping you on the head and shrieking in your ear, and you still can’t tell for sure what their point is. (Our pro-democrats took them at face value from the start, but dare we say this reflects guilelessness as much as powers of perception? Hong Kong local officials’ plodding and mind-numbing efforts to promote the reforms suggested that they were just as unsure and bewildered as the rest of us.)

Scurrilous rumours mention people in or around government (I’m assuming sleazy pro-tycoon/anti-CY pro-establishment legislators) making bets on the outcome of the proposal, which goes into the Legislative Council on Wednesday.  They are putting money on the package going through, because of course that’s where the long odds are – there are no serious winnings on offer from backing the obvious outcome.

Assuming they do not amaze themselves and win their 30-to-1 or whatever wagers, there will be a lot of huffing, puffing and finger-pointing about how Hong Kong’s democrats blew their chance. Our seething and petulant leaders will declare that they will now put HowNotTopolitical reform aside and instead ‘focus on the economy’ – roughly equivalent to telling the children that Christmas is being cancelled this year. Communist loyalists will lament the lost opportunity for democracy, because as we all know they’re really, really into democracy.

The pro-Beijing camp are consoling themselves with the thought that there will be a massive backlash against the pro-democrats in the legislative elections next year. But the latest opinion polls now show public support for the package slipping to the same level as opposition – 43% for each. The pro-dems will probably find a way to screw up at the 2016 polls, just as the pro-Beijing forces will be ruthless in campaign strategy and vote-procuring. But many voters would love a chance to cast a protest vote against the CY Leung administration and its micro-managing overseers in the Liaison Office.

That’s if those guys are still there. Zhang Xiaoming, boss Wang Guangya and Co’s handling of Hong Kong has been a disaster. They will no doubt blame local stupidity or evil foreign forces, but it should be obvious to anyone that their shouting and berating and bullying didn’t persuade, convince or overawe. Indeed, we couldn’t even be sure what they really wanted.

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10 Responses to Beijing’s HK fail

  1. mjrelje says:

    “That’s if those guys are still there”. I pray for the day that we will never have to see Wang Guangya’s disgusting teeth on TV again

  2. Maugrim says:

    I had a chat with someone who used to advise the big boys in Beijing and I mean the top. He said none of them have any real idea about Hong Kong. They don’t understand either that the HK separatist movement isn’t about ‘infecting’ the rest of China, just that HK’ers want to preserve what makes Hong Kong, Hong Kong, in Hong Kong.

  3. Stephen says:

    How could they understand – they surround themselves with gutless sycophants like Maria Tam, Rita Fan, CH Tung etc yet banish and ignore the majority of the Pro-Dem camp who perhaps could give them a different view? GBM’s (they probably have them already) to CY Leung and Carrie Lam – did they not tell the CCP directly and from the outset that this proposal was will not pass because they don’t have the votes ? Yet they carried on regardless as if last autumn never happened. So Hong Kong slides towards being ungovernable and the talented give politics a wide berth because no one wants to be known as 689. F*ckwits !

  4. Henrik says:

    http://www.internetslang.com/GBM-meaning-definition.asp

    GBM Definition / GBM Means
    The definition of GBM is “Gay Black Male”

    ?

  5. JG says:

    Grand Bauhinia Medal, perhaps.

  6. Joe Blow says:

    Next week a major pro-democracy gathering in Admiralty.

    It will be great to be back again ! 7000 pigs will be there too, packed with gas canisters and -hopefully- the ol’ rifles. Let’s party !!

  7. LRE says:

    @henrik
    I think in Hong Kong political parlance it stands for Grovelling Bitch Medallion

  8. Diane Butler says:

    HK Police approval rating has dropped to 21%.

    Guess that 21% is on account of Robert Chow’s Silent Majority.

    And a big hand for 689 for destroying ‘Asia’s Finest’s reputation.

  9. LRE says:

    Also: surely this book cover would be better for the illustration?

  10. I think it should be compulsory that all media references to the likes of Maria Tam CBE, Rita Fan CBE, and Sir Donald Tsang KBE include their British honours. And yes, let’s “focus on the economy” – by never missing an opportunity to point out that Hong Kong is dominated by a small cartel of tycoons who get ever richer, in cahoots with the government, on the backs of the Hong Kong people. The biggest failing of the pan-dems is their inability to get across to many of the public the link between the lack of democracy and their inability to afford a decent home or enjoy a secure old age.

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