Chen Zuoer fails to elaborate


Another week, another outburst of incomprehensible blather from some Mainland ogre seething at Hong Kong’s refusal or inability to believe and behave in the (unspecified) correct way.

This time, it’s former official Chen Zuoer. He is mightily miffed over the city’s failure to de-colonize and its perverse revival of de-sinicization (which is apparently rampaging around us as we speak). Such travesties of history, he maintains, are the cause of our economic woes and social strife. His key point is ‘things SCMP-ColonialHoldthat should be removed should really really be removed, while things that should not be removed should really really not be removed’. On which, the Standard notes, he does not elaborate.

Some might guess he is talking about young people waving British flags. This admittedly weird phenomenon is a protest against bad governance and apparent threats to Hong Kong’s cherished non-Communist values and non-Mainland character. It is a reaction to Beijing’s own policies towards Hong Kong, and Chen would be better off complaining to the relevant organs up there.

Others think he might be endorsing the idea that Hong Kong ditch its colonial-era positive non-interventionism and adopt more Singapore-style economic planning. Does this mean more Disneylands? More billions wasted on pointless infrastructure white elephants? More state-owned enterprises using Hong Kong as a base for the greater East Asia ‘One Belt One Road’ co-prosperity sphere project, or cultural tentacle-creep like the Communist-Warner Tentpole thing?

He did not elaborate. By comparing us unfavourably with Macau and Singapore, he could be advising Hong Kong’s people to be more docile, in which case he may be disappointed. Or he could be encouraging our policymakers to focus ever more blindly on GDP growth as an end in itself by cramming more and more tourists and guest-workers in, in which case he is preaching to the converted.

All we can be sure of is that Chen has malice towards Hong Kong in his heart. Even the city’s Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Raymond Tam, who should in theory heap groveling praise on such Beijing ranting, tells him to be ‘more tolerant and trusting’, which in patriotic shoe-shining terms pretty much means ‘shut the hell up’. Obviously, Tam would be more civil if Chen were still a serving official with the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office. But it seems at least some people in the Hong Kong government recognize that the barrage of Beijing bluster is counterproductive. Unfortunately, Chinese officials have a limited range of social skills when offended by a refusal to kowtow: mouth-frothing table-banging freaking-out is pretty much it.

On a lighter note, along with a massively heavy glossy supplement about ‘Mice’, today’s South China Morning Post comes in a wraparound promoting a company called Brunello-something, which apparently sells furry boots – essential in Hong Kong in September…


What depraved orientalist exoticism is going on in the ad agency’s murky mind? The photo seems to show survivors following an aircraft crash in the mountains. A pair of plucky Euro-trash help a delicate Asian babe who is overcome with distress. The hairy Italian-looking guy feigns concern, while his red-headed dominatrix companion eagerly anticipates whatever unspeakable loathsomeness the two are planning. Let’s face it: if this doesn’t make you want to rush out and buy some furry boots, what will?

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11 Responses to Chen Zuoer fails to elaborate

  1. PD says:

    While I would not attempt to add to such a fine survey, I’ll just add a couple of comments on translation issues.

    (De-)sinofication (PCMP) and “de- Chinafy” (sub-St.) are both egregious mistakes.

    “Those that ought to be removed” sounds horrendously like reeducation or harmonising (or kicking out the colonial leftovers?), since “Those” applies only to people (cf. “what” in the PCMP).

  2. LRE says:

    Chen Zuoer’s call for decolonialisation is particularly ironic, given that the CCP has behaved exactly like a colonial power towards Hong Kong.

  3. Sir Crispin Bentley-Smythe IV says:

    I saw that story on the web this morning and just knew it would be today’s Hemlock.

  4. Red Dragon says:

    I remember Chen.

    He’s that sour-looking cove who looks as if he’s been force fed lemon juice while having a bitter melon shoved up his bum.

    Assuming that’s the case, his bad-tempered, yet incomprehensible, outburst is really not surprising.

    The best response to this sad old sod is to ignore him. Failing that, a hefty dose of mocking laughter should bring it home to him how irrelevant he is.

  5. Cassowary says:

    1. Yet another in a long line of Mainland officials who cannot admit that the Basic Law gave us a clunky, out-of-touch, unworkable political system, therefore user error is the only acceptable explanation for all of Hong Kong’s problems.

    2. Nine out of ten times I’ve seen someone waving a colonial flag at a protest, it’s been this one guy. Tallish. Square faced. Smug expression. He is a remarkably effective troll, to have gotten Beijing’s underpants all bunched up.

  6. Joe Blow says:

    Considering that three 689-ministers have played down his remarks, could it be that Chen Zuoer belongs to the other CCP faction (Tsang brothers, old (red) guard, dogmatic Marxists, The East Is Red-faction) and is just trying to stir trouble ? Like, an extension of the factional infighting currently taking place in Beijing.

  7. Knownot says:

    Out of China always something new,
    Something new to puzzle and provoke.
    Every evening, what am I to do?
    Shrug and say, “It’s really just a joke.”

    Out of China always something new,
    A new interpretation of the Law.
    Every morning, what am I to do?
    Shrug and say, “I’ve heard it all before.”

    Out of China always something new,
    Every day another little twist.
    Every evening, what am I to do?
    Shrug and say, “Hong Kong cannot exist.”

    Out of China always something new,
    Another legal scholar will appear.
    Every morning, what am I to do?
    Arise and say, “My goodness! I’m still here.”

  8. Henkka says:

    @ Cassowary

    His name is Andy Yung Wai-yib aka. Captain America.

  9. pensadora says:

    Like the MICE packaging for furry boots whose picture you show, go to any 7-11 these days and buy a copy of the SCMP. They always give a free packet of tissue with the newspaper — the wrapping shows some elfin faces and the letters HEROES FUCK in fancy script. Do show a photo of that. Looking closely at the word, it might have been meant to be “flick” but one can’t be sure of that. Are Chinese advertising companies now being run by naughty adolescents?

  10. Selfie Schtick says:

    I reckon the next act in this pantomime will be something horrible involving Lau Kong-wah.

  11. Apple Watch says:

    You have it totally wrong. The woolley haired mammoth is gravely concerned and the ginger bint is trying to ressure her that said mammoth is harmless

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