To no-one’s great surprise, the University of Hong Kong council rejects law professor Johannes Chan’s appointment to pro-vice chancellor. Judging from the leaked account, the veto was carefully scripted: each council member who voted against gave neatly distinct reasons, which taken together left no possible stone unturned. Yet Chan himself and other key figures are reluctant to publicly call this a Chinese Communist Party hijacking of the university’s internal affairs. It’s as if Beijing’s agents had never hacked their HKU email accounts, or mounted a year-long anti-Chan smear campaign, or pressured pro-establishment or vulnerable council members and bystanders to fall into line or be silent.
The Liaison Office’s obsession with ensuring that this one low-to-medium-profile individual must not take this obscure-sounding university post is puzzling. Yes, there’s the kill-chicken-scare-monkeys thing. Obviously, the HKU-Occupy-Benny Tai connection made him a natural target, one that would impress the bosses in Beijing. But it doesn’t fully explain the sheer amount of effort in terms of snooping, propaganda and arm-twisting that went into this. Something deeply personal or pathological known only in the psychology of Stalinism is going on.
And it is bound to be counterproductive. The message is supposed to be: avoid incorrect political movements and ideas, or your career will suffer. Maybe some academics scrambling for research grants or tenure will succumb, unnoticed by the rest of us. Otherwise, this episode can only provoke yet more anti-Beijing sentiment within Hong Kong and suspicion about China abroad. The real message is: yes, we’re thugs.
Council member Rosanna Wong (Dame Rosanna, sorry), HKU-grad and pre- and post-colonial do-gooder and all-purpose – and generally decent – busybody, said she voted no because she ‘worried that appointing Chan would split the school further’. I think this was her idea of a joke. If she had ‘…expected that rejecting Chan would increase the community’s love for the motherland’, it would have been a bit funnier, perhaps, but nice try.
Typically, Beijing’s local henchmen have a last laugh of their own, by leaving Rosanna and her buddies in their own doo-doo. After listing Johannes Chan’s every failing, they now have to find and approve a pro-vice chancellor who is demonstrably superior and adored by all stakeholders.
On the subject of irony, page 4 of the South China Morning Post describes how the US media highlighted the Pope rather than President Xi Jinping during the recent parallel visits, while the Mainland press pushed nothing but glowing coverage of Xi’s tremendous popularity and impact in the US. And page 12 of the SCMP has, well, nothing but glowing coverage of Xi’s tremendous popularity and impact in the US…
Meanwhile, away from the SCMP, some investigative reporting to read – more Howard Winn on the Zhuhai Bridge ‘moving island’ mystery/screw-up. He reveals that ‘…[insurance] loss adjusters have been appointed, which suggests matters are not as ‘normal’ as the government would have us believe…’
I declare the National ‘love the motherland’ Day midweek mini-weekend open with a challenge: name one thing that is as ‘normal’ as the government would have us believe?
This is an excellent moment to call for a boycott of the Bank of East Asia. I call on all HKU alumni and students, and all decent people in general, to close their accounts with BEA.
I’m having a laugh.
Billy Fung deserves a big wet kiss for leaking the antics at the HKU council meeting. The funniest bit by far was Prof Lo’s ( the swooning princess) comment that Mr Chan didn’t show any ‘compassion’ for him, the dirty blackguard.
As for ‘normal’ I guess we still don’t have the bridge to nowhere and when I wake up tomorrow all our favourite lickspittles will still have their jobs and things will be, well, ‘normal’.
In Paris and London the whole university would be on strike. Students here are spineless and the teachers look to their salaries. How can we believe Hong Kong people deserve better? On Monday they left Admiralty at 10 pm and all went home…
Thinks: “Shit! I left Bristol University for this?”
Wonder how long it’ll be before Pete leaves for “family” or “health” reasons?
I hereby name one thing that is as ‘normal’ as the government would have us believe: the Civil Service concept of “law reform”; viz. “unless they thought of it first, forget it”.
“Counterproductive”? The Chinese govt and its acolytes are cockahoop. A combination of hitlerian intimidation and stalinist misinformation won the day. Few people will be brave enough to risk incurring their wrath in future.
The judges will be next, then Legco, then bloggers, and finally the jewel in the crown, the ICAC.
Stinky Foot: Dr. Lo doesn’t know a thing about being knocked down and injured at a protest. However, his colleague sure does.
Docta G: Agree, all talk and no action. Very pathetic response.
@concerned faculty member thanks for the Toy story. Your sarc/meter must be running on empty. I sure hope if you need an operation at QM, you don’t get that pussy Lo. He may keel over because your tumour is not in the right place showing a total lack of compassion on your part. You may not get tenure or a promotion. 🙂
YouGov have released results from an APAC housing poll: https://ap.yougov.com/en/news/2015/09/22/apac-property-market-overview/
“The majority of respondents think prices are unreasonable. Particularly people in Hong Kong (91%) and Malaysia (90%).”
I hereby name one thing that is as ‘normal’ as the government would have us believe: ‘Corruption’ is not existent in the Hong Kong government, except it is the elephant in the room…
Since we are in the spirit of boycotting, why not boycott all Hong Kong branches of Vanguard supermarket, Bank of China, Bank of Communications, China Construction Bank, China Agricultural Bank, HSBC and its affiliates (ie Hang Seng Bank)???
“Counterproductive”? The Chinese govt and its acolytes are sheeps on a string. A combination of hitlerian intimidation, SS/KGB/FSB style kidnapping and assassination attempts(ie Kevin Lau chopping), stalinist misinformation won the day. Few people and their families will be brave enough to risk incurring their wrath in future.
NO WONDER HKU is becoming the latest joke in university circles in terms of excellence…Soon HKUST already taking over at “the university” in Hong Kong
Too late…the judges and the ICAC is already in progress…Legco next, then University administrators, then foreign journalists, then bloggers, finally the expat population…
@PD – they’ve already started on the ICAC with the appointment of Maria Tam CBE to its Advisory Committee. It would be hard to think of anyone less independent. And yes, let’s include their British honours when writing about all the “patriots” who once made up the colonial elite.
@Tom – I find this quite alarming – it means that as many as 9% of Hong Kong’s population must be insane!
@” The real message is: yes, we’re thugs.”
Yes, …….just like the Pan Democrats and the OC mob. Two can play this game.
I am not too good at counting these days. May be that should be “Three”
@Qian Jin – you’re not too good at recognising who’s a thug, either. Unless you’re one of those who thinks a breast is an offensive weapon.
Qian Jin: assuming that you are a genuine CCP troll and not some terminally bored expat in Sai Kung, has the irony of being able to express yourself in a totally free way without any repercussions while advocating a totalitarian system where ‘free expression’ is a one-way ticket to a re-education camp, or worse, ever struck you as, oh well, ironic ?
What comes over most is the degree of petty, spiteful vindictiveness on display.
We have over one million people living in poverty. The ‘good folk’ involved are appointed members to various associations and bodies and should be devoting their energies to resolving pressing issues.
Instead they expended thousands of calories over months of desperate searching for any modicum of justification for what we all know was a preordained decision.
“Meanwhile, HKU vice-chancellor Peter Mathieson clarified a Reuters report that quoted him as saying he could not rule out Beijing was behind the rejection of Chan. He said last night the interview was done on August 4, and he was talking about his email account being hacked, since he “did not know who” did it.” PCMP: http://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/education-community/article/1862650/going-down-swinging-university-hong-kongs
Perhaps worth more than a brief tail-end mention?
PS Is it just me, or does it seem probable that three or four frequent posters always reply to each other, often about an hour later, often disagreeing, but mostly bearing common stylistic and political traits?
Top tip rule of thumb for spotting thugs: they generally wear uniforms, because they’re hired by people with money who want them to look intimidating and stand out from their victims so as to avoid “friendly fire”. So uniform = thugs, no uniform = not thugs. Although obviously “paid and trained to do it” is the gold standard for “thug or not”, but that’s hard to confirm.
So police, army = definite thugs. Communists & Fascists = thugs. Pan dems and weedy students, not so much. People wearing suits: your mileage may vary.
One final clue: thugs always try to look serious. So anyone who can’t smile or looks unnatural or constipated smiling is probably a thug too.
@LRE: “So anyone who can’t smile or looks unnatural or constipated smiling is probably a thug too”…you are talking about Paul Chan Mo-po, aren’t you ? C’mon, admit it !