This is like shooting low-hanging fruit in a barrel taken from a baby, but…
From yesterday’s South China Morning Post, Chief Editor-in-waiting Tammy Tam produces yet another of those ‘Hong Kong must compete with Mainland cities’ pieces. This theme goes back over 10 years, and is aimed at scaring Hong Kong into obedience to Beijing, without whose generosity we would be starving and derelict.
She begins by noting that we don’t suffer the sort of carnage that is routine on the Mainland, like Shenzhen’s recent man-made landslide disaster. But if we are so competent, she goes on, how come our government is failing to develop the convention business as successfully as second- and third-tier Chinese cities like Wuzhen, which hosted the recent World Internet Conference?
Before the reader can start trying to grasp the connection or ask ‘Wu-what?’, she proceeds to heap praise on the accomplishments of the city of Zhengzhou, which hosted the recent Shanghai Cooperation Organization meeting.
The World Internet Conference was about legitimizing state censorship, and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization – as its members’ tacky flags suggest – is an assortment of central Asian ex-Soviet thugocracies slated for absorption into the Greater Motherland Co-Prosperity Belt-Road Sphere at some future date. We may very well ask why we should want such people in our midst at all?
Tammy adds that both Wen-whatever and Zhengzhou were given these events because of ties with the current leadership – connections with which Hong Kong is sadly not blessed.
And why does Hong Kong need more conventions? As all right-minded people are painfully aware, we have too many visitors already. And the ‘MICE’ travel-industry niche is surely best left to loser-cities like Macau or Dubai; you never hear London or New York bleating about wanting more conventions – they probably have agencies dedicated to sending these bore-fests elsewhere.
Having asserted that our superior, non-Shenzhen level of governance is no excuse for failing to attract dismal conferences just as obscure Mainland cities do, Tammy concludes that Hong Kong needs to continue being different from these aforementioned centres. Presumably, we should host the conferences in a different way – maybe make all the attendees sit facing the rear of the convention hall. Yes, that would do it.