Arthur Li – making enemies for Beijing


Is Arthur Li consciously or subconsciously imitating Donald Trump? The new and pro-Beijing chairman of HK University Council seems to have perfected the wig-wearing narcissistic populist mogul celebrity interloper’s technique. Talk crap you probably don’t even believe; lay on some more outlandish smears as dimwits who fall for it SCMP-StudenysActjump up and down in glee; bask in the shock, incomprehension and anger you provoke among your foes and indeed among many moderate and sensible onlookers.

The rowdy protest at the university campus the other night was not clever. The students and their supporters barricading council members in buildings were inviting a PR backlash. They are lucky that it was delivered by the unlikeable, mouth-frothing ‘King Arthur’; his predecessor Leong Che-hung’s ‘wounded innocent’ persona would have roused more sympathy (and anti-student feeling) in the wider community.

The students’ mistake is to focus on minutiae and symbolism distant to much of the public. The issue is not Arthur Li, or the University Council, or its members’ unsurprising refusal to accede to a boisterous crowd’s demands that they come out and ‘talk’. The issue is the Chinese government’s gradual but steady subversion of Hong Kong’s free society. Hong Kong’s main hope lies in Beijing’s malice and nastiness further alienating and provoking people. Trapping Council member Leonie Ki in an ambulance – while probably tempting – is counterproductive.

The good news is that, unlike students, Beijing has an apparently limitless capacity to alienate and provoke.

The backdrop here is China’s economy – non-reforming into stagnation – while Xi Jinping compensates with his neo-totalitarian rectification movement with Belt-and-Road characteristics. The international media are coming to terms with the very real possibility that China has jumped the shark. After the Washington Post’s commendable summary of the Communist Party’s illegal persecution of critics overseas, the Financial Times presents a good overview of Beijing’s tightening grip on Hong Kong (if you ignore the Occupy-brought-city-to-standstill cliché).

The FT needs a quote from a pro-Beijing figure or two – and most of them are trying hard to keep their heads down at this sensitive and unpredictable time. Businessman-politician Michael Tien bravely agrees to go on the record, and opines that pro-democrats, radicals, Occupy folk and other dissenters have brought the wrath of Beijing upon themselves.


It is true that the Umbrella movement ‘provoked’ Beijing’s subsequent interference in local universities, but of course Beijing’s earlier refusal of democracy ‘provoked’ Occupy – and so on back through the years. Xinjiang ‘provoked’ Beijing into curbing Uighur religion and culture. Tibetans ‘provoked’ Beijing into shutting monasteries and imposing its own Buddhist order. By electing the wrong person President, Taiwan has just ‘provoked’ Beijing into hints of military attack. The FT article ends with a section about Hong Kong’s next round of ‘provocation’, namely the rise of young localists rejecting Chinese identity.

This has also happened in Taiwan. Indeed, where Taiwan is concerned, the Chinese Communist Party has blown it. China’s co-opting of exploitative business elites, the threats of violence, and the plain obnoxiousness – the complete inability to win friends by being nice – has lost the next generation and with it Taiwan, for good.

Hong Kong is constitutionally attached to the PRC. But Beijing just cannot stop itself from doing its United Front book-seller-kidnapping soft-power worst. Arthur Li is one extra little bit of alienation to ensure maximum resentment and hostility towards the glorious motherland. The students should welcome him.

I declare the weekend open with I Am Fishead for some rainy day viewing on psychopaths, pills and corporate leadership.

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12 Responses to Arthur Li – making enemies for Beijing

  1. Arthur was set up by parvenu CY Leung. It’s his way of killing off the grandees. His Regina probably suggested it to him over a game of Tarot poker. Get a full house and everyone at the table drops dead.

  2. reductio says:

    I give it six months before Mathieson leaves “for health reasons”. Actually, looking at the photographs above he might not make that.

  3. Stephen says:

    ‘The Don’ does not wear a wig it’s a comb over. Schoolboy error. However for the rest of the article 10/10. ‘King’ Arthur, is so consumed by his own hubris, that he will piss everyone off. Lastly isn’t it time to remind the younger generation, who are unlikely to ever own a home, how many ‘King’ Arthur owns ? Would Mr. Webb care to remind us ?

  4. Cassowary says:

    Part of me thinks there has to be a logical reason they keep appointing such appaling dickcheeses to high office. What do they get out of infuriating all of Hong Kong?

    Is it that they have been ordered by the higher ups to report on their valiant efforts to defeat the radical subversives Hong Kong is teeming with, and having failed to find anything more impressive than rubbish bin arsonists, set out to create some?

    Are they testing the loyalty of the milquetoast establishment by forcing them to support increasingly obnoxious statements?

    Are they actively trying to start a riot, so that they can claim to Hong Kong’s conservative TVB-watching public that however nasty CY and Arthur Li are, they’re still better than rampaging students?

    Is it an elaborate bad cop/good cop act? If so, who is the good cop? Hellooo? Anyone there?

    Or are they really just that stupid?

  5. Bigot says:

    Last heard, seventy.

  6. Knownot says:

    Off topic, but this week’s news. From the Standard:

    Former commissioner of the anti-graft agency, Timothy Tong Hin-ming, will not be prosecuted, the Department of Justice has decided. Justice Secretary, Rimsky Yuen, said there was insufficient evidence to prosecute Tong.

    “Having carefully considered the applicable law, the available evidence and also the legal advice given by the Queen’s Counsel, the DoJ concluded that even though some of Mr Tong’s conduct might be perceived to have fallen short of public expectation, there is no reasonable prospect of securing a conviction against Mr Tong for any criminal offense.’’

    I thought Timothy Tong
    Was so flagrantly wrong
    He would have to face,
    Like Donald, a case.
    But no. “After careful thought”
    He will not go to court.
    And Ronny Tong
    Comes along
    And gives his assent:
    “Hard to prove criminal intent.”
    In matters legal
    I’m not his equal
    But it sounds feeble.

    Each day on this website
    Big Lychee sheds light.
    Other commenters and I
    In our own ways try
    To do our bit.
    But what’s the point of it?

    I begin to feel
    Only wealth is real.
    Only connections are real.
    Only power is real.

    Law, finance, and politics
    Are all tricks.
    However you hack it
    It’s all a racket.

    Never mind. The sun has not set
    Yet. Not yet.

  7. LRE says:

    I think ‘king Arthur has rallied splendidly, now that he’s safely back behind the bulletproof glass. I’m guessing he’s not going to be making any un-policed public appearances anytime soon, though.

    One is tempted to paraphrase the sage words of Alan Ford as Bricktop in Snatch:
    “Put him in the ring with some nerds, he shits hisself, but put him in front of some reporters after the nerds have poked him with a stick, and you watch his bollocks grow.”

    As for the CCP, well with friends like ‘king Arthur, you might not need enemies, but you’ll definitely get them.

  8. LRE says:

    Also why are the HKU Council members such a sickly bunch? Ayesha MacPherson, Lo Chung-mau, Leonie Ki Man-fung all hospitalised during the last two meetings of HKU Council. That’s a hospitalisation rate of 13% of the members — perhaps they should choose some younger, healthier folk to preside over the fate of our future leaders of society?

  9. Laguna Lurker says:

    Just a little reminder:

    In Hong Kong, it’s not what you know, nor is it who you know.
    It’s what you know about whom.

  10. PCC says:

    @Cassowary “Part of me thinks there has to be a logical reason they keep appointing such appaling dickcheeses to high office. What do they get out of infuriating all of Hong Kong?”

    The answer to your question is the same one Dirty Harry gave to the mayor when asked why he was so sure Zodiac would continue his killing spree: “Because he likes it”.

  11. old git says:

    The PRC suzerainty over 1/4 of the World and a rather small sea bordered by tectonic plates has produced no inventions or munificent benefactions for centuries

  12. Arthur Li’s absurd claim that the protesting students acted like they were on drugs demonstrates that he knows very little about either students or drugs.

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