Among other things, Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s new vision for complete Communist Party control of information and thought is aimed at closing the gap between public opinion and the official line. In Xi’s totalitarian dream, 1.3 billion people may have no ideas that differ from his.
This ‘Zombie Sheep Nation’ concept will surely appeal to Hong Kong Chief Executive CY Leung. He has made it clear that the Mongkok Fishball Riot was and is a law-enforcement issue only. He has decreed that all public discussion shall be about terrorists, beasts, caches of bomb-making equipment, accused ruffians facing 10-year sentences, sinister backers, police purchases of water cannon, and a ban on the wearing of masks. No-one shall utter a word about governance, property prices, Mainland smugglers, poverty gaps, kidnappings of book publishers, or his administration’s complete lack of legitimacy. Some loyalist politicians and columnists in media owned by shoe-shiners of Beijing comply. But the Zombie Sheep Nation effect is ruined by other, independent voices.
Quite a few.
Tycoon and lawmaker James Tien accuses CY not only of wrecking Hong Kong but of damaging the Chinese government’s local image – an impressively mendacious spin from one so guileless. Much (and pointedly) revered former Governor Chris Patten criticizes CY’s government for its political interference in local universities and expresses concern about Chinese agents’ abduction of the book-sellers. Then we have Tsang Yok-sing, Legislative Council President and elder statesman of Hong Kong’s CCP-front, the DAB. According to him, Beijing didn’t receive its copy of CY’s edict, and is investigating his forbidden idea that the Mongkok Riot might be related to the wider socio-economic-political climate. And economist Richard Wong lists the failures in governance that CY says don’t exist and have nothing to do with unrest.
Perhaps the most impressive is one Ms Kwan Wing-yi, who in three minutes before a Legislative Council panel hearing rather neatly tears the government to shreds and finds herself declared a goddess…
Of these five, two (Tien and Tsang) are theoretically on CY’s side, and a third (Wong) is establishment-friendly. With friends like these, the forces of evil struggle to subdue Hong Kong. There is also a theory that while this very evil – in the form of the Communist Party kleptocracy – would love to corrupt and destroy free Hong Kong, it actually needs to preserve the city for the sake of its ‘shadowy money gained from embezzlement or bribery’. That’s supposed to be additionally cheering, by the way.