Columnists boldly suggest PRC stop treating HK like dirt

Often teetering on the edge of Global Times-style propaganda, the South China Morning Post suddenly offers a couple of opinion pieces based on rationality. In place of hand-wringing about the need for everyone to embrace harmony, readers get a realistic appraisal of the ultimate cause of Hong Kong’s discontent…

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Beijing made a mistake ignoring and marginalising the political middle from both the pro-establishment and pro-democracy camps, especially during the failed constitutional reform process, which exacerbated the radical shift of Hong Kong’s political landscape.

The traditional pro-dems – the Democratic Party elders – are the nice cuddly ones. Along with some of today’s moderate pro-Beijing community, they go back to a 1980s pro-reunification student movement. The Tiananmen Massacre left them disillusioned, but the Chinese government could have co-opted them after the handover if it had been flexible and pragmatic.

Of course, the Communist Party does not do ‘flexible and pragmatic’. The United Front tactics involve splitting the opposition, forcing waverers to choose sides and crushing remaining hostile elements. It might have worked in 1917 Russia or 1949 China, but it has just alienated much of mainstream Hong Kong and is now radicalizing the young.

Looking back, we can see a 10-year succession of events and viral Facebook memes that brought us to where we are now. The defence of heritage sites like Queen’s Pier/Star Ferry, Alice Poon’s book Land and the Ruling Class, awareness of the ‘property hegemony’, the spread of micro/‘coffin’/subdivided apartments, disquiet about Mainlanders using local services and resources. In 2012, CY Leung took over with a mandate to patch over some of these problems, but mainly to visibly assert and ‘implement’ Chinese sovereignty. Hence Beijing’s 2014 White Paper and Standing Committee edicts declaring Hong Kong’s autonomy to be conditional and ruling out free elections. Then we get the Umbrella Movement, the localist/anti-smuggling protests, the bookseller kidnappings, the Mongkok Fishball Riot and the NT Northeast by-election.

This brings us to today. The succession of events is not over. In the background, you have China’s looming economic slowdown, Xi Jinping’s new totalitarianism, parallels between Hong Kong and Taiwan (Tibet, Xinjiang), and global economic stresses.

A comparison with Singapore is inexact – the Lion City has a different sort of quasi-democracy and different constitutional and cultural relationships with its hinterland. But part of the picture is familiar enough to Hong Kong. Technocrats have grown obsessed with GDP/population growth as an end in itself and oblivious to the notion of quality of citizens’ lives. Alarmed at the backlash, they try to fix it

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The columnist omits any specific ways the Hong Kong administration could emulate Singapore’s measures. They are all obvious by now: ban non-residents from buying homes; penalize owners who keep apartments empty; get Mainland ‘tourist’ numbers back down by a good 80%; give priority to locals in school allocation; divert public spending from white elephants to social services; [fill in your favourites].

Don’t they have vested interests to obstruct things in Singapore? There’s no equivalent of our property cartel or Heung Yee Kuk. They don’t have a swamping-with-tourists problem on our epic scale, so no need to attack the tourism/landlord sector. But they do have a swamping-with-workers issue, which implies a battle with employers who want cheap labour. As the columnist points out, Singapore has universal-suffrage, if rigged, elections which the people can use to focus the leadership’s minds on who pays their salaries. Hong Kong has nothing left but the street. Thanks, as the SCMP reminds us today, to the stupidity and malevolence of the Communist Party.

Meanwhile up in Beijing, officials are working on an exciting alternative approach: tell people they’re stupid

Tw2

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23 Responses to Columnists boldly suggest PRC stop treating HK like dirt

  1. Qian Jin says:

    @” The Tiananmen Massacre ” left them disillusioned.

    You still stick to the dissidents’ (and those in the West, brain-washed by them) term for this event, even though US classified reports (now released to the public) sent from the U.S. Embassy throughout that night, clearly indicate that the violence was initiated by protestors stoning and burning to death soldiers, armed only with rattan shields and batons. In all a few hundred died that night , over 10% of them young soldiers murdered by raging mobs……. kind of like the sort you see in Mong Kok these days.

  2. Jason says:

    @QJ:For this comment you deserve more than just ‘wumao’!
    But I thought, these “events” were all faked by the CIA?!

  3. Occupy Central was just another Petitioner Village. The Peking authorities bulldozed theirs to make way for the Olympics. Hong Kong is small potatoes compared with Taiwan, Xinjiang, Tibet and general Mainland dissent. When you’re in Hong King, you think the place is important. It’s a bit like Zurich. Everyone thinks they’re important there too. But get in your car and in an hour or two you are somewhere much bigger. All you can see behind you is chocolate, snow and dumb St Bernards.

  4. Xian Jin says:

    Congrats to the Big Lychee, you are seemingly being monitored by a PRC goon. Qian Jin, can you please start your own blog so we can all have a good laugh?

  5. Jason90 says:

    @Qian Jin – interesting point you make. Can you provide a link or reference to the US report – I’d be most interested to read it.

  6. reductio says:

    @QJ

    Well, that’s certainly an alternative view. Here’s another: 90% of casualties were civilian protesters shot by soldiers or crushed by tanks. Why not just be upfront QJ, and argue that the CCP felt the need to do it because they believed the country was on the verge of going tits up? They had historical precedent in other demonstrations of discontents turning into rebellions which had caused chaos. More cynically, you could argue this kind of show of force is what states do and until we have an Bakuninist anarchistic utopia they will always do it to greater or lesser extents. But don’t try and deny the facts as happened.

  7. Qian Jin says:

    @Jason : “For this comment you deserve more than just ‘wumao'”

    QJ witnessed this all live , courtesy of CNN , throughout the nigh,t including the first violence in which we witnessed soldiers stoned and set on fire hanging from lampposts. Then the first personnel carrier to enter Tiananmen Square being firebombed, burning alive their occupants… all before any shooting took place. The first sound of “gun fire” was in fact small-arms ammunition within the personnel carrier exploding. The real shooting then started and any western democracy’s police force, if faced with murdering thugs like this would have responded in the same way. All the video of the first mob violence is now cleverly edited out of all the Western media films about Tiananmen. A bit of “self censorship” you might say because it doesn’t help the one-sided dissident’s viewpoint

  8. Bigot says:

    One just cannot light up a cowhide lantern.

  9. Grande Poobah says:

    @Qian Jin

    So what is it? Info available to the public through US classified reports or no longer available as it’s been cleverly edited away by the Western media? Can’t have it both ways.

  10. LRE says:

    @QJ CNN missed most of the killings which took place outside of the square, as the PLA opened up with heavy calibre MGs from their Tanks and APCs on student dorms up and down the city. I remember the CCP proffering bullshit tales of poor innocent PLA troops burnt to death by those vicious unarmed students and they had some great pics of badly burnt bodies in amazingly pristine PLA uniforms which are clearly amazingly fireproof. But I’ll take the word of the people who were there over those who watched it on TV. But perhaps you’d prefer the communist propaganda version from Radio Beijing.

  11. E L Wisty says:

    I like Qian Jin’s Interesting Facts.

    Did he know that he has five miles of tubing in his stomach?

    This means that none of his food is ever really fresh.

  12. Qian Jin says:

    [email protected] LRE “@ CNN missed most of the killings which took place outside of the square, as the PLA opened up with heavy calibre MGs .”
    Correct if you insert the words ” after the firebombing and killing of soldiers had started “. Any nation’s security force troops would have responded similarly. Over the top ? Yes ! but we have seen occurrences like this time and time again when troops on the ground see their colleagues murdered and get a bit irked . Remember My Lai in 1968 when a platoon of American soldiers brutally killed between 200 and 500 unarmed civilians or Batang Kali in Malaya (1948) when Scot Guards wiped out a whole village. The list of these disgusting extremes perpetrated by many armies is very long
    [email protected] reductio :”crushed by tanks”
    The original live video footage of the famous “Tankman” still picture, now used as syndicated propaganda to suggest the tanks ran over him, in fact reversed away and went around him. But this footage is now seldom shown because it doesn’t suit the media’s biased and twisted message.
    [email protected] Grande Poobah : ” Can’t have it both ways.” But you can you see ! The online film “massacre” propaganda ignores the recently released classified US reports (You have to go toUSA to read them…. only a synopsis can be found online) And the video clips now easily available (with their later added biased commentary in lieu of all the facts) show only the edited parts they (the anti-China Western media) want you to see to justify their version of events. You need to see the whole in order to fully understand what happened on that sad night. It is also very sad that CNN has not released for public viewing all the film recorded ….. but QJ remembers it vividly, including which side started that ugly fight.

  13. Headache says:

    Yawn. Feel free to go on until you’re blue in the face, QJ, but I hope you’ll understand if I don’t bother too much with my re-education until such a time as I’m dragged across the border in the middle of the night.

  14. Joe Blow says:

    QJ certainly has a lot of time on his hands.

  15. Red Dragon says:

    Today’s comments have turned into a Qian Jin fest.

    This is a slippery slope.

    You’ll never get anywhere with that gadfly, so either just sit back and titter, or ignore his/her/its ravings altogether.

    On no account should you respond as this will only provoke further ejaculations.

  16. PCC says:

    @Red Dragon Yes, I agree. Let’s not ruin the neighbourhood.

  17. Old Newcomer says:

    Strange – I sat mesmerised through many hours of live footage from Beijing as the events happened, but I don’t remember it the way QJ claims it took place. Just one question – what were soldiers doing at a peaceful protest in the first place? Trooping the colour?

  18. Chinese Netizen says:

    Old sage saying: “Don’t feed the troll”

  19. Gooddog says:

    I’m glad we never let QJ into the club. Bad egg and all that.

  20. RhZ says:

    Ho ho you guys are in for it now.

  21. Monkey the Unborn says:

    Lol @QJ …

    First i thought you were just a “communist” loving Chinese … now i am realising you actually advocate for some surreal, absurd form of utopian, Han-supremacist, neo-maoist fascist corporatist uber-nationalism. Nice one in being “different”.

    do you know where you are on the evolutionary curve btw? Let me put it this way, if you dont see anyone in front of you, its because you are looking backwards amigo.

  22. Old Newcomer says:

    I see that Donald Trump characterises the Tiananmen events as a riot. What more convincing evidence do you need that QJ’s version of events is wrong that that Trump agrees with it?

  23. Old Newcomer says:

    Sorry, typo – I meant “than that”.

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