How can we curb all this dangerous and seditious talk about Hong Kong independence? Why, of course – we must go on and on and on and on (and on and on) about it.
This is not as illogical as it seems. Young radicals’ scurrilous calls for a separate city-state have scared insecure paranoiacs in Beijing into declaring splittist opinions illegal and demanding that the traitors concerned be resolutely and vigorously crushed. Lacking the powers to do Mainland-style crushing but desperate to display obedience, Hong Kong’s establishment indulges in choreographed mouth-frothing about how terribly awful, bad, shocking and disgusting all this independence talk is – at great length. This show of righteous outrage and wrath is mainly aimed at the grey, grizzly, grumpy old malevolences in Beijing, rather than at the Hong Kong people.
This is clear because, in so doing, Hong Kong’s leaders are making the idea of independence sound cooler by the day. Chief Executive CY Leung refers to Golden Bauhinia Square as a unification gift from the motherland and a must-see destination for Mainland tourists, who support national unity and (dabbing tears from his eyes) might not want to visit any more. This plays to the official post-1997 story that Hong Kong survives only because of ‘support’ from Beijing. CY assures his audience that he shares their fantasy that Mainland tourists are a favour and we fear a drop in their numbers.
Local residents, who detest the inundation of visitors, can’t believe their luck: demand independence – get rid of the tourists. Who’d have thought it could be that easy? (Maybe they can take the ugly Gold Bauhinia eyesore with them.)
CY’s localist detractors and other tormentors take a break from skewering him over Airport Bag-Gate and mock his sudden insistence that pro-independence chatter will harm the economy. In essence they jeer: “One minute you say you will arrest us, and now you realize you can’t so you’re trying to con everyone into thinking we will cost people their jobs – how pathetic.” It is almost painful to watch. If I were Beijing, I would cut Hong Kong loose just to rid the country of such heartless and cruel youths.
The South China Morning Post’s contribution to the campaign is a lengthy editorial on Not Talking About The Thing We Must Not Talk About. I failed to share the writer’s sense of cosmic wonder contemplating why the law allows us to have ideas that are neither feasible nor constitutional, and suffered a sudden attack of Attention-Deficit Disorder around sentence 3. But as with CY’s remarks, we are not the intended audience.