After all the false confessions, does anyone out there believe the ‘forced disagreements’?
The Abducted Hong Kong Booksellers Saga continues with Beijing insisting ever more strenuously that its lies are the truth, using Lee Po, Lam Wing-kee’s girlfriend and the others as helpless co-erced puppets. Presumably no-one is going to swallow such obviously contrived BS. But it serves a purpose: it drops a lifeline to Beijing’s apologists, who can at least point to ‘two-sides’ of the story.
The Chinese regime is in a privileged position. It can state blatant falsehoods and still be surrounded by media, advisors, bureaucrats and others who assure it that it is correct, while having the luxury of disregarding anyone who differs (not that it works). The Hong Kong government, on the other hand, has to worm and wriggle its way through a morass of propaganda and illogicality and still try to make sense to a hostile and skeptical world.
Hong Kong’s government concedes that the mechanism whereby Mainland authorities notify the city when they arrest its residents apparently failed in Lam Wing-kee’s case. The city’s administration cannot admit that the Chinese security services have made a mockery of Beijing’s own claims that it always detains and treats suspects ‘in accordance with the law’. It cannot admit that, on the other side of the border, there is no law. It certainly can’t bring itself to openly face the fact that, when the Communist Party decrees it, there is no law on this side of the border either.
The Hong Kong government would like to say that everything is fine, boys and girls – just provided you don’t sell subversive books on the Mainland. That would put everything in perspective. Despite this little bookseller unpleasantness, those of us who do not push seditious literature over the border can still rest assured that the Communist Party won’t break the rules in the case of, say, a legal dispute with a well-connected Mainland company.
Unfortunately, such a clarification would undermine the official fantasy – maintained even by top Communist Party Officials – that ‘One Country, Two Systems’ is totally inviolable. Even when Beijing publicly smashes Hong Kong’s autonomy into pieces, the city’s own hapless leaders have to stand there and assert that it’s still intact.
Truthiness and more truthiness …
What’s wrong with you people? Haven’t you read the Analects of Confucius? Are you not good Chinese? Do you not understand that your sole (or perhaps soul) purpose is to kowtow and bang your head on the ground when confronted with the Natural, Moral, and Righteous expression of Power and Authority by those who hold the current pseudo-monopoly on violence?
What’s that about truthiness you spout? Surely you must have realised by now how fallible human perception is, how fallible your perception is… Reality is not what you think it is, it is what I Say It Is… Because Chinese, because Confucianism, because traditional family values, because practical pragmatism… because … oh fuck it, just because I Say So.
Welcome to the moral compass of many Hong Kongers, who have lived by these values in their families and companies in the last 50 years. Karma can be a bitch, or do unto others as you would have them do unto you, as some dude with a beard said on a mount some time ago…
Viva la evolucion!
Hemlock, for a brief moment around lunchtime I thought you had been abducted and rendered across the border to a Chinese Gestapo dungeon, vere dey hav ways to make you talk.
Don’t think it can’t happen to you: it can happen to all of us. (there may be a few exceptions: who would like to talk endlessly to Emily Lau, or “Dr” George Adams ?)
Except that any ‘clarification’ that everything is fine if you’re not a seditious bookseller steps dangerously on to Niemöller’s slippery slope.
And fear of ‘who’s next’ would warp and damage much of what remains of Hong Kong’s strength long before the next abduction.