Policy platform spotted in HK

Stan-TangRejYesterday it was lawmaker and pro-Beijing veteran Tsang Yok-sing – today it’s hereditary tycoon and ex-Chief Secretary Henry Tang proclaiming that the Chinese government does not pick Hong Kong’s Chief Executive. “I always believe the CE election is fair and open,” he says. (The ‘always’ there is a nice touch.)

In the background: the sound of the most intensely gritted teeth ever.

Henry knows extremely well just how efficiently Beijing decides the result of Hong Kong’s CE ‘election’ in advance – even reserving the right to change its mind at the last minute.

He was the pre-determined ‘winner’ during the run-up to the 2012 selection ceremony by a 1,200-strong committee. Most of the city’s tycoons had publicly announced their support for him. Then, his extramarital affairs and illegal basement mysteriously-but-professionally came to light. With just days to go, the main United Front groups on the Election Committee were maintaining that they had yet to make up their mind how to cast their ballots, and some of the grubbier and dimmer members openly whined that they weren’t sure who they were supposed to vote for. The word finally came down, and CY Leung emerged with his famous 689 votes.

Although the Election Committee is carefully packed with enough obedient loyalists to ensure a majority, it is unlikely that the Chinese Communist Party leaves anything to chance. You do not have to be a huge cynic to presume that the ballots are numbered in such a way that votes can be traced – or that the whole vote-count can be falsified.

As is customary among those assured of the job, Henry didn’t bother putting together a serious manifesto. Most politicians in Hong Kong are essentially role-playing and have few ideas about policy. It’s quite a shock when you actually see a fairly comprehensive platform.

Still (understandably) miffed about being refused a TV broadcasting licence, businessman Ricky Wong plans to run in September’s Legislative Council elections on an ‘Anyone but CY’ ticket. He has a real, and quite interesting, platform


Leaving aside the gimmicky electronic referendum thing, there’s something here to annoy everyone. ‘Pocketing’ a quasi-democratic electoral reform is unacceptable to any serious pro-democrat. Flexibility on this is what makes the ‘third way’ semi-dems people such hopeless losers. But Ricky is just getting started.

His support for a third runway and development in country parks and opposition to rent control and working-hours laws are all standard pro-business positions, but unpopular among environmentalists and pro-labour/grassroots groups. Opposition to independence and support for a national security law are obvious pro-Beijing positions, bound to anger localists and civil-rights activists respectively.

Proposing an end to the New Territories ‘small house’ policy is common sense but unacceptable to officials petrified of upsetting the Beijing-friendly rural mafia. Legalizing Ricky-OustCYUber similarly threatens untouchable vested interests. Both these ideas will have various radical-minded and idealistic policy wonks salivating. Admitting more foreign-trained doctors similarly makes sense and pisses off a cartel.

Letting schools stick with Cantonese and limiting new immigrants’ access to welfare and public housing will appeal to localists and upset Motherland- and integration-adoring patriots.

Oh, and ‘fair, open bid for TV spectrum’.

Election freaks are having a field day working out whether Wong will take more votes from Regina Ip or the pro-dems on Hong Kong Island (he’s looking for signatures, if you’re interested).

Since it cuts through the normal pro-Beijing-pro-dem divide, this policy platform might seem all over the place. But it is in many ways quite coherent: it bows to the reality of Chinese sovereignty, it supports business, and it puts Hong Kong people before parasitical interest groups and outsiders. It’s what the Liberal Party – or something like it – would propose if Hong Kong had a democratic political system (Ricky was associated with the Liberals way back). His opponents’ ideas, by contrast, will be piecemeal and, mostly, insipid. A pattern that Henry Tang might recall.

I declare the weekend open with a puzzle: how do Hong Kong government information officials promote ‘peace of mind in times of typhoons’ with a visual of hands forming a roof over an open book?


Don’t go into the office, make sure your books don’t get wet.

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7 Responses to Policy platform spotted in HK

  1. Enid Gove says:

    Hong Kong needs a Brexit.

    Independence for Stanley Market! Liberate the expats trapped in the Soho Triangle!

    Bread, Peace and Mortgages!

  2. Chinese Netizen says:


    He chooses to offend AND coddle the spectrum. The whole time I read this, I was thinking to myself: “and how much of this will ACTUALLY manifest (or even truly be attempted) IF – by miracle of God or Chairman Mao’s resurrection – he actually gets into office??”

  3. Knownot says:

    “A former Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) investigator, Lam Cheuk-ting, has queried the resignation of Rebecca Li, the acting head of the ICAC’s powerful investigative unit … Li, a high-flyer who was put in charge of the unit in an acting capacity about a year ago … was the first woman to lead the team when she took up the role, and was the first ICAC officer to be sent for special training with the FBI, back in 2000. Unconfirmed reports suggest that she failed to win Beijing’s trust.” – RTHK today

    “A publisher has disappeared.”
    (Now he says he volunteered.)
    When I heard the news
    One winter night
    I thought
    It can’t get worse
    It’s all right.

    “An investigator has been removed
    Because Beijing has not approved.”
    When I heard the news
    One summer day
    I thought
    It won’t get worse than this

  4. AngryCook says:

    I saw that in yesterdays scump. That the new head of The ICAC would need to be approved by Peking. Surely that undermines the whole point of the ICAC. Or are they going to rename it The CACk?

  5. Laguna Lurker says:

    The “glass cliff” is defined by two University of Exeter professors as organisations tapping women leaders in times of crisis, when the odds are stacked against anyone’s success.

  6. PCC says:

    Let’s see:

    1. Use 5% of country parks to house 1.9M people.
    2. End indigenous NT house building rights.
    3. Legalise Uber.
    4. Let schools pick their own language of instruction.
    5. Facilitate importation of overseas doctors.

    Where do I sign up?

  7. reductio says:

    Why do people want to keep building on country parks? How about building on Disney for starters? Then there’s the private golf courses. Let’s go for those first.

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