The good news: Hang Seng Index above 23,000

We interrupt today’s scheduled Positive Energy to bring you what looks like a rancid pile of the Chinese Communist Party’s dirty laundry.

Reliably pro-Beijing newspaper Sing Pao accused Hong Kong Chief Executive CY Leung and his minders in the Liaison Office of building a ‘Hong Kong independence’ threat out of nothing, as part of factional struggle within the CCP. The article said the Liaison Office’s interference in local affairs was damaging the city, and it called for central government discipline enforcers to step in. Criticizing CY is not such a big deal, but for a patriotic organ to make allegations against Beijing’s official emissaries in town suggests either a death-wish or the influence and protection of someone very high up in the Chinese power structure. (By ‘make allegations against’ we mean ‘blurt out the well-known obvious truth about’.)

Wen Wei Po, an arm of the Liaison Office, reports that Mainland police want Sing Pao owner Gu Zhuoheng for a P2P money-lending scam in Shenzhen – a thing dating from last year. Mainland police regard him as a fugitive, on the run (presumably not in Thailand, or Causeway Bay).

The South China Morning Post files it under ‘Media’. Really…


It is hard to imagine that Gu’s paper is attacking the Hong Kong authorities to somehow divert attention from Mainland criminal charges against him – though in the world of Mainland tycoons with political links, anything is possible. The more rational explanation is therefore CCP infighting.

As Mark O’Neill said on RTHK this morning, this sort of Mainland power-struggle BS isn’t supposed to break out here in Hong Kong. The well-water and the river-water, those of us with long memories will recall, should not mix. As other past Communist officials put it, Hong Kong is ‘an economic city, not a political city’; we’re not supposed to squabble about our own local affairs, let alone host the CCP’s internal bloodletting.

The Sing Pao thesis is that CY and the Liaison Office are part of a ‘hawkish’ faction in the WWP-GuCommunist Party. This implies that a ‘less hawkish’ faction is, via Sing Pao, stabbing them in the back. In Mainland government office-politics, it’s usually the other way round: officials in Tibet and Xinjiang who try to accommodate local culture end up being denounced and replaced by tough Han-supremacists who demolish temples and ban beards. No-one ever lost their job for being too hawkish. But the allegation here is that CY’s invention of an HK Independence movement is not just about career-boosting, but ideological struggle at top national leadership level.

If the ‘hawkish’ faction is part of some group (Jiang Zemin/princelings/rogue PLA/etc) opposed to Xi Jinping, CY and his Liaison Office buddy Zhang Xiaoming are toast. (Either that, or Xi is.) If this ‘hawks’ faction is onside with him, Xi will keep them very much in office as a matter of being seen to maintain and consolidate his control. Perhaps, if we are to cover all possibilities within this murk, the faction could be hawkish but with no strong feelings either way on Xi. A Hong Kong Legislative Council election is such an innocent and inconsequential child’s game, isn’t it?

If CY Leung were active in some ultra-nationalist/xenophobic Communist Party coven at war with modernizing/internationalist rivals in the hallways of Zhongnanhai, it wouldn’t be that much of a surprise. In fact, it would be a shock – almost disappointing – if he wasn’t. But to the extent he cares about his local image, it’s unhelpful, however much he cares about old people’s teeth. The timing isn’t great (we were supposed to be jumping up and down over Olympic gold medalists and the G20 thing, and voting for Starry on Sunday, and mocking the idea of John Tsang as next CE). And whatever it is that’s going on, it’s making ‘One Country Two Systems’ looking more than ever like a bad joke.

I mean, how Mainland is this…


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20 Responses to The good news: Hang Seng Index above 23,000

  1. Another boredom factor, the Hang Seng Index. Like listening to people In England talking about how much their property is worth. But it’s just a number. They have to pay just as much to purchase something similar or worse in a different location. It’s called inflation. And they think it is profit. People are funny aren’t they? Even in Hong Kong.

    I’d love you to explain in just one column why all this is interesting. Just once. If you don’t hate China with unreasoned passion or have some wired hidden agenda, it’s all very tedious. You ought to move on.

  2. Walter De Havilland says:

    Christ, my heads spinning after reading that. Can you draw me a picture as I’m now somewhat confused. Is CY a good guy or part of some evil plot?

  3. Cassowary says:

    So, the question is whether the hawk faction are part of Xi’s posse or not. If they’re Xi guys, whoever is trying to take them down is most likely screwed, as are we. More paranoia, more control, more freaking out over teenagers’ Facebook pages.

    If the hawks aren’t Xi’s guys, then somebody’s trying to get Xi to bring the hammer down on them. Then, the more interesting question is who is doing it, and why? Who do they want to replace CY and the Liaison Office flunkies with? Do they even care? Or if this is just a way to bring down CY’s patrons high up in the CCP structure, then the downstream vacuum is going to trigger a feeding frenzy.

  4. Stephen says:

    Localism should also mean we butt out of mainland China affairs !

    I largely see the fate of CY Leung dependent on Sunday’s results. If underperforming mainland athletes, talking about menstruation, doesn’t have you rushing out to vote for the lovely, but vacuous, Starry then I see a more conciliatory puppet CE being fostered on Hong Kong. Five more years of CY trading barbs with a seething Legco complete with filibusting and an intact veto will see a number of us join Li Ka Shing and head for the door.

  5. pie-chucker says:

    Mr Fenby – You surely realise we live, here in Hong Kong, in interesting times. New pronouncements, initiatives, admonishments, half-arsed dictates are occurring almost daily. They are certainly worth recording, almost daily.

    ‘Hate China’? Nonsense. Very few people do here, and I mean in HK. It’s more an extreme frustration that the ‘two systems’ concept is being steamrolled. Quite suddenly, and quite quickly.

    If you don’t find that interesting – worth examining while we can – then it is you who should move on, or out.

  6. Dreck says:

    Off topic, but I’m genuinely curious about why that sad guy with the sad NTSCMP blog keeps posting about how boring Big Lychee is.

    If this site is so bad why read it so avidly? Why post so often? Why use different names? He must be the most prolific commenter.

    Is it a personal grudge? Jealousy? Is he just in it for the traffic? Is he some kind of socialist/communist agitator? Perhaps he’s ill.

    Does anyone know?

    I like this site. I find it entertaining. Much of the commentary is entertaining too. I only wish I could block that bore.

  7. Morticia says:

    All other things being equal, if John Tsang will not be the next CEO then Xi Dada’s handshake is not worth a cup of banana milkshake. Draw your own conclusions, then.

  8. Knownot says:

    Hong Kong Third World

    “Although of speech or freedom
    There is no abatement,
    To be a candidate
    You have to sign this statement.”

    Those who did not sign
    Are allowed to stand,
    But somebody who did
    Is banned.

    Another law is bent,
    Another blurred one.
    As we travel to a different World,
    The Third one.

    The independence movement
    Largely can be blamed
    On CY’s provocation.
    So Sing Pao has claimed.

    In calm, mature response
    By the other side,
    The chairman of the paper
    Is vilified.

    Another throwing-mud campaign,
    A nasty and absurd one.
    Welcome to a different World,
    The Third one.

  9. Peter says:

    ntscmp is boring and sucks. Its owner is a loser and full of himself. I would rather read big lychee than read what some idiot work a chip on his shoulder accusing us all of hating China has to say. We hate the CCP, not China, so massive tool.

  10. PCC says:

    I’m with Dreck.

  11. Joe Blow says:

    Okay, now I have to say something: Adams and Hemlock (and Nury) go back a long way. Like decades. Once upon a time they were chums. Were they bum chums ? I don’t know. But they are both English, so it is quite possible. Dr Adams, who went to Oxford, as he never tires telling anyone, has been blogging for a long time and I appreciate him for that. His blog is a cultural storeroom of Hong Kong life.

    Now, do you like or dislike “Dr” Adams contributions ? That’s up to you. But as Voltaire once said ….-and I am not going to repeat what he said-… he, and everyone else, has a right to express an opinion. So back off. This is not China (yet).

  12. Laguna Lurker says:

    I share with pie-chucker, Dreck, Peter and PCC my contempt for this sad, self-absorbed and supercilious twat who adopts so many daft pseudonyms. Like the wee Geordie lad he once was, he still likes to knock on doors and run away, in the vain hope that some sucker just might follow him back to his dreary unfunny website. Give it up, George. You’re so passé.

  13. dimuendo says:

    Re Dr Adams what happened to Qian Jie. Plus while I find Dr Adams a bore I side with Joe Blow.

    Plus nobody has responded to my entreaty as to who to vote for on Sunday. My lunch companion today, who reads chinese unlike me (apologies) , sys the chinese press and polls are fullof prognostications that the anti establsihemnt camp, however you define, it is going to get stuffed. So how do I vote, so as not to waste it. I would vote Mr Dutch, as his his policies are to make HK more liveable and I believe him to be democratic, but does he have a snowball’s chance in hell of being elected?

    My lunch mate was in favour of number 4, Ms Ho, although unfortunately I think she is a well meaning light weight

    Apologies for inevitable typos; in the early morning etc

  14. PD says:

    I interpret the George case as a determined, quixotic attempt at the beginning to integrate into local, working-class society, by reciprocating all the characteristic tricks, non sequiturs, monologuing, put-downs and veiled threats.

    Careless of what he wished for, in the halcyon pre-1997 days before calculated racist insults became the norm in such society, he at least managed to hold his own, to create admittedly vindictive but effective ways of defending himself.

    He even managed to compensate “romantically” for a repressed youth, to finish a modest PhD at the second attempt and to hold down a job, for a while, at a third-rate tertiary institution.

    But his brave, nay foolhardy attempt to prove that not all Hongkongers are Chinese, that there is room in this tight little cauldron for people with an independent lifestyle and intellectual life, has finally got bogged down by all the material factors he affected to scorn: accommodation, money, health, ageing and so on.

    George has still a very real, multifarious talent, and has invested plenty of courage and energy. But he was never willing to play the games he so brilliantly lampooned, including those minimal ones usually attached to lasting intellectual or literary endeavour.

  15. stanley gibbons says:

    Top post, PD. You have the ginger bawbag in a nutshell. Almost had me reaching for the kleenex, but not quite…..

  16. CH says:

    RE: dimuendo, Zimmerman has 0% chance. Latest HKI polls see Demosisto (Nathan Law), Labour (Cyd Ho), and Civic Passion (Alvin Cheng) as 2/3 points below FTU’s Aron Kwok (at 7-8%), but themselves 2/3 points ahead of Chim Pui-Chung. FTU’s voter turnout mechanism generally sees them perform above polling, which might put them in 5th while the Democratic Party (Ted Hui) drops to 6th.

    Data in Chinese here:

    So your vote probably won’t do much to sway the establishment/dem balance, unless you vote for Regina and she gets the 2nd member of her list elected as well. In a scenario where FTU doesn’t outperform, it might be worth voting late to see what turnout is like – a strong dem and especially young turnout will help Demosisto and Civic Passion, but probably not Labour. Also pay attention to the also-rans – People Power’s Christopher Lau, Zimmerman, Andy Chui – to see if they endorse in the final few days.

    Vote-splitting will definitely cost the pan-dems/localists potential seats, but I don’t think Beijing will get its veto-proof majority, at least not from geographical constituency flips alone. In any case, an establishment veto-proof majority guarantees rocky roads ahead as legislative politics gets played out on the street.

    First comment here, but been a lurker for years. Great blog.

  17. LRE says:

    OoooOooo! Someone must have upset George: he’s throwing a bit of a tanty at hemlock today.

  18. reductio says:


    It’s refreshing to be out isn’t it? Don’t worry, along with the fine commentaries provided by PD et al, you’ve got people like me, which is a low bar to get over. And on to Dr George….I’ve never met the guy, and only read his blog a few times. But like Qian Jie (I miss the old(?) guy) he’s trying to shake things up a bit. Although if he were clearer in what he wrote I think it’d be more effective. Oh, and Voltaire didn’t say “I disagree with what you say …etc” it was another bloke. And this is why my wife won’t watch historical dramas with me (“That is the wrong kind of musket drill. The French fired by companies”).

    See? Random stuff. It’s easy.

  19. Cassowary says:

    Do you gentlemen need to get a room? Or at least go down to Wanchai to beat each other over the head with your inflatable blow-up dolls and leave the rest of us in peace.

  20. Red Dragon says:

    Too much analysis of Gorgeous George. He doesn’t warrant it.

    The bloke’s a berk. Period.

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