Anyone want lame, 10-year-old ideas about how to keep pushing rents up by cramming more and more people into Hong Kong? Here you go…
Back in the here-and-now, Chief Executive CY Leung is cancelling a trip to Beijing. And not just any trip to the nation’s capital, but an engagement at a Beijing-Hong Kong Economic Co-operation Symposium – an opportunity to rhapsodize at great length on the wonders of One Belt One Road. This is to CY what a free, day-long pizza/ice-cream/beer buffet would be to the rest of us.
What could possibly keep him away from Thursday’s Belt-and-Road panda-kowtow orgy? It seems he needs to ‘handle’ the judicial review against oath-twisting legislators Sixtus Leung and Yau Wai-ching. According to an expert…
“Suppression of Youngspiration is linked to Leung Chun-ying’s valiant image. If the government loses in the judicial review, Leung would suffer, and he has to be in Hong Kong to make a response and decide the next step.”
So CY will be sitting at his desk clicking Refresh every few seconds for all his valiant image is worth, while an underling live-Tweets the proceedings from the court. Because he might suffer.
Precedent and observation (see here and here) apparently suggest that the court should reject CY’s attempt to interfere in the Legislative Council’s internal affairs. The Council’s President would therefore be free to give the Youngspiration duo their second chance at getting the oath right – though being Andrew Leung, a pro-Beijing shoe-shiner appointed by the Liaison Office, he might try to reverse his original ruling. Either way, this issue looks set to involve more court action for a while.
People’s Daily and other Party organs are ranting that ‘anti-China’ or ‘pro-independence’ lawmakers must not be allowed to take their seats. According to another expert on the radio this morning, Beijing wants the Youngspiration pair to be barred, but in a way that avoids by-elections. This is just the expert’s wild guess, but it is based on a sound reading of Beijing’s extreme phobia about splittists in LegCo.
This is not simply about oaths. If Sixtus and Ms Yau had delivered a flawless performance at the swearing-in ceremony, localists’ presence in the Council would still be unacceptable. Beijing would still eventually pursue them, perhaps for ‘not upholding the Basic Law’, and try to dislodge them in some sort of retroactive version of the pre-election barring of HK Indigenous’s Edward Leung and other candidates (also coming before the courts some time).
So this is about whether the Communist Party can overrule Hong Kong voters’ preferences in democratic elections. It is about whether the Communist Party can impose Mainland-style law-twisting procedures to penalize people for their opinions.
It is also about whether Hong Kong’s supporters of rule of law and freedom of speech can stick together as the United Front machine tries to isolate and crush a few who have ‘brought it on themselves’. Quite a lot of people’s valiant images are at stake.
That Standard story is packed with gems…