The Chinese Communist Party has always distorted the history of the 1937 Nanjing Massacre. For years under Mao, it pretty much ignored the event in order to obscure the fact that the Party was playing no serious military role when the Japanese attacked the Nationalist capital. More recently it has, if anything, exaggerated the scale of the atrocity to encourage a crude anti-Japanese popular sentiment and nurture the Chinese-victimhood-before-gallant-CCP-came-to-rescue line.
This version of history essentially downplays Japanese slaughter, rape and pillage in Manila, Singapore, Hong Kong and elsewhere. Obviously, no-one mentions the CCP’s 1948 siege of Changchun, where the civilian death toll possibly exceeded that in Nanjing.
So enlightened Hongkongers who know better can be forgiven for not taking China’s revisionist self-pitying ceremonies seriously, and indeed indulging in notable lapses in decorum if dragged off to attend such an occasion. No surprise, then, that two of them – former Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa and more-or-less putative next CE Carrie Lam – ended up groping one another yesterday while all around them bowed in patriotically selective mourning for the victims of Japanese fascist aggression.
Carrie also took a cheap shot at presumed rival Financial Secretary (Resigned) John Tsang. She used a report no-one knew he had produced on the Aging Population Threat-to-Civilization as an excuse to accuse him of disrespecting our plucky senior citizens – treating them as worthless unproductive mouths that a dwindling younger workforce will need to feed.
It is impossible not to admire such hypocrisy. The Hong Kong bureaucrat-tycoon establishment fears diverting government expenditure away from white-elephant infrastructure projects towards people, and sees a low-wage/high-immigration model as the only source of future economic development. Carrie is part of this.
But wait – there’s more. Carrie brings even more outdated policy baggage from long-dead generations of the British colonial ruling caste. This includes condescension towards the infantile populace who are unfit to hold views on public affairs – or understand anything not presented using cartoon visuals. More to the point, it is descended from the Victorian work-house philosophy that society will be ruined if the poor are not made to suffer hardship. For example, she has opposed measures to help families stuck in subdivided apartments on the grounds that it would encourage others to move into such accommodation.
CY Leung became Chief Executive nearly five years ago with promises to move away from this approach – which is why the tycoons hate him. Once in office, he and his Liaison Office minders instead went off on their Ideological Rectification Campaign, turning Hong Kong into a hotbed of counter-revolutionary deviance and splittism. Carrie’s job, presumably, will be to get it right this time. So she has to get used to being a bit more warm and cuddly on welfare issues, like being nice to the elderly. What better way to practice than a hug with old Tung in a crowd of geriatric patriots?