While the Palace Museum 20th Anniversary Gift Vision degenerates into a classic Hong Kong government PR-disaster, preparations for the investiture of Chief Secretary Carrie Lam as the city’s next Chief Executive continue. As they must – assuming that the geniuses of the Chinese leadership, still wiping the blood of incumbent CY Leung off their hands, have no better plan.
The lady has dinner at a property developer’s mansion with a bunch of real-estate cartel scions. This is an old and predictable ceremony – a lot of sniffing and licking more nauseating to watch than the grossest mating ritual on a TV nature documentary. One or two more daring tycoons start to endorse her publicly, having deduced that wannabe Financial Secretary John Tsang is not to be Beijing’s choice.
Behind the scenes, a ‘campaign’ team is taking shape. The idea is to lobby stroppy interest groups represented on the Election Committee. Beijing wants to avoid another ‘689’ situation, where even a rigged ‘election’ fails to display enthusiasm for the winner. On the other hand, a one-horse quasi-race could look even less credible. To complicate matters, hostile pan-democrats now hold over 300 seats on the Committee – enough to theoretically make ballot-box mischief. (As an additional complication, Beijing’s local Liaison Office might be undergoing purge-rectification, sapping its voter-herding and micro-management ability.)
Carrie’s ‘campaign’ team is being hastily cobbled-together from the more nice-and-presentable circles of Hong Kong’s establishment, as typified by its chairman Ronald Arculli. The wretches will be expected to muster support from entitled vested interests, grasping parasites and other self-serving detritus of the Communist Party’s co-opted support base. CY Leung as candidate at least had some psychos and weirdos he could send off to talk to the Heung Yee Kuk as equals; the New Territories mafia will eat Carrie’s helpers for breakfast.
If China’s leadership wanted a dependable and solid local support base, it could start by asking why practically all 300 of the 1,200 Election Committee seats filled by something like a popular vote in December went to the pan-dems. Just joking. As it is, the zaniest Beijing could do in terms of last-minute panic-induced lateral-thinking is to pull John Tsang out of the hat.
Now poor Carrie prepares to declare herself a ‘candidate’ by pleading (in her oh-so-endearing ‘defiant tone’) with the opposition and broader public not to politicize her Palace Museum dream. The government has no legitimacy, so anything it does is going to be politicized. And dutifully scrabbling around for backers among property tycoons and rural gangsters isn’t exactly going to change that.