There is one candidate supposedly hoping to get on the ballot in Hong Kong’s forthcoming Chief Executive fake-election who talks some sense – Justice Woo Kwok-hing. He is an outsider and no-hoper, and apparently having fun saying what ‘serious’ wannabes dare not. Speaking yesterday, he noted that most members of the 1,200-strong rubber-stamp Election Committee seem primarily interested in making sure they correctly identify and back Beijing’s pre-selected winner.
As if on cue, the Heung Yee Kuk – a Beijing-friendly lobby of grasping and lawless rural landed interests – dither over whether to openly support Carrie Lam. Some of the village henchmen discuss joining her ‘campaign team’, while others openly advise waiting until the Chinese Communist Party ‘issues its orders’ about who to vote for.
Carrie will be waving her pearls at a media circus and extravaganza at the Convention Centre at the end of next week. It will no doubt be a classic formulaic Hong Kong fake-election fake-event, put together by an amoral PR agency who know full well it will look like crap to the rest of the world. Expect gushing supporters in matching T-shirts, a vacuous slogan, a ‘manifesto’ of drivel, and famous/goofy personages including tycoons (definitely), ex-bureaucrats (ditto), a faded Cantopop star or two (probably), a hapless medal-winning disabled athlete (probably) and other opportunists and reluctant recruits.
Watch for signs from apparently uncommitted players, like the aforementioned Heung Yee Kuk mafia or members of inscrutable United Front-led parties and groups. I can’t see ranking Chinese officials being so grotesquely unsubtle as to openly endorse Carrie at this pre-‘nomination’ stage (surely?), but glowing coverage in the pro-Beijing media is assured. The proceedings will be marked by a distinct lack of sincerity, enthusiasm or indeed reality. Forget the passion of a Trump/Hillary/Bernie gig. Ordinary members of the public will of course not be present.
Outside the hall, it may be a different matter. Perhaps demonstrators will turn up, and bring some badly needed spontaneity, feeling and soul. And maybe witty props. I can’t possibly imagine what.