New Year resolution: make rigged HK election look less rigged

The big news today is that someone out there finds it a ‘shock’ that University of Hong Kong Vice-chancellor Peter Mathieson is quitting. If the guy had wanted to stay as the Chinese Communist Party stuffed the school’s governing body with sniveling shoe-shiners – that would be a story. Given the likely pay-cut involved in moving from a Hong Kong to a UK university at his level, I will forgive him for occasionally walking a dog through my neighbourhood.

Meanwhile, Beijing’s United Front forces are busy micro-managing the quasi-election for Hong Kong’s Chief Executive. Observant insomniacs will have noticed that two significant blocs have recently started to look slightly less than 100% supportive of presumed ‘winner’ Carrie Lam.

The DAB – the Communists’ main local party-political appendage – is rather too obviously maintaining that at least some of its zombies are undecided. Coquettish front-person Starry Lee even claims that ‘the personal preferences of the [Leninist totalitarian brainwashing machine] members should be respected’. Translation: our masters in Beijing’s local Liaison Office worry that the whole ‘election’ charade is looking idiotic, and have told us to make it look a bit more real.

The grasping rural godfathers of the Heung Yee Kuk are also putting on a show of being slightly less pro-Carrie. Perhaps they too got a call from the Liaison Office. But they will also no doubt see a chance to extract concessions on their illicit feudal land-scams from candidates or higher powers in return for their loyalty. One of them blurts out to the South China Morning Post that they are, anyway, still unsure whether Carrie is definitely going to be Beijing’s choice.

One of the distinguishing traits of the otherwise motley rabble that comprise the pro-Beijing alliance is that many – not all, but a higher-than-average proportion – are at the intellectually less-dazzling end of the spectrum. It couldn’t be otherwise, if you consider that being best friends with the Communist Party requires obedience and the parroting of the official line, however absurd.

Sadly, this manifests itself in Beijing’s choice of Hong Kong leaders. We have had three so far. Two have been kicked out by popular demand of the (disfranchised) citizens, while one is on trial on corruption charges. Carrie Lam looks set to be the fourth, but John Tsang would do at a pinch.

It must be clear by now that Beijing’s number-one and overwhelming qualification for the job is total loyalty and obedience. Under Xi Jinping, it’s worse. To Communists paranoid about foreign-tainted Hong Kong, this rules out anyone with a streak of independence (a problem with overly ambitious Regina Ip), their own mind, flair, originality – indeed, probably leadership skills. So you can forget any chance of real new thinking on housing, education, traffic and so on. The CCP is too frightened of people who are capable (just in case you wondered why, out of 7 million people, our establishment ‘elite’ is comprised of blinkered bureaucrats, scions and shoe-shiners).

Asia Sentinel wonders whether Beijing might yet pull the plug on Carrie if she continues with her toilet-paper, Octopus card, Mainland beggar, Palace Museum, messages-from-God mishaps. Maybe we should hope it doesn’t happen – the more clumsy and out-of-touch with the young and educated the next CE, the better the chances of some real change later on. John Tsang (biggest brainwave: food trucks) would have exactly the same non-policies, but distract everyone with his flying Kung Fu kicks and French movies.

I declare the weekend open with hopes that China’s whole state-corporate house of cards is approaching its end – some intriguing reading on Alibaba’s recent investor-update and an Alibaba-related deal.


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7 Responses to New Year resolution: make rigged HK election look less rigged

  1. pd says:

    It’s a dilemma indeed. On the one hand, the Georgian, foul-your-own-nest opinion argues for supporting the worst candidate, the one who will make all our lives as miserable as possible.

    On the other, letting Peking have its brutal way with us yet again sticks in the gullet.

    I can see no way out — unless, by some miracle Tsang falls at the next hurdle and we can go all out for Regina.

  2. Stephen says:

    If we assume that the CCP fears the beginning of the end and is merely trying to prolong it, I cannot see how a democratically elected Mayor in Hong Kong is going to hasten the end. Noises from the new American administration might – blockade China’s new South China Sea fortresses, sink the mighty Liaoning and after lots of nationalist mouth frothing the populace string the CCP up when they realise the Yankees have bigger guns than the PLA – but with tremendous risks including anarchy and nuclear oblivion. China changes when its citizens see that the CCP is now a roadblock rather than a solution. That, the economy stupid, already seems to be happening, Let’s leave them to that.

    However Hong Kong is looking increasingly f*cked. Harmless university Chancellors decide enough and even Mainland billionaires (and their loot) are no longer safe here. Hence in the ‘big game’ Hong Kong is expendable so do we put up and shut up ? Do a Peter Mathieson ? Divine Carrie, Avant-garde John or even Mad Vagina will make no difference.

  3. reductio says:

    I met with a (not Triad, lots of Chinese people have tats these days) acquaintance who is a bit of a (no way triad) “big wheel” where I live, while my dog was doing his number two’s. The section of the SCMP he (the dog, not the guy) was dumping on by happenstance was one with a photo of Carrie. Much merriment and pointing “Ha, no good, yuggh, no good”, and then something in Canto which I didn’t catch but it didn’t seem too laudatory. Assuming he was referring to Carrie and not the brown torpedo, I think that is further evidence that she is not well liked up here. Also, thumbs up for the SCMP print edition.

  4. Knownot says:

    For the weekend.

    If you wake at midnight and hear some footsteps’ patter
    Don’t go dialling 999 or wonder what’s the matter.
    Them that ask no questions isn’t told a lie.
    Watch the wall my darling while the Gentlemen go by.

    Half a dozen quiet men
    Slipping through the dark
    Coming for the tycoon, coming for the clerk.
    Easy not to see them, easy to deny.
    Watch the wall my darling while the Gentlemen go by.

    Did you hear a cellphone ringing at the dead of night?
    Did you hear a car door closing? Don’t turn on the light!
    The constables, the civil servants, fast asleep they lie.
    They don’t try to follow when the Gentlemen go by.

    Half a dozen quiet men
    Surely have their reasons
    For coming here on holiday and calling at Four Seasons.
    Them that ask no questions isn’t told a lie.
    Watch the wall my darling while the Gentlemen go by.

    with acknowledgement to ‘A Smuggler’s Song’ by Rudyard Kipling

  5. reductio says:

    I’ve started so I’ll finish. Is anyone else amused, startled, surprised, unbelievably pissed off about this:

    So basically, because the ICAC couldn’t be arsed to tangle with the man’s lawyers they turned tail from a potentially key witness. David Li: the next man for my dog’s rectum. (I was going to say that I bet that “David Li” and “dog’s rectum” haven’t been in the same sentence before, but on reflection, they probably have. Many times.)

  6. PCC says:

    The ICAC’s failure to brace Li Kwok-po, if only to document his lack of cooperation, cannot be explained away as mere incompetence. The inescapable conclusion is that the organisation is thoroughly and completely corrupt.

  7. pd says:

    Your post on 6 feb. keeps disappearing from my pcs.

  8. If Tsang is convicted, it will become very difficult for the ICAC to continue ignoring Li’s role. An honest man lending or giving such a large sum to a friend normally does so by writing a cheque, not handing over fistfuls of banknotes.

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