Which is the most inane, contrived or purely pointless drivel to come out of this year’s NPC/CPPCC gatherings so far? We’ve got Communist Party Bureaucrat Guy wondering if Hong Kong has too many white-skinned devils as judges. There’s Patriotic Rail Engineer Guy suggesting that we can dispense with border controls between Hong Kong and the Mainland as of now. And Deputy Assistant Economy Scapegoat Li Keqiang predicts 6.5% GDP growth as the nation transforms ‘from a chrysalis to a butterfly’.
South of the ‘boundary’, there is no escape from the suffocating pretense that something important is happening amid vacuous ritual. A debate pits Beijing’s chosen ‘winner’ of the Chief Executive quasi-election Carrie Lam against dark-horse/slight-oddball/joke candidate Justice Woo Kwok-hing. The retired judge gives poor Carrie a rhetorical slapping over such issues as Hong Kong’s social divisions.
The absence of the (superficially) popular third candidate John Tsang highlights Carrie’s weaknesses as an unfeeling, out-of-touch, ‘incurious’ (as Woo put it) bureaucrat. The official line among Beijing’s relatively articulate apologists is that Carrie is the ablest of the three supposed contenders. While not exactly saying much, there might be something to it. The thing is, she needs the affable-but-bumbling John beside her to provide the contrast to help her look competent.
In short: John’s non-appearance at the debate further undermined Carrie’s weak public image. Whether this was cunning cynical calculation or just chance, I couldn’t possibly say.
A quick scan of a South China Morning Post column apparently about beer reveals the phrase ‘Rugby Sevens’, which convinces me to read no further. But only after I absorb the first paragraph and its tired cliché. One word…