You would have thought that anyone who took an interest realized long ago (say, late 1996) that Hong Kong’s Chief Executive ‘elections’ are a scripted charade – the outcomes being pre-determined in Beijing. The alternative, after all, is to imagine that the Chinese Communist Party leadership leaves the selection of a senior colonial/regional official to chance, or (even more unlikely) to a bunch of other people to decide for themselves.
But it seems that no-one told Mark Pinkerton, a member of failed candidate Regina Ip’s campaign. He is now denouncing the process as ‘a farce … all controlled by the Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government’. His HK Free Press article describes the process in illuminating detail.
While no surprise to most of us, it seems to have been a bitter shock to Mr Pinkerton. He had previously written in the South China Morning Post that ‘the belief that the Election Committee is a small circle of pro-Beijing patriots is a myth promulgated by the democratic camp’, and that the Committee ‘will nominate and endorse a candidate they think is best suited for the top job’.
Anyone watching events unfold in the months leading up to the last quasi-election could have seen what was happening. For example, when Regina launched her campaign last December, mega-landlord Allen Zeman and various other members of Hong Kong’s tycoon-bureaucrat caste supported her. And yet Regina mysteriously failed to win enough nominations to get on the ballot, and by the time of the joke-poll on March 26, her supposed friends were endorsing Carrie Lam, Beijing’s pre-arranged ‘winner’.
People who despise Regina Ip for her no-nonsense (or arrogant, obnoxious, etc) style might see this as just deserts. But the point is that the Communist Party wanted/needed her out of the way precisely because she has her own mind and ideas. Only a docile nonentity could appear on the ballot alongside Carrie – and Beijing’s officials considered even an unremarkable nice-guy like John Tsang alarmingly uncontrollable.
John attempted to cast himself as an outsider to win public support and nominations from the pan-democrats. Regina genuinely wanted to be the Communist Party’s chosen one, even founding a bizarre Maritime Silk Road Blah Blah Society to prove her loyalty. Kowtow. Do whatever it takes. Suck the Panda’s toes. Which is, of course, what her supporters were doing when they followed United Front orders to abandon her for Carrie. (The alternative in this Leninist system is to be a non-person in the regime’s eyes. Sadly, there are so many non-people, Carrie can’t find ministers for her administration.)
For the umpteenth time: He who lives by the shoe-shine, dies by the shoe-shine.