Mrs Lam goes to Beijing

Hong Kong’s next Chief Executive, Carrie Lam, goes up to Beijing to meet some top national leaders. It will be a three-day visit, yet she doesn’t think there will be concrete discussion about a particular topic. So – hours upon hours of sitting and sipping tea, and awkward silences.

She will enjoy one interlude of stimulating conversation in a meeting with Hong Kong Affairs boss Wang Guangya, who apparently wants to hear (by which we mean hector her) about her team of senior officials.

Under this make-believe political structure with its rigged ‘election’ and the presence of a shadow power-centre in Beijing’s Liaison Office, citizens look to the choice of ministers for signs of what is really going to happen. (We are talking about policy secretaries or ‘ministers’, not the part-time amateurs given places on the Executive Council for symbolic head-patting purposes.)

The appointment or promotion of anyone known to have actual fresh ideas, or simply a personality, would raise hopes for some sort of ‘fresh start’ or reformism. A token open Beijing loyalist or ex-pro-democrat-turned-shoe-shiner may get one of the more lightweight positions in which to flounder. Most likely, Carrie will recruit mainly from among the civil service she comes from.

We will hear some agonizing over the difficulties of finding ‘talent’ – especially how successful people don’t want to join the administration. But the pool is artificially narrow and shallow. Only Chinese citizens are eligible, ruling out large numbers of foreign passport-holders. And, as Wang Guangya will surely remind Carrie, candidates must be acceptable to the paranoid and insecure Communist Party, so forget anyone with originality and flair.

The real problem is that Hong Kong does not have a governmental structure in which parties nurture politicians through free elections to local and higher-level legislative and executive offices. And Beijing’s clear intention is that the city has no such thing in future. Note how talk of political reform refers to ‘universal suffrage’ rather than, say, ‘democracy’. At best, the aim is for everyone to take part in a rigged election.

Carrie’s mission for the next five years will be to deliver more-of-the-same blandness and inertia on issues that people care about, while continuing to divert resources into cronies’ pockets – and keeping the kids happy and avoiding any of that Umbrella/independence stuff. With a cabinet full of out-of-touch bureaucrats.

On the subject of hiring members of a new administration, behold some of the magnificently cruelest satire I’ve enjoyed in a while.



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9 Responses to Mrs Lam goes to Beijing

  1. WTF says:

    Eventual democracy, DPRK style, is a given. The important point is to insure the suffering is universal, so the democracy can follow. Deng did say all this capitalist road stuff is just temporary.

  2. You’re still following the SCMP/Alibaba/Xinhua/Government Information Service news agenda. That’s sad. Look upward to the heavens and think differently. Spring has sprung.

    It’s not Beijing. It’s Peking. We don’t call London Londres or Renden so why call that shithole any other way than what we want to call it?

    Clearly you did not attend the mini-rugby mini-tournament. Outside so many of your triangles. And who can be surprised that black men run faster than white men, particularly if they are being pursued by ugly Sooth Effrikans?

    There were some Sevens Survivors down with us, the privileged and civilised and fully oxygenated, in Stanley this morning. The Tourist Association used to say STAY AN EXTRA DAY. But I have been running my own campaign for some time now: LEAVE A DAY EARLY. Maybe it will catch on?

    Pip, pip!

  3. Chinese Netizen says:

    Thank God Seman is “Chinese”

  4. Red Dragon says:

    Red letter day; I find myself in agreement with “Lonesome George”.

    Yes, it is Peking. “Beijing”, my arse!

    “Leave a day early!”. Good idea. But may I suggest “Don’t come at all!”?

    The Sevens – ain’tchasicktodeathof’em?!!? So Fiji won?!?! Move over, big boy! You can “try” to “score” me any day. Gedditttttt!!??

  5. Joe Blow says:

    Lam Curry = CY 2.0

    5 more years of misery……………….

  6. LRE says:

    Peking is still supposed to be pronounced “beijing”: it’s just a really good example of how pathetically awful and counter-intuitive the Wade-Giles romanisation system is, where nothing looks remotely like it sounds. Pretty much only Gaelic is worse: eg Siobhan, the ancient Celtic goddess of dangerous spelling.

    Shunning Pinyin in preference for Wade Giles is just dumb: Pinyin is demonstrably the better system, because English speakers with no Chinese experience get much closer to how it’s supposed to sound when they use it.

  7. MeKnowNothing says:

    It’s pronounced “Bak ging” around here.

    And remember, the “national talk” came from barbaric foreigners who after conquering the almighty Han, couldn’t get their mouths around six tones. Readers who can appreciate the full irony of this, like me, will also realise they have been in Greater China too long. |^)

  8. LRE says:

    Sorry to burst your bubble but Mandarin was set up in the Ming dynasty — the last Han dynasty (unless we count the current Dang Dynasty) — to be used as the language of officials so that they could communicate with each other — a lingua franca — but unlike the contemporaneous use of French in Britain as the language of officialdom and the upper class, it was based on a local language not something from foreign invaders.

    And back then it was Beiping. Or Peip’ing in Wade-Giles, as Nanjing (Nanking W-G) was capital.

  9. MeKnowNothing says:

    If Old Mandarin didn’t start around the time of the Jin, then I’m not sure what to believe anymore, LRE. The Jurchen must not have been 胡, either. Now I wonder what else I thought I knew or was taught is bollocks. At least I got MeKnowNothing right. Or so I hope. Cheers, mate. ;^)

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