A South China Morning Post op-ed column asks whether Hong Kong’s new Chief Executive Carrie Lam will see her honeymoon continue. She currently has ‘the wind in her sails’, we are told, because everyone welcomes her plan to boost education spending, and some opposition members stood up when she entered the Legislative Council chamber the other day.
Nice idea. But instead, the purge of opponents launched during her predecessor CY Leung’s administration rolls on, with the High Court disqualifying several lawmakers for their retroactively forbidden oath-taking.
Some portray this as a time-bomb, as if it has been left behind deliberately to undermine her. In reality, the Communist Party officials in Beijing’s Liaison Office who ordered the action against the oath-twisters would have been too carried away with the chance to crush splittists and mangle rule of law to think things through in such detail.
At some time in the intervening period, Carrie was press-ganged into becoming CE. She is presumably sincere when she says she wants unity and harmony – only an ultra-masochist or ideological maniac would stick with CY’s non-stop struggle against class enemies and counter-revolutionary elements. And she must have taken the job on the understanding that the United Front paranoid-psychopath freak-out campaign would be toned down so she could ‘focus on’ schools and housing and the elderly, and all other problems that created so much discontent in the first place.
So the result is tension. She has to go along with the aftermath of the earlier purge of pro-democrat lawmakers, whatever happens. She has to sound as if she wants to draw a line at that – although she might be powerless to prevent more, owing to timing and the new-look deformed due legal process. And she must be assuming or hoping that the Liaison Office will cooperate and play its part in backing off.
And then, she has to pretend all is well and implore the pan-democrats who have not (yet) been picked out for persecution and rectification to ‘focus on’ their legislative duties and pass her oh-so popular hike in education expenditure. Which presumably you have to, in this situation. But so much for any honeymoon.