Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam is finalizing her 2017 Policy Address (yes, it’s the second this year – predecessor CY Leung moved the vacuous ritual to January, and she is returning it to October). She will offer measures in such areas as housing, schools and the elderly aimed at unifying our divided community, in keeping with her earnest desire to restore harmony.
As Carrie spreads warm and cuddly vibes by announcing vouchers and handouts for the underprivileged and left-behind, citizens tuning in for the speech will detect muffled shouts, bangs and crashes in the background. That will be the Liaison Office’s latest United Front struggle – perhaps lawmaker Junius Ho nailing a pro-independence student to a tree, or Justice Secretary Rimsky Yuen demanding 20 years’ penal servitude for academics and priests guilty of inciting others to incite others during Occupy.
Hong Kong is undergoing two parallel campaigns: Carrie Lam’s let’s-all-be-nice-to-one-another-and-heal-divisions thing, and the Chinese Communist Party’s obsessive-compulsive paranoid psychopath crush-the-enemy thing.
Carrie has to smile and pretend the Cultural Revolution with Hong Kong characteristics isn’t really happening. When her own officials pursue vindictive and contrived court actions against perpetrators of thought crimes, she has to state baldly that rule of law is intact. When patriotic lynch-mobs and deranged shoe-shiners like Junius Ho are on the rampage, she must try to ignore the blood-spatter on her cheongsam and do her auntie-knows-best tut-tutting about civilized discourse and decency.
It will be interesting to see how Carrie manages to maintain this semi-aloof stance as the ideological rectification mayhem continues around her. She must be loyal to the sovereign power that appointed her, but she can (she must be hoping) distance herself from the more disgraceful and loathsome Leninist excesses. (If you think Junius Ho is a pitiful embarrassment to the human race, wait until the authentically imbecilic Holden Chow starts Trying Too Hard to impress his Communist Party masters.)
We could ponder how the Liaison Office enforcers might want to help bolster Carrie, perhaps by restraining their more rabid attack dogs. They probably will if the counter-revolutionary purge becomes counter-productive. But otherwise she is there to help them, not the other way round. She is at the publicly acceptable end of the spectrum of useful idiots, and they are all disposable. The bright side – there’s only another 95% of her (first) term of office left to go.