If Hong Kong is going to be authentically Mainlandized, we must get into convoluted Leninist structure-speak. For example: Wasn’t it really cool last Wednesday when the first plenary meeting of the Electoral Conference of the 13th NPC election elected that Presidium chaired by Chief Executive Carrie Lam?
The correct answer of course is: ‘Yes, it was fascinating’.
The thing that happened on Wednesday was the rigged appointment of the body that will oversee the rigged election next month of Hong Kong’s delegates to the National People’s Congress – China’s rubber-stamp legislature. It happens every five years, but we are supposed to pay more attention than last time.
In Chinese-style elections, the complexity of the process is in line with its pointlessness. So in this case, roughly 1,900 people (the first plenary blah blah Electoral Conference etc) elected 19 (the Presidium) who will oversee an ‘election’ in which 36-plus-a-few people (candidates) will supposedly compete for the votes of roughly 1,900 people (mostly but not all the first 1,900) to become the 36 Hong Kong delegates to the NPC.
In order to get on the ballot, candidates must get 10 nominations from the Electoral Conference (ie the first 1,900), each member of which is allowed to nominate up to 36 individuals.
To prevent chaos and confusion, Beijing’s local minders issue a preferred list of 36 to its loyalists, who are the bulk of the body. In the past, the Electoral Conference have held a pre-election election that screened out undesirables (pro-democrats or mavericks) in the name of capping the number of candidates on the ballot. This time, hopeful nominees must also sign a loyalty pledge and state non-acceptance of funds from evil foreign forces. Carrie’s Presidium will double-check.
Typically, we can expect a ballot with 36 candidates who are clean and wholesome in the Communist Party’s eyes (mostly tapped in advance, but there is some lobbying going on among hopefuls), plus some extras for show. The preferred list of 36 will be sent out again to Beijing’s buddies in the electorate (ie the second/basically same 1,900 at the second plenary blah blah, or actual ‘election’ – do keep up).
Here’s the really neat twist: each voter must vote for a full 36 candidates.
I love that detail.
So not much chance of nasty surprises there. December 19 – it will be fascinating. The South China Morning Post manages to fill a whole page imagining that local delegates to the NPC are serious and mean something.
Charles Manson died this week. I check, and yes – I still have my copy of The Family by Ed Sanders (click on the pic for more Ed).