For the first 15 years or so after 1997, the Chinese government refrained from contradicting Hong Kong’s understanding of ‘One Country Two Systems’ and the ‘high degree of autonomy’. But after Xi Jinping came to power, Beijing started to clarify and expand upon the meanings of superficially comforting phrases. Chinese officials announced that Hong Kong’s self-rule was merely a privilege, that it was anyway limited, and that the perceived promise of democracy was not a promise – oh, and was not of democracy.
In consolidating control as national leader, Xi has declared that the Communist Party is essentially the ruler of everything. Hong Kong’s pre-1997 elites and optimists would have been aghast at the idea that this also applies to their city. But we are now told openly and plainly that it’s not that Hong Kong is ‘becoming red’ – Hong Kong is already red. For the first time, Chinese officials are stating that the Communist Party runs Hong Kong.
Beijing’s United Front and propaganda maestros will be gratified to see some sensitive older pro-democrats swoon in shock. But are they being as clever as they think? They are making the local administration look even more useless (no mean achievement). They are forcing moderate conservatives (including foreign business) to publicly align themselves not simply with a local business-bureaucratic establishment but with an alien, thuggish quasi-religion. And they are confirming to the community at large that, Yes – we are coming for your kids’ minds and your rule of law and your free speech.
All of which is jumping the gun. Because, despite the ‘just another Chinese city’ cliché, Hong Kong is a long way from being subjugated and absorbed. The ‘You are already Red’ declaration is perhaps not so much high-handed as hubristic. Rather than cow its audience into submission, it is more likely to wake up more fence-sitters and strengthen the suspicion and resistance.
Another sign, perhaps, that we are witnessing ‘Peak Panda’.
(Is it something to do with succumbing to their own fantasy-propaganda? Note the latest in the apparent unravelling of the CCP’s over-reach down under. It’s almost as if the Communists were naïve about Australians’ naivety.)
(Update: it’s hurt-feelings freak-out time.)
Perhaps it is time for some of your readers, or even yourself, to look into Malta, the Greek islands, Spain or Jew Heaven Florida.
Hong Kong expat life is now beyond Schadenfreude now. It is masochism.
I fortunately have been summoned to Australia again by a buxom nurse nymphomaniac. Even approaching sixty, I can still hit the buttons. It’s all very flattering.
Life was easier in the last century ….
Why are those commies always so ugly?
Same goes for DAB aunties and uncles and the assorted burocrats. The stunners are clearly in de democratic camp, mostly well groomed and attractive looking people, well, not all, but you know what I mean.
The pro china crowd attracts the uglies, the smelly breath, dandruff on shoulders types.
Same thing occurred with the so called billionaire who bribed that Labour politician in Australia, a weird looking, geeky (but not in a cute way) Chinese in an ill fitted suit.
Please warn when you post a link to an article behind a paywall. I’m not subscribing to an Australian newspaper just to read one article. A short warning first would save me the effort of clicking the link.
I second that. Then I second it again because comments apparently have to be at least 15 characters long.
I guess this is the same story: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-12-06/china-blasts-australia-over-foreign-interference-laws/9232916 – but free.
Boris, copy the link into the google search bar, scroll down find the article in the results.
The Oz doesn’t do paywall that well.
Adams is flying off to Oz to bury his face in a pair of big, lily white knockers. That must be quite a change from his regular, Nutella-brown Angeles City pudding. Now let’s hope he won’t get a heart attack.
People bitching about a paywalled news story while just over there their legislature is being neutered to facilitate direct authoritarian rule…
Most Hongkongers are pretty comfortable on that fence unless bullets start flying or their property is co-opted, and the commies are hardly that stupid now.
If Big Lychee can’t be arsed to warn readers that a link is behind a paywall, I’m going to cancel my subscription and demand a refund. So there.