Fun by-elections on the way

The Chinese government and its local administration are using loyalty tests and tightened procedural rules to turn Hong Kong’s Legislative Council from a weak and rigged body to a purely ceremonial, Mainland-style rubber-stamp one. While this is underway, it arguably makes sense for the city’s opposition to remain involved in this slightly-meaningful representative political process. Following the expulsion of opposition members for ideological incorrectness, there will be by-elections in March. These could be the last LegCo elections before boycotting makes more sense.

Unlike the normal multi-member-constituency, proportional-representation mishmash, these LegCo polls will be pure first-past-the-post races. They could serve as a referendum on the Communist Party’s gradual suppression of Hong Kong’s pluralistic civil society. Although there is little point in ‘sending Beijing a message’ – Beijing’s whole aim is to control rather than listen to Hong Kong – the by-elections will give voters an opportunity to humiliate the local puppet administration.

China’s local Liaison Office will micromanage the pro-Beijing parties’ campaigns to consolidate votes and maximize turnout. The pro-democrats can’t match such organization; mainstream pan-dem parties took part in a primary election to narrow candidates down to one per race, but fringe groups might nominate rivals.

Among possible tricks, the Liaison Office might put ‘fake’ democrats onto ballots, and shameless and lame Hong Kong officials have talked of reducing polling stations’ hours, which would boost the pro-Beijing camp’s chances. The Communists’ most powerful weapon to rig the election would be to bar pan-dem candidates from the ballot on ideological-test or other grounds. Edward Yiu thinks they wouldn’t dare. You can see how it could backfire – but when Leninists try to subvert democracy, there’s no such thing as too much.

One thing the pan-dems could really use is some serious, focused message-management – though that’s hard to imagine. Part of the problem is that they’re spoilt for choice when it comes to attention-grabbing issues, thanks to Beijing’s clumsily tightening grip and the local government’s incompetence.

One obvious example would be new Justice Secretary/old-illegal-structure owner Teresa Cheng (if she’s still around). An intriguing fact the media have found from the Lands Registry is that the price she paid for her Tuen Mun property in November 2008 was more than double what the previous owner paid just 10 months before…

FAST STEP INVESTMENT    22/06/07    HK$9.80mn

RICH PORT INVESTMENT   25/01/08    HK$12.68mn

SPARKLE STAR DEV’T           18/11/08     HK$26.00mn

I’m sure there’s a perfectly rational explanation.

Another populist cause would be to call for the conversion of Fanling (and indeed other) golf courses to affordable housing. The South China Morning Post’s editorial ponders this today, and makes a heroic attempt to justify keeping the space as a reserve for the mentally deficient wealthy. We are invited to believe that we need some bore-fest called the ‘Hong Kong Open’, and that this and another thing called ‘player development’ are necessary to our city’s global standing (in a way that homes for people to live in, obviously, are not). It’s enough to give ‘balanced social diversity’ a bad name…

I smell a vote-winner!

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10 Responses to Fun by-elections on the way

  1. Dean Rusk says:

    Your first sentence today is just pure prejudice, a Hemlock classic. Then it gets worse.

    People do things differently in Asia, my boy. One would have thought that after thirty years you would have realized this but then you have never really lived with the Chinese in China as I did as a Foreign Expert. You have been a junior junior auxiliary sub-taipan instead.

    In the land of the cousins, the US and A, people squabble in public and do corrupt deals in private. In Asia they do democracy and squabbles in private and look ceremonial in public.

    God save us from more of your QUIET AMERICA.N claptrap.

  2. If Adams put half the effort into writing his own blog that he does into obsessively criticising yours, it might become worth reading.

  3. Joe Blow says:

    Why do the British always refer to Americuns as cousins ? More Americuns have German ancestry than from any other place in the world. Surely you Brits don’t want to be equated with Krauts, except for the Royal family, of course.

  4. Red Dragon says:

    I am British, and l’ve never once thought of the Americans as “cousins” let alone called them such.

    I think the term is bandied around in Le Carré type MI6 circles, which is no doubt where Adams has picked it up from.

    He’s always fancied himself as a bit of an international sophisticate, has our ginge.

    Foreign Expert? Foreign Twat, more like.

  5. dimuendo says:

    Mr Hemlock

    Given you have been “outed” by “Dean Rusk” or NTSCMP , may I say your secret is safe with me as I have never heard of you, and you even appear to have avoided going on Linked in. Congratulations.

  6. Mark 'Marky' Jones says:

    I just farted a silent deadly one.

  7. Sojourner says:

    Love how Adams boasts of being a “Foreign Expert” in China. I was one too once upon a time, at Peking University, no less. All it means is that you are a gweilo with a university degree employed for peanuts at a Chinese university with responsibility for being a native-English teacher and running courses in conversational and written English.

  8. Tiu Fu Fong says:

    You’re a pathetic, querulous failure, George Adams.

    Unable to garner any positive attention for your own pitiable works, you’re trying to feed your craving for recognition with notoriety.

    The universe occasionally throws up such cretins as yourself only to remind the rest of us what contemptible behaviour we should avoid.

  9. Cassowary says:

    See Exhibit A for a master class in:
    – Orientalism
    – Exoticising
    – Essentialism
    – Overgeneralisation
    – Intellectual masturbation
    – Whitesplaining

    Please do continue to tell us what we Asians are all like. I’m all ears.

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