UK NGO Hong Kong Watch releases a damning report on Beijing’s increasing control over Hong Kong. (US NGO Freedom House also downgrades the city in its human and civil rights rankings.) Chief Executive Carrie Lam takes a break from playing lovey-dovey with the Liaison Office’s boss to blast this ‘interference’ in domestic affairs (see video).
What’s creepy about Carrie’s performance here is that she is playing the Communist Party apologist role so convincingly. As a career Hong Kong bureaucrat, she is accustomed to blandly and mechanically denying that her pants are on fire while flames and smoke swirl around her. But since taking office she has acquired a greater air of conviction – and about (what must be to her) alien, Leninist ideology rather than plain old governance screw-ups.
We can rule out the possibility that – like the pipe-smoking Anglophile civil servant in Timothy Mo’s Monkey King – she was always a closet Red. She exhibits none of the passion for the Communist cause that we saw in her predecessor, CY Leung. She recites the party line (‘China is not meddling but helping Hong Kong’s development’) as someone who has mastered her briefing papers to perfection, but doesn’t actually understand the material.
So far as we can tell (say from her Gay Games awkwardness), she is similarly unquestioning about her Catholicism. (Indeed – could it be that the local Catholic hierarchy have guided and counselled her to render unto the Beijing Caesar in the hope of furthering Vatican diplomatic goals?)
In short: she’s an administrator. (And disproof of at least one part of Catholic dogma.) The Communist Party frets that the British (somehow) left them with a city full of de-Sinicized Western-brainwashed counter-revolutionary terrorist teenagers. But they must be delighted to find that they also inherited civil servants who will obediently implement – and robotically defend – whatever policies the Liaison Office puts in front of them.