Asia’s mumbling-inanities and hand-wringing hub

For the second time in a week, security men assault Hong Kong reporters covering sensitive stories on the Mainland. Outraged citizens imagine that the Hong Kong government will take a stand – but they should be thankful for a bit of pro-forma hand-wringing.

It’s like expecting Hong Kong leaders to indicate whether candidates calling for an end to one-party dictatorship in China will be barred from the ballot. Their response is essentially: don’t ask me, I’m only in charge of the office paper clips. In the background, behind a half-closed door, a Beijing official rants that China is not a one-party dictatorship and calling for an end to this non-existent regime is forbidden.

If you were representing Hong Kong’s puppet/doormat administration awaiting instructions, you would mumble inanities too.

The UK’s Benedict Rogers, chair of Hong Kong Watch, summarizes the ‘lawfare’ Beijing (in the guise of the Hong Kong authorities) is using against the city’s pro-democrat activists. It is a damning synopsis. The government, he notes, has prosecuted one in three pro-dem legislators since Occupy, often using desperate and archaic charges.

Unfortunately, Rogers’ proposed remedies are also unconvincing and stale (presumably influenced by our traditional mainstream pro-democrats).

He says the public prosecutions function should be transferred from the Beijing-approved Secretary for Justice to independent hands. This directly contradicts the Communist Party’s view of ‘seamless’ government – the reason police, electoral and other departments have lost their (relatively) impartial public-service character in the last four years and become political tools. He also hopes, or dreams, the international community will do something.

If it’s any consolation, Chief Executive Carrie Lam and her colleagues, grasping for something coherent to say while Beijing freaks out, can sympathize with such helplessness.


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7 Responses to Asia’s mumbling-inanities and hand-wringing hub

  1. LRE says:

    Perhaps it’s time for the Pan Dems to stop being timid bureaucrats and turn the new rigged game to their favour: they should start fielding only candidates that are obviously up for disqualification* and just letting it lie when the disqualification occurs (no replacements).

    Making it a loosely-aligned cross party thing under a single banner would help the electorate get behind it — were English the main language here, I’d definitely plump for “The Hong Kong Independents Movement” for maximum cheeky laughs. I’m sure Cantonese slang can be relied upon to produce something guaranteed to infuriate the CPC and delight the populace in equal measure.

    Voters should be encourage to turn out and spoil their ballots by the disqualified candidates — a high turnout with vast numbers of spoiled ballots leads to an embarrassing low % of the vote for the CPC front organisations, delegitimising them further.

    Any candidates that accidentally get pat the first round of disqualifications and get duly elected should deliberately fluff their oath by calling for independence and/or not promising to uphold the basic law (as per campaign lit) during it.

    That LegCo would be an embarrassingly stuffed and rigged rubber-stamp body, with no opposition candidates purely because the HK government has rigged the elections, and disqualified all the elected opposition candidates. It would have none of the pseudo-legitimacy the CPC craves and HK would look like the dictatorship it is.

    Anything that LegCo does will be so obviously illegitimate, that it may even make Beijing think twice before implementing the ultra draconian stuff they would be tempted to implement (they like the veneer of legitimacy, otherwise they wouldn’t bother with LegCo at all). Rest assured, they will implement the ultra draconian stuff anyway, whatever we in HK do, so it’s just a question of whether we go out in style, or whimpering in the foetal position like the CPC wants.

    *Best way to do this is to explicitly say in all campaign literature that you promise to violate and to not uphold the Basic Law (if prosecuted candidates can say they had to do so, so that the Mainland co-location thing can continue — the HK Bar association backs them up there).

  2. Red Dragon says:

    Nice try, LRE, but I can’t see it flying.

    What I don’t understand is why anybody bothers any more.

    Hong Kong is fucked.

  3. Jeff says:

    LRE that won’t work. Beijing will just use the 100% pro Beijing legco to rubber stamp political reform and anything else they want. They were fine with a provisional legislative counsel so why wouldn’t they be okay with this?

  4. LRE says:

    As I said — political reform and whatever the CPC wants is coming, whatever we do: it’s just down to a question of whether we go out in style or with a whimper.

  5. dimuendo says:


    Getting yourself deliberately disqualified is not “going out in style”. The objective is not to go out, for as long as possible, and to do that you have to push back. Do not do the oppressors job for them.

  6. LRE says:


    Time was when I’d have agreed with you wholeheartedly, but I can’t help thinking that continuing the status quo is actually doing the oppressors’ job for them far better than actively refusing to play the game at all.

    Vis-à-vis LegCo, it’s more or less time to admit that we’ve already gone out, and the oppressor’s job is done — the CPC would just dearly like us all to believe there’s still a glimmer of hope so they can waste opposition efforts and avoid further mass rioting for a while longer.

    As a bonus for the CPC, it also delegitimises the opposition to a degree as the CPC make them go through smaller and smaller hoops to get into LegCo, making them more and more obviously pandering the panda. See also Neville Chamberlain’s rip-roaring success in his policy of polite and orderly appeasement.

    Half the seats are rotten boroughs, half are decided by a obviously-nobbled election. If the Jockey Club ran a race like that, the city would be burnt to the ground. And in the thoroughly unlikely event the electorate ever gain control of it, the body is almost entirely toothless: it can only approve legislation.

    The days of filibustering are winding down with new procedural rules (and for all that they were the right move, they didn’t play that well to the electorate), and the days of having enough pan-dems to actually block stuff are gone: The CPC can disqualify anyone they don’t like the look of at will.

    All the 29 ineffectual Pan-dems still allowed in LegCo are currently doing is legitimising the oppressors. They enable the oppressors to point to LegCo and say: we held detailed discussions with popularly elected representatives from both sides, and the law got passed.

    I suspect it plays far worse for the oppressors to have actively disqualified all the opposition from their grubby little rubber stamp: no veneer of legitimacy for the CPC.

    Legislatively, it makes no odds: the same stuff passes, whether we keep up the pretence of an opposition (which they have already neutered) or if the pan-dems let everybody get disqualified and delegitimise both LegCo and the government.

    And one thing the CPC really hates is people not taking stuff seriously — which is why they have those endless pointless mock meetings of the CPPCC and the oh-so-aptly abbreviated NPC. It’s also why they banned Winnie the Pooh, Spongebob Squarepants and Peppa Pig. So maybe a dose of not taking LegCo seriously anymore is in order now — As Srdja Popovic (a Resistance leader in Serbia) put it: “I’m full of humour and irony and you are beating me, arresting me. That’s a game you always lose.”

  7. dimuendo says:


    I have a lot of sympathy for your views. I am currently a candidate in an election where the standard (in my view) dirty tricks are being played, including collection of blank proxy forms and filling in of names of approved candidates (and certainly will not include mine)

    But unless you wish to give way, you have to push back, you have to seek change. From however small or imperfect a platform. No platform will ever be created for you, you have to make it.

    As for the quote, the quoter is the one being beaten, and hurt. Irony only works on people who have sensitivity and realisation.

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