Hong Kong’s pro-Beijing lawmakers decide some xenophobia is in order. The New People’s Party’s Eunice Yung decides to attack brown people for cluttering up the city and causing hygiene problems. And her DAB colleagues warn that white judges newly appointed to the Court of Final Appeal could undermine family values by promoting gay marriage, not to mention threaten national security.
Complaining about domestic workers gathering on Sundays goes back decades – maybe back to when the Yung family’s helper was changing Eunice’s diapers. It hugely angers some grumpy, miserable and frustrated Hongkongers that far lower-paid maids on their day off have the nerve to be so vivacious and happy.
The fact is that without cheap Filipino and Indonesian servants, the economics of middle-class Hong Kong would collapse: mothers would have to stay at home, and it would be impossible for single-income households to pay their mortgages. (Correction – the economics of Hong Kong’s tycoon-cartel scam would collapse.)
The foreign judges/gay marriage issues are examples of a major contradiction the Hong Kong government must try to live with.
As an ‘international’ business hub, the city needs some foreign judges at least as a symbol to reassure companies that the colonial-era legal system with an independent judiciary is intact. And, to compete as a location for regional HQs, it needs to issue visas to partners of high-flying expat executives, even when the spouses are same-sex (arrangements Hong Kong doesn’t recognize).
But as the loyal puppet of a Communist/nationalistic dictatorship, the local administration cannot contradict Beijing’s official ideology – that foreigners in general are suspect (unless they wash dishes), rule of law is abhorrent, and fusses about gay (indeed, any) rights are a threat.
The Hong Kong government faces similar dilemmas with press freedom, and with the overall positioning of the city as simultaneously international/pluralistic and patriotic/obedient. In the long run, Hong Kong will be rectified. Meanwhile, the local officials must wring their hands while juggling the incompatible demands of international business and the CCP. (You can’t wring hands and juggle at the same time? Quite.)
Taken aback by criticism (and maybe nervous about rat poison in her dinner that night), Eunice has taken some selfies with happy smiling brown people. And the DAB lawmakers dutifully endorsed the new judges (the CCP has devised ways to override the courts anyway, so can live with them).
With pro-democrats being ousted from the legislature, the pro-Beijing quasi-politicians are presumably being told to increase their profile. But their populism-pandering skills clearly need work.