Chief Executive Carrie Lam’s big huge shock-and-awe proclamation on housing, which was sort of expected yesterday, will take place today instead, or as well (or whatever). Message management not a strong point: the rapturous applause/moans of bitter disappointment/hard-headed analysis come first, followed by the suspense-packed official unveiling of the package.
In a riveting full-page review (Part 1!) of Carrie’s first year in office, the South China Morning Post mentions an anecdote in which her flunkies time and rehearse the (very short) walk from her office to the Legislative Council so she wouldn’t be a few seconds early and have to wait. (In fairness, they also have to arrange the red carpet, slave-boys in loincloths fanning her with ostrich feathers, and a maid-in-waiting marching behind with a toilet roll on a silver plate.)
I declare the holiday weekend open with some festive handover 21st anniversary reading and viewing.
Human Rights Watch on Hong Kong’s rapidly declining freedoms. The term ‘rapidly declining’ is of course relative; an HRW report three years down the road will be entitled ‘really really rapidly declining’.
A video of political analyst Sonny Lo speaking a few days ago at the FCC on the United Front in Hong Kong. In brief… Much of the Leninist-creepo activity focuses on boosting the pro-Beijing vote in district and legislative elections, which seems curious given that our elected bodies are becoming Mainland-style rubber-stamps anyway. The UF is also extending CCP influence over business and professional groups, now using ‘Greater Bay Area’ integration/merger as a lure. Meanwhile, Hong Kong’s younger educated ‘post-materialist’ populace remain impermeable and hostile, which does not auger well for the Liaison Office’s strategy when the next economic downturn or other shock hits the city.
My hunch is that to some extent the United Front is only human, and liable to tick boxes to please higher-ups. Improved election results are quantifiable and look good in end-year reports. Co-opting old folks, immigrants and businessmen is picking the low-hanging fruit and can be presented as ‘squeezing out’ the evil elements – who are too young and smart (and difficult) to be got at.
Overseas… Jerome Cohen on how the CCP uses media sponsorship and other means to spread the message, with a guest appearance by former Hong Kong CE Tung Chee-hwa.
And on a much bigger scale, CCP discourse management – how China is getting the UN and foreign elites to buy into ‘Xi-speak’ on human rights, Belt and Road, and so on.