To dust off some old official phraseology, Hong Kong must move towards being a Communist dictatorship in accordance with the principle of gradual and orderly progress.
The city now takes another step in this slow but deliberate transformation. The police (directed by the local administration, itself ordered by Beijing) try to use a law aimed at triad gangs to proscribe a thing called the Hong Kong National Party.
As with earlier stages of the Mainlandization process (the disqualification of lawmakers, the barring of candidates from ballots for their supposed opinions) it seems shocking enough to make even the pro-establishment press blanch. The South China Morning Post uses words like ‘most controversial’ and ‘unprecedented’, while the Standard gives generous space to opposition views.
And as with previous examples, the mainstream pro-democrats are at a loss. They recite the same old warnings of threats to freedoms of speech and assembly, they instinctively plan the same old protest march for Saturday, and no doubt frantically look for other unoriginal ideas that won’t work.
And ultimately, as on previous occasions of measured, step-by-step Leninist clampdown, most people will live with it.
We can only hope that at least the younger and smarter do not. The HKNP urge us to fight back and drive out the Chinese colonizers, which isn’t bad for an organization that does not legally exist anyway. They have an attractive (crimson) line of enemy of the state pro-independence stickers, which can’t be too difficult to produce in bulk and would look very nice affixed to thousands of lampposts and similar locations around town. The future of resistance lies with guerilla theatre mischief and nuisance-satire, provoking a thin-skinned and dull-witted totalitarian ogre. (By the way, why aren’t flash mobs crashing developers’ tacky sales launches for new luxury complexes?)
Some pro-democrats see this attempt to ban a political grouping as a backdoor way to implement the Article 23 national security law. But the methods aren’t the point. This all about the banning of ideas. The goal is the eradication of opinions that differ from official Communist Party thought. Which ultimately means the zombification of everyone – were we to believe the deranged Xi-Leninist nightmare-project could continue long enough.
The next big step in Hong Kong will be actual censorship of media, starting with just very specific words that threaten national security, so you’ll hardly notice at first.
On the Mainland, the fight against independent and incorrect thinking is further advanced. Professor Christopher Balding of Peking U at Shenzhen has been a valued critical analyst (Bloomberg contributor, etc) of China’s economic policies, like the much-vaunted deleveraging. And he is no more. Hong Kong is headed that way.