The Chinese Communist Party geniuses overseeing the gradual Mainlandization of Hong Kong probably don’t dwell on local perceptions and nuances. But the local bureaucracy that has to implement their demands to crush hostile elements and eradicate splittists should know better. So the presentation side of the attempt to ban the HK National Party is interesting. It seems designed to appease hawkish paranoid thugs in Beijing, even at the cost of credibility among local audiences and the international media.
The Hong Kong Police claim HKNP must be outlawed before it uses violence, as an imminent threat to national security, public order and safety, and in the interests of (ahem) protecting the freedom and rights of others.
The police report on why HKNP should be banned as a matter of urgency portrays the group in terms that would befit an Islamic State cell that has downloaded bomb-making recipes and is starting to buy the ingredients. The cops have obviously spent considerable resources assiduously monitoring and recording the group’s activities in order to amass evidence of grave danger to society and nation.
And what have they found? That the HKNP (primarily one named person) has given mainstream media interviews, made Facebook posts, set up street booths (17 times) and appeared at protests. Lots of speeches and banners. So far, so lame (the anti-shark-fin campaigners do all that before breakfast). Edgier, but still perfectly legal, the group has distributed leaflets outside schools and met fellow skeptics of CCP/Han nationalism overseas.
In terms of opinion, the group openly disagrees with the constitutional definition of Hong Kong as an inseparable part of China. (The police report repeats the government’s misleading implication that such an opinion is itself somehow unlawful.) Perhaps more naughtily, HKNP has arguably envisaged possible conflict arising from Hong Kong-Mainland friction, and also arguably said nasty things about Mainlanders – though who among us shall cast the first stone here?
But obviously, the cops can’t find any offenses being committed, and HKNP’s views are certainly no worse than some pro-Beijing groups’ threats, incitements and even use of violence.
The cops’ bulging dossier of evidence for a ban might look good to CCP officials in Beijing. But to local and other audiences, it is flimsy and contrived. When you imagine dutiful constables spending months tracing every HKNP on-line post and every Andy Chan speech, it gets so absurd as to be creepy. But it certainly isn’t credible. Any administrative or legal process that seriously proceeds with it will look like a joke.