By definition, Carrie Lam says, self-censorship is not government censorship. What part of ‘self-’ don’t you understand, duh? However, Hong Kong’s Chief Executive undermines her own thin logic.
Carrie must also publicly own and defend the expulsion of Financial Times correspondent Victor Mallet after he chaired a press meeting with national-security threat Andy Chan. While doing so, she must refuse to admit why it happened (‘can’t comment on individual cases’), and her administration has to insist that it has ‘nothing to do with freedom of expression or freedom of the press’.
The reason for the visa denial was of course to intimidate the rest of the media – so it is precisely about freedom of expression and the press, and nothing else.
Everyone knows it was Beijing’s officials – not Hong Kong’s sad pawns – who ordered the visa idiocy. Everyone knows this sort of vindictiveness is a standard CCP tactic, not a Hong Kong one.
So not only must Carrie contradict herself by pretending there is no connection between intimidation and self-censorship, she must maintain that she is personally responsible as this alien nonsense is being foisted on Hong Kong. Is she not the biggest victim of self-censorship under pressure around here?
Then it’s off on the compulsory weekly visit to the Mainland, to listen attentively as Chairman of Everything-for-Life Xi Jinping lists a mildly odd selection of dead/dying/past-it Hong Kong ‘elite’ compatriots who, apparently with the then-young Xi never far away, contributed to China’s historic mega-reform miracle thing. (The Not Very Magnificent Seven – the predictable Henry Fok plus others you wouldn’t necessarily expect, if you cared enough to think about it. It may be more interesting to consider who wasn’t mentioned. Or maybe not.)
Not for the first time, we get that strange nagging feeling about whether we should feel sorry for Carrie (and what sort of duress is involved, and so on). And then, it passes.
(Speaking of censorship…)