Property tycoon Lee Shau-kee is donating HK$50 million to the Li Po Chun United World College at Ma On Shan for a Belt and Road Learning and Resources Centre. In plain English, let’s call it the Xi Jinping Shameless Shoe-shining Building. The school gets money, the Henderson Land dynasty performs a nauseatingly gratuitous kowtow to the Communist Party – just a plain everyday harmless prostitution win-win.
The school might want to think ahead. The ‘Belt and Road’ brand is already tarnished as a cover for debt-trap diplomacy. At some stage, Xi or a successor might ditch the tag, if not the whole grandiose neo-colonial strategy. Then the college ends up being lumbered with an embarrassing and defunct symbol. It would be like having a Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution Institute or a Dolce & Gabbana Chair of Creative Studies. At least try to get re-naming rights.
Not all parts of Hong Kong’s pro-Beijing plutocratic empires are in such an obsequious mood. The tycoon-owned Standard produces a moderately scathing editorial about the Eddie Chu Hoi-dick disqualification as a blow to rule of law. The writer asks when school teachers will have to pass ideology tests.
Beijing’s officials are pushing the Hong Kong government into deep water. The local administration uses desperate administrative contrivances to kick Eddie Chu off a ballot while at the same time it is hounding Benny Tai and his fellow Occupy-Umbrella veterans on weird charges in the courts (epic on-the-spot reports of the trial here) – and the world is now watching because of the expulsion of a Financial Times editor.
This thread from another FT correspondent broaches the subject of Mainlandization as a turn-off for locally based international financial and other corporate interests.
This is where the Hong Kong administration starts to struggle with what, for want of a better word, we’ll call its ‘conscience’. The Communist Party commands the Hong Kong government’s loyalty through fear. But the local leaders’ true passion is for the glowing admiration of investment bankers, the World’s Freest Economy Award and the US Hong Kong Policy Act.
While kicking out an FT guy/white man is a bit close to the bone, it’s hard to imagine hedge funds fleeing to gleaming bustling Taipei anytime soon. But even the mere hint of it makes the Hong Kong government sweat. So please voice any concerns discreetly.