Sesame Street today was brought to you by the words ‘abusive emulation’. It means putting a nice liberal-democratic label on something that is authoritarian. Our example is declaring the Kowloon high-speed rail terminus ‘co-location’ arrangement to be equivalent to pre-clearance by US immigration in Canada. Full explanation here. Be prepared for some ‘isomorphic mimicry’ along the way. Here’s the author.
Many Hong Kong policies are presented this way. The national anthem law is sort-of just like those in other countries. It’s crazy that we don’t have an extradition agreement with the Mainland when other countries do.
Indeed, much of Hong Kong’s visible, ostensible political process is abusive emulation. The Chief Executive ‘election’ is simply the formal announcement of Beijing’s appointee – a charade involving a supposed campaign and policy platform, and 1,200 schmucks pretending to cast ballots.
All those things we see, and which the South China Morning Post subjects to lengthy straight-faced analysis – Legislative (increasingly) and Executive Council meetings, the budget and policy addresses, public consultations – are empty ceremony and ritual given names borrowed from open and democratic systems. The way Mainlandization is going, judges’ famous wigs and robes are no doubt destined to end up as ‘abusive emulation’. Other phrases for it would be ‘insulting your intelligence’, or ‘lying’.
I’ve often thought of the PRC under the CCP as something like a cargo cult. They build the shiny towers and grand institutions and all the trappings of a modern country with little care – either through ignorance, or by conscious omission, or both – of how those things work, why they might be needed, or what their purpose is. It’s all a simulacrum – like an aeroplane made from driftwood and palm leaves and bits of rubbish whose function is not to fly, but to be worshipped.
@Real Fax Paper – It keeps the population nice and docile. Who needs democracy and civil liberties when you have Starbucks and Alipay? Sure there’s corruption, but nothing that a few executions can’t fix.
@Real Fax Paper
I rather like the cargo cult analogy, but I can’t help but think you’re being far too kind to the CCP with it: a cargo cult implies far too much well-meant bumbling ignorance and not nearly enough corrupt self-interest and deliberate deception.
I reckon it’s more like a good old Nathan Road copy watch: everyone involved knows all the gold is chrome, the diamonds are glass and the innards are rubbish: it’s just purpose built to give it a thin veneer of reality, so that the mark can pretend it’s real so as to impress their friends and neighbours (who the mark deems as marks)*, and the dodgy salesmen flogging the cheap imitations can make loads of money off the marks without too much effort and a bit of built-in plausible deniability — “I thought it was a real democracy, officer: I had no idea it was a cheap copy that didn’t work.”
This has more of the reality of the CCP: a self interested and venal bunch of suckers looking for a short-cut to being rich by cheating the suckers below them, who are themselves being cheated by a self interested and venal bunch of suckers above them looking for a short-cut to being rich by cheating the suckers below them.
*qv Fake qualifications and the CCPUFWD: “Dr.” Elizabeth Quat “BA”, “MBA”; Eunice Yung Hoi-yan “JSD”; Wilson Or Chong-shing “MBA”; “Dr” Philip Wong Yu-hong “JD” GBS; Francis Choi Chee-ming, “BA”, “MBA”, GBS and his wife “Dr.” Choi Lee Wai Lai, Margaret.
@ copy watches? et al – Excellent summation!