While you can ignore the vacuous opinion column beneath it, the headline in the South China Morning Post asks a serious question: is the Hong Kong government getting into deep doo-doo with its proposed new Mainland extradition arrangements?
See this good run-down of officials’ lame handling of the plan (includes the nicely impertinent observation that the government would have more credibility if it said the new system will replace Communist Party agents’ extra-legal abductions on this side of the border).
As that thread says, much of the serious opposition to this proposal comes from legal bodies. But it’s misgivings from the business sector that are grabbing attention. The American Chamber of Commerce fears the impact of easier cross-border rendition on international executives, who could fly into town and get nabbed as part of Beijing’s latest hostage-taking tantrum. Local tycoons, whose past co-option by the CCP inevitably involved murky Mainland deals, fear shake-downs, exposure to factional infighting or other nastiness.
The SCMP goes off on a rather bizarre tangent, claiming that the local business community are criticizing the extradition proposals as protest/revenge for the Hong Kong government’s moves to use part of their precious golf course for housing.
To make the theory fit, the SCMP story maintains that the extradition proposals are the work of the Hong Kong authorities alone, and that Beijing has no opinion or input. If you believe that Chief Executive Carrie Lam and team would unilaterally think up and announce a reform with major symbolic or practical implications for Hong Kong-Beijing and Hong Kong/Beijing-Taiwan relations – like it’s news to Mainland officials! – you are seriously gullible. (To use the hip phrase these days, the local administration cannot/does not have ‘agency’.)
You can safely assume that Beijing officials are happy to stand back and pretend it’s all Carrie’s idea. They do with most Mainlandization measures – and this one’s more-than-averagely pushing it. You can also very easily believe that the pitiful and anxious shoe-shiner tycoons will claim they are stepping out of line out of concern for a golf-course rather than for their own clammy skins.