So are we going to find out what exactly the Chinese side ‘reneged on’ during trade negotiations, thus triggering the Trump tariffs Twitter turbulence? The US officials, irritatingly, are sparing their Beijing counterparts’ blushes. Just curious.
Meanwhile, back in Hong Kong, the amendment allowing for extradition of fugitives to the Mainland is going through the Legislative Council. Or it’s supposed to be. The pro-democrat lawmakers are using whatever procedural measures they can to hold it up, while the pro-government members – aided by the assembly’s supposedly neutral secretariat – are doing their best to push it through. So much so, that there are now two rival bills committees (a situation the Standard valiantly compares to Venezuela).
News outlets’ ‘explainers’ usually insult your intelligence, but here’s one that genuinely enlightens the reader – HK Free Press unravels the ‘This is not a meeting’ confusion.
Some pro-Beijing loyalists are getting whiny about how the pan-dems are opportunistically (ie cynically, ie unfairly) making a huge and unnecessary fuss of the extradition proposal as a way to make trouble, trying to replicate 2003- or 2014-style uproars, simply as an end in itself, because that’s what these dirty rotten scoundrels do.
The reality is that the government has miscalculated. This is hardly surprising, as the ultimate decision-maker – behind the local puppet administration – is the same over-reaching regime that has apparently blundered in its trade negotiations with the Americans.
While pan-dems in LegCo are taking filibustering to new lengths, civil society is exposing the Hong Kong government’s zombie-like determination to follow Beijing’s orders and get an extradition arrangement through. Officials are rejecting suggestions for alternatives out of hand (lots of suggestions), and refusing to even talk about it. The proposal is also attracting overseas attention – a US Congress commission is warning that it might endanger US citizens in Hong Kong and bring into question the current US extradition agreement with the city.
In line with CCP practice, Beijing’s enforcers just dump the problem on their local minions and leave them to sweat and struggle and suffer however much it takes to deliver. With their limited room for flexibility, not to say brain cells, Hong Kong’s officials are still sticking to their idiotic (and tasteless) line that the extradition thing is all about a particular murder case in Taiwan. Ram it through they must. It’s not like they have any credibility at stake.