It’s another sign of the deterioration of governance – Hong Kong leaders can’t even do Panic-Stricken Crisis Disaster Freak-Out Failures properly any more.
Back in 2003, after the massive march against Article 23 security laws, Tung Chee-hwa and his top officials collapsed into catastrophic ignominy with at least some decorum. They didn’t fight reality – they just went quiet and despondent and contrite.
In 2019, Carrie Lam and her team are in denial, thrashing about all over the place in attempts to regain composure and authority, when they should be slinking off into a faraway dark place to lie low.
They have sent moderate supporters out to plead with the population to ‘give Carrie a second chance’ – as if a frantic effort to impose Communist rule-by-fear/rule-by-law on the whole city is a minor mishap, like a waitress spilling some tea.
Perhaps the most pitiful sight is that of Police Commissioner Stephen Lo dropping his own front-line cops into the doo-doo. The word has gone out for him to go warm-and-cuddly, so now he is downplaying the ‘riot/threat to civilization’ for which he had previously psyched-up and over-armed his men – who are left as social outcasts.
The main difference between 2003 and today is that Beijing’s officials are far more active behind the scenes, guiding the message-management with their unmistakable subtlety.
In 2003, the Hong Kong administration fell flat on its face, and the official line was – in effect – that… it had fallen flat on its face. In 2019, the official line has shifted day by day, from refusal to admit anything is happening, to blaming foreign forces, to puke-making fake crying, to embarrassing over-correction and promises to be good from now on.
Meanwhile, from Victoria Park on Sunday, a quick update on how well that CCP ‘winning hearts and minds of patriotic young Hongkongers’ thing is coming along…