CCP ups HK ‘hearts and minds’ in HK, again

Anyone thinking that this would be the weekend when Hong Kong starts to calm down was even more wrong than usual. It turns out that this was the weekend when Beijing took full control of the battle against protestors. To save time and space, here’s a list of yesterday’s injuries, police-gang collaboration, MTR station tear-gassings, etc from Nathan Law.

Beijing’s thinking is summed up in this thread from academic Sebastian Veg. The Hong Kong government will make no concessions. Instead, Beijing will employ physical force and United Front mobilization to wear down and defeat the protests.

The police (and allied gangsters, and probably agents provocateurs) will use greater levels of violence and large-scale arrests, to be followed by prosecutions aimed at imposing maximum punishment.

Companies that are insufficiently supportive of the regime will be pressured into openly siding with the government, as already seen with demands that Cathay Pacific exert ideological discipline on its staff, and hundreds of tycoons sign a contrived petition. The civil service (including RTHK), universities, professionals and other supposedly independent institutions will presumably come in for similar treatment.

Beijing will also order a campaign to (as Veg says) “…turn HK public opinion against the movement; isolate the ‘violent extremists’ from the ‘patriotic silent majority’, especially highlighting economic impact of protests…”

This is where Beijing’s (publicly stated) strategy falls apart. It assumes the opposition is a small group of extremists backed by foreign forces, and the bulk of the population are on the regime’s side.

The government could have split moderate public opinion from radicals on several occasions in the last two months by making symbolic concessions. Instead, they showed open contempt for public opinion or simply went silent while the police increased their use of violence and apparent coordination with thugs. This has directly affected residential neighborhoods and innocent bystanders, and – so far as we can tell – significantly alienated the mainstream of the community.

That leaves the Chinese Communist Party now attempting to ‘crush’ an opposition comprising much or most of the population. The local administration and cops have lost so much credibility that alarmist claims about damage to the economy – or even drastic ‘false flag’-type operations to frame protesters – will probably be counter-productive.

If this carries on, we will get fatalities and, in response, a real shut-the-city-down general strike with half the population on the streets.

The CCP apparently cannot be seen to give ground: it must win, and the opposition must lose. However, the word is that Beijing has ordered the local administration to draw up some (really really) serious reforms in areas like housing, welfare and even in transparency of policymaking. This sounds like too-little-too-late, and beside the point – not to say hard to imagine after 20 years of relentless official stupidity on these issues. But if presented sooner rather than later, with Carrie Lam and puppets acting in the role of repentants who have seen the light, it might cool things down a bit, until next time.

Either way, tighter CCP control over internal security and what we might broadly call ideological guidance for business, public sector and civil society look like a given – after this weekend.

In the spirit of trying desperately to be optimistic, here’s a cheery article about how Hong Kong has always bounced back.

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12 Responses to CCP ups HK ‘hearts and minds’ in HK, again

  1. Deplorable Beaver says:

    “Beijing’s thinking is summed up in this thread from academic Sebastian Veg. The Hong Kong government will make no concessions. Instead, Beijing will employ physical force and United Front mobilization to wear down and defeat the protests.

    The police (and allied gangsters, and probably agents provocateurs) will use greater levels of violence and large-scale arrests, to be followed by prosecutions aimed at imposing maximum punishment.”
    this is more coherent than what you see the rabid anti-Chinese like Kyle Bass talking about. It seems not three days go by before Kyle tweets out that the military is at the doorstep. In fact, today he suggested that the military has been in Hong Kong in secret since August 1.
    Okay, Kyle.
    I think it is quite obvious that this approach is going to bite China in the ass, but it’s going to ruin a lot of our lot first.

  2. Reactor #4 says:

    Last night saw an excellent effort by HK’s Police. In previous encounters, they seem to have been hamstrung by playing it 1950s/1960s British style – listening to the social-worker impeders, not being 100% committed to the physical exchanges, generally being nice (what’s the deal with the various warning banners?). Last night, though, they went full Italian Serie B. Employing the equivalent of incessant shirt-tugging, sledging, cynical tackles, spitting etc., they ground out a magnificent result, and one that marks a major turning point. For me, the highlights were the crowd-planting events; their taking out of an individual on Nathan Road – a lovely 50-60 metres dash finished with some superb lower-leg baton work; and the escalator rush at Takoo Shing MTR station – excellent commitment. If the cops carry on like this, the title will be in the bag before the end of the month (and well before October 1).

  3. Weeping for Hong Kong says:

    Ouch. You know Hong Kong is in trouble when Barrett Bingley, who no one takes seriously, and has never achieved anything without Dad’s connections is the source for optimism. Of course if he is wrong, like he often is, Dad will just jet him off to Canada or wherever he wants to go and Hong Kong will still be burning.

  4. Knownot says:

    Pitter-patter rubber bullets fly
    Teargas tickling at your nose
    Freedom songs of a heavenly choir
    Merry people with friendly po-pos

    Laser torches beam and glow
    Blackshirts playing with the white
    Crowds like water ebb and flow
    Fujian voices in the night

    Cruising vehicles of the PLA
    Bring loads of goodies here today
    And every mother’s child is gonna spy
    To see if Carrie’s really riding by

    And so I’m offering this simple phrase
    Now the SAR is twenty-two
    Although it’s been said many times, many ways
    A very good morning to you.

    – – – – –

    with acknowledgement to ‘The Christmas Song’
    recorded by Nat King Cole and others
    written by Mel Torme and Robert Wells

  5. Anonymous says:

    The ruptured eye is a tipping point. I want to live in a country with a police force I can trust to invite into my home. I now would not dare dial 999.

  6. dimuendo says:

    Yet more escalation. This time clearly by the police. Large numbers of plain clothes “police” (PLA?) wearing police helmets and “waistcoats” and carrying batons. But far worse the police(?) dressed as demonstrators. Acting as agent provacteurs? Inciting? Initiating? Clearly to breed distrust but as Mary Meleville has pointed out elsewhere, will now mean thare is no certainly that something, such as a petrol bomb, is actually thrown by protestor as distinct from an undercover officer (if that be the correct term) . The distrust bred might not be just between the demonstrators but even more of the police. Plus some of the modes of restaint are actively dangerous. Kneeling on and twisting peoples necks is going to result in seriously injurd people and possible fatalities; the police have form for this.

    As for reactor # 4, if you are serious in what you say, please go back to Chernobyl and stay there.

  7. Glycon says:

    “It does not do to rely too much on silent majorities, for silence is a fragile thing: one loud noise, and it is gone.”

    “But the people are so cowed and disorganised a few might take the opportunity to protest, but it’ll just be a voice crying in the wilderness.”

    “Noise is relative to the silence preceding it. The more absolute the hush, the more shocking the thunderclap. Our Masters have not heard the people’s voice for generations and it is much, much louder than they care to remember.”

    — Alan Moore’s V for Vendetta.

  8. Mary Melville says:

    Still waiting for the official announcement that there will be no more tear gassing of MTR stations …………….. So much for TLC if not for we locals but what about our precious visitors?
    Not a peep from Hon YIU Si-wing, BBS. Constituency : Functional Constituency – Tourism.
    All whingeing about a drop in visitor number should be met with a loud raspberry and a demand that he resign for failure to ensure that they can enjoy a gas free MTR ride.

  9. Cassowary says:

    @Anonymous: It’s not too difficult to imagine a repeat of the fishball riot of 2016 where a panicked cop shoots live bullets at an angry crowd, except this time he won’t bother to aim over their heads.

  10. Cassowary says:

    As an aside, how much money do you want to bet that the housing reforms that the government has been ordered to come up with _won’t_ involve paving the country parks for fun and profit?

  11. Different Anonymous says:

    @Cassowary: If so, might not survive recklessness to receive a commendation this time.

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