Did we find out who cancelled the flights and why?

The Hong Kong government is dormant right now. Its only active – not to say frenzied – component is the police force, which seems to have been placed under Beijing’s control. Similarly, the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office is now doing the press conferences.

Yesterday’s, following Sunday’s assorted protest mayhem, was the third in two weeks. The spokesmen turned the rhetoric up a notch to ‘signs of terrorism’. (This is switch position 6 on the official propaganda Freakometer.) State media released more footage of security forces trundling menacingly around Shenzhen.

At the same time, a huge crowd turned up at the airport to protest police brutality. Most of them left after a few hours.

Did the government really cancel all flights in an extreme and melodramatic attempt to portray the protesters as a public menace ruinous to the economy? And/or to trap the kids for mass-arrests?

Regular and peaceful sit-ins in the arrivals hall on previous days haven’t disrupted operations. A charitable view would be that the authorities panicked at the sheer numbers of yesterday’s turnout (largely filling both arrivals and departures) and had genuine safety-related grounds to shut down flights.

A more cynical view – bearing in mind that Beijing officials are calling the shots now – is that Mainland overseers saw an opportunity and ordered flight cancellations to create maximum inconvenience to the public and thus score a PR blow against the evil foreign-backed separatist forces. As we know from their involvement in humdrum local elections, Liaison Office meddlers take stage-management of events almost absurdly seriously.

The fact that we even ask the question is a mark of how crazy things are.

Which brings us to another illuminating thread on Beijing’s strategy. As this one points out more specifically, the Hong Kong rebellion of 2019 is not about an extradition bill or crap governance – it is a battle in which a Leninist-dictatorship elephant is trying to subdue a free-society mouse.

One remarkable feature of this struggle is the sheer ineptitude of China’s leadership in coming to terms with this tiny but obviously alien place.

The messaging is laughably bad. The usual excuse for this is that Beijing-speak is aimed at domestic audiences – but you have to wonder why, in that case, none of them can spare a few minutes to communicate directly to the local population.

The analysis (‘a few radicals backed by foreign forces’, ‘large silent patriotic majority’) is apparently self-deluding – though no-one knows for sure if they really believe it.

Beijing’s basic approach is: try what works on the Mainland; then, when that proves counter-productive and makes things worse, try even more of what works on the Mainland – and repeat, over and again. They cannot conceive of an easier way.

While kids display creativity and courage, Hong Kong’s own dismal, cronyistic ‘elites’ wallow in pathetic helplessness. After 1997, these tycoons and bureaucrats had power and status handed to them on a plate. They could have given a damn. But no, they just squeezed every drop from the city while strutting around as if they had some shred of merit or talent. The Chinese Communist Party is now (oh-so predictably) flicking them aside – hanging them out to dry or openly extorting squeals of loyalty from them. They are of little further use. To anyone. Whatever happens.

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13 Responses to Did we find out who cancelled the flights and why?

  1. Des Espoir says:

    So, PC Plod now admits that some of the “protestors” in black with yellow helmets were actually C.I.D. (=Coppers-In-Disguise)… If the police HAVE been sowing “agents provocateurs” amongst the “protestors”, would this perhaps explain their strange conduct in backing off and allowing Legco to be trashed..? Were there too many of their own amongst the Legco hordes, so they decided to stand back..?

  2. Anonymous says:

    For us of more suspicious mind, is it a coincidence that they mentioned the fear of “total blackout” after some protesters turned out some lights as one of the justifications for a retreat from defending Legco, and this recent use of green glow sticks to identify “friendlies”?

    From CNN quoting Stephen Lo (https://edition.cnn.com/asia/live-news/hong-kong-july-1-protests-intl-hnk/index.html)
    Some protesters were tampering with the electrical box, turning some of the lights off in the legislative building. The commissioner said he was worried about all the lights going off and a “wrong move” would be made on either side in the darkness.

    Let us recall they did not disperse the radicals when they were a small minority banging on the door outside. Not enough to discredit the fringes if you want to reject reasonable demands entirely.

  3. Guest says:

    Peter Woo seems to give a damn…about his beloved Carrie and his masters in Beijing.

    But I’m sure he’s also quietly moving assets to Switzerland, Bermuda, the Cayman Islands, etc.

  4. @old git – as with most Honours Lists, the worthiness of the recipients is in roughly inverse relationship to their prominence on the list – i.e. shoe-shiners at the top; lifesavers, carers and cat rescuers at the bottom.

  5. Four O'Clock Blow Sir says:

    Leon Lai got a Silver Bauhinia.

  6. Reactor #4 says:

    The live feed from the HK International Airport at 5.44 pm on Tue 13 Aug 2019 will wipe the smug grins of many of the commenters on this blog.


    With every passing day, it’s getting more like Lord of the Flies.

  7. Chef Wonton says:

    At the handover the call was “rule of man’ is replacing “rule of law’

    Two decades in, the “rule of man” is up 1-0

  8. Cassowary says:

    When Beijing cannot get support it will settle for resentful compliance. They don’t need the majority of the population to like them, they are just betting that the majority fear career suicide more than they hate authoritarianism. Then they’ll plaster a gold sticker on it and call it good for a few more years.

    There’s a half decent chance that they will lose this bet.

  9. Paul says:

    Er, that can’t be at 5:44pm because in the video it is dark outside. So that must be, at some level, fake news.

  10. Paul says:

    But, yes, it is a bit messy at the airport at the moment!

  11. PSB undercover: Foreign forces at last says:

    @Reactor #4

    I’m going to hazard a guess that 17 minutes of “Ah Wong’s burst of chilli”, one old fart’s lacklustre call for calm (despite the fact his Cantonese is mainland-speech-style annoyingly slow) isn’t really going to “wipe the smug grins of many of the commentators on this blog” — unless you‘re aiming to replace said smug grins with a slightly baffled expression of bemusement at a virtuoso “對牛彈琴” performance.

    Not so much “Lord of the Flies” as “Bored of the Lies”.

    Start again. Think carefully. Check the link.

  12. PC Bulletbag says:

    Well reactor4 – after the applauding the gave the cop violence the other day, it’s shocking – but almost inevitable – that the fringe upped the ante.
    One can’t think of a more smug and classic tankie reference that Lord of the Flies

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