Forming committees while Rome burns

It seemed too trite to predict that Chief Executive Carrie Lam would resort to this as her Big Idea to end Hong Kong’s anti-government uprising, but she’s gone and done it – yes, she’s putting together a committee.

Presumably, the ‘platform for dialogue’ (without waiting for everyone to sit down and shut up) is intended as a conciliatory gesture that will assuage the moderately mad mainstream malcontents. After the last 10 weeks, this sounds unlikely.

(One oddity here is the plan to bolster the police complaints body with overseas members. This is not something Beijing officials would particularly like. Perhaps a small glimmer of good governance accidentally fell through the net.)

To further dampen Carrie’s pathetic platform plan, yesterday’s other news featured: a nasty knife attack on protesters by a pro-Beijing hoodlum; the emergence of a video showing cops assaulting an elderly man on a hospital gurney; and the disappearance of a local staffer at the British consulate. The latter story neatly encapsulates two hot issues – the rottenness of China’s legal system that provoked the reaction against the extradition bill, and the Mainland security officials’ zone beneath Kowloon High-Speed Rail Station, where the guy seems to have been detained.

Pro-establishment-but-awkward businessman Michael Tien suggests that Beijing is indeed desperate to pacify Hong Kong in time for the 70th National Day celebration on October 1. That means naughty Hong Kong people must stop ‘overshadowing’ the CCP’s self-glorifying pageantry by… mid-September. At the latest. Hard to say who he thinks he is helping by spelling this out. But if you want confirmation that the protest movement is in a position of strength, here it is.

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16 Responses to Forming committees while Rome burns

  1. Mark says:

    From the linked article about Michael Tien…

    “The leadership in Beijing would obviously want all the media and the cameras around the world to focus on China’s achievements, with its military might, the parade, everything”, Tien said… If there are still mass anti-extradition demonstrations in the SAR in the run-up to October 1, Tien says there would only be two options: for the Chief Executive Carrie Lam to formally ask for help from the People’s Liberation Army, or for Beijing to unilaterally send in troops by declaring a state of emergency in Hong Kong under Article 18 of the Basic Law.”

    Am I to understand that the CCP is so worried about the escalating Hong Kong situation interfereing with the positive coverage of the country’s 70th anniversary on 1st October, that they are… seriously considering direct Mainland Chinese military intervention in Hong Kong?

    If this is CCP’s master plan to keep a happy, upbeat message around the country’s 70th anniversary, I think we’ve all been giving Beijing way, way too much credit for being too-smart-to-directly-intervene.

  2. Cassowary says:

    “If this is CCP’s master plan to keep a happy, upbeat message around the country’s 70th anniversary, I think we’ve all been giving Beijing way, way too much credit for being too-smart-to-directly-intervene.”

    If Beijing no longer gives a fig what the international community thinks, they might try to spin their resounding victory against the traitorous Hong Kong splittists as a happy, upbeat message for domestic consumption. The economic hit might not be worth it, but they wouldn’t be the first authoritarian regime to sacrifice their own economy to stay in power. I don’t think they’re that crazy (yet), its mostly likely an empty threat.

    However, between Donald Trump and Brexit, the international community is in shambles. If they did shoot us dead in the streets, who’s going to say “boo” to them? Justin Trudeau?

  3. pacifist beaver says:

    There will most likely not be military intervention. People are saying this because they have run out of narratives as Beijing seems to have stalled around making veiled threats. Military intervention in Hong Kong would lead some bodies to depose Xi. It ruins their future plans for Taiwan and the global image they wish to nurture.

  4. Chinese Netizen says:

    A) Since there’s no actual top dog resistance leader, with whom will they (the gov’t) dialogue?
    B) Platform members will surely consist of the insulated and clueless-about-the-plebs “tycoons”, fu er dai of “tycoons” and the usual gang of reliable anus lickers.
    C) Seman will definitely be one of the sages involved.
    D) Curry Lamb truly thinks she has some breathing room and a mandate??
    E) Oct 1 will be UGLY. And MASSIVE.

  5. Chinese Netizen says:

    @Mark: But of course…CRUSH the little unarmed Hongkeys with overpowering military might all for a silly shopping holiday face. As a show of soft power, how far you’ve come and extreme cuddliness.

  6. Chinese Netizen says:

    Apologies Hemlock. I failed to read your Twatter post before writing my A-E list above. But I guess we think similarly.

  7. CPC Savills says:

    The seven greedy old corrupt bastards of the Standing Committee of the Politburo alone own billions and billions of dollars of luxury Hong Kong property. They’re likely looking into selling it now, but that sort of bling pad takes a long while to shift. Then there’s all the stocks and shares to divest without screwing the Stock Exchange enough to cause economic fallout on the Mainland, which currently leans quite heavily on HKSE for “legit” hard currency listings.

    They’re not going to be done by October. They probably won’t be done by Christmas. I don’t for a moment doubt that they’d send in the tanks, but I do doubt they’d send the tanks to run over their own nest-eggs. The minute the Politburo’s cheques clear, however, the PLA will be straight in and shooting heavy machine guns randomly into housing estates and student dorms just like in ’89.

  8. Cassowary says:

    I wouldn’t get too excited about the overseas experts being brought in to investigate the police, either. With all the United Front influence, it shouldn’t be too difficult to scare up a few overseas lawyers or professors who are in the pocket of Big Panda.

    20 years ago, I had an American professor of Chinese history who said with a straight face that corruption wasn’t an issue in China, it just got a lot of attention because they had such high Confucian standards. She also claimed that Mao had made a reasonable error in the Great Leap Forward because it was impossible for policy-makers to know if they were doing the wrong thing or if they weren’t doing enough of it.

    This is probably the quality of expertise we have to look forward to.

  9. Reactor #4 says:

    Concerning the protesters, one of the things that amuses me is their use of the old colonial flag as a battle standard. The thing is, though, if the Brits and Chinese had signed a 2097 hand-over lease (instead of an 1997 one) they would been having a right old hissy fit over the Brits treating them shabbily; I am 100% certain that full-blown democracy would not have been bestowed upon them. Way too messy.

  10. Mark Bradley says:

    Then how come the Cayman Islands have a democracy? It’s certainly a much more legitimate form of universal suffrage than here.

  11. Control Rod says:

    @Reactor #4
    Way too messy only because the CPC would invade if they did bestow democracy on them, as per their threats 1958 onwards.
    “China would regard any move towards Dominion status as a very unfriendly act.” – Zhou Enlai to Harold MacMillan, 30/1/58

    “Should the proposal [for self government] come from the British it would be a different matter. We shall not hesitate to take positive action to have Hong Kong, Kowloon and New Territories liberated as, up to this very moment, we have never recognised Hong Kong, Kowloon and New Territories as British territory. However, the present status of Hong Kong is to our benefit.” – Liao Chengzhi, China’s director of Overseas Chinese Affairs, 1960

    But you’re missing the point: they only really wave the old colonial flag because it winds up the CPC. It’s why they’ve started using the stars and stripes more, because it’s clearer: it’s not a call to the past, it’s just a show of “Heck, we’d prefer to be a colony of anyone but China”.

  12. dimuendo says:


    You make me react although Donny Almond exhorted everybody to ignore you. We have something in common,namely unemployment (none generation of income) although notwithstanding age I hope I am not unemployable.

    As you may know Hong Kong’s fate was detirmined in 1898 (not a typo) when the lease was taken, not a ceeding of property as per HK island and Kowloon.

    Without the NT HK is not viable, unless there were extensive desalination plants on HK island. Even then a taller wall than even the orange tangerine’s wildest fantasties would be needed. The attraction of HK to the chinese, even now and ultimately the cause of the demonstrations, is that it is NOT China.

    Thatcher (you no doubt venerate her memory, I do not) should never have appointed a man Percy Craddock who had been manhandled by the chinese in 1967 on the sacking of the British legation in Beijing to lead the negotiations with the chinese. His nerve and ultimately ability to robustly negotiate was long gone, although to be fair to him (although he was never fair to anybody) his starting point was not strong given 1898.

    Apologies to anybody who may read this as to the no doubt numerous typos. Unfortunately I do not see well, it is late and I have had half a bottle of wine,

  13. Din Gao says:

    @ Cassowary re Overseas Experts.

    Indeed; Grovelling-Crass springs to mind.

  14. @Reactor – a one-word answer: Gibraltar. In fact I believe almost all Britain’s remaining colonies – those places too small or too at threat from a larger neighbour (like the Falkland Islands) to become independent – enjoy internal self-rule. Hong Kong was a historical anomaly, for the reasons Control Rod lays out.

  15. Guest says:

    @Control Rod: what would really make Beijing blow its top is if someone were to parade around with a Rising Sun flag.

    Oh, wait, some of those who damaged the Lennon Walls already posted it.

  16. Irritated Observer says:


    Cheers to you, and no need to apologise. You make important points notwithstanding any typos. Half a bottle of wine has way less impact on your ability to make pertinent observations than another quibbling observer who by his reckoning may never had more than one pint in his life!

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