‘Jasper’ Tsang Yok-sing, elder statesman of Hong Kong’s CCP-front DAB, writes (in Chinese) in AM730 that foreign forces are not mounting a classic ‘color revolution’ in the city – their anti-China aims are more nuanced, owing to business interests here, etc. To the extent they are leveraging local influence, he says, it is only possible because Beijing has failed to win the people’s hearts and minds. The people have lost confidence in One Country Two Systems because of Beijing’s closer control, and are dissatisfied with local governance. He quotes Mao to support the principle that internal problems enable external interference.
Tsang has a habit of blithely side-stepping the official line and coming up with a sort of ‘common sense with CCP characteristics’. That’s to say, he totally supports the absorption of Hong Kong into the one-party state – he just gets annoyed that the Mainlanders are getting it all wrong and (from a loyalist’s viewpoint) making things worse.
While Beijing wonders what to do, the painful charade of the ‘Hong Kong government’ continues. Chief Executive Carrie Lam missed an opportunity to restore love and harmony following the recent period of calm. (That was the weekend before last – if you had a nap at the time, you’d have missed it.) Instead, she just sailed impassively along on auto-pilot, oblivious to the events around her.
It is indisputably eerie, and has prompted even the mildest-spoken among us to use such descriptions as ‘lobotomized’ and ‘zombie-like’. It is also enormously frustrating to many pro-establishment moderates (and more candid die-hards, like Tsang). Even if you accept (as you should) that Beijing’s officials have in effect relieved her and the administration of their posts, you still wonder how she can look so inert and lifeless. One theory is that it is a silent protest or cry for help.
The SCMP asks its style correspondent to find out whether Carrie’s fashion choice says more than she does. (Yes, silly question – a used Kleenex is more enlightening.)
On a darker note, an academic who knows all about non-violence and overthrowing oppressive regimes expresses concern about where Hong Kong is going. At this rate, someone’s going to get killed, and then we have martyrs, and a slide into long-term conflict. He warns of Northern Ireland 2.0.
Perhaps not a perfect parallel in terms of politics, culture and history (pro-democrats = Catholics/Republicans, pro-Beijing camp = Protestants/Unionists, and the PRC/PLA = UK/British forces). But in terms of intractability, it sounds all too believable.
The thread includes comments bemoaning the lack of figures who can connect the two camps (such a lack that Christine Loh gets a mention as a ‘Trojan horse reformer’).
This is a deliberate outcome of the CCP’s Leninist United Front philosophy: anyone who does not kowtow and obey is an enemy. Think how things could have turned out if moderates like Martin Lee had been allowed a role in government after 1997. Instead, the CCP has squeezed out everyone except a bunch of shoe-shiners and buffoons from having any input into local governance.
Would Tsang Yok-sing go for co-opting moderates? Actually, he prefers giving the Liaison Office a formal role in running Hong Kong directly – squeezing the shoe-shiners and buffoons out of the equation as well. This looks the least improbable long-term outcome.
For fantasy-fiction fans: Asia Sentinel concocts a possibly drug-induced, semi-genius scenario in which Tsang teams up with Carrie and boldly saves the day.