Last week’s Reuters scoop about Beijing taking control of Hong Kong’s local administration, helpfully confirmed by Global Times, suggests that someone high-up in the city’s establishment is trying to put some distance between themselves and the national government. Reuters now follow up with another exclusive: Carrie Lam really is, as most of us suspect, trapped, unable to get her hair done and close to slashing her wrists in despair.
Here’s the audio from a gathering with a group of businessmen a week or so ago. She admits fault and a wish to resign. She says (and apparently believes) that Beijing will let the unrest in Hong Kong continue through October 1 – no deadline, no PLA, no concessions. Most of all, it’s a ‘national security’ issue, so out of her hands. ‘They’ (as she refers to Beijing several times) are mindful of international opinion, but will let this drag on for as long as it takes regardless of the costs to IPOs and tourism (a threat, not a promise, to this audience).
While she sounds fairly candid by her emotionally detached standards, she remembers to plug the Greater Bay Area. If she expressed any empathy for the people of Hong Kong, it doesn’t appear on these clips. On the other hand, she does convey (you may feel) the classic underlying Hong Kong-bureaucrat tone of contempt, as if to suggest that all 7 million of you have brought this on yourselves and you can all rot, see if I care.
But we are, perhaps, being Hong Kong-centric here. Maybe she really means ‘all 1.4 billion of you’.
So you’re not in charge, Carrie? OK, we believe you.
This new leak can be seen as a pre-emptive exposure of the impotence/non-culpability of the local administration whose top figures are being set up as scapegoats. It could, in theory, shock Beijing into accepting that the game is up and it needs to take ownership of the disastrous handling of the situation. Maybe even cut the Communist-dictatorship crap and use some common sense for a change. Alternatively, maybe such a feeble show of defiance by the local establishment nematodes will just annoy the CCP even more.
She knows she’s fucked and won’t make it out of HK, she’ll end up jailed for corruption or whatever (whether she did anything or not, it doesn’t really matter). One could almost feel sympathetic for her if she wasn’t such a sycophant
For anyone harbouring the idea that common sense is an option, here are the 14 points of Xi Jinping Thought [with annotations]:
1. Ensuring Communist Party of China leadership over all forms of work in China. [No compromise.]
2. The Communist Party of China should take a people-centric approach for the public interest. [Beat people until their behaviour aligns with our interests.]
3. The continuation of “comprehensive deepening of reforms”. [Stay on target to perfect control mechanisms.]
4. Adopting new science-based ideas for “innovative, coordinated, green, open and shared development”. [Tech as a path to control and profit.]
5. Following “socialism with Chinese characteristics” with “people as the masters of the country”. [Ha. Ha. Ha.]
6. Governing China with Rule of Law. [Obey.]
7. “Practice socialist core values”, including Marxism, communism and socialism with Chinese characteristics. [Leninist primacy of the political.]
8. “Improving people’s livelihood and well-being is the primary goal of development”. [Shut up and make money.]
9. Coexist well with nature with “energy conservation and environmental protection” policies and “contribute to global ecological safety”. [Poisoning the planet generates disharmony and should be avoided unless there’s good money in it.]
10. Strengthen national security. [Control.]
11. The Communist Party of China should have “absolute leadership over” China’s People’s Liberation Army. [Control.]
12. Promoting the one country, two systems system for Hong Kong and Macau with a future of “complete national reunification” and to follow the One-China policy and 1992 Consensus for Taiwan. [Total integration, assimilation and harmonisation of troublesome neighbouring Chinese populations.]
13. Establish a common destiny between Chinese people and other people around the world with a “peaceful international environment”. [Global Chinese leadership and hegemony over all ethnic Chinese wherever they may have escaped to.]
14. Improve party discipline in the Communist Party of China. [Obey.]
Excellent summary, thanks!
If she is really fucked and won’t make it out of HK then why not give the ccp the finger and go way off script? Matters and withdrawing that horseshit bill and establishing an independent commission are all well within the unilateral power of the CE. On paper the CE has a lot of power and Beijing has only some constitutional reserve powers. They can’t even unilaterally fire her!
I am waiting for her to pull a Hess
Carrie’s kid and better half are hostaged…err…”doing business” in Beijing during all this, right? Otherwise she might have done the midnight flight out of HKG to ABC (Anywhere But China). Well we now know why she cannot back down. Or else.
I couldn’t help but sense, from listening to the recording, that it was pure bullshit on her part…insincere…an act.
her kids are not in China. They are in Canada and UK, I believe.
Also, I think Bernard Chan is the only logical leaker here. He wants the greater Bay Area to be real, and he wants to be its king. Isn’t Bernard Chan also really short, too? I have seen him on LinkedIn posts and he seems to be about one foot smaller than every Western person he seems to be holding hands with begging for money.
While he may have been born in Hong Kong and is ethnically Chinese, I don’t think Charnwut Sophonpanich, with his extensive US business dealings (US citizen?), would be trusted and considered Han enough to get the crown.
My guess is she wanted her comments leaked so it doesn’t matter who did it. If she really wants to quit but isn’t allowed to, her only outs are death or being fired. As a devout catholic it seems suicide is off the table, but leaking state secrets regarding plans for the PLA might do the job.
A thought experiment – if Carrie Lam called a press conference and announced on live television that she was resigning on the spot, would Beijing be more embarrassed to let her go, or to force her to backtrack and stay?
As Mrs. Lam refuses to fulfil the responsibilities of her office, she should resign immediately, whether her CCP bosses like it or not.
Theresa Cheng is ugly as sin. On this there is no doubt.
@Stanley: Carrie Lam is neither being allowed to do her job nor to quit, but compelled to shamble along like a zombie figurehead. Regardless of her personal qualities or lack thereof, her resignation would be largely meaningless. It probably wouldn’t even calm the protests down because everyone can see that she doesn’t run the show. No-one in the Hong Kong government does.
Two events from the 1990s show the ONLY way Hong Kong in the 2010s can fix itself.
The Ulster troubles were sorted out by the “Good Friday Agreement” in 1998 and after. Which… gave the majority of the population (Catholics) the major say in the economy and politics
South Africa’s “Truth & Reconciliation” commission started in the 1996. Which… gave the majority of the population (blacks) the major say in the economy and politics
Hong Kong… your turn!
Credit where credit’s due: the protestors told us that HK was at risk of becoming just another Chinese city under direct control of the central government, which wanted nothing more than to round up local dissidents and put them on trial. They got that right, but seems they were mistaken when they said this would happen *after* the extradition bill was enacted.
Carrie Pearls is a life long HK civil servant. She will rather chew off a finger before giving up her pension rights.
@Chinese Netizen, Bernard’s Muffin
Her husband has taught short courses recently in Beijing Capital Normal University but may be back in the UK.
Her eldest is Global Manager, Miui Operation Xiaomi in Beijing (#xinjiangbound).
Her youngest is doing a PhD in Harvard (where all the politburo princelings go #wecanstillkillhimifwereallywant).
It does not matter where they are. She knows that much.
The idea that Mrs. Lam “isn’t allowed to quit” is bizarre.
All she has to do is submit a letter of resignation and release a copy to the press.
It’s done in political capitals around the world every day.
What’s so hard about that?
“The idea that Mrs. Lam “isn’t allowed to quit” is bizarre.”
This is a topic that’s been puzzling me for quite some time as well.
The intelligensia seems to be unaninmous in thinking that it would not just be untenable — but neigh impossible in an almost literal sense, politically speaking — that Carrie Lam could resigning without the approval of Mainland China.
It is as if she’s a prisoner to her title, and may even become a literal prisoner should she attempt to renounce it without prior approval. I just don’t see why people much smarter than I view it as such an impossibility.
Thank you for the link to the Global Times. What a deep well of delusion and kookery. I got this from an upbeat property investment article.
“A dramatic example of the property-centric investing mentality is a residential building in Shenzhen, South China’s Guangdong Province. The building tilted and collapsed in late August, but nevertheless turned out to be an instant boost for home prices in the neighborhood. Within hours of the disaster, owners of homes in the collapsed building hiked prices by roughly 20 percent, betting that buyers would be forking out extravagantly in the hope that the estate would be redeveloped. Homes near the building are also now in high demand”. Jeezus weezus! An economic miracle that could lift millions out of poverty!