CCP licks wounds, will be back

The leaks about the Chief Executive begging Beijing to make concessions and to let her quit this nightmare seem to have had an effect: Carrie Lam announces the withdrawal of the extradition bill.

The consensus is ‘too little, too late’. Still, it’s Hong Kong’s fourth defeat of a Mainlandizing measure since Article 23. Once again, the shoe-shiners who recited the withdrawal-is-impossible line (and Beijing’s propagandists) are left looking stupid. But this time, there is no going back to normal.

Two and a half months ago, Carrie’s announcement would probably have calmed the situation – appeasing mainstream moderate public opinion and somewhat isolating radicals. The CCP refused this obvious move, partly no doubt as a matter of face/principle, but mainly for fear of rewarding opposition and encouraging more of it.

Instead, in the intervening 10 weeks, the CCP geniuses wielded such weapons as out-of-control police, triads, mass-arrests and intimidation of companies like the MTR and Cathay Pacific. To the extent that this has angered/radicalized mainstream public opinion, the withdrawal gesture will now very possibly have the exact effect the CCP originally feared, and consolidate, if not embolden, anti-government/Beijing sentiment.

Under pressure from the leaks and the impending October 1 celebrations, Beijing saw no better way out. But they want to use the retreat as a chance to reposition, by redefining the enemy. Recent official statements have suggested that Hong Kong’s peaceful anti-bill protests are ‘acceptable’, but radical splittist activity is criminal and must be crushed. The implied threat is that this concession over withdrawal will be followed by more, rather than less, oppression of anti-government sentiment – on the grounds of national security. We’ve taken the bill away, so anyone still protesting must be evil foreign-backed color-revolution subversive fanatics, and will be treated as such.

If, as seems likely, the ‘mainstream moderate opinion’ boat already sailed, this points to an increasingly angry and rebellious population. Even if the authorities drive dissent off the streets, it will grow in new forms in housing estates, schools, offices, and social media.

The CCP has had 16 years (since 2003) to detect a pattern in which the more it tries to tighten control over Hong Kong, the more the city will resist. Indeed, the mid-2019 alienation of the middle-ground probably built on anger at the politicized prosecutions, jailings and purging that followed 2014’s Occupy. And the only response the Party can conceive of? Clamping down yet more.

Latest purge victim – Cathay Pacific Chairman John Slosar. He once gave me this T-shirt…

A free pack of peanuts to anyone who knows what it’s about…
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11 Responses to CCP licks wounds, will be back

  1. Chinese Netizen says:

    I smell a Trojan horse move.

  2. Reactor #4 says:

    Slosar T-shirt: I think it relates to the transfer of the airport from Kai Tak to Chek Lap Kok. It looks like a facsimile of the master schedule.

    One other thing – he must have a serious perspiration issue.

  3. squirrel nuts says:

    the unfortunate problem with communism is that it believes struggles against pragmatic freedom and the reality of the individual is precisely why it exists. so whereas freedom loving people believe they are being idiots, they believe that the more it squirms the more likely the poor creature is receiving new life. squirrel nuts

  4. Cassowary says:

    The four remaining protester demands:
    1. Independent investigation into police misconduct
    2. Stop characterizing the protests as “riots”
    3. Amnesty for protesters already arrested
    4. Universal suffrage

    3 of those 4 arose directly out of the protester-police conflict and never would have existed had Carrie Lam fully retracted the bill in the first place. The fourth only resurfaced from the graveyard of constitutional reform because our Government has demonstrated exactly how broken it is. Congratulations, Beijing, you have succeeded in creating an almost entirely self-referential cycle of social unrest. It’s an ouroboros of violence. Are you happy now?

  5. Standalone says:

    @Cassowary – not to mention giving renewed impetus to the Hong Kong independence movement, originally kicked off by CY Leung’s hysterical over-reaction to an obscure article in a student magazine. I haven’t seen any recent poll on this, but I would be willing to bet that support for the idea has skyrocketed in recent weeks. The logic is obvious: if Beijing won’t let Hong Kong have a decent government responsive to the people, then we would be better off without control by Beijing. Of course the desirable is not always the achievable.

  6. Stanley Lieber says:


    Anyone who uses the word “ouroboros” is alright by me.

  7. old git says:

    Last month, when asked if the FATF requirements on extradition laws were behind the extradition bill, the HK Government response was “to some extent”, even though that wasn’t mentioned in the February 2019 brief to LegCo on the extradition bill.

    It must be a coincidence “to some extent”, that the extradition bill was withdrawn on the same day that the FATF’s favourable evaluation report on HK was published, with the lack of extradition to the PRC referred to as “minor shortcomings” and “largely compliant”.

  8. stanley gibbons says:

    Stanley Lieber says:
    Anyone who uses the word “ouroboros” is alright by me.”

    Or he could be up his own ar*e?

  9. Cancel the fireworks says:


    As it stands the first three will have to be done. And it’s fair enough, really — if she hadn’t methodically dismantled and ignored every avenue of peaceful rejection of the bill, we wouldn’t be in this mess and those three wouldn’t be demanded. Besides a sizeable chunk of HK netizens are fairly convinced the Police killed at least one protester in Prince Edward and are covering it up. And there are reports of IPCC observers having been arrested, which marks it out as an even more toothless body than first thought.

    She *might* just possibly be able to weasel her way out of #4 by fixing LegCo and then promising CE things “at a later date™”.

    Fixing LegCo would have to consist of ditching all the (dis)Functional Constituencies, and removing and undoing all the DQ nonsense: anyone can run, no matter what their beliefs, as per the basic flaw 27, 39 and upholding the ICCPR. Constituencies could be made smaller, and more numerous to make up the seating (Multiparty Independent Commission with jury-duty style public involvement to avoid gerrymandering*). You should probably also institute strict election expense limits, disclosure of the provenance of all party funds and deny all that bussing in old DAB farts / votes for dim sum and that sort of crap.

    *if indeed that is still possible after the alienation of huge swathes of DAB “territory” by the cops’ bizarre hearts and minds campaign.

  10. Stephen says:

    @Cancel the fireworks

    When you refer to “she” are you referring to The Central Peoples Government ? I’m fairly certain Hong Kong will not be having #4 whilst it is still around.

  11. Anonymous says:

    @old git

    In this case, probably. The report was endorsed in June, and circulated some months before that, so their bringing it up later was simply fishing around for plausible-sounding excuses as a red herring.

    Rumoured fatalities and/or the Reuters leaks still seem better possible explanations for the timing.

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