Government resolved to keep rebellion alive

An interesting discussion on the differences between land and housing policy in Hong Kong and Singapore. And here’s more explanation of Hong Kong’s sociopath housing market, including a quote from Ronnie Chan gloating that the margin on Hang Lung’s HarbourSide development was an incredible 78%.

As many supporters of the anti-government movement like to point out, Hong Kong’s unrest is about Beijing’s attacks on the city’s freedoms and way of life, not – as opponents of the protests prefer to think – about basic material things like housing. But stupid/corrupt policies on livelihood issues have undoubtedly helped boost public anger over the years and undermined the local administration’s legitimacy. To China’s leaders, the resulting discontent looks like a threat to national security, thus probably prompting Beijing to speed up Mainlandization. It’s all linked.

Given the CCP’s phobia about institutional reform, the only carrot they can use to calm Hong Kong is better governance on livelihood issues. So it is natural that they want to finally definitely really really Do Something on housing this time.

The pro-Beijing DAB proposes that the government include land resumption – forced purchase, essentially from developers – in the forthcoming Policy Address to release developable land. The party is also criticizing the slow supply of public housing.

The government and the DAB itself have previously opposed resumption – while pro-democrats have suggested it. The DAB is no doubt afraid of losing votes in the coming local elections. But more to the point, it is a core CCP-front. It wouldn’t formally propose that the government include it in next month’s Policy Address unless someone told it to. The property developers’ lobby REDA is also tentatively endorsing the idea (provided it focuses on the least useful parcels of idle farmland they sit on).

We can conclude that this will indeed be in the Policy Address. If so, we look forward to the media asking officials why the mechanism was unacceptable just a few months ago – but has suddenly become possible?

Of course, no-one thinks this gimmick will put the local government’s shattered legitimacy back together. The long, grinding clampdown must continue.

Behold the HK Police Force’s latest bright idea: snitch hotlines. They are on WhatsApp, so you can send photos and so on – I’m sure someone will find imaginative and fun ways to give the cops plenty of leads. Even sillier: issuing off-duty officers with retractable batons, because we don’t have enough image problems already.

And the government is openly looking at using emergency powers. Because – why boost your credibility by 5% through resumption of land when you can cut it by 20% by banning masks?

Pro-Beijing groups are demanding political monitoring of teachers, including cameras in classrooms (already common in Mainland universities, of course). While others are calling for a similar regime to control journalists, and to turn RTHK into a propaganda outlet.

With heavy-handed concepts like these floating around, who needs the CIA to keep the uprising alive? The latest act of resistance to spring out of nowhere is the creation of a Hong Kong anthem. Never mind the lyrics or the melody – just wonder at the hugely symbolic subversiveness of Glory to Hong Kong being sung in malls, and now in an orchestral vid that has gained 660,000 views since… yesterday.

(A rather thin rendition in English if you want, or kawaii Japanese, or try the arrangement for flute. And not forgetting ‘soft power’ – there’s talk of a Vietnamese karaoke version.)

The SCMP coyly calls it a ‘theme tune’. No doubt the government will introduce a second anthem bill making it illegal to stand while this one’s playing.

(If it’s really not your cup of tea and you prefer Taiwanese metalcore – here’s a tribute to Hong Kong from Obsess.)

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22 Responses to Government resolved to keep rebellion alive

  1. Hong Kong Hibernian says:

    What? (gasp!) No mention of the blatant foreign interference in Chinese affairs vis-a-vis a strategically important Indian Ocean nation?

    England, Italy, Brazil and even Cyprus have conspired on this devious plot:

  2. Irritated Observer says:

    Just yesterday, somebody was bleating about engagement being low. The protest march tune orchestral version certainly doesn’t look like it was the product of a few uncreative disengaged bureaucrats with top-down direction.

    Mask laws, a fitting way to beat those who are socially conscious. Would probably have to count me in next time I’m sick.

  3. old git says:

    In England nearly 200 hundred years ago, after 300 years of political exclusion, Roman Catholics were permitted to swear an oath before being admitted as members of Parliament. In 1858, after 1,000 years of political and social exclusion, men of the Jewish faith were permitted to swear a modified oath before being admitted as members of Parliament.

    In Hong Kong, we have a British-built LegCo with the political equivalent on oaths prevailing in the year 1800.

  4. Cassowary says:

    Government: “Oh no, beating people with sticks isn’t working! Whatever should we do? I know, how about more sticks!”

  5. dimuendo says:

    What about a law forbidding the police from wearing masks?

    Or requiring them to wear identification numbers at all times?

  6. Chris Maden says:

    @old git: …and China has no tradition of oath-taking, and not even a word for it in Chinese (“promise,” yes, but not oath) until that British-built LegCo came along and a word was duly invented.

    Land resumption: what a great way of spending tax-payers’ money on land that’s so crap the property companies don’t want it, and no doubt at grossly inflated prices.

  7. PaperCuts says:

    “…erroneous government land policies…”

    …that just so happened to benefit handsomely certain morally erroneous government officials no doubt.

  8. @dimuendo – aren’t the police already required to wear their numbers? Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

  9. Cassowary says:

    @Chris: Maybe they’ll finally get around to resuming some of those brownfield sites blighting the New Territories. You know, as soon as hell has an ice age and pigs open a school of synchronized skydiving.

  10. Mothra Teresa to the flames says:

    I confess I’m baffled as to why Secretary for Injustice Teresa Cheng is bothering to “study” the emergency ordinance and mask laws — sound like a waste of time: she failed to even exhibit a rudimentary understanding of the laws on illegal structures even after specialising in them for decades: “Some are more equal before the law than others” is more her speed.

    However I wish her hearty good luck with the mask laws and look forward to the humiliating fiasco for the government that it will inevitably usher in. It will bring out the creatively sarcastic comedians that make up a good chunk of the populace, and I for one can’t wait to see what they’ll come up with.

    The smart money would probably invest in a few hundred thousand cheapo Winnie the Pooh masks.

  11. @Cassowary – if they do anything at all, it will probably ruin somewhere beautiful and green. Most of the brownfield sites are in the western NT, which has a tradition of militant Heung Yee Kukism (to coin a phrase). Those indigenous thugs can be even more violent than the cops when their supposed “traditional rights” are threatened. By contrast, a lot of land zoned for agriculture in the eastern NT has already been bought up by the big developers in anticipation of some day being able to cash in on it. Watch for them responding to this proposal by saying “Why resume the land from us? Change the zoning and we will be happy to develop it for you.”

  12. Cassowary says:

    @Private Beach: Big chunks of brownfield land in the western NT have actually been transferred to shell companies linked to major developers and then rented back to the Kuk (probably at bargain rates) for scrapyard operations because they may as well make some money out of the sites while waiting for the government to rezone them. Dangle a big enough cheque in front of them and they’ll be willing to part with their ancestral lands. Problem is they don’t want to be resumed, they’re holding out for far more lucrative private-public partnerships.

  13. Reactor #4 says:

    Would it be weird if I said I found Teresa Cheng attractive? Could you imagine dialing-in for a fantasy session with her where she’s wearing not very much bar a yellow hard hat (with chin strap) and pink gas mask, and is carrying in her left and right hands respectively an umbrella with a fatter than normal handle and a 1.5L tear-gas canister (fullish).

  14. dimuendo says:

    Private Beach

    Re identification numbers. The police are noticeably not wearing them when in one,of their various versions of riot gear. The initial explanation was no room! Apparently a,matter of internal regulations. Clearly therefore a,decision that the masked thugs,on the rampage not wear and therefore cannot be identified.

    As to NT land, owned by developers, give them a,choice. Sell to government at current market value on current zoning or actual acquisition value, whichever is lower. If neither acceptable then “nationalise” without compensation.

  15. dimuendo says:

    New phone. Even smaller font and keyboard. More intrusive and inaccurate predictive/ corrective text. Apologies.

  16. dimuendo says:

    If I wear a mask in protesting the,anti mask law,((but at or going to work, not on a demo) then am I in breach of the law?

  17. In the Name of the Father says:

    The singalongs-punctuated-by-fisticuffs are something to see. Sharks and Jets.

    I’ve been listening to “Street Fighting Man” all summer so I knew sleepy Hong Kong town would come to this. The great thing about Jagger is you can’t quite make out the lyrics but there are multiple interpretations that all make sense. Is it “violence-revolution,” or “palace revolution”? “Sing for a rock-and-roll band” or “sing in a shopping mall”?

  18. Northern Menace says:

    On an unrelated note, even the Hong Kong Stock Exchange wants to get its money out of Hong Kong.

  19. MarkLane says:

    “Would it be weird if I said I found Teresa Cheng attractive? Could you imagine dialing-in for a fantasy session with her where she’s wearing not very much bar a yellow hard hat (with chin strap) and pink gas mask…”

    As if it wasn’t clear enough already, Reactor #4 confirms his hard-on for authoritarians.

  20. Dirty Old Democrat says:

    @Reactor #4: “Would it be weird if I said I found Teresa Cheng attractive?” Yes, definitely. The only woman on the pro-government side I can imagine anyone wanting to engage in sexual congress with is Alice Mak. There’s something appealing about a woman who swears at Carrie Lam.

  21. Dirty Old Democrat says:

    P.S. And while I’m no expert, the pro-government men seem deeply unattractive too.

  22. Casira says:

    @Dod : Chan Hoi-yan ?

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