CY Leung reaches for the red-hot tongs

Former Chief Executive CY Leung is angling for a key new job in the next Hong Kong administration. After venting patriotic spleen at companies with the nerve to advertise in Apple Daily, he starts a struggle session against the Education Secretary for being soft on counter-revolutionary radical teachers. Meanwhile, the pro-democracy paper reports that the number of bad elements purged from Cathay Pacific has hit three figures.

Get used to this. The new Beijing-run Hong Kong can expect political loyalty tests and ideological cleansing in the civil service, universities and schools, other parts of the public sector, and in high-profile companies (themselves increasingly Mainland-influenced). Vengeful employees will inform on their colleagues, murky websites will dox dissidents, or, as with BNP Paribas, orchestrated campaigns will demand rectification.

After the riots in Hong Kong in 1967, leftists were blacklisted and could only find work in patriotic organizations. But their numbers were quite small. Today, perhaps the majority of the workforce identify as pan-dem. CY will be busy. So will relocation and immigration consultants.

One modest but potentially potent method of resistance could be to boycott pro-Beijing companies. To no-one’s great surprise, they are so concentrated that it’s hard to avoid them without starving yourself. They include 7-Eleven – a pillar of our urban civilization – and both Starbucks and Pacific Coffee. A good reason to hunt out indie coffee shops where they exist; otherwise, help yourself to generous amounts of tissues and sugar sachets.

I declare the autumnal cooler-and-sunny weekend open with a range of hopefully-not-too-depressing reading.

Amnesty International does the HK Police – and the image of Asia’s World City takes another dive. (In more bad news for Hong Kong’s hapless PR-agency-shunned leaders, US politicians are pushing a Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, which is sort of pointless but at the same time will lead to brain-exploding levels of Panda-Tantrum. Donald Trump doesn’t read The Guardian, but he does watch Fox & Friends. While we fret about tear gas and MTR stations, Hong Kong is a hotspot in a much bigger global clash. We even get a lobby on the Hill.)

An impressive perceptiveness-to-words ratio in a short thread on an academic’s remarks on Hong Kong. ‘This is a moment to test the wisdom of China’s leaders’.

Speaking of The Hillwhy this is not 1989.

NPR on how Beijing came to use fake Twitter accounts against Hong Kong’s democracy movement.

Introducing Lausan – Hong Kong writing from a ‘left perspective’ (that’s to say rather heavy-going, and not much laughs). Some interesting grappling with contradictions here, as the writers try hard to differentiate their anti-CCP position from that of evil capitalists. They actually meet the challenge head-on: see their articles on the US Act here and here.

From the SCMP, the most elaborate infographic imaginable on Hong Kong’s summer of discontent.

From HK Free Press, what Singaporeans think about the situation in Hong Kong. (Whaddya mean, ‘Singaporeans can think???’)

The superstar of mainstream economists George Magnus offers a long-range outlook for China. They might become the biggest economy in the world, they might escape the middle-income trap – but quite possibly they won’t. To take just one problem…

…the combination of weak fertility and rising longevity means that China will age as rapidly in the next 22 years as most western countries have done over 50–75 years, and with much lower levels of income per head and far less sophisticated social programmes.

Chairman Xi Jinping’s answer to China’s demographic and other challenges: replacing the 10 Commandments in churches with, in all humility, his own quotations. (I guess he could have kept the first: Thou shalt have no other gods before me.)

Last but definitely not least: you liked the harp performance of the ‘Glory to Hong Kong’ anthem – here’s the bagpipe version.

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20 Responses to CY Leung reaches for the red-hot tongs

  1. PaperCuts says:

    All you have to do is go for a walk in HK and look around. The place is crawling with mainlanders. The invasion started, I dunno, 8-10 years ago and actual feet on the ground has snowballed ever since to the extent that it’s not only tourists and chemist supply hoarders scrambling feverishly for more product, it’s people coming in for work or outright living here.

    With the sheer numbers here these days, ideological and political loyalty tests will be pretty standard really and what’s left of the Hong Konger will be a minority going along to get along.

  2. Cassowary says:

    Pretty sure that the point of the article was that Singaporeans don’t think. Their take ranges all the way from “It’s really about the house prices” to “Well they deserve to get beaten up for being naughty”. Beijing would give our right arm (of course not their arm) to have a populace as docile and contented as Singapore.

    I once talked to an architect who worked on HDB housing estates in Singapore. After the residents moved in, they sent a film crew round to interview them, and the interviewees dutifully studied the briefing materials provided and repeated them back on camera. All without anyone telling them to.

  3. Mary Melville says:

    The ‘clean up’ of the Lennon Walls should strike fear in hearts. These are usually curated by idealistic locals residents not hard core front line warriors. Previous attacks have shown how vulnerable they are and the potential for serious blood baths.
    According to reports the campaign will kick off with lunch at THE JOCKEY CLUB. This could translate into a very long holiday for the nags cooped up in their ac cells.
    The outcome will give a very clear indication of how strong the ties are between the administration and the triads.

  4. old git says:

    There is nothing new in Hongkong belongers being required to tremble and obey. The British left behind several laws on arbitrary detention – used in 1967 – and oath-taking used from 1841 onwards to this day.

    The latter law essentially strips the oath-taker of any defence should the oath be found broken one way or another. This defencelessness in turn is based on the old idea of attainder, which lead to the defendant deprived also of liberty and property (and denial of inheritance) and being declared an outlaw.

    It was less than 120 years ago that outlawry (stripping out any defence in a civil action) was abolished in Hong Kong.

    The death penalty was abolished in the 1990s in Hong Kong.

    The criminal law in Hong Kong remains uncodified. There are common law offences incorporated into Hong Kong law in 1841 and still with us today, even if they have been either codified or abolished in other common law jurisdictions.

    Codifying the criminal law so that it is defined, should be LegCo’s pre-occupation, if it wishes to restore Hong Kong’s reputation.

  5. dimuendo says:

    Harp excellent. Bagpipes less to my taste. But watch the yoga underlying the bagpipes.

  6. The Lennon walls are looking pretty messy after so many weeks. Let the Beijing boys do all the hard work of cleaning them up, then repopulate them with new messages after the weekend.

  7. Joe Blow says:

    The Jockey Club must be thrilled that they may host twenty bus loads of DAB uncles. They better not bring out the good silverware if they ever want to see it again.

  8. Casira says:

    The direct confrontation planned for this week-end is quite worrysome, I’m surprised the liaison office let Junius Ho organize what will turn to be knife attacks and lynching all over the SAR. Given how events unfolded in North Point last week (and that was just one hot spot), I don’t see how we can avoid a blood bath in the streets if people start getting stabbed on live TV.

  9. Reactor #4 says:

    As a punt, there could be some profit to be made by putting a few bob on CY Leung for the next HKSAR Chief Executive. He’d be great and his (re-)appointment would annoy lots of people (always good).

  10. apologies says:

    The object of the Apology Ordinance (Cap 631 Laws of Hong Kong) is “to promote and encourage the making of apologies with a view to preventing the escalation of disputes and facilitating their amicable resolution.”

    The new Dialogue Platform is not excluded but is most certainly is “proceedings conducted under an enactment.”

    Perhaps that approach would be better than the aggressively unapologetic Emergency Regulations.

  11. Knownot says:

    Fake News

    The Chief Executive, Carrie Lam, has appealed to legislator Junius Ho not to go ahead with his proposed clean-up of so called Lennon Walls tomorrow. “At this juncture it might not necessarily be a positive action,” she said.

    Mr Ho said, “I defer to Mrs Lam and withdraw the proposal. My heart is clean.”

  12. caractacus says:

    Apparently, still no police investigation of White Paper Fan Ho’s white san gai yan affiliated gangsters, which is no doubt why the Police Commissioner thought it was ok to go to the races with him…

  13. Stanley Lieber says:


    “Beijing would give our right arm (of course not their arm) to have a populace as docile and contented as Singapore.”

    I would give Carrie Lam’s right arm to have a government as competent as Singapore’s.

  14. Cassowary says:

    You’d better throw in C.Y.’s, Donald’s and Old Man Tung’s arms as well because Carrie’s wouldn’t be enough.

    Although I have to think that it is so much easier to appear competent when you can sue the pants off anybody who says bad things about you.

  15. steve says:

    @Stanley Lieber

    Yes, the Singapore government makes the trains run on time, doesn’t it?

  16. Casira says:

    @Stanley: Was trolling a singaporean once about politics and lack of alternance in singapore, he told me something on the lines of “when the PAP loses a few points in elections it’s enough for them to get their shit together”. Personally I think it’s actually more along the lines of “when there are ethnic riots the PAP shit themselves” but whatever the reason they seem to be getting a better deal (or at least a better slope).

  17. Stanley Lieber says:

    I understand the objections some people have to how the PAP run things in Singapore, but nitpicking the remarkable material, social and security success they have achieved as a tiny, isolated, independent outpost in a hostile sea looks a lot like envy, jealousy and sour grapes.

  18. Cassowary says:

    Hong Kong, objectively, is very similar to Singapore. It has a high GDP per capita, low unemployment rate, long life expectancy, well-educated population, reasonably affordable health care, low crime rate. Singapore does better than us in providing affordable housing, but our income inequality levels are actually pretty similar (their Gini coefficient looks lower because they don’t count economically inactive households, whereas we do). The differences are in the margins.

    PR is doing a lot of the work here. Large infrastructure projects that are considered absurd boondoggles here would be accepted as right and good in Singapore. (Investment is a slightly higher percentage of their GDP than ours.) They have successfully sold their hypercompetent technocrat image.

  19. Reactor #4 says:

    It is less than two weeks until Saturday 5 October. We are in to the Final Countdown.

  20. dimuendo says:


    Mere fact that Sg is distanced from. the motherland of the majority of the population gives it certain insulation from pressures of said motherland (until it decides Sg always historically a part). But more generally “straits chinese” have always been remarkably thin skinned.

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