HK government’s bold bid to restore legitimacy

As if it does not already look ridiculous enough, the Hong Kong government is to ban face masks.

This sounds staggeringly desperate, like the sort of thing some banana-republic dictator would do after renaming the capital city after his mother. And heaven knows how they will enforce it. (Will the police raise a banner saying ‘Remove masks or we start arresting’?)

Presumably, the idea comes under pressure from Beijing, whose local minions were recently rolled out to demand such a ban. The Mainland officials are probably less interested in whether protesters cover their faces than in the precedent it sets by using sweeping emergency powers legislation dating to 1922. That law supposedly allows the authorities to do pretty much anything – ordering curfews, arrests, censorship, property seizures, whipping posts, and whatever. As one pro-democrat puts it, the government likely won’t be able to resist the temptation.

The administration is admitting defeat, though perhaps it hasn’t noticed.

I declare the long weekend open with – naturally – a fashion-spread on the masks of Hong Kong.

Ryan Ho Kilpatrick on how Hong Kong has turned from fighting Beijing to fighting the police (which is kinda convenient for Beijing, you might think).

HK Free Press on how the police relaxed their guidelines on using force the day before they shot an 18-year old. It’s only a matter of time before they kill – then what sort of reception will the cops get in Taikoo Shing? (Interestingly, the SCMP can’t bring itself to use its usual description of ‘radicals’ to describe the neighbourhood’s famously middle-class residents who were protesting.)

Some useful advice on why it’s so easy to make your own MTR signage. (Another tip: check for typos – the font is Adobe Myriad Pro, though ‘Myraid’ might sound more appropriate under the circumstances.)

The Guardian on the culture clash between Hong Kong and China

Reflecting their Marxist-Leninist perspective, Chinese officials see material issues as the only solution … They would rather not touch the “superstructure” of ideology, political institutions and the state authority, says Wu Qiang, a former politics lecturer at Beijing’s prestigious Tsinghua University. “They’re not willing to use political solutions or democratic dialogue to resolve problems … They don’t understand Hong Kong.”

An AFP correspondent tells how he thought his Hong Kong posting was going to be dull and was wrong

It’s clear that in the long run Beijing is fed up with Hong Kong and will be determined to find ways to lance what it sees as an increasingly frustrating democratic boil on its otherwise authoritarian body.

The Cartoonists’ Rights Network International award for courage goes to Badiucao.

Atlantic looks at how Hong Kong is winning the international public-opinion war. Natural brilliance and good looks, obviously, but a loathsome oppressor also helps…

“The most basic weakness of the external communications of the Chinese party-state is the fact that foreign audiences, and their values and interests, are never truly considered,” David Bandurski, co-director of the China Media Project, told me. “Sure, the messages are directed at foreigners, but the language is still the internal and insular language of the party-state.”

And for demographics nerds, an in-depth thing on China’s aging society (short version: they’re pretty much screwed).

Lastly, on the subject of Badiucao – did Duane Allman create the Hong Kong ‘Lennon Wall’ flag design back in the early 70s?

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17 Responses to HK government’s bold bid to restore legitimacy

  1. PaperCuts says:

    I suppose they understand Hong Kong perfectly well…and it embarrasses them. After all, they’re staunch and proud communists and national socialists…with their trotters in the pig trough scooping out as much personal gain as they possibly can while the scoopin’s good.

    Meanwhile they squeal CIA, like the innocent, humble communist, national socialists they aren’t.

    What’s that line from The Godfather…’we’re both part of the same hypocrisy, Senator’.

  2. Knownot says:

    Ode to the North Wind

    O chill North Wind, thou breath of China’s being,
    Thou, wafting over, grey, from Shenzhen haze,
    Devils and spirits, menacing ghosts, I’m seeing

    Driven before thee; they darken the sunny days:
    People’s police, soldiers and officers red,
    Inheritors modern of old revolutionary ways.

    Where are the words that the paramount leader said?
    Promising, soothing, putting our minds at rest;
    Where the two systems, why only one country instead?

    Comes the reply, in beanbags and teargas expressed.
    Then comes a bullet, plumb in a schoolboy’s chest.

    Or – pure North Wind, come as a healing breeze.
    Calm the police and show them again the law;
    Blow away anger and spilt blood, cleanse the disease;

    Make this a place of pleasure and pride once more
    Where trains are running and the horses race,
    Where life is civil, as it was before.

    Blow away too the folly and disgrace;
    Blow out the fire in the street and the fear in the mind;
    Banish the havoc-bringers without a trace;

    And echo the poet’s words of hope: “O Wind,
    If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?”

    – – – –

    With acknowledgement to Percy Bysshe Shelley.

  3. Hong Kong Hibernian says:

    A ban on masks? Sheesh. There goes my Halloween.

    I was planning on dressing up as one of the Three Little Pigs, complete with bricks and Tear Gas with which my two porcine associates and I would construct cute little houses (approx. 12 square metres) that would, presumably, sell for HK $3.5 million or so. Enough to make any tycoon drool and reconsider their exit plans from this city!

    Now, the possibility of curfews cutting into drinking sessions and/or evenings out with friends may be the one thing that throws even fence-sitters into the anti-establishment camp.

  4. Henry says:

    Will the police be banned from wearing face masks too?

  5. Justsayin says:

    The protests will continue until the mask banning regulations are cancelled.

    Or perhaps this is a cunning plan from the boys in the backroom up north> cold season is just around the corner

  6. dimuendo says:

    Know not

    I wish I had your knowledge of poetry, not to mention your ability to transform it.

    I try to get my youngest interested , to improve his English, although no success so far. Fortunately he also evinces no interest in throwing petrol bombs either.

  7. Cassowary says:

    Let’s see how the sarcastic creativity of the Hong Kong public deals trolls this one. Hallowe’en costume rally, anyone?

  8. Joe Blow says:

    Tonight Hong Kong is going to burn.

  9. Mary Melville says:

    An ‘off-duty officer’ was involved in a gun related incident. It is not clear from the reports if he is a plain clothes officer.
    As far as I am aware plain clothes are allowed to keep their issue arms but uniformed should check in firearms when going off duty.
    But perhaps there has been another revision to the guidelines has been slipped through without any form of public consultation?
    We are led to believe that there are very few guns circulating in the city but it would appear that this is another myth.

  10. Reactor #4 says:

    All those people who are pleased as punch when the shouty-pouty-louties come out and “express their democratic wishes” must be chuffed to bits this morning (Saturday 5 October). The “peaceful protests” (give me a break) have shut down the entire the MTR system; parts of the city look like a war zone. How on Earth is this mess going to be unpicked? I contend that we have gone past the point where it can be solved internally. As a consequence, Beijing will soon take over and the 19- or 20-point pontoon hand we collectively held will be lost forever because a small number of overenthusiastic “insert whatever noun you feel is appropriate” thought they could pull off 21 as a 5-card trick. 4ckin brilliant. Well done.

  11. Probably says:

    Another great lesson in politics from Curry Lamb on how to make a situation worse than it was 24 hours previously.

    Just caught a bit of a BBC interview with the CCP ambassador to London this morning but I am sure let slip words along the lines that the Police are controlling matters in HK. So we all know who is really in charge then.

  12. In the Name of the Father says:

    I trust you have all seen the video “Protestor T’s Role in Tsuen Wan”. If not, you have to check it out. It’s a masterpiece. I’ve been a member of the Academy since 1973 and I’m definitely gonna nominate it for next year’s Best Documentary (Short Subject).

  13. odaiwai says:

    > “The “peaceful protests” (give me a break) have shut down the entire the MTR system”

    Untrue. The MTR was shut down by the government, after it tried to outlaw a constitutional right to protest. It was a blatantly political decision, as was the attempt to shut down all commercial activity in the urban area. Today’s shutting of the MTR along the protest route was also blatantly political. There was no reason to shut Fortress Hill and Tin Hau stations, and certainly no reason for the trams to not run in the morning.

    > “As a consequence, Beijing will soon take over and the 19- or 20-point pontoon hand we collectively held”

    if the choice is between some F.I.L.T.H. having an unearned cushy life, and my children having a future in the city they were born in and grew up in, I know what side I’m on.

  14. A Poor Man says:

    Can someone please explain the rationale behind the po po prioritizing the clearance of the streets over protecting public facilities (except of course government and their own headquarters)? It seems that all they care about is smooth traffic flow.

  15. Government from mars says "people are beneath us" says:

    The anti-mask law went down rather better than I expected, but the government caught a very lucky break with the weather.

    Our dimwitted bureaucrats enacted the emergency powers while insisting that Hong Kong is not in an emergency (I smell legal challenge), and used them to temporarily ban face masks for absolutely no discernible gain — the protestors are already breaking the law, adding another lesser law to break is no deterrent whatsoever, it’s just an incitement to riot.

    Surely even these muppets must have worked out the inevitably planned next steps of a curfew and attempting to switch off the internet will be properly catastrophic to their interests.

    I await with baited breath for protestors to deliberately engineer illegal protests (501 protestors required) to entrap and make citizen’s arrests on otherwise law-abiding face mask wearers like Ocean Park and Disney workers or Chinese opera stars.

    “Mummy why did that man arrest Mickey Mouse?”
    “It’s Carrie Lam’s new law, honey. The one that made Santa illegal this year.”

    The silver lining is we can rest assured that old Nosferatu, Allan Zeman, is going to be haemorrhaging money at this year’s Halloween.

  16. Bagesty says:

    Can’t wait to read Hemlock’s take on events come Tuesday!

  17. PaperCuts says:

    @ In the Name of the Father

    Very revealing video. I condone nothing. But will say that’s what happens when law enforcement lets thugs beat civilians in Yuen Long MTR.

    Society breaks down.

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