You are Hong Kong’s leader. After four months of greatest-political-turmoil-ever and a string of incompetent decisions, you have just announced measures to push housing prices up and benefit the property tycoons. How do you follow that? You might think it cannot be done. But behold – the government is going to try ramming through the National Anthem law to criminalize disrespect of the glorious motherland.
Carrie Lam is God’s gift to the protest movement. (In fairness, as she would point out if she could, her hands are probably tied on this – not to mention her feet nailed to the floor and the gun pointed at her head.)
This just in – Panda-Tantrum of the Day Award goes to Norwegian lawmaker Guri Melby, who has nominated the Hong Kong people for the Nobel Peace Prize.
I declare the weekend open with a mish-mash of reading and viewing material.
In HK Free Press, a well-meaning commentator proposes that Hong Kong has a truth and reconciliation commission (totally unacceptable to Beijing), functional constituency reform (ditto, plus irrelevant) and a broader tax base (also irrelevant). However, it ends with neat summary of why obvious reforms of any sort are non-starters, thanks to Xi Jinping’s ‘Document Number 9’, which…
… essentially stated that all Western political ideas were bad, and the core ideas of Western democracy were especially bad.
The [Hong Kong] Basic Law entrenches the core values of Western democracy in One Country, Two Systems. The Basic Law is therefore inconsistent with Document Number Nine. This is the contradiction at the heart of much that is wrong with Hong Kong’s governance…
…until the ideological contradiction at the heart is resolved, I fear there is little prospect of a long-term solution.
The Standard reports its owner Charles Ho in a Bloomberg interview claiming – as do many Hong Kong business ‘elites’ – that a mysterious ‘big leader’ is behind the protests. As evidence, the tobacco scion says the slogans are in ‘Taiwanese Chinese’.
It is tempting to attribute this view to Beijing shoe-shining. But my hunch is that the tycoon caste are clinging to this idea because the alternative – that the movement is spontaneous and reflects anger among the majority of the population – is too awful for them to contemplate. They take comfort in the fantasy that things can go back to normal, and the CCP is not coming to Cathay Pacific-ize them. (The rest of us can take comfort in the fact that at least we have the tycoons’ self-criticisms to look forward to.)
Howard French on why Beijing won’t send the tanks into Hong Kong (other than the terrible traffic).
Journalists tell the HK Foreign Correspondents Club magazine about covering the protests.
From the Culture Department…
Long after the Egyptian, Mayan and others passed away, one logographic system of writing survives. Hong Kong’s protest movement is putting it to extraordinary use.
An interview with Badiucao-as-artist.
And a video of the Hong Kong Police in action set to ‘Macho Man’ by Village People.
Onto Mainland affairs…
Finally, Formosan history…
Views of Keelung in the late 50s and early 60s. If you know the city, you’ll still recognize some vistas.
And for ‘paleo’ fans, the ancient Taiwanese diet, which was heavy on dog and raw meat.