A ‘reds-versus-wets’ split?

The Hong Kong government’s mask-banning, blue-water-spraying, MTR-suspending, tear gas-firing, panty-wetting and freaking-out over protest mayhem celebrates a 20th straight week of continued dazzling success.

Observers scratch their heads and ask whether or when the administration will notice that its current approach doesn’t seem to be working. Apologists sigh and mumble that our supposed leaders’ hands are tied.

Then, as Hong Kong’s crisis looks like it can’t get any worse, the inevitable happens. We learn that family members of Mainland Affairs minister Patrick Nip bought brand-new apartments just ahead of the Policy Address, which included measures to (more or less) boost home prices. Who is more brain-dead: Nip for letting relatives do something so cliched and embarrassing, or the family members themselves for buying absurdly overpriced apartments at a time like this?

Let’s sift through today’s signs that things aren’t getting better for the government. For statistics geeks, a look at the methodology behind the public opinion polls showing the collapse of trust in the HK Police. Scroll past the parts about things like “Kruskall-Wallis H = 105.67, p < .001 (ε2 = 0.07)” down to where he says “Holy crap…” for the conclusion. And a stock analyst in the Standard who normally drones on about the latest hot concepts decides to rip the Policy Address to shreds.

There are also signs of a split in the pro-government camp. On one side are True Red pro-CCP elements People’s Daily, ex-Chief Executive CY Leung and Mainland princeling-intellectual Ren Yi; on the other side are moderate establishment figures Chinese U Vice-Chancellor Rocky Tuan, who (sort of) sides with students against the police, and CE Carrie Lam herself for hinting at the need for an independent inquiry into the cops. (More on university chiefs walking a fine line here, and Carrie on a police inquiry here. There are other murmurings suggesting top local officials are uneasy about the Yuen Long incident in particular.)

I say a ‘split in the government camp’. This is a longstanding, papered-over division becoming more visible – ideological nationalist patriots versus wishy-washy ruling-class ‘elite’ types who cling to ‘Western’ values. Beijing has thousands of ruthless full-time United Front enforcers tasked with preventing or rectifying such splits, and this represents a serious breach of ideological discipline and/or loyalty. Rocky could be in danger of getting the John Slosar treatment.

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10 Responses to A ‘reds-versus-wets’ split?

  1. Mary Melville says:

    While a lot of grovelling is under way re spraying of the Mosque, some of us would question why the damage to St. Andrew’s Church entrance has not elicited similar panty wetting.
    Not a peep from Canon Koon, but then he is busy with his CPPCC machinations to resolve the Taipei murder onundrum.
    And of far more concern to atheists is the indiscriminate depositing of toxins on the Nathan Road OVTs, old and valuable trees. Some years ago Mrs Lam, then Secretary for Development, held a press conference on Park Lane Blvd in which she pledged the administrations support for protecting and nurturing these trees that are far older than the Mosque.
    And lets not go into the plight of the many commuters who inadvertently had their limbs and clothes dyed as they waited at bus shelters later in the day.
    How many protesters have been arrested because of blue dye? This irritant must be withdrawn from use as it fulfills no purpose.
    And by the way it washes off quite easily as I found out when I was doing some civic housekeeping later in the day and picked up contaminated boxes off the street.

  2. Cassowary says:

    With any luck, those abysmal polling numbers will undermine those Mainland officials still clinging to the Fish Tank Theory of Unrest – e.g. the tank is fine, we just need to replace a few bad fish with good fish. Sure, replace the 80% of the public who hate your guts. Good luck with that.

    Or, more likely, they stick their fingers in their ears and blame the pollster.

  3. Guest says:

    “…our supposed leaders’ hands are tied.”

    Tied as in Lam attending the Japanese emperor’s coronation than staying behind to deal with Hong Kong’s problems.

    But Hong Kong can’t be run any worse during the time she’ll be gone, can it?

  4. old git says:

    The Chief Executive has awarded a total of 399 persons in this year’s Honours List

    The presentation ceremony for the awards is tentatively scheduled for early November 2019.

    So, assuming that The Chief Executive attends in person rather than by video and does so at Government House / Queen Elizabeth Stadium etc. by stages, at one say every two minutes and a port-a-loo visit here and there, with bottled water / congee etc. squirted in everyone’s mouths, that’s pushing 14 hours plus. Alternatively, the award recipients are paraded before The Chief Executive by video link and given a Happy Bag when they board buses escorted by police motor cyclists.

    How much is the insurance premium for the ceremony?

  5. The Shareef don't like it when you soak the Casbah says:

    The New Blue Mosque (momentarily more famous than it’s Turkish counterpart) Begs the question: How long til the HK cops provoke IS and Al Qaeda enough to get involved? All those high rise buildings full of disciplined services families are beginning to look like yet another catastrophically dumb government idea.

  6. Stanley Lieber says:

    Wait until the protesters start waving Japanese flags and call for a return to Kempentai rule as an improvement on the current shower. That’ll really get up the CCP’s noses.

  7. Joe Blow says:

    How much longer can Carrie Lam #BloodyCarrie (twitter it) keep hiding her failed policies behind the brute force of the HK popo?

  8. PaperCuts says:

    The Stormtroopers seem to have settled into either 1 of 2 routines…

    1. Stand around shouting at locals, demanding they go home
    2. Become enraged at the verbal abuse and mockery dished out to them
    3. Fire multiple rounds of tear gas
    4. Chase and catch only the slow and unlucky
    5. Overreact passionately during “arrest procedure”


    1. Stand around shouting at locals, demanding they go home
    2. Become enraged at the verbal abuse and mockery dished out to them
    3. Receive orders to get back in the van and drive away
    4. Get magnificently jeered at as they file into the van and drive away

  9. Casira says:

    @PaperCuts: For the second alternative 5. Passive aggressive TG grenade or beanbag round in the face of a random journo posted there while running away.

  10. Din Gao says:

    Ref the Blue Church (St Andrew’s Anglican Church in Nathan Road), perhaps someone wants a Grand Bauhinia Medal next time around:

    The Archbishop of the Hong Kong Anglican Church, Paul Kwong, was one of 11 local figures to be given the Gold Bauhinia Star on 1 July this year.

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