Hey – it could’ve been Regina Ip!

It seems Hong Kong officials use Reuters as their preferred conduit for leaks (or ‘scoops’ as media folk call them), while their Mainland counterparts prefer the Financial Times. The latter today reveals (paywall, etc, possibly) that Beijing will eject Chief Executive Carrie Lam, maybe in March, after things have ‘stabilized’ ha ha. (Reuters catch-up here.)

The precedent is the FT‘s shock story (if memory serves) on the imminent dumping of Tung Chee-hwa in favour of Donald Tsang back around 2005.

The FT’s latest exclusive on CE defenestrations falls a bit flat by suggesting that the ‘leading candidates’ to replace Carrie – as an interim – are Henry Tang and Norman Chan.

Slightly buffoonish nice-guy billionaire-scion Henry was due to get the job in 2012, but a last-minute switch (at the same time Xi Jinping was coming into power) led to ultra-patriot CY Leung ‘winning’ the quasi-election. Installing ‘Illegal Basement’ Henry at this stage would look like a sop to the very tycoons Beijing partially publicly blames for Hong Kong’s woes. It would also be an insult to the whole city to appoint someone with so little gravitas – though arguably it would give us all a laugh. He could only be a temporary and very, very obvious puppet.

There would be a nice symmetry to it: in 2005, a dimwit tycoon was replaced by a dimwit bureaucrat; in 2020 it’s the other way round (with a rabid-Red CCP fanatic from 2012-16 as an interregnum).

If Beijing wants to go for a halfway convincing CE, technocrat Norman Chan makes more sense. He has just left the top post at the HK Monetary Authority, which oversees the currency peg and bank regulation – which is at least a real job requiring some brain cells. But that’s what people said about former Financial Secretary Donald Tsang, who went on to become another failure.

Whatever happens, any Hong Kong CE from now on will be no more than a figurehead while Beijing presumably tries to sort out a more sustainable and effective approach to imposing ethno-nationalistic neo-Confucian Stalinist dictatorship on a modern, free and pluralist society.

Hong Kong’s resistance – now a direct confrontation with the CCP and an international issue – may just be beginning. But at least perhaps everyone agrees that, after 22 years, this whole routine of appointing CEs who turn out to be crap and scrabbling around for another is getting a bit stale.

Update: anyone worrying that an ‘interim’ arrangement isn’t allowed under the Basic Law (here, here) can rest assured that, if you’re the CCP, anything is allowed under the Basic Law.

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12 Responses to Hey – it could’ve been Regina Ip!

  1. D3SH says:

    Naturally, replacing one practically unelected official with another completely unelected official will do wonders for the situation in Hong Kong.

  2. PaperCuts says:

    How does kooky Karl Marx spell out the steps to utopia?

    Something like…

    1. A revolution needs to happen
    2. Total destruction of the system needs to go down
    3. A dictator will step in to rule with an iron fist
    4. All freedoms will be state sanctioned
    5. Utopia

    Well, perfect! There’s a revolution of sorts going on…which seems to be destroying the system. Stand by for the great dictator, who will parcel out approved freedoms.

    The next step is utopia!!

    I can almost smell it!!

  3. Hong Kong Hibernian says:

    And they’ve started piling on! Laughable drones, posing as reformers, all the while waiting for the ‘all clear’ from Beidaihe before making sterile comments:


    This from the same ‘Felix’ who only a few years ago lamented that Beijing’s ‘blueprint’ may be delayed by Hong Kong’s pan-democrats:


    Taiwan’s presidential election will be held on 11th January, only 10.5 weeks from now. The facade must be put into place by then, yes?

  4. Chinese Netizen says:

    The talent pool of qualified lackeys is immense.

  5. Cassowary says:

    Is Matthew Cheung such an nonentity that he isn’t even being considered? Or did he commit political suicide by offending the police with his apology for the Yuen Long pole-thwacking jamboree?

  6. Big Al says:

    I was going to say that any new CE couldn’t possibly be worse than the incumbent, but I’ve said that since 2005 and every time I have been proved totally and utterly wrong. So I won’t say anything this time, particularly since there is slime like Junius Ho lurking in the shadows, salivating at the thought of one day becoming CE and then … ruler of the entire world, mwahahaha!

  7. Stephen says:

    But is there a catch, stop the violence and then the CCP will throw Carrie Lam under the bus ? She knows her time is up which is why she’s hidden herself away for 5 months and made such a piss poor effort with her policy address.

    Do the CCP believe what worked in 2005 (Silly Old Tung / Jailbird Donald) will work now when they’ve done such a sterling job in showing the world that this is just a puppet regime with a puppet leader ?

    Give it to Regina and put a fork in it !

  8. old git says:


    “The problem in the Civil Service is the lack of talent.”

  9. Chinese Netizen says:

    @Big Al: Despite all their most despicable attributes, even the CCP wouldn’t make such a poorly conceived chess move as giving any kind of real status to Junius Whore. Sure they’ll use him until he’s of no more use but even they have an iota of common sense.

  10. MarkLane says:

    @old git

    Very interesting link! Cheers.

  11. Northern Menace says:

    I’m guessing that she has already applied to get her British citizenship back.

  12. Red Dragon says:


    The answer is “Both”.

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