About time for the government’s next screw-up

It’s been a fraught couple of weeks. The District Council elections are on Sunday. Will Hong Kong have a relatively calm weekend? Many have been asking this question for 20-something weeks in a row – the answer must be ‘yes’ eventually. Yet the government or police always manage to do something stupid that sets everything off again. Cancelling or otherwise messing around with the elections would be such an obvious mis-step that even these idiots could see it. More likely, some frazzled cop with an assault rifle sprays a whole magazine into a crowd of grannies going to vote.

I declare the weekend – peaceful or chaotic – open with a selection of worthy viewing matter.

A riveting Stand News report from Poly U under siege – the Longest Day. And another one from the embedded team at Reuters.

Antony Dapiran in New Statesman on the week Beijing let Hong Kong burn

With no signs of any compromise on the horizon, it appears that Beijing’s strategy for the moment is simply to let Hong Kong burn, with the expectation that the growing disruption and violence will ultimately undermine support for the protest movement, deepen the divisions in Hong Kong society, and create fertile conditions for Beijing to step in and impose order on a society-wide basis in the medium term.

As the author mentions, Mao Zedong had a roughly similar policy to Tibet in 1959. I’m not so sure Xi Jinping would calculatingly choose such a reckless approach to a major international city in 2019. Much of the mayhem is due to the disproportionate measures Beijing officials have demanded to Crush the Protests Now for fear they spread over the border. More likely, Beijing’s apparent indifference to imposing a political solution masks cluelessness or internal disagreement over what to do.

Mary Hui at Quartz looks at the bottom-up, decentralized nature of Hong Kong’s not-leaderless-but-leaderful protest movement as an example for future uprisings worldwide.

The Hong Kong Bar Association’s statement on Beijing’s panty-wetting hysterics after the High Court’s rejection of the government’s mask ban.

Some scurrilous and obviously untrue stuff from LIHKG about new Police Commissioner Chris Tang.

From deep inside the Beltway, Richard Bush of the Brookings Institute pens a laboriously even-handed survey of how Hong Kong came to this (apparent) end.

Basically, it’s everyone’s fault. It’s Beijing’s fault for letting greedy tycoons and their bureaucrat buddies treat the place as their personal ATM. It’s the greedy tycoons’ fault for being so ridiculously and outrageously greedy. And it’s the disgruntled Hong Kong people’s fault for misjudging Beijing’s reaction to their disgruntlement. (To inspire the disgruntled on correct Panda-handling – should you ever again find your city being wrung dry for decades by CCP-backed rent-seeking ogres – the author quotes Gandhi Lord Acton Oscar Wilde Kenny Rogers.)

So determined is he to point out that we are all, in our own ways, to blame, he even hints that it’s partly the fault of the British for handing the place over to China with rule of law and civil rights pre-installed – thus politicized, you see.

On to culture and creativity… The Chinese national anthem (all about refusing to be slaves, etc) set to an Entirely Wrong video. From Quartz again, Vivienne Chow on what Hong Kong’s protest aesthetics owe to One Piece. And Radical Art Review on Hong Kong’s Lennon Walls.

In Mekong Review, Richard Heydarian takes a Southeast Asia-oriented look at George Magnus’s book Red Flags: Why Xi’s China Is in Jeopardy. (If you missed it, Magnus on how China’s approach to Hong Kong could affect the wider world.)

An Australian Strategic Police Institute piece on how the NYT’s scoop on Xinjiang could hurt Xi Jinping. Also from Oz, Sydney Morning Herald on CCP proxies sustaining a Chinese Traditional Quack Medicine ‘institute’ that some idiot started up.

Some updated advice for doing business in China (it’s not getting easier).

Finally, for map freaks mainly – those old bird’s-eye view maps of Japanese cities.

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13 Responses to About time for the government’s next screw-up

  1. YTSL says:

    Re next screw up: Does announcing that there will be riot police stationed at voting booths to “guard” them this Sunday count?

  2. Joe Blow says:

    Assuming that the expected will happen and the pro-BJ parties (DAB and NPP) get crushed on Sunday, is there any chance that the CCP will use it as a handy excuse to send Bloody Carrie into early retirement? I have noticed that they are extremely keen to let the elections happen and since they do everything for a self-serving reason…

  3. supercilious prat says:

    Once again, the HK voter majority will disgrace itself by voting for the wrong crew on Sunday.

    The Govt. will, however, announce in a self-congratulatory, supercilious and practiced condescending tone, that it has saved HK by holding free and fair elections, with full and frank discussions across the board and as many split infinitives as the press release copywriter can muster, ending with threats about threats.

  4. Reactor #4 says:

    I’m very much looking forward to Monday morning. It’s going to be great fun watching the democratic process put the big squeeze on the Democracy Fundamentalists. The irony won’t be lost on me.

  5. Poll plot says:

    @YTSL
    My thoughts exactly although I also thought knowing the riot police are thinly spread is also quite a handy incitement of people with some sort of beef with the police who wanted to start setting fire to police stations.

  6. Cassowary says:

    Not for the first time I am glad that Hong Kong uses paper ballots and has election observers watching the counting in meatspace. None of this voting machine business. I still have to wonder if they’re going to resort to cruder methods of fraud like ballot box stuffing. There’s already been an influx of fake pro-democracy candidates.

  7. Paul Serfaty says:

    On the Bar Association comment, I’d add that the HK Court did not actually say the ECO was illegal or incompatible with the BL.
    The Court said that the way in which the subordinate legislation made by government (and endorsed later by LegCo) went too far and was to that extent void and inapplicable.
    The Court expressly did not find the ECO (which was what carried on after the handover/return to motherland) unlawful, and did not find that all facemark bans would be unlawful, only that the Government’s way of doing its was ‘disproportionate’ to the ill the ban was intended to solve (namely certain types of criminals disguising themselves).

  8. dimuendo says:

    The riot police stationed, in full no doubt masked gear, at all polling stations is a clear piece of intimidation. Why cannot it be 2 or 3 police in blue uniforms as normally the case, with if they insist a couple of vans of the storm troopers parked somewhere nearby? Plus why the entire police force (according to the SCMP) of 31,000? None of them are to sleep and some will be pulling triple shifts, so even more frazzled than usual.

    As for our new Commissioner, it is distinctly worryig that several unconnectd/unrelated acquanitances of mine have made allegations of him, plus your commentator earlier inthe week and the link postings today. Why was he allowed to get to Regional Commander, let alone Deputy Commissioner and now Commissioner? Plus a mate of Junius Ho! The police work is now effectively a corrupt paramilitary organsiation, it would appear.

    Poor Commissioner Lo, vilified, to be replaced by “Chris” Tang. Another example of showing that change is not always for the good, as witnessed by “Dr” Adams disappearing to be replaced by the Reactor prat.

  9. old git says:

    The court holds that the ERO, insofar as it empowers the CEIC to make regulations on any occasion of public danger, is incompatible with the Basic Law, having regard in particular to Arts 2, 8, 17(2), 18, 48, 56, 62(5), 66 and 73(1) thereof. The court leaves open the question of the constitutionality of the ERO insofar as it relates to any occasion of emergency.

  10. Din Gao says:

    My taitai, these day almost permanently plugged in to local news and gossip, informs me that there is a cunning plan afoot for Sunday:

    Bus loads of well fed grannies and uncles will arrive early with their DAB minders to vote and the polling stations will then be closed early for “security reaons” and while the misguided pro-democrat types are still abed dreaming of Trump the Saviour.

  11. donkeynuts says:

    Din Gao, looks like your tai tai needs to get her head up out of the moo goo. Haven’t seen a worse prediction since Junius Ho predicted Eddie Chu would be dead by morning.

  12. dimuendo says:

    Donkey nuts

    Lots of people were of that view, hence in part the considerable early turn out.

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