History repeats, maybe

Chinese officials and experts celebrate the anniversary of one Special Administrative Region’s handover by having a few digs at the other. Hong Kong should emulate Macau by having patriots in charge and passing national security laws. And it should accept that Beijing has ultimate jurisdiction over everything, so there.

One big difference between Macau and Hong Kong (along with size and economy) is what happened in the mid-late 1960s upheavals in the two cities arising from social discontent and aggravated by the Cultural Revolution over the border. In Macau, the colonial authorities permanently lost much of their control and influence to pro-Beijing labour and business forces. There has since been large-scale immigration of Fujianese Mainlanders. When Leftists tried something similar in Hong Kong, the population largely resisted them and the colonial power kept control. This contributed to the development of a stronger and distinct Hong Kong identity. (Yes, this is all over-simplified.)

Macau has been docile for half a century. Only now is Beijing starting to think how to tame Hong Kong.

One of the many ways Beijing will try is through pressure on companies to punish employees for their dissenting views. Cathay Pacific have fired staff for participating in the protest movement, and there’s a report (somewhere) that the Jockey Club has just sacked someone for pro-movement comments on social media. Mainland financial institutions are reportedly steering clear of Hong Kong staff. Other banks will no doubt feel a need to discipline staff for ideological incorrectness (several big ones already Panda-grovel by maintaining ‘Belt and Road’ departments and publishing economic analysis taking China’s official data literally).

This provides us with another echo from the 1967 riots. Many Leftists in Hong Kong were arrested and jailed. They and known supporters were also blacklisted, so the only employers that would hire them for decades after were ‘patriotic’ pro-Beijing companies and schools. Who will there be to hire all the blacklisted pan-dems in the future?

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22 Responses to History repeats, maybe

  1. PaperCuts says:

    Who’s got the keys to the gates? All they gotta do is unlock the doors and let the flood of mainlanders spew in a little faster…a little more. Bit by bit the cashed up mainland millionaires will buy everything that opens and shuts and it’ll be good night nurse.

    Not that it already isn’t.

  2. Reactor #4 says:

    “Who will there be to hire all the blacklisted pan-dems in the future?”

    The facts are simple – HKers will not force the CCP into giving the city, and the rest of the country, an open democratic system (I’m not a huge fan of the CCP – there are good bits and not so good bits – within a few decades it has dragged the country out of the Medieval Ages and made it modern, but there are fundamental problems related to individual freedoms). The pragmatist in me has long espoused what I consider to be the two available options: ship out or get with the programme.

    Actually, I don’t know why foreigners care (it’s like worrying about where your discarded toe-nail clippings might end up). In the vast majority of cases they came only because of personal opportunity. The initial motivation was to stash away wads of cash over a period of three to ten years before heading off to spend it. Certainly it had nothing to do with preserving/cultivating what in reality is a highly imaginized view of late 20th Century Hong Kong.

  3. Stanley Lieber says:

    “Who will there be to hire all the blacklisted pan-dems in the future?”

    Yes, China-dependent corporate cowards (like the banks and the accountants) will knuckle under. In doing so, they will lose lots of capable employees and demoralise many of those who remain. Their corporate reputations and business performance will suffer.

    There are always places for talented people. Plenty of companies will be happy to snap up good people who get crosswise with the thought police. Some will relish the idea.

  4. Zaphod says:

    A broader question which I’ve pondered before but have no expertise to answer: Just WTF is it with Fujianese?

    Why are they particularly rabidly patriotic cf. other Mainlanders?

    Why was it CCP policy to inject a bunch of Fujianese as opposed to say just plain Cantonese (or for that matter, some Guangxi Zhuang Cannibals) into Macau shoe and bicycle factories back in the 70s and 80s? I mean pretty much any kind of mainlander would have done the same demographic dilution trick. Were Fujianese favored for their particular virulence? Or was it just their known propensity for emigrating anywhere at the drop of a hat?

  5. Cassowary says:

    @ Stanley Lieber: It depends on the extent to which the Mainland can warp Hong Kong’s institutions to make life difficult for ideologically incorrect companies. We’re already seeing this with the issuance of broadcast licenses and the registration of opposition NGOs and political parties. If we get to the point where health inspectors are directed to harass “yellow” restaurants, we may as well pack it in.

    And that’s to say nothing of the tycoon cartel, which already has a way of squeezing out unwanted competitors.

  6. @Zaphod – I’m guessing here, but as Fujian is just across the water from Taiwan, maybe the CCP has put more effort into brainwashing the people there lest they be tempted into deviant democratic ways by their cross-strait neighbours.

  7. The Fujian obvious says:

    Their close proximity to Taiwan.

  8. PaperCuts says:

    The CCP hasn’t done shit to pull China out of the middle ages. The same clique who own America Inc, Australia Inc, Israel Inc, Canada Inc etc etc etc planned decades ago to send the industry of the world to China. Surprise, surprise a few peasants are now able to bludgeon their hick way through Watsons, Mannings and a thousand other gaudy trinket hawking con-shops buying up as much crap as their new found credits can get them. Hurray, they’re out of the middle ages and have become some of the most vacuous consumers of all time. It took the West decades to reach that pathetic state.

    Democracy is just a different version of communism. Both are controlled by the same deadshits. They own it all. The CCP is a bureaucracy managing wealth extraction and control. Same con that exists in the dying West, where people are so in the dark they discuss things like transgenderism and homosexual marriage with a straight face, all while the State implants itself further and further into their brains with all manner of con and legislated threat that’ll never be exposed because everyone’s too busy paying debt until they’re dead and buying junk they don’t need with money they don’t have.

    China is a human rights abuser…be afraid!!! Yeah? Well America and their bum-chum Israel aint no scout leaders either. Britain sure did have a massive hard-on for that war against cavemen in sand dunes somewhere too. They’re fighting evil doers in the name of Democracy!! How is that perpetual war on fake bullshit choreographed terror going, by the way? Thank God for the magic of 911 to get us all where we need to be. Praise the Lord suspicious human beings can now be locked up and tortured without trial etc etc etc

    All governments are compromised…same goes for science, education, media of course…etc etc. It’s a small world…and it’s all owned and controlled by that clique of supremely wealthy psychos at the top. And as usual, the peasants at the bottom have very little idea.

    But even still…if you’re a Hong Konger brought up under system A…and someone says system B is coming what are you gonna do? “Oh…oh ok, no problem. Sounds reasonable.” No way. You’re gonna have some serious questions about what’s coming. And when it’s being ushered in by some of the most boorish, lame, half witted pencil necks of all time, I’d be tearing a new hole in the MTR too. The rest (gang bashings, ears bitten off etc) is just what you get when nobody really knows what’s going on or what they real problem is.

    I’d love to see 500, 000 masked protesters and each and every State stormtrooper drop their sticks, guns, slingshots and tear gas launchers and just say “wait a minute…we’re all being used here…”.

    Because, East or West, the big system is heading for more and more dumbing down, more and more legislature into private life (not that there is private life anymore), more and more rules and regulations, a tighter grip on what people can and can’t say, more service economies, more debt and a million other things all designed to fuck your potential as a human being experiencing this world.

    Hong Kong is the darling of this whole thing. But in reality it’s a seething degenerate hole, like all big cities. It’s the antithesis of humanity. People here work 6 days a week, some 7, for bosses and superiors who treat them abominably. They live in cells. Eat crap. I could go on and on about the deplorable nature of this place…and you’d only ever be able to come back with pockets of humanity or instances where people are elevated out of the day to day muck. The facts are, world imperialists bombed and conned their way into Hong Kong and it’s been used like a whore ever since. It’s recently been dumped on the side of the road, also like a whore.

    Now you see people so disoriented and bewildered they yelp for Trump to save them and clap when he signs a document. Who knows where this is all going. If you’re a peasant the best case scenario is probably for China, the big bad wolf, to just come in and legalize dog meat or something. If it gets no worse than that, the peasants of Hong Kong can consider themselves lucky. Worst case scenario is that the clique of world money elite have decided that the rape of the middle east is getting boring and want to spice things up with a bit of good old fashioned super-power conflict. And if that happens, a lot of people will be fucked. Because after the dust settles the rules and regulations and treatise signed could well be all kinds of Orwellian all around the world.


  9. Guest says:

    If the intention behind the hiring freeze on locals is to replace them with Mainlanders, how many Mainlanders will feel safe working in Hong Kong right now?

  10. Stanley Lieber says:

    @ Paper Cuts – That was pretty great.

  11. yo says:

    The compound 2-chlorobenzalmalononitrile (also called o-chlorobenzylidene malononitrile; chemical formula: C10H5ClN2), a cyanocarbon, is the defining component of tear gas commonly referred to as CS gas, which is used as a riot control agent. It is not found at barbecue sites.

  12. Chinese Netizen says:

    @Paper Cuts: hear hear!!

  13. old git says:

    If the HK Financial Secretary is serious about (a) this obsession that housing prices in HK is one of the root causes of youths trashing the place; and (b) law and order must prevail; the solution is that all Stamp Duty rules introduced since 2012 be abolished.

    The hidden hand of the market will work its magic and peace will break out and flowers once more will bloom.

  14. Chef Wonton says:

    I remember the Macau and the Hong Kong handovers.

    The Hong Kong handover was a way better party. Just saying.

  15. steve says:

    Reactionary #4 says, “Actually, I don’t know why foreigners care….”

    Speak for yourself, you cynical, nihilistic, racist misanthrope.

    Find yourself in here, and then crawl into a hole and shrivel to dust:

    “The Silent People Who Think They Are Hongkongers”

    by Tammy Lai-Ming Ho

    The silent people who pretend
    nothing is happening in our city: they go on
    to have brunches adorned with champagne
    and take their dogs or well-dressed kids to the parks,
    and when they learn about any inconvenience
    they blame the protesters, for they
    can leave this place in two or ten years.
    Leave now.

    Those who teach in universities
    and have not said anything about the protests,
    be aware that your colleagues and your students
    of many, many generations know. You live
    in your comfortable cocoon
    of books and lousy journal articles. The rest of us
    are in tears or being teargassed. This
    is a Hong Kong that doesn’t need you. Leave now.

    Those who came to Hong Kong to escape
    the Communist Party decades ago
    and now say the young protesters are ridiculous,
    *you* are ridiculous. Think what drove you
    to Hong Kong. Think, think,
    what the life you have built here means;
    think, think, why so many of us are now fighting,
    dissenting. You don’t want to see what you see?
    Tough life, leave now, if you think you can.
    You can’t? Then fight with us or shut up. Remember
    why you were here in the first place.

  16. dimuendo says:

    Chef Wonton

    You obviously have far better connections than me. HK handover was a total damp squib, in the form of a tremendous downpour. Everybody far too polite to say the heavens were crying.

    Paper Cuts

    Worthy rant but one sentence summary please of what you are trying to say.

  17. pie-chucker says:

    @ Paper Cuts

    Your point of view might be more persuasive if distilled into two (OK, three) paragraphs and with a solution conclusion.

    In the playbook of illuminating engagement, rants rarely feature.

  18. PaperCuts says:

    If 2 minutes of reading makes you guys curl into the fetal position wailing for the quick fix, you’re beyond help.

  19. MoeFoeux says:

    @old git
    I can’t tell if your comment is facetious or not, but from my very unlearned perspective… Implementing the stamp duty has been one of the few good things the government has done in fending off some of the more egregious real estate spectulators. Unfortunately, the rates were not as high as they should have been. Given the incredible housing unaffordability in the past 10+ years, stamp duties for all but first-time or one-domicile-only households should have been much, much higher than a mere 10% or 15%, and especially so for any foreign buyers or corporations.

  20. Headache says:

    @ PaperCuts, great rant.

    @ steve, thanks for sharing that.

  21. A Poor Man says:

    Yo – People can choose whether or not to go to a BBQ site, but have no say whether or not the po po use tear gas. 2-chlorobenzalmalononitrile is not water soluble, so rain really will not effectively wash it away, especially during this dry season. Where will it all end up? Since the po po and government are not cleaning up their messes properly, one way or another most of it will end up in the ground or the ocean, mostly the later since most of HK is paved over. Some will end up in our bodies where it will….

  22. PaperCuts says:

    Fair go comrades…if you think that’s a rant then your rant experience is limited and underfed. How many letters does Twitter allow? I think these days anything beyond that must be a rant.


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