Or ‘list the things you feel grateful for’

Another selection of HK Free Press photos from 2019.

‘The year that changed Hong Kong forever’ still seems to be a difficult concept for some establishment types to grasp. If you take the most militant pro-independence protester and the most hardline-Leninist Beijing official and sit them down at a table, the one thing they will both agree on is that Hong Kong will not go back to the way it was. Yet just yesterday I met another nice, mild-mannered member of our business ‘community’ who is in denial – not just hoping but clinging to the illusion that 2019 will somehow be unwound before long, so we go ‘back to normal’.

That means back to having Hong Kong run by witless bureaucrats focused on looking after their tycoon buddies. It means back to Beijing not just installing them in power, but ignoring whatever they do and how it effects the rest of the dissent-prone population. It means back to the population grumbling about it, but otherwise shrugging it off.

We are, most likely, in for increasing repression by Beijing – and deeper resentment and popular resistance in response. There’s an outside chance that the CCP will come to its senses and give Hong Kong more space and responsive governance. But there will be no ‘back to normal’ – that’s just a coping mechanism for those who can’t come to terms with the loss of their absurdly cozy power-structure. I told him he might try taking a bath.

More about what probably/possibly will happen next week. Meanwhile, I declare the weekend open with a handful of links.

A guy from the Spectator drops by and ponders the long-term stakes for Hong Kong. He is possibly exaggerating China’s future grip on international policymakers.

An update on protest-related arrests (almost 7,000) and charges.

The Jamestown Foundation on how China under Xi Jinping has moved away from

…tolerance of ethnocultural heterogeneity, and towards a virulent form of cultural nationalism that pathologizes dissent and diversity as an existential threat to the Party and the nation…

…which is arguably not exactly the same as ‘racial supremacist ideology’, unless perhaps it is, or something.

With that in mind, a magnificent rant about think-tank types who haven’t picked up on the nature of China’s regime since around 2012: it’s not about economics, it’s about a ‘cancerous mass that is evil and opposed to any concept of human freedom’.

For some positive energy, watch HKUST grads perform ‘Danzmocrazy’.

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12 Responses to Or ‘list the things you feel grateful for’

  1. Absolutely! There can be no “back to normal”, because it’s the old “normal” that created this situation.

  2. Hong Kong Hibernian says:

    Dictator For Life Winnie the Pooh and the CCP’s plan to fundamentally remake society and transform the thoughts and behaviour of ‘the people’ has been wildly successful here in Hong Kong.

    I also know a number of persons who are waiting for things to ‘return to normal’, and no amount of discussion will sway them from the fantasy. One day it will hit them, perhaps literally.

  3. Reactor #4 says:

    I rather like the new normal.

    The “Revolution of our Times” means that the kiddie-winkies have plenty of things to occupy themselves with. This is great for the ones that aren’t especially academic. In my view, purpose is very important.

    The cops are happy because they have loads of overtime, plus now they have a fair few “war stories” they can tell their kids and grandkids.

    We don’t have to put up with so many tourists (yellow and grumpy, pink and fat).

    Flights are cheap.

    Property prices are tumbling down nicely.

    As a consequence of most Starbucks outlets being closed, we are less likely to hear the coffee fascists going “I’m just popping out to get a large cup of arty-farty with a super-poncey sprinkle. Can I pick you anything up?”

    Importantly, with the hotels, if you have an overseas friend passing through town you can suggest they take advantage of the special deals without them impinging too much on your life.

    The icing on the cake would be if we could somehow get the Rugby 7s cancelled. To this end, perhaps the protesters could be persuaded to run a few more of their events over in CWB, or better still to threaten to disrupt the event.

    Happy New Year!

  4. so says:

    Prior to political change, this is what has been normal for time immemorial:

    i) taxation without representation;
    ii) expansionary use of the criminal justice system to deal with political protest;
    iii) incarceration of an increasingly broad class of society deemed criminal, first by the executive arm and then by the judicial arm, after prosecution under laws deeming criminal behaviour;
    iv) total refusal even to acknowledge any point of view except that of the executive arm.

  5. Stephen says:

    The new normal is a lot more people losing their jobs and unemployment to raise its ugly head. Lam (or whatever excuse for a Chief Executive replaces her) will see this as a livelihood issue – far less dangerous than a political issue – and a great idea from the past will be dredged up to see if they can fit the new normal. A ‘Rose Garden” for 2020 (probably a rehashed version of Lam’ reclaimed islands / spend the reserves idea). I foresee failure in quietening the situation. The Legislative Council election in the Autumn is the big marker and if the Democrats, Civic’s etc play smart (a big ask) then the new normal at the year end may be a lot more interesting and force Beijing’s hand one way or the other.

  6. Joe Blow says:

    Who wants to take a bet that Carrie Lam won’t make it to the end of this month?

  7. steve says:

    I for one greatly prefer Stephen’s brief but thoughtful and community-directed ruminations to Reactionary #4’s childish, narcissistic, post-colonial colonialist bilge. Just being able to tell the taxi driver to “stop here” in his own language doesn’t make you the king of all you survey.

    But maybe it’s just me.

  8. Mary Melville says:

    HSBC should explain to shareholders and inconvenienced customers why they allowed the police to hide in the Hennessy Road branch on Jan 1 to trap protesters who, shock horror, dared to write some slogans on that inviting expanse of whiteboard.
    The ensuing hard line rampage led by ‘Rambo’ was an out of proportion reaction to the petty vandalism.
    No wonder Stephen and Stitt were left red eyed when pondering the wisdom of the collaboration as multiple images of protesters being dragged into HSBC premises have now been circulated worldwide.
    The Chinese banks have prudently kept their doors locked up. Perhaps it is easier to lean on gweilo enterprises like HSBC and Cathay?

  9. Jason says:

    @Mary M.: Do you have any updates on HSBC -“Police” thugs collaboration?
    Did HSBC volunteer or were forced to let these ugly Rambos hide in its Hennessy Road branch?

  10. Mary Melville says:

    @Jason : Disclosure, I was not in Wanchai that day but people I know were. I have also viewed a number of videos taken from various angles.
    What appears to have happened is that peaceful demonstration is filing past HSBC
    A few participants decide to decorate the whiteboard with slogans
    Suddenly out of nowhere a number of masked weapon wielders appear and get stuck in
    At first the crowd is puzzled as to where they have sprung from
    Then they spot the open door towards the left of the whiteboard and it clicks that they were hidden behind the hoarding and more are spotted inside
    From the open door damage to interior was visible
    Some of these ??????s were very aggressive, particularly one dressed in camouflage and a big guy with a bandanna who was laying into the crowd
    They captured some folk and dragged them into HSBC
    Riot police then rocked up and let loose with tear gas and batons and the protest was declared suspended
    Note that while the police have made a statement re the twosome in masks who were damaging China Life offices and fled to the police lines, neither police or HSBC have issued a clarification on what went down at the bank building or why the door was not secured as is the normal practice with the boarded up banks
    Like you I am hoping for enlightenment

  11. Mary Melville says:

    Apologies, should read pepper spray and batons, the tear gas was tossed into the middle of the crowd some minutes later

  12. Jason says:

    @Mary M.: Thanks for sharing! To know all the sinister details, we probably need another Police officer spilling the beans on Korean TV.

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