‘If goodwill still exists’

Antony Cheung, mild-moderate pro-democrat and former government official, asks where Hong Kong goes from here. After the 2003 SARS/Article 23 trauma, Beijing appointed a mediocre but arrogant bureaucrat as Chief Executive, and pushed cross-border integration. As Cheung notes, these are not exactly promising options this time round (though don’t underestimate the CCP’s ability to double down and compound its mistakes).

He does not hold back on the awfulness of the current administration, and he hints at the need for a more representative political system. But, as is invariably the case with these op-eds (why is this???), he fails to spell out any ideas – simply concluding that…

If goodwill still exists, adversity could force all sides to forge the determination to review the fundamental situation and contemplate bold but necessary choices.

Almost as gutsy as Carrie Lam proposing to set up a committee to consider the possibility of doing something! The ‘fundamental situation’ points to just two possible ‘bold but necessary choices’. First is a more bottom-up, representative government – which totally contradicts the CCP’s top-down, control-obsessed Leninist worldview. Second is a Mainlandized authoritarian regime that suppresses opposition and dissent – provoking deep local resistance and defiance.

Meanwhile, the Hong Kong ‘government’ continues to do its remarkably good impression of a lump of rotting meat that no-one can or will take away. This is at least good news for creators of brutal memes

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13 Responses to ‘If goodwill still exists’

  1. MarkLane says:

    As recently as late last month (January 2020), top officials in the HKSAR government — including Carrie Lam herself — have been pushing for a reintroduction of the failed National Security Law as well as laws against any perceived denigration to the national anthem.

    Most shocking is that these comments have been made, and repeated, even as the WuFlu epidemic grinds China to a complete halt.

    Here are a few links for those who don’t believe it:



  2. @MarkLane – when people won’t stop pointing out your faults, you have 2 options:
    1. correct them; or
    2. make criticism of them illegal as a supposed threat to national security.
    It was always a pretty good bet that the dullards in charge would opt for the second choice.

  3. Cassowary says:

    If a policy doesn’t work the first time, there is a 90% chance that the CCP concludes that the answer is to do it again MORE.

    For it to do otherwise, we’d need a scenario in which:
    a) Xi Jinping has lost enough credibility that someone has the guts to suggest trying something new,
    b) Xi is weakened or desperate enough to go along with it,
    c) Said new idea is not equally dreadful.

  4. Hong Kong Hibernian says:

    An observation of the mainland, but, sadly, very apt for Curry Lamb and her gang of mediocre clowns:

    “Too many of its officials have become political apparatchiks, fearful of making decisions that anger their superiors and too removed and haughty when dealing with the public to admit mistakes and learn from them. ‘The most important issue this outbreak exposed is the local government’s lack of action and fear of action,’ said Xu Kaizhen, a best-selling author who is famous for his novels that explore the intricate workings of China’s bureaucratic politics.”

    from https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/04/business/china-coronavirus-government.html

    For me, the most frightening recent development here in HK was the arrest of a man who claimed that some people had become sick and taken sick leave. Gasp! How dare he?! Send in the shock troops with some pure and clean political cadres to clean up this mess! (It has hurt the feelings of the Chinese people, etc.)

    “The rumour-monger was arrested!” the police proclaimed in a post in Chinese on Facebook and Twitter.


  5. Dragonfly says:

    @MarkLane …the ongoing series of “explosions” and “discoveries” of explosive devices across HK seem to be orchestrated to provide a pretext for exactly this – “justifying” the introduction of the Art 23 law. They are a little too convenient and lacking in subtlety.

  6. @Dragonfly – in a normal country, a bomb explosion would be the subject of front-page “shock horror” stories; a series of them even more so. The local media’s general lack of interest suggests that HK journalists share your scepticism about this supposed threat. If someone really did blow up a few toilets, his targets are so random as to make it pretty obviously more the work of an isolated nutter than any dread conspiracy against the state.

  7. Reactor #4 says:

    In the Olden Days people really did have rubbish lives. Life expectancy was 50% or less of what it is today. My ancestors then lived in a cold, damp place. The food would have be dreadful. Violence would have been commonplace. People focused on surviving.

    Fast-forward to today. I have comfortable, secure space to live and sleep in. I have a meaningful career. I might live to 80 or more years. I have an almost infinite range of foods I can eat. If I fancy a break, I can head over to Lantau and take an aeroplane to somewhere nice for a cost that I can pretty much ignore. Using the internet I can speak to my family on the other side of the planet. In an instant I can pull down from some virtual library 500-page books that were written hundreds of years ago. If I want, I can stand on the street corner and express my dissatisfaction with the government. The list of goodies goes on and on.

    Life is great. People should stop whingeing. The supposedly “crap HK” a lot of people keep banging on about really needs to be placed in its proper context. You should be thankful that you are alive, after all you are going to be dead soon.

  8. Quis mentietur ipsos mendaces? says:

    @Hong Kong Hibernian
    Particularly alarming given that the agency detaining people for spreading false news has spent the last 7 months lying and spreading false news daily on TV news.

  9. Donny Almond says:

    Simon Reactor: it’s 4 PM. Shouldn’t you be in a pub somewhere, getting pissed? You haven’t had a job for 20 years. What meaningful career do you have?

  10. steve says:

    Reactionary #4: Save the libertarian crap for your next lunch with Rand Paul, Paul Ryan, and Ayn Rand. Normal people understand that the majority of humanity (including people in Hong Kong and China) have not experienced the neoliberal economic miracle by which you are so bewitched.

  11. Stanley Lieber says:

    @ Reactor #4

    Right on, brother.

    Even so, gratitude and continuous improvement both have their place.

  12. Penny says:

    I’m all right Jack so everything is fine.

  13. PaperCuts says:

    How lovely for you Reactor 4. That’s swell!

    We’re all so lucky to skip between the raindrops like you flitting around the globe at will with our shekels

    Yay!!!!!! Life’s wonderful!!!!!!!!

    I love the fallacy of relative privation!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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