Lau Siu-kai, a gruff semi-official oracle who translates CCP-speak into human language, confirms what most assume – that Beijing is going to more formally end the grip of Hong Kong’s bureaucrat-tycoon ‘elites’ on the city’s power structure.
(The SCMP is quoting an article in a HK & Macau Affairs Office-sponsored journal, not apparently online yet.)
While he cuts through the CCP’s impermeable rhetoric, he leaves Leninist mendacity intact. He maintains that the post-1997 administrations that continued seeing ‘One Country, Two Systems’ in 1980s and 90s terms (insulating Hong Kong politically from the Mainland) ‘failed to implement’ (ie adapt to the redefining of) the formula. Civil servants who have adhered to their traditional impartiality have in fact deviated from it. Loyalty to Hong Kong is ‘disloyalty’, and officials persisting in this are ‘dissidents’.
The most pressing sins of the elites of course concern the Extradition Bill controversy that blew up into a popular uprising. Lau blames the officials for heeding public pressure and failing to act severely enough against the protests.
Essentially, our top officials have tried too hard to balance Hong Kong’s interests and those of the Central Government.
He also accuses officials of protecting their personal interests and says opportunists and even dissidents are among local ‘patriotic forces’. Sadly, he doesn’t name names. But at the very least he must be referring to (supposedly) pro-Beijing tycoons who have kept their heads down or tried to sound even-handed as the public rebelled against the CCP-appointed leadership. This is probably also a warning to any members of the harder-core pro-Beijing political groups who might be tempted to pander to public opinion.
Obviously, Chief Executive Carrie Lam and her sorry rabble are toast. But Lau’s channeled message does not necessarily indicate a full-scale purge of the establishment (which would at least offer some amusement). Beijing’s local power base is too thin for that. But it does suggest a rectification campaign: a classic United Front squeeze of the co-opted useful idiots as the CCP consolidates its control over a reluctant territory.
It will not be enough for moderate pro-establishment types to merely avoid saying anything nice about the opposition; they will have to actively join in blood-curdling denunciations, and visibly display their total loyalty to the CCP. Some of the more genteel bureaucrats will probably back out – but expect the property barons’ kids to start bleating about Xi Jinping Thought.
Lau’s analysis of course disregards the possibility that the CCP might have any responsibility for Hong Kong’s predicament. It is the Hong Kong population who are wrong in failing to have ‘national identity’. Their lack of respect and obedience towards the CCP are due to foreign forces and insufficient patriotic education for the young.
If you want to carry on being Beijing’s friend, you will loudly agree and take part in putting that right.