So where were we? Oh yes – during the National Security Day publicity campaign, Beijing’s HK Affairs and Liaison Offices were criticizing Hong Kong pro-democracy lawmakers, even accusing them of possible criminal offenses, for holding up legislative business, including the National Anthem (Compulsory Adoration) Bill.
This sparks a debate on whether these departments can interfere in Hong Kong’s internal affairs, when Basic Law Article 22 says they can’t.
Now the Liaison Office abruptly ends that debate by forcing the Hong Kong government to reword its own press releases overnight as they are published. By the third draft at around 1.00am, the Liaison Office is not a Chinese government ‘department’, but directly under central government control, which is apparently different, despite past statements and documents to the contrary.
For gory textual analysis, see threads (in ascending order of detail) here, here and here.
The Liaison Office has been organizing local United Front election campaigns and other operations for years. Beijing’s officials clearly started to exert influence over the HK Police, public prosecutions and other functions in the post-Occupy period, and have obviously taken some form of direct control over the police since mid-2019. It was all in the 2014 white paper, which declared Hong Kong’s autonomy to be purely at the CCP’s pleasure.
So the Ever-Transmuting Press Release Saga largely confirms what we all know: the CCP, which is above the law, runs Hong Kong via the Liaison Office. The humiliation of local flunkies having to rewrite statements dictated by the knuckle-draggers at midnight is the message.
Meanwhile, there’s a mass arrest of opposition leaders. To add to the brutish, banana-republic ambience, the Police Commissioner gets stroppy and personal with two of the arrestees – 81-year-old lawyer Martin Lee for showing bravado, and pro-democracy publisher Jimmy Lai for ‘smearing’ his cops.
Among other detainees: cat-owning barrister Margaret Ng, unionist Lee Cheuk-yan, long-time single-parent activist Cyd Ho and veteran ultra-moderates like Yeung Sam and Albert Ho. A key point: the most venerable of these, like Martin Lee and Ng, are pretty much honorary members of Hong Kong’s traditional business-bureaucrat society. They are personally close to some leading establishment figures.
Reactions include international protest, but also sheer puzzlement. Is Beijing using the pandemic as a distraction, or is this following a separate timetable? Is the idea to disrupt the pan-dems through disqualifications before the September Legislative Council election? Is it to somehow set the scene for pushing through Article 23 National Security laws? Is it to provoke yet more unrest in order to justify martial law?
It’s best not to read too much into it. It accords with the CCP’s mentality that the ‘masses’ who voted in November’s district elections have no minds of their own, and Hong Kong’s protest movement will end if a handful of masterminds and leaders are taken out. It also sends a message that no-one is safe – even aging moderates can be rounded up, so you must all tremble and obey.
Which brings us back to the overlap between pan-dem grandees like Martin Lee and the tycoon-bureaucrat ‘elites’. Beijing is frustrated not just with the Hong Kong rabble, but with its government and its shoe-shiners. This is simply a next step in its insecure and paranoid obsession with crushing all, not just radical, Hong Kong opposition.
It also illustrates the CCP’s complete lack of understanding of Hong Kong but – as with the press-release rewrites – not giving a damn is part of the point.
First they came for the 15…
“It also illustrates the CCP’s complete lack of understanding of Hong Kong but…not giving a damn is part of the point.”
Lucky the CCP created the WuFlu as a gift to the world so no one would “meddle with their internal affairs” while world governments are trying too hard unfucking at home what the CCP unleashed.
How does the tired saying go? Out of adversity is opportunity?? The VantaBlack hair crowd have definitely created opportunity.
Shall we war game this ?
> Pro Establishment parties lose seats in September’s election;
> Passing Article 23 in now impossible;
> China imposes NATIONAL security legislation on Hong Kong;
> Local population goes ballistic – mass protests, strikes – now it’s six demands;
> Armed Mainland Police and Local Police flood the streets and curfews and detentions follow;
> The Lam family reunite in Cambridgeshire.
“ Lucky the CCP created the WuFlu as a gift to the world so no one would “meddle with their internal affairs” while world governments are trying too hard unfucking at home what the CCP unleashed.”
Yeah but the world may be keen to punish the ccp hard over it and throw in some sanctions over violating international law with regards to hk too. It feels like the international community’s patience with panda tantrums is paper thin now and it might be the ccp getting kicked in the teeth for a change.
“and Hong Kong’s protest movement will end if a handful of masterminds and leaders are taken out.”
I detect a certain one-party organization doing a bit of projecting here. And I laugh. CCP is doing itself in. It will crumble. These are the last days.
At the time of the handover I told my friends abroad that I didn’t think
the ccp would kill the goose with the golden egg. Looks like I underestimated their
thirst for control.
Ronnie Tong has said:
“Before they (the Government) touch on complicated and sensitive issues like the current one, they should first of all seek the advice of constitutional experts, particularly constitutional experts from the Mainland, because after all the only final arbiter of the true meaning of the Basic Law belongs to the NPCSC.”
. . . constitutional experts from the Mainland . . . the only final arbiter . . . the NPCSC . . .
I imagine a nice old-fashioned barrister (not Mr Tong) smiling ironically, stroking his chin, and saying, “It does rather beg the question, my lord, doesn’t it, do we know what we mean when we say, ‘constitutional experts from the Mainland?'”
I am surprised that nobody is paying attention to the battle raging between major cliques within the CCP.
What were you lot expecting? I get the impression that you think that having a good gripe on a regular basis will result in the CCP modifying its plans. No 4ckin way. There are two options. Get with the programme or leave.
@R#4 – people were probably saying the same to Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Nelson Mandela, Vaclav Havel, Lech Walesa,… There are never only two options – but the third option requires courage and self-sacrifice. Every dictatorship falls eventually.
Oh no! He’s back.
What I don’t quite understand is that if — as we are now assured so that it can interfere — the Liaison Office is not a department of the Central People’s Government, why should they expect anyone in Hong Kong to pay any attention whatsoever to their non-official prattle?
They lack — by their own admission — the backing of being part of the Central People’s Government, and thus should be as influential as any other think tank (ie eminently ignorable).
Yes, the Glorious WuFlu Era has factions scurrying back and forth! Yang Jiechi, for example, has had a larger role in recent weeks with Emperor Pooh apparently ‘missing in action’.
Perhaps Xi was busy looking through the Liaison Office’s property portfolio that Demosisto discussed: https://news.rthk.hk/rthk/en/component/k2/1521613-20200420.htm?spTabChangeable=0
757 properties owned by the Liaison Office?? I’m not the brightest light in the chandelier, so I would love for someone to explain that to me.
BTW, any news on the thug who stabbed Longhair Leung? A senile DAB Uncle or a brainwashed young zealot?
@Private Beach – do you think #4 knows anything about courage and self-sacrifice?
@ Private Beach.
“Every dictatorship falls eventually.”
I agree. However, it won’t be a bunch of farty-puff, HongKonger idealists who will force the CCP’s demise. It will require a high-level CCP person in Beijing to do the turning. One other thing – of the four freedom fighters you name, the countries linked to Solzhenitsyn and Mandela are still absolute cack-holes. Actually, I am 100% confident that both men would be disgusted at how they have turned out 3-4 decades after they were supposedly “liberated”.
Actually Dbag#4 provides useful foil insight on what its like for a non passion driven, sellout soul who chooses to live amongst natives in a land not his, as an outsider, with easy escape pod access, consistently telling people to give up and submit as the way of life they enjoyed withers away.
Problem is, #4, that there are less and less options for your kind to go to. Either they’re too pricey and authoritarian (Sing) or becoming even more heavy handed in their authoritarianism (Thailand, Philippines, etc) and invoking anti outsider xenophobia. What next for the likes of you? Back to the motherland (gasp!)?
Hong Kong is not going to muddle on half-slave and half-free until 2047.
Hong Kong is either going to be a police state or a democratically-run municipality. Its fate will be decided in the next 2-3 years. The next CE appointment (or election) will be the defining moment. At that point, the die will have been cast.
The next station of the cross will be the march on July 1st, followed by the September Legco elections, and all of the argy-bargy surrounding those milestones.
I’m not going anywhere until the whole enchilada is decided.
@Article Catch-22 – Yes, quite!