The Hong Kong Coalition – fronted by former Chief Executives Tung Chee-hwa and CY Leung – is apparently supposed to lure the middle ground to vote for the pro-government bloc in September’s Legislative Council elections. Instead, it is a vivid reminder of how unappealing the pro-Beijing brand is.
Its recruits so far are the usual depressing ‘heavyweights’ like Maria Tam, Henry ‘basement’ Tang, Regina Ip and the less recognizable industrialist Irons Sze. You can picture the rest: former Justice Secretary Elsie Leung perhaps, Executive Council people like Fanny Law and Arthur Li, some tycoons/tycoons’ kids and semi-forgotten retired officials. To add a dash of sexy and trendy, actor Jackie Chan or landlord Allen Zeman.
They will generally be old. Most will be rich. Most will have some base motive, like wealth or status, for publicly backing Beijing. Many will be ugly, in terms of personality if not physically. Only the spineless who parrot the official line will be accepted. Anyone under 40 will either be pitifully dim or (if they drag in some medal-winning cyclist) dependent on the state.
The HK Coalition will be a rancid line-up of not-very-nice-people. Nobody remotely hip or cool will join in because no-one who is smart, intellectual, sensitive, funny, caring, aware, creative, noble or heroic supports the Chinese Communist Party.
It is a toxic product, and this is the marketing campaign from Hell. For example: your target audience is the sort of person who admires the hospital staff who risked their lives working on the front-line and their jobs by striking to force the government to close the border. And this Coalition wheels out a spite-filled woman who rants about punishing and suing the doctors and nurses.
I declare the weekend open with a quick selection of diversions…
China Heritage/Geremie Barme translates an essay by journalist Lee Yee despairing at the arrests of Martin Lee et al as the end of any possibility of a third way for Hong Kong…
As the Communist authorities have directed the local authorities to arrest men and women such as these — remember, they have consistently been the most mild advocates of democratic norms in the territory — they have, in effect, wiped out what remained of a middle ground. Now the only choices open to Hong Kong people are: align yourself with a totalitarian regime or rise up to resist and oppose it.
A Hong Kong Free Press interview with Martin Lee. Another is from DW, translated here. He still shows a touching faith in the US Cavalry coming to the rescue, and in constitutional niceties – hoping a pan-dem majority in the legislature could prevent National Security laws, as if the CCP lets voters give the orders. Also, the Catholic Herald does a feature on the veteran pro-democrat.
Ben Bland at the Interpreter looks at the CCP’s recent power-grab in Hong Kong…
Beijing has always seen the One Country, Two Systems arrangement as a messy compromise to smooth the handover from British rule in 1997 rather than a long-term basis for political freedoms and autonomy for Hong Kong. In the last 10 years, and especially since Xi Jinping took power in 2012, it has intensified efforts to assert control over Hong Kong’s politics, economy and society…
By pushing so hard, the authorities risk intensifying the very nemesis of political violence that they claim to be opposing.
Prospects for the pro-democracy movement include…
…fighting a rear-guard action to disrupt the authorities while hoping to keep the flame of resistance alight until something dramatic changes in Beijing.
We could also add that Beijing is doing all the right things to encourage the growth of a genuine pro-independence movement.
Michael Davies in the SCMP asks (more or less) why we bother having a Basic Law if Beijing can change it anytime it likes.
From Harpers – a rather literary inside account of last year’s protests.
To celebrate HK-Taiwanese-Thai solidarity against the CCP, Milk-Tea Alliance protest artwork.
For heritage enthusiasts – the abandoned Peak Tram station.
And 7-Eleven has launched a worthwhile initiative where customers can team with the chain and some charities to donate lunch boxes to the needy (using a convoluted high-tech system involving gamma rays and blockchain – because just putting cash in a box wouldn’t be any fun).
A thread on the craziness of China’s latest South China Sea claims.
Bloomberg thinks China has pushed Europe too far this time on the virus crisis. It sounds serious, provided there is an entity called ‘Europe’ that carries weight on the world stage, and the region’s various national leaders have backbones.
Just to be sure that no-one here thinks for one minute that a plethora of pan-dems properly elected and sworn-in to LegCo in September will actually remain in LegCo for their allotted time to server their electorate? I’m sure the CCP Playbook (Export Edition) has entire chapters devoted to disenfranchising the Hong Kong/Macau/Taiwan population of their duly elected representatives, as and when the need arises. I just wonder how they’ll pull it off while our so-called government clings myopically to the belief that Hong Kong is still “Asia’s World City”. Or maybe the CCP don’t care who knows they don’t give a fuck and will sent the tanks down Nathan Road? Interesting times, indeed.
I don’t think the CCP have any intension of running an election this year. Let’s be honest this lot won’t win (or for that matter lose as the deck is somewhat stacked) and our new CCP knuckledraggers know this, so more gridlock.
I foresee a Police orchestrated disturbance and the elections postponed on National Security grounds. A Provisional Legislature (remember that?) who of course will pass what needs to be passed. Thereafter there will probably be a very real “disturbance.”
CCP Marketing: We will convert those we tell to convert. Win-Win!
Regular marketing: We will convert only those with whom we can generate a rapport and a semblance of values alignment. We will work hard to earn trust by being sincere and thoughtful.
Including Lufsig in any sort of public anything is guaranteed to raise hackles and polarize even more. Maybe that’s the goal and the “coalition” isn’t really meant to be anything other than yet another (yawn) “elite” club for richie rich Hongkies that get a photo op shaking the emperor’s hand to put on the bookshelf behind the board chairman sized desk. So predictably formulaic, these types…
“Anyone under 40 will either be pitifully dim or (if they drag in some medal-winning cyclist) dependent on the state.”
– Gratefully our medal-winning cyclists are nearer the people’s and not the po-po/Lufsig’s side on this and have come in for a hail of blue/CCP invective for being so.
Neither can one imagine ping-pongers or other sporting types snuggling up to this creepy cartel of cronies.
@Stephen my thinking is along similar lines but with more rule by law: all the democrats and their alternates are DQed. The election then proceeds but only DAB and other boot licking scum stand. What you have is basically the same thing as a Provisional Legco.
Your pretext of suspending elections altogether due to “national security” would be more tricky since you can’t do that in HK election law.
I would only consider your method plausible if the CCP decides to use Article 18 of the Basic Law to suspend common law and apply mainland laws. But if they do that then their money laundry would be broken in the same fashion if they had unleashed the PLA last year. If they don’t have big enough balls to unleash the PLA, then I doubt they have big enough balls to rip off the fig leaf of indirect rule completely too.
Some commenter recently said the CCP is starting to implode. I hope it happens and fast. Clearly they are terrified of the pan dems taking a majority in legco.
“– Gratefully our medal-winning cyclists are nearer the people’s and not the po-po/Lufsig’s side on this and have come in for a hail of blue/CCP invective for being so.
Neither can one imagine ping-pongers or other sporting types snuggling up to this creepy cartel of cronies.”
What a big shock: athletes that represent HK as a de facto nation (as allowed under the Basic Law which allows HK to represent itself in the Olympics and other sports organizations) happen to be sympathetic towards HK interests! Who’d thunk it?
“Your pretext of suspending elections altogether due to “national security” would be more tricky since you can’t do that in HK election law.”
Since when do election laws or any other laws, precedence or mini constitutions have relevance to Hong Kong any more? Especially since the high judiciary is almost completely co-opted? soon HK will be as proud as the mainland with their 99.8% conviction rates.
Carrie Lam must love life….outrageous salary for literally doing nothing save for a few mumbling theatrical appearances showing she’s “in charge”.
From the introduction by Geremie R Barmé
to the essay by Lee Yee (linked to above)
The ‘Middle Way’ 中間路線, or the ‘Third Way’ 第三條道路, are terms with a long and tragic history in modern Chinese politics. Advocates of a middle way, that is a political and economic strategy aimed at finding a meaningful way forward between the Scylla-like monstrosity of hard-line communism and Charybdis whirly gig of laissez-faire capitalism, flourished during China’s Civil War era (1946-1949).
The Middle Road
As I walked home one evening
The road split, three ways.
On the left a red road,
Red with joy? – or blood?
Far off, a mass of people.
A road with high walls
And on the walls, cameras.
As I stepped in, a camera
Jolted, looked at me.
No, I thought, not this road.
On the right, a glaring road,
A funfair, a fantasy,
People jumping, laughing,
Losing, winning, razing, building,
I stepped in – loud music
Rammed my ears, I faltered;
No, I thought, not this road.
There was a middle road.
The air was pure and temperate,
The people graceful and content.
But men in uniform,
As I stepped in, stopped me.
I spoke, they answered,
What language were they speaking?
Could I slip by – this way – that way?
No. They blocked the road.
“Since when do election laws or any other laws, precedence or mini constitutions have relevance to Hong Kong any more? Especially since the high judiciary is almost completely co-opted? soon HK will be as proud as the mainland with their 99.8% conviction rates.
Carrie Lam must love life….outrageous salary for literally doing nothing save for a few mumbling theatrical appearances showing she’s “in charge”.”
I don’t disagree with you, but I think the CCP would prefer to do Nazi style “rule by law” here so they will pretend to follow election law but twist it in a way where the ultimate outcome would still be the same thing as a Provisional Legco filled 100% with boot licking hacks.
I am surprised that nobody has yet linked the “Pitifully Dim” to the one outstanding candidate, Junius Ho.
And as far as a LegCo coming into being which the CPG cannot control, that is about as likely as Big Lychee moving to Beijing. Voluntarily, that is…
I think even the CCP are aware of the utterly despicable-ness of Odious Ho and won’t venture there. He’s a useful polarizer but at the end of the day, better to have boring, harmless *appearing* hacks that are vicious scum rather than an openly hateful piece-of-shit spewing bile from his mouth regularly, which is unappealing even to the goons. It’s also why VagIp will never get beyond where she is.
“Especially since the high judiciary is almost completely co-opted.”
I don’t see that (yet).