The Thoughts of Deputy Director Zhang

Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office Deputy [since February demotion] Director Zhang Xiaoming delivers a webinar-speech explaining Beijing’s reasons for the Grand Mainlandization.

(Chinese here; slightly wonky auto-translated version here.)

His remarks ‘avoided wolf-howls’ and were, by Beijing officials’ standards, quite candid. As commentators note, he broke with the traditional analysis and said Hong Kong’s problem was ‘political’ rather than ‘economic’. This might sound heartening to those who insist that blaming inequality and housing is missing the point and the root cause is the city’s underlying rotten and unrepresentative political structure. But that’s not what the CCP means by ‘political’.

Zhang’s comments reveal Beijing’s deep frustration with Hong Kong’s free speech, free press, liberal education, civil (and cosmopolitan) society, impartial civil service and rule of law and independent judiciary. So long as these institutions are not under CCP control, they are a challenge to national sovereignty and security. Added to that is alarm over the perceived role of the US and other foreign forces in infiltrating the city and instigating subversion. National-security laws will be an anti-political virus software.

Among Zhang’s more interesting thoughts is a righteous (his word) rejection of the idea that CY Leung’s contrived January 2015 freak-out over ‘Hong Kong independence’ was anything other than well-founded. Localists’ attempts to take part in 2016 LegCo elections were part an attempt by pro-independence forces to seize power, and such elements are still plotting ‘terrorist’ activities. Hence the disqualifications of candidates and expulsion of FT correspondent Victor Mallet.

It’s clear that Beijing’s officials are also mightily miffed that Hong Kong simply isn’t into the ‘China Dream’ or indeed the China anything. The media here dwell on the negatives about the Mainland (and we thought they were mostly shoe-shining), and, Zhang complains, we have ‘boycotted’ the Greater Bay Area visionary hub-zone thing (well spotted!)

Reading between the lines, I would guess that one of the biggest impacts on the coming rectification campaign will be on schools and the shaping of young minds. Government opponents, civil servants, anti-China forces and the media are all in for serious treatment – but schools will be a big one. These guys are serious about long-term re-engineering of people’s thinking.

Also some whiny semi-tantrum foot-stamping about how China has due process, presumption of innocence, proportionality of punishment and other legal principles and protections just like real grown-up civilized countries.

Zhang also stressed Hong Kong’s importance as a financial centre. Carrie Lam is hinting at Beijing’s support in this area – so presumably someone is worried about US sanctions.

Bottom line: if you thought they were just play-acting, you’re wrong – they really are paranoid psychos.

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13 Responses to The Thoughts of Deputy Director Zhang

  1. YTSL says:

    The China dream is Hong Kong’s nightmare. By the same token, the Hong Kong dream is China’s nightmare.

  2. asiaseen says:

    The demotion must have hit Zhang hard, he seems to have dropped his “I’m destined for the top” delivery – you know the long-suffering headmaster style of speech that all the top bods use.

  3. Roddy the Rodomontade says:

    Sorry Hemmers, but Swire Pacific still clings to the Greater Bay Area visionary hub-zone thing, at least according to one of today’s press releases:

    “It [Cathay Pacific] is strategically poised to benefit from the opportunities presented by the Greater Bay Area, which will be the growth engine for the world economy over the next few decades.”

    Nice of them to slip in a quick shoeshine!

  4. Mark Bradley says:

    “Nice of them to slip in a quick shoeshine!”

    It’s like the CCP is getting a quickie.

  5. Casira says:

    I wonder what GBA opportunities are for Cathay. Flights to Zhuhai ?

  6. PaperCuts says:

    I’ll lay on a lilo ’til I’m lobster red
    I still feel the motion baby at home in bed
    I tell you it’s hard for me to stay away
    You ain’t been ’til you been high in Guantanamo Bay

    Sing it with me!

    Oh oh oh oh oh oh Guantanamo Bay! Yeah!

  7. Cassowary says:

    These reassurances that the NSL will only affect “a small number of people” comes from a government that put 1-2 million people in concentration camps without blinking. Their idea of “a small number of people” is probably 20,000-odd people. You’ll hardly miss ’em.

  8. Stanley Lieber says:

    My own little peaceful protest now is to raise my hand in the “Five Demands, Not One Less” gesture every time I see a policeman or police vehicle.

    Opportunities present themselves several times a day.

    Responses from the intended targets have included blank faces, quizzical looks, nasty scowls and even a friendly wave before the fellow realised I wasn’t a fan.

    I’m trying to start a movement. Admittedly, it hasn’t caught fire yet.

  9. Reactor #4 says:

    @Stanley Lieber: “Admittedly, it hasn’t caught fire yet.”

    You should have a chat with those protesters who torched that bloke. They did such a good job they put him in hospital for months. Poor bastard.

  10. Joe Blow says:

    Tonight there are again green objects with helmets standing on street corners of CWB.

  11. so says:

    Belief systems are confined neither to the PRC political arrangement, nor to medical diagnoses of cancer. Money is a usual culprit of these beliefs.

    Best is to disbelieve and instead, adopt actual results, rather as Deng did, in 1984…

  12. Cassowary says:

    Eh, I do a more economical gesture.

  13. Feilo says:


    The demotion must have hit Zhang hard, he seems to have dropped his “I’m destined for the top” delivery – you know the long-suffering headmaster style of speech that all the top bods use.

    most satisfying is the disappearance of his annoying smirk, delivered always with full 32 impossibly white teeth (we are not talking 土包子 poor fillings) while in charge of city’s affairs and rubbing elbows with all the rich and optimates. Pretty sure he’s marked as unreliable by the two new friends in charge and strictly supervised now, a better outcome could not have happened to a more deserving person

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