Oh to be a fly on the wall of the Resolutely Safeguarding National Security Office this morning as the Mainland goons ponder why – after whiny foot-stamping threats and oh-so original police raids of a pollster – 600,000 people turned out to vote in pro-dem camp primary polls. (Hint: it’s not the mainly-inconsequential primaries – it’s the chance to say Screw You CCP.)
The lack of police and other harassment of the polling stations was surprising. Did the sheer number of premises confuse the cops? Or did someone higher up the chain of command have enough brain cells to realize the authorities had already messed this one up enough?
Today is taking place over here.
(Struggling to find anything new to say on all this. From now on, this is an experiment in (re)colonization by a regime that, it seems clear, is as deluded and clueless about the outside world – including Hong Kong – as the most insular Ming and Qing emperors. If there is a clean way to curtail a community’s longstanding rights and freedoms, it would involve stealth, subtlety and patience. You can be sure the CCP will use none of them.)
For the next few days I will be on vacation. After considering various options – from exotic Cheung Chau to the Sai Kung riviera – Mongkok it is! Hotels are cheap. Huge range of restaurants. No tourists. Glorious mountain views to both the north and south.
Something to listen to…
Hi Hemlock — your Hong Kong Free Press piece was depressing; the primary election turnout uplifting.
Enjoy your staycation. BTW, am loving how (relatively) uncrowded Tsim Sha Tsui without the tourist hordes!
“The lack of police and other harassment of the polling stations was surprising.”
They’re plotting something, obviously. No point in cracking down on the primary if they’re going to ban most of the candidates later anyway.
I voted. Didn’t really look at the candidates. Just wanted to say “fuck you” to the CCP. Six hundred thousand other people had the same idea.
This is something to build on.
It’s 1995 again in Causeway Bay. Such a nice place. Beautiful.
Does it “harm the feelings of Hong Kong people” or “split China” if I say neo-colonialists apparatchiks are just plain dumb? If it is, I won’t say it.
I hope your TST hotel isn’t full of “staycationing” Hongkongers and expats. I’ve been reading this morning about long queues for breakfast buffets (I thought Covid-19 had made these a thing of the past?), fully booked hotel restaurants, and having to get up at 7:30 to bag a sunlounger at the pool.
Though I do get the impression Hemlock is not the sunlounger type…
@Sam Clemens: would love all those jewellery stores on the Causeway Bay section of Hennessy Road to go away and make space for more interesting stores geared to locals. Then things would be closer to 1995 or even 2005!
“ They’re plotting something, obviously. No point in cracking down on the primary if they’re going to ban most of the candidates later anyway.”
Do you think there will be constituencies without any pro democracy affiliated candidates and stacked with pro establishment scum, DAB, and DAB friendly “independents”?
It’s probable that it’s all ready been decided but the massive turnout will result in many of the selected Pro-Dem candidates being barred from standing. The Legislature will become a rubber stamp. Credit to all over the weekend it was a wonderful riposte.
While walking in the street in CWB this morning, the following scene unfolded: at the intersection of Percival and Hennessy Road, one of the busiest in the hood, a woman had fainted smack in the middle of the road. An elderly gentleman stepped in to direct the heavy traffic while 3 fair young maidens attended to the victim, a middle aged woman who vaguely resembled a China auntie. Not a policeman or a traffic warden to be seen, of course. An ambulance was called but that seemed to take a while.
Then it struck me: where had I seen this scene before, people randomly dropping in the streets? Yes, of course. During the first Covid wave in Wuhan, 6 months ago. People were dropping like flies, here, there, everywhere.
Welcome to HK, and enjoy your staycation. It may be your last.
@Mark Bradley – in a word, yes. They’re telegraphing their intentions very loudly. It might as well be in blinking lights. Carrie Lam today said it might be illegal for political candidates to run on opposing the government. And remember, the NSL allows them to ban candidates not just for one election, but for life.
I wonder how hkers will react if there are no democrats on the ballot. Even if the voter turn out is 10% because everyone is boycotting the election, the idiots at the hk government won’t care. It frustrates me to no end that ccp will get away with this with basically no punishment and will unlikely to collapse within our lifetime
Of course, the DAB could run primaries. That would see the crowds out in force (led from their air-conditioned buses past the polling booth to their lunch boxes…)
@Toph: maybe provide ‘constructive criticism’ rather than opposition.
Perhaps someone here with more knowledge can advise, but isn’t holding the executive to account in the job description of a Legco councillor?
@Mark Bradley: It’s worse than I thought. They’re not just planning to ban the democrats. They’re planning to jail them.
“@Toph: maybe provide ‘constructive criticism’ rather than opposition.
Perhaps someone here with more knowledge can advise, but isn’t holding the executive to account in the job description of a Legco councillor?”
I don’t think Toph was posting opposition. Toph was stating reality. Yes holding the executive to account is literally what the job of Legco and their lawmakers are and it’s written that way in the Basic Law. But clearly the Basic Law doesn’t matter anymore and it’s superseded by the extralegal NSL. Also yes I think Toph is right that these triad thugs want to jail all pan democrats. So what now? Will HK people roll over or will they resist? If they resist then how? Boycotting the legco election won’t bother the CCP. After all they’re fine with a few hundred people “voting” for the CE they select.
The air of unreality thickens as one witnesses sincere people engaged in an online dialogue about laws and the meaning of words as if either means anything in the context of an ill-tempered totalitarian communist regime that has just unapologetically inserted into the community hundreds (perhaps thousands) of secret police with unlimited powers of investigation, arrest and detention to do whatever they want, whenever they want, to whomever they want.
I agree with you @Stanley Lieber. The NSL is designed so that the CCP can do whatever they damn please in Hong Kong.
That’s enough staycation for you, young man. Start writing.
Mark Bradley, Toph Steven:
Agree completely. You can see what’s happening here is the same strategy employed beginning in mid April in the run-up to the May announcement of the national security law to be delivered at the end of June. There were government coordinated statements together with other intimidating acts:
13 April 2020 Central government criticised Hong Kong pan-democrat legislators for filibustering
15 April 2020 Central Government Liaison Office director Luo Huining,, CE Carrie Lam and Secretary for Security John Lee, and beyond, lined up to give coordinated statements on the urgent need for Hong Kong to enact Article 23 national security laws.
17 April 2020 Central government rejected interference was in breach of Article 22 of the Basic Law.
18 April 2020 Mass arrests of pan-democrat legislators and figureheads 15 people.
19 April 2020 HK & Macau Affairs Office accuse Joshua Wong and Martin Lee of an independence plot, blasting lawmaker Dennis Kwok, supporting police arrests of pro-dem veterans, repeating Beijing’s authority over Hong Kong
20 April 2020 Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Edward Yau on Monday called on RTHK to conduct a comprehensive review of its production and editorial processes, after the public broadcaster was slapped with a serious warning by the communications regulator for airing a personal opinion programme that contained ‘distorted facts’ and ‘unsubstantiated remarks’
21 April 2020 HK government 3X redraft press release
You can see the HKMAO and the HK government criticizing the primary this week. I suspect we’ll see more of this over the next few weeks, and all of the pro-dems will be disqualified (and some may be jailed) before the election.
“You can see the HKMAO and the HK government criticizing the primary this week. I suspect we’ll see more of this over the next few weeks, and all of the pro-dems will be disqualified (and some may be jailed) before the election.”
Most of the localists are making this too easy for the government to DQ them by refusing to sign the document where they swear to uphold the Basic Law. Seriously….these guys. Come on. Save your confrontational politics AFTER you are placed on the ballot, elected and sworn in at least!
So what now? What can HK people do? CCP and HK government won’t care if they boycott the Legco election.
@MarkBradley: sorry, my post was unclear. I didn’t mean to imply that @Toph was stating opposition. I meant that, if ‘opposition’ to the government is now considered to contravene the NSL, perhaps other phrases could be used instead, such as ‘constructive criticism’.
@StanleyLieber re the unreality of sincere people discussing online the meaning of words.
The situation HK finds itself is indeed depressing and frustrating; your view that the NSL will mean whatever the authorities want it to mean on any given day is, no doubt, correct.
However, how language is used is going to play a greater role in showing disagreement and dissatisfaction, just as it does on the Mainland (different codes made up to refer to June 4 online, for example). HKers are creative with language, and are already using this (eg quoting the first line of the China National Anthem) and other means, such as posting blank notelets.
I lived in eastern Germany for a year in 1984 (ie when it was still the GDR), and was in awe of the way people used language to show how they felt: the sharpest political jokes, puns, nuances.
When I left in 1985, it felt that the system was set in stone. Four years later, the wall came down ; not, of course, as a result of language in itself – it had more to do with what was happening in the USSR – but language had provided a means of resistance for many years.
@Gromit — Thank you for the reminders that: a) resistance can exist even in trying circumstances; and b) the downfall of regimes can happen sooner than many people think.
I visited (West) Berlin in the summer of 1989. Looking at the Berlin Wall (and touching it with my hands), it felt like it was going to stay there for years, centuries even. Talking to others (including Germans) years, and decades, later, I shared how I never expected it would be no more before 1989 drew to a close. Pretty much everyone said they had shared my conviction that the wall, and regime over to the east, would be around for way longer than had been the case.