One of our policy addresses is missing

At the last minute, Hong Kong’s annual policy address is delayed until well into November at the earliest.

The address is a colonial ritual, based on the Queen’s speech that opens the UK Parliament. The Chief Executive recites cliches about the need to sort out various problems, and then announces an array of silly ‘policies’ that fail to solve them. The initiatives are usually small and ad-hoc, and designed to appease a long and tedious check-list of interest groups. Many involve spending, so the exercise overlaps with the banal handouts announced in the budget every Spring.

Forget mouth-frothing about how this shows Carrie Lam ‘doesn’t care’ about Hong Kong people. No-one would notice if the policy address were scrapped and the government simply announced serious policies as and when it comes up with them. This is not a hasty postponement just to allow Carrie to see Xi Dada in Shenzhen – otherwise she would deliver the speech next week. 

And the Guardian’s weird theory about a last-ditch attempt to prevent Beijing from downgrading Hong Kong as a financial hub sounds like spin – a sophisticated alternative to blaming Covid-19. Markets, not the CCP, decide where financial hubs will be.

Reading between the lines, it looks like Beijing’s new overseers in town have found out this charade is about to take place, and that our politicians and media consider it a big deal. And they have ordered the finalized draft (along with all those flashy booklets and posters) to be tossed aside so they can rewrite it.

The new knuckle-draggers running the Liaison Office do not have any emotional attachment to the policy address tradition. They will simply see it as another occasion where they must step in and micromanage Hong Kong’s puppet government. 

This is where it gets interesting. We can be sure they will rewrite the speech to boost the ideological correctness of its content. So expect more on patriotism in schools, the need to suppress separatism and terrorist threats, and on Beijing’s plans for the Greater Bay Area. Look for multiple references to the glorious motherland, namechecks for Xi Jinping (maybe even ‘thought’) and belligerent rhetoric of the sort now common in government press releases.

The telling part will be the coverage – if any – of livelihood issues like welfare or housing. The CCP doesn’t do hearts and minds. But even the most obtuse Liaison Office director must have noticed that post-1997 administrations’ contempt for people’s material well-being has played a significant part in generating an angry and alienated populace. We know they are not huge fans of the property tycoons, or of the bureaucrats who usually write insipid policy addresses. The revised speech will show whether the knuckle-draggers want to start running Hong Kong’s social and economic policies. Frankly, it might not be a bad thing if they do.

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12 Responses to One of our policy addresses is missing

  1. where's my jet plane says:

    A good start to the day, the Observatory shuts down the whole city for a weather event with winds that barely meet their own criteria affecting the southern shores and Tate’s Cairn

  2. Casira says:

    @Where’s my jet plane: Not the first time they do this, seems to be the new normal for everything within the nine dash lane. They’re losing all credibility.

  3. Toph says:

    “The revised speech will show whether the knuckle-draggers want to start running Hong Kong’s social and economic policies. Frankly, it might not be a bad thing if they do.”

    What on God’s green earth makes you think the apparatchiks from up north have any idea how to run decent social welfare and economic policies? Their cities function by exploiting a massive underclass of rural migrant workers who aren’t entitled to social services, their pension system leaks like a sieve, people pay through the nose for decent medical care and they’ve never met a white elephant they didn’t love.

    It’s going to be more insane megaprojects, just with more ideologically approved beneficiaries.

  4. Chris Maden says:

    I had to laugh.

    From the Guardian link: “It is a matter of responding to a positive indication from the central government that they have taken full account of the chief executive’s recommendations,” [Lam] said. “This is a very good opportunity that no chief executive would forgo.”

    So: the kuckle-draggers in Sai Wan tell her what to write, she writes it, then has to go to Xi Dada to get eviscerated for not “correctly” regurgitating what she was ordered to write by his own underlings…

  5. Low Profile says:

    @where’s my jet plane – ever since the time a few years back when they raised the Number 8 signal just as everyone had arrived at work and got overwhelmingly criticised for the resulting chaos, the Observatory staff have consistently erred on the side of over-caution when it comes to issuing typhoon warnings.

  6. Steve Mc Garret says:

    Pretty wet and windy in Stanley and the outlying islands
    must be even worse.

  7. Paul says:

    Last minute?
    The public were only told at the last minute.
    TV and Radio stations received amendments on Thursday and then on Friday to the mandated schedule of APIs they play every hour.
    This was to remove all APIs saying the public can pick up a printed copy of the report after the address.
    This has never happened before.
    The actual audio and video was not even delivered to the broadcasters.
    These were due to be aired on the weekend and onwards.
    So it was known on Thursday then that some major change was coming.

  8. Where's my jet plane says:

    @ Low Profile
    That may be an element but there are other factors at play. ALL the forecasting is done by computer, hence all those curiously worded reports, and maybe checked for gross errors by a human. On the publicly available information it doesn’t take much meteorological knowledge to work out that this event would be restricted to the southern parts of HK and even then the probablity of typhoon strength winds would be low and that the majority of the territory would be unaffected.
    Another element is that the HKO as a body is firmly wedded to the CAGW hypothesis and the idea that the weather, in particular storms, will get worse. So to try to prove the point, every opportunity is taken to massage the stats by over-classifying an event.

    BTW the 1445 tropical cyclone report has tried to beef up the risk factor by reporting that Huang Mao Zhou has experienced storm force winds. Where’s that you ask? A mainland island 40-50 km south on Lantau…

    Whatever the reasons, today confirms the proposition that it is time for the HKO to revamp its weather warning systems.

  9. Big Al says:

    Dunno why everyone is complaining about getting a day off courtesy of HKO. Huh, there’s just no pleasing some people …

  10. Reactor #4 says:

    @ Big Al.

    You’ve gotta remember that most of the people who loiter here are whinge-bags who gripe about practically everything. You could give each and everyone of them US$ 10 m, and within seconds they be bitching on about it being in the wrong denomination notes.

  11. Low Profile says:

    @where’s my jet plane – yes, I was wondering where Huang Mao Zhou is. What is the point of a weather eport referring to a place that no one in its intended audience has ever heard of? But at least my initial fear that the Observatory had started to use pinyin spelling for Hong Kong place names turned out to be unfounded (for now).

  12. where's my jet plane says:

    And the irony is that although the T signals have been cancelled the winds are no different.

    @ Big Al – not everyone gets paid for a forced day off.

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