What will happen in 2021? Will Hong Kong explode? The Financial Times’ New Year forecast waves the question aside with a confident ‘nah’. But local academics doing a survey of students believe the city is a powder-keg. If I were the Hong Kong government, I would take my time about vaccinating the rabble and letting them assemble again.
A safer prediction: in parts of the world where Covid is the number-one menace, 2021 will surely be better than 2020. In those places where the main threat to decent life is the Chinese Communist Party, the coming year will be worse than the last. Which brings us to…
Quartz on how the Hong Kong judiciary’s days as an independent safeguard are numbered.
“I honestly never thought we would get to this stage,” said one member of the legal community … “One month ago, I said to a colleague I didn’t even imagine that after 2047 it would be like this.”
A Reuters feature on Beijing turning up the heat on the Catholic Church in Hong Kong, which is responding with cowardice/pragmatism/belief in miracles, in the form of pre-emptive kowtowing.
And more gradual muzzling of the press. A new thing: online press conferences, in which officials can (presumably) filter out the questions they want to answer. Oh, and expect Apple Daily to shut down – or be rectified out of all recognition – too.
Also in the CCP’s sights will be what’s left of electoral politics, with a marginalization and rectification of dem-dominated district councils, and a dem-free Legislative Council poll to come. Under the NatSec Regime, these never-powerful bodies are purely ceremonial, but the CCP’s determination to cleanse public life of opponents will sap the system of what little legitimacy is left. The government will no doubt find itself fighting a popular campaign to boycott the LegCo election.
Instead, we can expect much more talk of people voting with their feet as the UK opens its doors to BNO passport holders. An SCMP op-ed looks at why Hongkongers moving to Britain may need to give up local residency rights. Will the CCP also start trying to identify, if not weed out, foreign-passport holders in the civil service and other institutions?
Foreign Policy sums it all up and declares the death of the post-1997 narrative that Hong Kong would become freer and ‘more itself’ after British rule.
On other matters…
A short documentary on Zhang Zhan, the lawyer whose reporting from Wuhan landed her in prison.
A Jerome Cohen op-ed in the SCMP on why Zhang’s case is special…
The Communist Party may soon decide to release her, however, not out of charity or regret, and certainly not because of her “good behaviour” but because, if she is at death’s door, they will not want her to die in custody, which always looks bad for the jailers.
Jerome Cohen reminds us of another area where the CCP will tighten control in Hong Kong in 2021: education. His brief memoir on the early days of the now-scrapped Universities Service Centre at Chinese U.
A few days ago, during one of the rare occasions that I watch television, I happened across this bit:
The arrest of the religious sisters is disgusting, but more disgusting will be Jorge Bergoglio’s lack of action. Catholics around the world are so tired of him! Time to revisit the Cardinal Mindszenty Foundation?
The writing has been on the wall for at least three years. Maybe five. I have tried without success for 18 months to convince my wife and her family to leave. Yes, covid is standing in the way and offers a cushiony excuse for their reluctance to move. I suspect most of it really is pride, a little ignorance and naïveté, and fully legitimate Cantonese stubbornness. None of them seem eager for a life outside of the bucket of crabs they live in now. I don’t get it. Easily families like us could take their winnings from the stock market, or from selling a very nice chunk of property and buy a clean livable house that even several generations could live in comfortably and never even talk to each other. But no. Just… NO.
I think we have about 2 years left before this place becomes like a Rio de Janeiro slum with rocks, petrol bombs and unleashed dogs running about chasing schoolgirls who are screaming in terror because a cop saw them hold up six fingers.
The terror generation is born.
. . . you forgot one, how long before Hemlock is in the room with the stripey sunlight ? improving his Mandarin/eating Congee with chopsticks skill set. Until then I’ll not fash too much.
“ Yes, covid is standing in the way and offers a cushiony excuse for their reluctance to move. I suspect most of it really is pride, a little ignorance and naïveté, and fully legitimate Cantonese stubbornness. None of them seem eager for a life outside of the bucket of crabs they live in now. I don’t get it.”
I don’t want to leave HK either. I lived here 15 years and don’t want to move out. I plan to just bunker down.
The Financial Times’ prediction seems to hinge on the assumption that the school kids who previously laughed in the face of 15-25 years’ jail under the old laws have suddenly become very cautious at the threat of an extra 5-10 years.
I suspect this is a false assumption and I’m down with the powder keg theory.
“I don’t want to leave HK either. I lived here 15 years and don’t want to move out. I plan to just bunker down.”
I came to HK for a 3 month posting 23 years ago as a single guy, and I’m going to try and get my son through the rest of his university course at the least. Three years to go.
A powder keg indeed, though, as a place with well-policed land and sea borders, it’s a tad difficult to escape from and with limited internal territory, it’s quite difficult for the freedom-fighting “rabble” to hide, even with popular support. But none of this means the powder keg won’t explode and the detonation could take a number of forms. It will clearly come as a shock to the smug, quisling, complacent puppets in the HK government and their masters who seem to assume that the National Security Law jackboot has been a strategic masterstroke and a final solution. As yet, we have not had one political assassination related to the oppression of Hong Kong and its people, either within or without the territory’s borders. But, as resentment and hatred grow, so does the likelihood of this happening.
The other day, I saw Carrie Lam had said that she though the NSL had brought peace and order to Hong Kong, as evidenced by the lack of protests and calmness in the streets. We were sitting at the dinner table listening to this report and one of the uncles at the table laughed.
And didn’t stop laughing.
I mean, she can’t possibly believe that crap. Nobody is protesting because the NSL? It’s more because of coronavirus measures. People are waiting. They will be out on the streets soon enough, vaccinated and holding up umbrellas.
Despite the fact that the “game” ended yonks ago, the arm-chair protester supporters continue to cheer on their team from the sidelines. The level of blinkeredness/wishful thinking reminds me of the people who get so sucked in to a soap opera story-line (Who killed JR? Dirty Den Divorces Angie at Christmas) they mistake pap TV for real life.
Folks its 2021 – the world your heads are living is not match reality.
@Rectum #4 – Just a timely reminder: you were way off target on your haughty predictions for the district council elections and you’re likewise wrapped in BS now. One can only chuckle at where you sit while opining.
Think Stephen Vines must have had Reactor #4 in mind while writing this:
The trash can of history awaits the useful idiots
I might disagree with you, but I do love your commitment to the cause. To this end, I have an whizzbang idea: an afternoon of chanting practice in an anticipation of things to come.
“Five demands, not one less”.
“Hongkongers add oil.”
“Restore Hong Kong, revolution of our times.”
“Independent Hong Kong.”
“Haaalleeeeluuujaaah. Haaalleeeeluuujaaah. Haaalleeeeluuujaaah. Haaalleeeeluuujaaah.”
@ Rectum – Nobody on this channel has bandied about those phrases, except you. Practically all who contribute here are free thinkers; you’re not one of them.