More on those ‘improvements’

An SCMP letter to the editor points out the absurdities of Beijing’s ‘improvements’ to the Hong Kong electoral system…  

…for any aspiring pan-democrat to be able to stand, they will have to be nominated by an unelected committee comprised of their opponents

Out of the mouths of babes and innocents – an Executive Council and NPC member tells RTHK that the ‘improvements’ send Hong Kong’s supposed political development back to handover times. 

A Bloomberg op-ed says Beijing is sacrificing credibility for control

…it’s a shift from democratic theater – where process is restricted, but still occasionally unpredictable – to democratic ritual.

There’s no longer a pressure valve for a population … no feedback mechanism, a basic requirement even for a tin-eared administration … no need to even pretend to bring citizens along

… [it] will mean even less open debate, less transparency and a poorer understanding of the cost-benefit analyses that underpin government choices. Society is silenced and press freedoms reduced, so it is harder to shine a light on problems and corrupt practices. It’s worse if courts too are called into question.

This isn’t about just having a compliant legislature. The CCP is not planning to eradicate oversight and criticism of government merely from Hong Kong’s weak elected bodies. The NatSec Regime and ‘patriotism’ tests are aimed at suppressing opposing ideas in the city as a whole – in the media, universities and civil society. Authority is not to be questioned, unless you want to be arrested for ‘picking quarrels’ or subversion. 

Since they are aimed at removing upward feedback or scrutiny, the ‘improvements’ will not be to the quality of governance. At some stage, popular anger will appear on the streets again, because there is nowhere else for it to go.

Why bother still having ‘elections’ in Hong Kong? Quartz offers some answers, including ‘competitive clientelism’ – encouraging the shoe-shiners to vie to display their willingness to grovel. 

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13 Responses to More on those ‘improvements’

  1. Ho Ma Fan says:

    “for any aspiring pan-democrat to be able to stand, they will have to be nominated by an unelected committee comprised of their opponents”
    Absolutely superb thus morning. Hilarious. Thank you Big Lychee. More than makes up for lack of content yesterday!

  2. donkeyhong says:

    You may already be saying this, Mr. Hemlock, sir, but to add to your point in case I missed it. This “clientelism” that you speak of will actually make things worse. Those grannies under the bridge can only bang so many scraps of paper and those shoe soles are going to get worn pretty thin.

  3. DikMik says:

    Those two million people who marched in the protest movements of the past will be on the radar of this regime forever. I’ve no doubt that that obscene amount of money awarded to the NatSec goons will be employed to identify every single one on those citizens. Remember that the ccp love generational punishment for their critics. Children, parents, grandparents, aunties, uncles, cousins et all will be targeted. They don’t need the law to do this. Arrest them, smear them, conficate their passports, money and demand their employers to sack them. I’ve had a good friend terminate contact with me because he fears associating with me, knowing I attended those marches. Read ‘Life and Death in Shanghai’ by Nien Cheng to get an inkling of our future. I remember her explicit warning when she visited Hong Kong many years ago. “Don’t trust the communist party”

  4. Reactor #4 says:

    “How will the two million people who peacefully protested in June 2019 be represented under the new system?”

    1. The number is incorrect. I have been through all this before. I reckon there was 600-700 thousand turfing up for the June 2019 marches: 3 people per square metre, assembly area in Victoria Park, and all the other guff that goes into the estimation.

    2. The overwhelming majority who initially protested were worried about the Extradition Law, which was moderately quickly rescinded. They were not signed up for “Revolution of our Times”, “Add Oil”, “Five demands, not one less”, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. This is why the protestor numbers fell off pretty quickly, and you were left with the ‘rioters’.

    3. I think the question needs to be rephrased to “How will 10,000 to 20,000 revolutionary wannabees be represented under the new system?”, to which the winning answer will be “Get real. They won’t”.

  5. Toph says:

    Authoritarians love an information vacuum. They can fill them with propaganda. Sure, this prevents the autocrat from easily finding out when the people are discontented, but that is why they put so many resources into spying on their own populations. As long as the people are even more ignorant, this is fine. If people never find out about misgovernance, they can’t get angry about it. Doubly so if it is risky and socially unacceptable to talk about official wrongdoing. That is how authoritarian regimes manufacture higher approval ratings than those found in any democracy. Things have to get undeniably bad before people start chucking rocks. Anything short of cartoon villainy is not your business and probably fine.

    There are riots in Mainland China all the time. Usually in small towns, over local problems. So they throw the ringleaders in prison, appease the rest of the crowd, maybe fire a couple of local cadres, and then get on with business as usual. One day they may no longer be able to keep all these plates spinning, but they think the solution to that is more control, not less.

  6. Chopped Onions says:

    Reactor #4: ” Ooooo! I’m so naive I cant understand my death sentence, I’m just going to argue that I’d prefer a noose to a bullet…”

  7. Joe Blow says:

    I remember the 2 million march. Not only because I took part in it. I also had the privilege to look from high up down on the streets and notably, back streets of CWB. What I saw on that afternoon is something I had never seen before. The crowd on Hennessy Road was so enormous that first they spilled over into Lockhart Road, and then Jaffe Road and finally Gloucester Road. There were four streams of peaceful protestors walking westward and from my vantage point I observed three of them (only Hennessy Road was out of sight).

  8. WolfLikeMe says:

    Reakkktor #4, 3 people per square meter? It was like a moshpit from Victoria Park to Central you buffoon.

  9. Low Profile says:

    Reluctant as I am to respond to anything Troll #4 says, I must point out that far from the extradition law being rescinded, the NSL has effectively reinstated it, but with fewer safeguards. We still cannot extradite a single murder suspect to Taiwan, but millions of Hongkongers now have good reason to fear that they could be arbitrarily sent to the Mainland for trial if deemed a serious (and ill-defined) threat to national security.

  10. Penny says:

    I was in said mosh pit, which was increasing in size as hordes of people joined in along the way – from Fortress Hill to Central – so very difficult to estimate the total number of protesters. Regardless, it was by far the biggest HK demo I have ever had the privilege to take part in since my first big one in July 2003. Consequently, a sizeable proportion of the HK population is not going to be represented in the “improved” (Orwellian term) electoral system.

  11. Chinese Netizen says:

    “I was in said mosh pit, which was increasing in size as hordes of people joined in along the way – from Fortress Hill to Central – so very difficult to estimate the total number of protesters.”

    I think the official HK police estimate was 23,876 in attendance. Give or take five.

  12. Probably says:

    Most people didn’t even start from Victoria Park as they had to come from Fortress Hill MTR after Tin Hau Station was closed

  13. Reactor #4 says:

    @Chinese Netizen

    I am certain that the HKP’s estimate is incorrect. There were definitely more than 24,000 – that number of people would occupy a square with sides of just 90 m. The key thing is that both sides tend to exaggerate. That’s why I do my own calculations.

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