A midweek flurry of Mainlandizing rectification crap starts with the – surely unprecedented – sighting of an RTHK news puff-piece. Appropriately, it is about Greater Bay Area Opportunities!!! for young people, quoting eager participants at a jobs fair proclaiming that they won’t ever ever talk politics with colleagues over the border. By ‘news’, we mean ‘positive energy’. And a tragic absence of the subliminal snark for which RTHK English online has rightly (and quietly) been renowned. Patriotism will henceforth creep through the system, like cobra venom that gradually paralyzes you from the toe up.
The government steps up its campaign against medical professionals who do not echo the official Sinovac-is-wonderful-BioNTech-is-bleah line. Officials have barred a clinic from the vaccine distribution network for comparing the Chinese jab (accurately/unfavourably) with the nasty foreign one. My doctor did the same, but the CCP’s local newspapers didn’t find out about it and accuse her of ‘smearing’ the glorious motherland’s wondrous vaccine. In this case, Ta Kung Pao got wind of it – so the government must act.
Like when a Mainland state publisher offers the whole 48-volume My First Little Good Little Patriot’s Nationalist Book – and education officials rush to grovel in gratitude and shove it down schools’ throats.
But this need for highly visible blind obedience apparently doesn’t apply to housing policy. Well-connected Mainland figures have hinted loudly that Beijing plans to fix ‘deep-rooted’ problems once it has installed all-patriot quasi-elected bodies in Hong Kong. (There is even scintillating talk of expropriating tycoons’ unused land hoards.) And wide-eyed, innocent Chief Secretary Matthew Cheung confirmed to the FT that Beijing had issued instructions to tackle housing.
The government leaps in to say, in effect, that Matthew never said that, and the FT or whoever were just imagining it.
This is probably because – let’s face it – it does sound rather as if Hong Kong no longer has its own administration, doesn’t it? (Like when Matthew gave the tragic impression we no longer have a proper police force.) And the Chief Executive has no choice but to rebut that suggestion, simply in order to convince herself in her own mind that she is still in charge.
It might also be because the whole concept of delivering affordable housing is so monstrous and alien to our top officials that total denial of the idea is the only way to keep their synapses from seizing up.