Hong Kong is headed for a state of unprecedented establishment stupidity. The day is soon coming when Holden Chow gets put onto committees because he brings some brains to the proceedings.
An observer at the recent judgement in which Martin Lee et al were found guilty mentioned something along the lines of ‘a class/status divide in the courtroom … the accused were some of Hong Kong’s top legal minds, while the judge looked out of her depth – though enjoying the chance to stick it to the smart-asses. Our best and brightest thinkers are being persecuted by resentful second-raters who can now exact revenge’.
Quick interlude on the subject of ‘best and brightest’: Nathan Law gets asylum in the UK.
Meanwhile, back in out-of-their-depth-land…
In a Bloomberg TV interview, Hong Kong Police deputy commissioner Oscar Kwok talked of national security risks arising from the ‘aggressive DNA’ of countries like the US who want to ‘suppress the development of China’. Kwok would have acquired his profound international relations expertise at a week-long course in Beijing, possibly at the Chinese Academy of Governance, which gives Hong Kong public servants, academics, journalists and other attendees a fetching little pin. These days, only those dumb enough to take this sort of thing seriously will make it up the ranks.
What with screening, vetting, loyalty oaths, firings and good-old-fashioned jailings, the range of people permitted in public office and formal political positions is dwindling. At the same time, the demand for ideologically qualified ‘talent’ is rising – the new ‘improved’ Legislative Council will have 40 seats reserved for certified patriots who will need to be dredged up from somewhere. And now the NatSec regime is going to trawl people’s pasts for evidence of incorrect thinking from decades ago. Obviously, the thought-police will sniff out youthful indiscretions of those the CCP wants to persecute while overlooking those of born-again loyalists or potentially useful idiots. But still, it makes you wonder who – or what – will be left in the pool of acceptable patriots.
Some ceremonial (and needless to say genuine) posts will no doubt be filled by CCP-connected Mainlanders, who will bring their own creepy skills and agendas into the Hong Kong establishment. But the local people in exalted or executive positions in future will be the out-of-their-depth second-raters. (And yes – that’s by the standards of today’s not-exactly-cerebral pro-Beijing camp and Gold Bauhinia Medal awardees.)
There will be no checks, criticism or questioning from an all-shoeshiner/loyalist vetted legislature stacked with dimwits Starry, Holden, Elizabeth Q et al. Nor will any skeptical or investigative journalism come out of a muzzled press. A witless ‘elite’ and declining official transparency are a recipe for incompetence and corruption. For a taste, consider the Sinovac-pushing/BioNTech-smearing mess.
It won’t stop at cops and judges. ‘Better Red than Expert’ will apply to appointments and promotions not only in RTHK and the universities, but throughout the civil service, probably in hospital brain-surgery departments and the bureaucracies that keep the sewage pipes clear and the electricity and gas running. We will mourn the glorious days when the big problem was bad English on official signage.