Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam raises the possibility of reviewing Legal Aid, following complaints from pro-Beijing shoe-shiners that the system is used by pro-dem defendants, even to hire pro-dem lawyers.
Carrie also sees moving the elderly to the Mainland as a solution to Hong Kong’s (alleged) demographic problem. The young too are, of course, urged to go north to enjoy the many Greater Bay Area, Belt and Road and other wondrous opportunities that await them there. (Brilliant efficiency-enhancing idea from me: the government can load the elderly and young onto the barges going back after dumping all the sand for the Lantau Mega-Reclamation Vision Hub-Zone. Then again – will the reclamation be needed when only the middle aged are left here? And half of them have split for Thamesmead? Need to think this through.)
The RTHK item mentions the importation of young Mainlanders (plentiful supply guaranteed by new three-child policy). And in the next breath, the station reports that the central Ministry of Education suggests that Hong Kong ‘clarify the status’ of Mandarin and simplified characters in law. Current references to an official language skirt around the issue by referring vaguely to ‘Chinese’. I had this down as coming after Internet censorship – to Hong Kong, this is one step from killing all first-borns. But of course, how much of a backlash can it provoke if most of the population have moved/been moved out?
A few interesting reads…
The Guardian recounts the neutering of RTHK over the last year, and what it means for the media and press freedom in Hong Kong. A telling detail: the paper’s correspondent is ‘in Taipei’.
Ex-cop Martin Purbrick in the SCMP condemns (or, officially, draws lessons applicable elsewhere from) his former force’s decline in public esteem…
The Hong Kong police have stepped beyond the line of authoritarianism and will not regain the support of many people who were involved in the pro-democracy protests in 2019. However, they can regain some confidence from people who were not involved in the protests but were disturbed by the police response and lack of accountability.
Regaining trust will require the police to accept a genuinely independent process for the investigation of complaints of criminality and misconduct by officers…
The measures taken by the police to regain public confidence – such as childish social media campaigns, open days with children playing with guns at the Police College and statements that are not credible to much of the public – have often done the opposite.
On the subject of improving PR – in a recent, well-publicized Politburo study session, Xi Jinping called for China’s messaging to be ‘more open and confident’ and its image to become ‘more credible and lovable’. China Media Project explains. Slight spoiler: it’s partly the West’s fault for not understanding China properly, as at least three SCMP op-eds per week remind us. (Idea from me for making China more lovable: cushions for the Hong Kong old folks on the barges.)