For decades, the Professional Teachers Union has been the biggest, indeed mainstream, body representing educators. Then, People’s Daily and Xinhua publish articles accusing it of being an ‘anti-China tumour’. Within just hours, the Hong Kong government announces that…
…it will no longer hold meetings with the union and its representatives, nor will they consult the group regarding education topics. Concerns and cases forwarded by the group will not be dealt with, teacher training courses held by the union will not be recognised, and PTU representatives may lose their seats in different government consultation groups, officials said.
Who makes Hong Kong government policy?
For a clue, consider that Benny Tai (already in jail) is now being pursued for supposed electoral malpractices committed in – but overlooked since – 2016. The ICAC thus joins the HK Police, Justice Dept prosecutors and others as…
…previously respected – even admired – institutions … pressed into service and discredited in the eyes of the public by their efforts to display a becoming level of enthusiasm for reform, stability and one-party rule.
Other recent horrors: police arrest a man on suspicion of booing during the national anthem, and another one for ‘intimidation’ – namely urging a boycott of pro-Beijing businesses.
In the midst of this ongoing collapse of a once-free society, the SCMP turns increasingly desperate in its attempts to paint a brighter picture.
Their democracy-hating columnist who emigrated to Canada sneers at other emigres and predicts that they will go scuttling back to Hong Kong. Hypocrisy aside, this refrain (heard also from Regina Ip and others) ignores some major differences between the pre-1997 flight from Hong Kong and today’s when the worst fears of that time are coming to pass.
It also tends to exaggerate how awful things will be in the UK compared with Hong Kong. YouTube posts of delighted Hong Kong kids running around 1,200 sq ft HK$5 mn new-build semi-detached houses in UK suburbs suggest that not even a full restoration of Hong Kong’s autonomy would entice them back to their old rabbit hutch in Shatin. (Uncle Bob’s Escape from the Commies series meanwhile explores boat-hire options.)
The SCMP also produces a not-very-convincing feel-good story about ‘expats who think Hong Kong has a great future’. Obviously, no-one cares what a handful of older, wealthier, apparently establishment-friendly gwailos think: they have foreign passports and – blissfully – little idea of other people’s problems outside their homes on the Peak and in Clearwater Bay.
The real issue is several million Hongkongers, especially with young children, who face a crummy enough quality of life in tiny flats. who now see a future of brainwashing in schools and the crushing of civil society, rule of law and people with a conscience. Idea for the next SCMP article: how compelling do ‘Greater Bay Opportunities’ and 16.5% salaries tax sound to them?