Today is the day Hong Kong ‘elects’ an enhanced and supposedly more representative – but also all-patriotic – Election Committee. Some weird stats: 99.92% of adults can’t vote; in other words, there are fewer than 4,900 voters – a larger number of police are dedicated to ‘election’ duties. And of the EC’s 1,500 seats, only 364 are contested.
Why are some 6,000 cops needed? The authorities say it is to ensure protesters don’t disrupt the exercise – though they are flattering themselves to imagine anyone even cares that much.
Keep seeing references to the Election Committee as now ‘super-powerful’, as if its members have some major political influence the rest of us do not. They don’t. The CCP is a Leninist institution and does not share political power. What will make the 1,500 EC members different is that they are happy to go along with a ceremonial charade that makes them look superficially like insiders. Worth bearing this in mind when reports call the EC – or subsets of them like property tycoons – ‘kingmakers’ or some such. The CCP does not delegate serious decisions to local ‘elites’, or anyone. The EC 1,500 will not choose the Chief Executive next year. Even the Legislative Council members they appear to elect this December will no doubt be those on ‘recommended’ lists Beijing officials circulate beforehand.
A quick film review…
Saw Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, starring Tony Leung. It starts off with some quite absorbing mayhem in a bus and dangling off a Macau skyscraper, but then lapses into mostly tedious wushu fight scenes and an exceptionally tiresome bout near the end between two dragons. It has some funny moments, mostly thanks to a hitherto unheard-of actress called Awkwafina. And some impressive special effects, such as the surreal landscapes and animals of a magic village – of which we get only a brief glimpse because we must move on to yet more fight scenes.
Apparently, the film is noteworthy for its authentic representation of Asian-ness in a Marvel Comics Universe genre context (karaoke, a pushy grandmother, etc). Some critics detect an allegory whereby Leung is ‘hegemonic, patriarchal imperial China’, the village is ‘cultural China’, and the young Asian-American hero played by Simu Liu is the Chinese diaspora. A totally different interpretation rests on the (supposed) similarity between Simu Liu and a youthful Xi Jinping. There are doubts that Beijing will let it be shown in the Mainland, though not for either of these reasons.
I would rate it maybe 4 out of 10. It would have been better if the combatants just shot each other with guns, which would free up more time for amazing CGI scenic shots, if not plots or characters. But I guess feeding the teenage boys and incels their whirling-in-circles wushu battles is where the money is.