Fake election, real money

The week starts with some light tawdry tittle-tattle gossip trivia from an international company’s office in Central. A woman working for the company lives with her father and has a cat. The father tests positive for Covid. Fearing for the well-being of the feline, she reports her beloved Dad to the authorities, who duly whisk him away for days and days in some isolation facility. Upon his release, the gentleman kicks the daughter out of the family home (and who wouldn’t?, you may feel). The woman also apparently has a small son, but there’s no more info on that. Maybe she’s sold the kid to buy cat food. I will spare everyone further details. Or pass on more as I receive them. Whatever.

How much taxpayers’ money does the Hong Kong government need to spend on a make-believe poll that produces a result decided – probably months ago – in Beijing? According to HKFP, the authorities budgeted HK$228 million this fiscal year for the Chief Election ‘election’, and the five-week delay (due to Covid) will somehow add another HK$50 million

Surely you can’t spend HK$278 million on an exercise in which 1,400 people pretend to cast a ballot? Nearly HK$200,000 per cosplay voter. But they can. It goes on hiring venues, manning polling and counting stations, mailing, and renting storage space.

The Diplomat on Beijing’s choice

The central government’s selection of Lee clearly indicates that it puts a higher priority on security issues over Hong Kong citizens’ livelihood matters, as well as the city’s economy and its status as a global financial center.

…the selection of Hong Kong’s chief executive may just be the latest in a series of policy decisions by Beijing leading to self-inflicted hardship. Beijing appears driven by paranoia over security and absolute state control, with a high dose of insecurity, leading it to ignore all the side effects of its extreme and draconian measures.

The weird thing is that Hong Kong should not be a hard place to run. If its leaders just don’t do stupid things, a resourceful population and all those traditional advantages we can list by heart should make the place pretty successful. Which brings us to TransitJam on how the once-a-week ‘Water Taxi’ is essentially another ‘food truck’ dud – a minor but potentially positive initiative delivered in such a way as to make it useless. This time with government subsidies…

…[ferry operator] CKS has been subsidised with free pier rental, free vessel licensing and is allowed to earn income from sub-letting its pier space.

Yes – there has to be a real-estate boondoggle somewhere in there.

Some reports say that the lockdown mayhem in Shanghai is subsiding; others that Guangzhou and other cities are next. An AP report from Shanghai…

“[The government] bragged too hard to their own people about how wonderful they are, and now they’ve painted themselves into a corner.” 

And a SupChina interview with Geremie Barme on the ranting old Shanghai guy and the ‘empire of tedium’…

…the Communists present this façade of unbelievable unanimity and monolithic unity. A decade ago, some Party thinkers and leaders tried to edge their way towards substantive change that would allow China to develop a kind of social maturity that was more concomitant with its impressive economic achievements. Instead, Xi et al prefer a state of paternalistic infantilization. Now, the whole world is also held hostage to the tedious panoply of the past.

…Here is China, having achieved in the terms of its own modern history, unprecedented riches, hard-won (if draconian) social stability, extraordinary achievements in every major field of pursuit, yet it is as brittle, bitter, self-absorbed, and neurotic a nation as it has been at any other time since the end of the Qing dynasty.

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9 Responses to Fake election, real money

  1. donkey says:

    I tried to bring up the last point in Hemlock’s blog post at a friend’s house maybe two months ago. This is a place I drop by at least twice a week for a chin wag or some light brandy and ho hum yesss yesss, i seee.

    The wife, who is from the globally successful and miracle China must have gotten a bit miffed at my inability to see how much China cares about its own people. As a result, I have not been invited back for cakes or dinner, or even a fresh juice. Such is life, I guess.

  2. Stanley Lieber says:

    How to create & run a popular & profitable water taxi service:

    1. Build some steps on the harbour front where people can get on and off boats.

    2. Let boat operators & passengers sort out the rest.

    You’re welcome, Mrs. Lam.

  3. Chef Wonton says:

    Had to look this up.

    Cost of running the 2017 election in Blighty was HKD2.2m per constituency. Broad strokes, based on countrywide election cost @ GBP140mn / 650 seats.

    Take Hong Kong as 1 constituency means our election @ HKD287m is x130 the typical British cost-per-constituency.

    Mighty expensive place, Hong Kong. Mighty.

  4. Chinese Netizen says:

    I’m guessing the “vote” tabulation machines for HK are manufactured on the mainland by some PLA owned company?

    I’m also betting Guangzhou is next. A friend there showed me her orange app warning (losing her green “safe” status) because she was in a shopping center where a worker tested positive and had to go get tested over the weekend. Friend tested negative but there were several positives that came back throughout the city. I told her to hurry and start stocking up…

  5. Hamantha says:

    Shoutout to Chef Wonton — don’t let anyone tell you that Trump DIDN’T have the 2020 election stolen from him!

    /On a more serious note, Trump was and is 100% in bed with Putin. How anyone could think we’ll of Trump in any regard, especially with the recent invasion of Ukraine, is beyond comprehension.

  6. Mary Melville says:

    Of course it is no coincidence that the lifting restrictions in stages’ will take three months when that will conveniently bridge July 1 and the Selection swearing-in.
    No bets that the last restriction to go will be two folk only allowed to loiter on a public pavement.

  7. justsayin says:

    Chung Kuo (1972) is on youtube in full https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9_PiGqc1UpY – referenced by Geremie Barmé in the intreview…

    Surprised they’re even bothering with the fake election at this point in HK

  8. Elector Rate says:

    @Chef Wonton
    Even more expensive once you realise that the smallest constituency in the UK — Na h-Eileanan an Iar in the Outer Hebrides (which is only one fifth the size of the largest, the Isle of Wight) — is over 14 times the size of Hong Kong’s alleged “constituency” of 1,462, and indeed 2,983 times the size of the real constituency of seven elderly mainland kleptocrats.

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