A non-platform for a non-election

Presumptive (HK English media’s fave new word) Chief Executive John Lee releases his ‘manifesto’. Reuters report here. Even by the standards of Hong Kong’s past ritualistic ‘CE campaign’ documents, it is thin, full of platitudes and devoid of specifics.

One slightly noteworthy theme does emerge in the first third or so of the platform. It concerns proposals for district and citywide emergency response capacity to enable volunteers to help out at times of crisis, and vague but apparently parallel measures to enable the community to contribute ideas and feedback into government decision-making. This sounds – possibly – like an acknowledgement that the NatSec regime has depleted Hong Kong’s civil society by dismantling pan-dem District Council and other activists’ neighbourhood networks. Or that the NatSec regime sees a need to displace independent charities still functioning. (For example, we might well have seen higher elderly and overall vaccination rates if local pan-dem politicians’ ward offices were still operating.)

Otherwise, Lee promises to solve housing problems and boost Hong Kong’s competitiveness. just as every CE ‘candidate’ has in their own hastily patched-together platforms – and of course none of them have delivered. Can an ex-cop accomplish serious reforms in these areas? His non-answers to softball questions in the televised ‘Q&A’ session suggest he has little or no familiarity with social and economic issues.

If Beijing had wanted the new CE to have an exciting and detailed platform, it would have happened. John Lee looks to have been hand-picked to do whatever they tell him, and to waffle inanities until they’ve worked out what that will be. This could leave him vulnerable to bad advice from vested interests lurking among the shoe-shiners – hence maybe the weird thing on Saturday about keeping property prices stable in order to boost younger people’s home-purchasing power.

(It should be obvious by now that someone somewhere does not want Hong Kong to have affordable housing, instead prioritizing the accumulation of massive government reserves through sales of artificially scarce land. For a clue, remember that Beijing insisted on limiting land sales back before the 1997 handover. Where competitiveness is concerned, bear in mind that Hong Kong’s only comparative advantages since the 1840s are due to the city being different from – and not being run by – the Mainland.)

Post-weekend reading…

The sentencing of Lui Sai-yu, in which a NatSec judge delivers a more-severe decision at the behest of prosecutors in an ‘inciting secession’ charge. A learned discussion.

Forbes’ William Pesek asks whether China has been ‘juicing’ its GDP growth numbers. (Meeting economic growth targets that are maybe double the underlying real rate is like achieving zero-Covid – officials must appear to do it.)

A major dose of personality cult from state media in the run-up to the CCP’s 20th Party Congress later this year (probably November).

Locked-down students in Guangdong singing Beyond.

Interesting article on how Beijing is having a hard time adapting to a resurgent Western alliance apparent following Putin’s invasion of Ukraine…

…China arguably senses it is under attack politically, economically, ideologically, and militarily by the US-led West. And, like any living being – from a tiny organism to a titan organization – China reacts in three distinct ways to the threat: freeze, flight, and fight…

One US official was quoted as saying that the US intends to “make Beijing feel pain over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine,” an idea elaborated by Pottinger: “the way to break the dictator-to-dictator entente of Putin and Xi is to lash them ever tighter together, so they have to live like Siamese twins with each other’s mistakes and miscalculations, and then they’ll be begging for surgery to freaking rip them apart.”

This entry was posted in Blog. Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to A non-platform for a non-election

  1. Casira says:

    “One slightly noteworthy theme does emerge in the first third or so of the platform. It concerns proposals for district and citywide emergency response capacity to enable volunteers to help out at times of crisis, and vague but apparently parallel measures to enable the community to contribute ideas and feedback into government decision-making.”

    You mean they’ll just replicate the Chengguan system

  2. Police State Translator says:

    “It concerns proposals for district and citywide emergency response capacity to enable volunteers to help out at times of crisis…”

    Translation: Hong Kong needs mainland style neighbourhood committees comprised of armband wearing, megaphone wielding, extremely nosy, retirees to organize building by building mass PCR testing, enforce lockdowns by nailing doors shut if necessary, and deliver groceries. The absence of such a structure in HK was why the government had to abandon the mass testing. Hong Kong must therefore create such a structure in order to align with the mainland’s Zero Covid policy.

    The district councils, even when functioning, were never intended for such a purpose. This is a disappointing colonial legacy.

  3. Chinese Netizen says:

    I don’t know…I still think old Mr Mao has the hand gesture thing down pat. Johnny just looks like a sad maître d’ in a two star hotel breakfast buffet. (I bet it hurt him forcing that “smile”)

    https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Mao_Zedong_statue_in_Lijiang_1.JPG

  4. Carbon Dating says:

    @Hemmers: Can you just come out and say it instead of insinuating if you do indeed have some solid evidence? That it’s BJ that’s behind the high land policy instead of the long presumed culprits (e.g. civil servants + kuk + developers iron triangle)?

    This would certainly dispel a lot of pro-BJers (deluded?) belief that an enlightened Governor appointed from BJ would solve the housing issue?

  5. reductio says:

    Thin skinned, a bully, belligerent, stupid. Has anyone else noted the uncanny resemblance between China and Ronnie Pickering?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r0dcv6GKNNw

    (The wife standing in for Cambodia, Solomon Islands, Laos et al – go along as a passenger and keep your mouth shut)

  6. Stanley Lieber says:

    As an obsequious committeeman and quintessential nosy neighbour, I am ideally suited for the role of armband wearing, megaphone wielding building organiser. Also, I can wield a hammer with the best of them, so nailing doors shut in a lockdown situation is right up my street. I have limited experience in sticking cotton swabs up people’s noses, and delivering groceries is a bit below my social status, but I’m prepared to make the sacrifice if it means we can fight the virus together!

    Please consider favourably my attached CV. References available upon request!

  7. Ho Ma Fan says:

    Many years ago, my dear old uncle Terence suffered a stroke and for as long as I can remember, until the day he died, carried a facial expression almost identical to that of our Presumptive Chief Executive John Lee. Whilst our PCE Mr Lee has probably not had a stroke, if he were to suddenly stand up from an armchair and shout, “Sir Mortimer Wheeler!” the illusion would be complete. I honestly don’t know why this didn’t occur to me sooner.

  8. Mary Melville says:

    Many a true word is spoken in jest.
    It appears that all new government and funded services under redevelopment are to include a ‘Community Life Support Training Centre’.
    The plans for the relocation of the Wanchai Fire Station to Fenwick Pier includes 25% of the gross floor area for actual fire fighting with a matching 25% for a CLSTC.
    This is also a feature in other development plans.
    In due course the cumulative footage of these centres could be as large as our traditional schools.
    Nothing short of a compulsory ‘training and education’ programme would ensure that the facilities are utilized.

  9. Pope Innocent says:

    So now they’re a risk of instant noodle deprivation those pudgy little shits have learned the words to “Beyond”? I’ll bet they were cheering on the pigs with the best of them when they were cracking heads in the MTR.

  10. Knownot says:

    Stanley Lieber, 12.21 pm –
    Very good.
    And persuasive.
    (I will tell you about my neighbours, and my children will tell you about me.)

  11. Anon Y Mouse says:

    7,000 cops to be mobilised for the non-election! At least according to the SCMP…

  12. Boris Badanov says:

    @Cesira – chengguan – my thought too immediately upon hearing it. How better to be able to implement city wide lockdowns in future and report on that pesky young radical in flat 22C whose parents didn’t listen to the govt’s urging to denounce her? Soon we’ll all have to have a gleam portrait of John Lee in our homes reverentially kept clean and venerated.

  13. Hamantha says:

    Chengguan doesn’t make sense. After all, the HKFP already turned into a chengguan type force since 2019.

    Makes much more sense that John Lee would advocate for residential committee grassroots organizations, that will come in handy for… wait for it… A FULL CITY LOCKDOWN!

    It’s cute that so many in Hong Kong haven’t the imagination to consider that it would be possible, let alone in the cards. Nevertheless, Xi Jingjing has personal skin in the “Zero COVID” game, and Hong Kong’s abysmal failure is a stain that has and continues to blemish his record.

    Why do you think he forced Shanghai to U-turn their laissez-faire “we’re too important to lock people in their homes” policy, and instead implement their months-long strict lockdown? Why are so many other cities in the Mainland doing the same, or similar? Why does HK still prominently report imported case numbers, and still have mechanisms on the books to shut down flights, lock down buildings, and otherwise maintain social distancing measures akin to the Mainland?

    Hong Kong temporarily escaped the lockdown, sure. But unless there’s a wonder drug or miracle Omicron vaccine, I doubt that Hong Kong will escape its pending strict lockdown for much longer.

  14. Chef Wonton says:

    “…remember that Beijing insisted on limiting land sales back before the 1997 handover.”

    Correct. Land sales were capped at 50 ha/year, from memory, between the Joint declaration and the handover
    .
    One of the reasons the reserves were so fat in 1997, that Patten claimed they were the biggest dowry since Cleopatra.

  15. Low Profile says:

    Look beyond all the usual waffle about synergy, opportunities, technology and sustainability, and Lee’s platform is bad news for the environment. “Expedite land and housing development” is commonly political shorthand for brushing aside environmental considerations (as was done, possibly illegally, in building the isolation centres). Carrie Lam’s massively destructive Lantau Tomorrow boondoggle is still on the agenda, even though the population is already declining. while “Conduct a comprehensive review of the Green Belt zone” is another way of saying “more concrete, fewer trees”. I think we can all see where this is leading.

  16. Mary Melville says:

    re Low Profile – and what do you expect then Our HK Foundation is writing the script.
    Unfortunately our now suppliant media refers to this outfit as a think tank instead of what it actually is, a lobby group for property developers.
    The ‘keep housing prices at current level’ is a dead giveaway to the influence developers have on the agenda.

  17. Mary Melville says:

    re Low Profile – and what do you expect then Our HK Foundation is writing the script.
    Unfortunately our now suppliant media refers to this outfit as a thick tank instead of what it actually is, a lobby group for property developers.
    The ‘keep housing prices at current level’ is a dead giveaway to the influence developers have on the agenda.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.