The importance of being Xi Jinping’s speech

More on the ‘important speech’ study sessions… HKFP counts no fewer than 60 such events in the month since Xi Jinping’s historic oratory. Organizers include local and central government departments, pro-Beijing groups and schools. Participants range from senior civil servants to kindergarten kids.

“I believe this is a gradual transfer of the mainland’s political culture to Hong Kong. Hong Kong was not used to having to learn about a leader’s speech. That [practice] has a long history in the mainland though,” [academic Ivan] Choy told HKFP.

…“Those who used to criticise Hong Kong for being too political now support these political learning sessions,” Choy said.

Not sure whether ‘gradual’ is the right word. The NYT has also picked up the story…

In a government news release describing the [study] session, the term “important speech” was used 10 times, in nearly every paragraph.

…While Hong Kong has long had to abide by Beijing’s decisions over major issues, the bureaucracy’s conspicuous embrace of Mr. Xi has crystallized the city’s new identity as a territory firmly in Beijing’s grip. The performance of loyalty to Mr. Xi is the latest feature of the Communist Party’s assertive approach to Hong Kong and its efforts to tame the city’s defiant political streak.

It’s one thing to have all these loyalty-focused rituals in the Mainland, where the practice goes back decades (centuries, millennia) – but surely different to impose them almost overnight in a previously free and pluralist environment.

If officials try too hard to appear avid in the eyes of Mainland overseers, they risk looking farcical to much of the public. That said, one possible side-effect of forcing Hong Kong’s local elites to perform overt patriotic rituals will be to drive a symbolic ‘values’ wedge between them and their erstwhile peers overseas. It must be tough to hobnob as an equal with your Western buddies while clutching a copy of Xi’s latest must-read volume.

I could think of more effective ways of winning hearts and minds – especially in a city with serious inequality and ample resources. But, as a multitude of observers remind us, the idea is not to gain sincere admiration from the populace, but simply to force them to acquiesce, if not kowtow. That is the way to create harmony, progress and thousands of years of civilization.

Your daily whiny outburst-tantrum comes courtesy of the official response to the UN Human Rights Committee, which has modestly requested Hong Kong to repeal or at least suspend the NatSec Law. (Did Luxembourg get this upset as well?)

But that’s nothing compared to the ballistics we can expect if overseas activists go ahead and set up a Hong Kong parliament-in-exile. Cynics might doubt such a body would have any credibility – but that’s before the mouth-frothing rants start.

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10 Responses to The importance of being Xi Jinping’s speech

  1. wmjp says:

    My hypothesis is that the administration, and in particular the so-called Education Bureau, is aiming to create a new crop of Cultural Revolutionists – forgetting just who were the targets of the previous lot.

  2. Joe Blow says:

    That book would make a great doorstop. You can also sit on it if you are not so tall and want to level with the screen on your desk. The ambitious civil servant can pretend to read it during his/her lunch break to impress that odious supervisor. It will also make a great gift for the office Christmas party. I am sure it has many other useful applications.

  3. Chinese Netizen says:

    Much like every dyed-in-the-wool Nazi household (or those wanting to at least appear to be dyed-in-the-wool) in 1930s-40s Germany with a copy of Mein Kampf somewhere easily visible for houseguests to take note of, HK households will soon purchase a copy for display purposes (despite most HK people never entertaining due to the clutter of the shoeboxes they live in) just in case an agent of some government organization pops in for a visit or Junior’s friends are over for dinner after a particularly late struggle/study session at Scouts/cram school or Mrs CY’s PLA Youth.

    Surely this book will top bestseller charts like no other.

  4. James says:

    Xi’s The Governance of China is not as well written as most of Kissinger’s work, but not too bad (especially considering it’s likely the work of goverment translators).

    The Chinese Netizen is wrong though – copies are not kept at anyone’s home. That’s crazy exactly for the reasons they mention. For the reasons mentioned, this tomb is kept on bookcases in the private offices of professional services managers, inconspicuously displayed in the background of our endless Teams meetings (because we’re all apparently still afraid of Covid?)

  5. Chinese Netizen says:

    “The Chinese Netizen is wrong though – copies are not kept at anyone’s home. That’s crazy exactly for the reasons they mention. For the reasons mentioned, this tomb is kept on bookcases in the private offices of professional services managers, inconspicuously displayed in the background of our endless Teams meetings”

    The true test of one’s patriotism and undying fealty is a copy at home. That offices will have bought them in bulk from the publisher to have copies strategically placed on the receptionist’s desk, the GM’s shelf and in the office break room is a given. And yes, it’s surely more tomb than tome 🤓

  6. Mary Melville says:

    As struggles were never part of the local culture, the organizers are in fact underlining that ‘Hong Kong retains its own systems and way of life’ is no longer valid and with it the core elements of IC/2S.
    In other words a contradiction of the president’s declaration that ‘There is no reason for us to change such a good policy, and we must adhere to it in the long run.”
    In their rush to brown nose they are effectively undermining “fully and faithfully implement the principle of “one country, two systems.”
    The speech should have been carefully analyzed as parts of it were intended to reassure the international business community but in the haste to burnish credentials this objective has been torpedoed.

  7. Lapsap Hui says:

    “Cynics might doubt such a body [Hong Kong parliament-in-exile] would have any credibility”

    Cynics might also have to point out that such a body has more actual power, credibility and a lot more legitimacy than LegCo.

  8. justsayin says:

    The home copy of the book should be kept in the bathroom, never know when there’ll be another run on bog roll with COVID still about.

  9. Stanley Lieber says:

    It’s “One Country, Two Currencies”. Everything else is a lie.

  10. so says:

    However much PRC history is explored, the “Needham Problem” is still with us.

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