RTHK, with a straight face, reports that…
Students of a secondary school said they mourned former state leader Jiang Zemin’s death with a heavy heart on Tuesday morning.
[One student said] “We didn’t mourn in silence just for the sake of it or to comply with the Education Bureau’s guideline. We knew in our hearts the meaning and why we mourned.”
Some academic reading, or at least perusing…
From Alvin Cheung of Queen’s University, Sole and Despotic Dominion – a lengthy examination of how governments can abuse their powers as land owners. Sounds dry except exhibit number one is the case of Apple Daily’s eviction from the state-owned industrial estate at Tseung Kwan O. (Link is to abstract, pdf free to download.)
Which leads to CUHK journalism professor Francis Lee’s somewhat lighter paper on the ‘politics of legalization of press control’ in Hong Kong and the city’s ‘democratic backsliding’ in the last 10 years. Very topical.
Expect quite a lot of sociology/anthropology jargon, frequent use of the word ‘differend’, and references to obscure works on the theory of people-state relations (including at one point 1950s Algeria). But there’s also a lot of more digestible – and entertaining – analysis and anecdotes about what has been happening in Hong Kong in the last few decades. Specifically, the rise of Hong Kong ‘nationalism’ or sense of self-determination among Hongkongers who perceived that ‘One Country, Two Systems’ was failing.
Subjects broad and narrow include: the impossibility of ‘One Country, Two Systems’; the role of cross-border smuggling in alienating Hongkongers; initial disbelief at police brutality; being followed by CCP newspaper staff; eccentric genius Chin Wan’s city-state idea; Beijing’s ‘Orientalist’ view of Hong Kong; and how – according to Mainland logic – permitting pro-independence speech undermines rule of law.
Perhaps the best part is the examination of Beijing officials’ hilariously bad explanations for why Hongkongers are resentful of Mainland influence, and the psychology behind the CCP’s attitude towards a city that so vividly contradicts and disproves its ideology.
A former – quite prominent – economist I know spent the 2017-18 period writing what he hoped would be the definitive book on post-1997 Hong Kong, only for the project to be derailed as he (so far as I know) frantically amended and ultimately abandoned the near-finalized ms as 2019 unfolded. Carrico was luckier with timing. But most of all, he is able to argue that the events of 2019-21 confirmed the basic thesis in his original article.
Worth a read.