Farewell, Civic Party

The Civic Party – several of whose leading members are now in jail along with others of the NatSec 47 – wraps up. Good thread from a former member illustrates the micro-dramas of pro-democracy factions in the old days, when people imagined Beijing might actually allow representative government.

No-one will notice a difference – it’s not like an Anthony Wong concert being canceled.

From HKFP, the books being banned by Hong Kong libraries – a process that has been going on since the NatSec Law came in mid-2020 and is now apparently targeting authors as much as topics…

While titles relating to democracy and protests in Hong Kong are among the topics apparently targeted, romantic essays and travel literature penned by democratic figures have also disappeared.

When asked by HKFP if any of the books were, themselves, illegal, the police did not give a clear answer: “Whether specific acts violate the law depends on the relevant circumstances, including facts, related behaviour and intentions, evidence obtained, and other factors – and they will be dealt with in accordance with relevant laws,” a spokesperson said on Thursday. “The police will take action and handle cases in accordance with the law based on the actual situation.”

In other words, law enforcement can’t describe exactly what works are illegal – but they know them when they see them. As clear as ‘soft resistance’.

CMP looks at the sudden rise of this menace to Hong Kong…

…Hongkongers have been learning to find subtle ways in their daily lives to assert their own autonomy and hold onto their beliefs – even as they hide them.

Hong Kong officials see ‘soft resistance’ in many places – among Thai water festival-goers, ‘yellow’ book sellers, would-be organ donors, cabin crew, etc. It is not about specific activities, but about behaviour that the authorities can perceive as having a particular sort of meaning. Perhaps it is, at root, a thought crime. 

Which brings us to…

HKFP op-ed about the CX cabin crew outrage uproar horror…

There is no reason to suppose that such complaints [among CX staff] are particularly directed at mainland Chinese. As this was a flight from Chengdu, most of the linguistically challenged passengers would presumably have been those from mainland China. No doubt a flight from Japan would have produced different, but similar, confusions over such things as the difference between “blanket” and “carpet”.

Hmm… Would the cabin attendants have been equally snarky if the passenger had been Japanese rather than a Mainlander? The government officials who saw fit to make a fuss clearly don’t think so. I suspect they are right. (More Mainland complaints in Singapore.)

And that in turn brings us to…

An old Michael Turton blog post about an academic paper on Chinese group tourism as a ‘territorial strategy’ (including link to interesting paper). This dates from a time when such tourism was perhaps more regimented than it later became – but still resonates with Hong Kong’s experience…

The more PRC group tourists engage with Taiwanese, the more they express a sense of cultural affinity, admiration, and crucially, identification with them as fellow Chinese nationals. Yet, the more Taiwanese engage with PRC group tourists, the more culturally, socially and politically alienated Taiwanese feel from China and PRC nationals. Such a contradiction between the delight of guests and the distaste of hosts is certainly not unique to cross-Strait tourism. 

Back to Carpet-Gate – from RFA

The row shows that Beijing is keen to stamp out the legacy of foreign influence in Hong Kong, said current affairs commentator Sang Pu.

“This whole thing has been escalated to show how Hong Kong hasn’t been properly decolonized, and how it’s still dancing to Britain’s tune, by remaining nostalgic for English and Cantonese [rather than Mandarin],” Sang said. 

“They are using it to show that Hong Kongers are incapable of respecting non-Cantonese Chinese, particularly mainlanders,” he said. “They are escalating it by bringing out the big guns, so people in Hong Kong will be intimidated and then ‘re-educated’ to be more obedient.”

“They’ve made this tiny incident an excuse to target all Hong Kongers, claiming that they’re insufficiently decolonized,” Sang said. “[They want] Hong Kongers to install their own miniature party committee in their own heads, and then self-censor all of their speech and actions.”

When you you don’t allow your own people to access Twitter.
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8 Responses to Farewell, Civic Party

  1. Chinese Netizen says:

    Ya can’t be “decolonized” if you never were, right?

    Word of the week: INTENTION – something that makes you inherently guilty as the situation demands.

  2. NV says:

    Like many individuals we encounter in life, the Civic Party passed its time on this earth leaving no trace of itself in any tangible form. A lot of stuffy overpaid liberals in bespoke lounge suits and tailored tweed or silk, like most of the “Democrats”, who would never be seen dead in Kwun Tong or a local supermarket mixing with the sweaty hoi-polloi. They never got their hands dirty and that’s why they failed. Politics is a dirty business. As my friend Mr Sartre used to say, you have dirty hands or no hands. The Civic Party was armless in every sense.

    Talking about being armless, that writer with a name similar to mine, Nury Vittachi or Vibbrachi or something similar, may not be harmless after all. He wrote another scurrilous and alarming book casting aspersions on our righteous media before he started writing silly detective novels. I refer of course to the seditious CURIOUS DIARY OF MR JAM (2012 self-published). Here is a sample of its vile content which comes early on in the “book”, otherwise recommended as a sure cure for chronic sleeplessness:

    “At the end of a corridor several kilometers long, I eventually find Ms. Sun, a helmet-haired woman with lips so thin they look like a line drawn on a cartoon face. She refuses to look me in the eye. Instantly I know that the meeting will not go well.

    “I recognize you,” she says. “You’re the guy with the mouth.”

    There’s no answer to that.

    “Yes,” I eventually respond. “I brought it with me. I like to keep it under my nose.”

    “You were caught making jokes about the leaders of the Chinese communist party or something, weren’t you?”

    “Yes, or to put it another way, I was commissioned to do a job and did it superbly.”

    I find this all very disturbing in view of the fact that the same Mr Vibbrachi now masquerades as a supporter of all things anti-White and pro-Xi Thought.

    The cover of the book says “He tried to bring comedy to Asia but everyone just laughed at him”. We always thought so but can we now be sure?

    We should be told. And he should be told where to go.


  3. reductio says:

    Ironic all this talk about decolonization when China’s political, social and economic structures have been colonized for a century by a mid 19th Century European political philosophy.

  4. Sam Clemens says:

    On Tuesday I applied to withdraw from the organ bank.

    On Saturday the Department of Health contacted me via email to ask for a soft copy of my HKID.

    On Sunday the DOH confirmed my withdrawal from the organ donation scheme.

    Say what you will about the leadership of the HK civil service, but the people and the systems in the engine rooms of most departments are still remarkably benign and efficient, in my experience.

    Thank heaven for small mercies. Those are the only kind on offer these days, so one must cherish them when they appear.

  5. NV says:

    #Sam Clemens

    White organs? I’m amazed you got accepted in the first place in this epicentre of racism.

  6. SiuJiu says:

    @Sam Clemens: Similar recent experience here. Applied online for a new passport for a child. Next day received an email explaining a document we’d neglected to include. Submitted the document. One day later received an email notice to come pick up the passport the following week. Amazing efficiency and courtesy. Like you, I continue to have the highest respect for the staffers in the “engine rooms.”

  7. Justsayin says:

    I’m sure the next HK rebrand campaign will be ‘Xianggang: Nothing to See Here’ at the rate the lads up north are going

  8. The British Empire says:

    Thank you for the kind words of appreciation.

    Although getting the Hong Kong johnnies to embrace democracy proved futile, at least The Empire taught them how to organise things properly.

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