Have we had too much excessive leftism?

The FT on the ‘tug of war’ over Hong Kong’s priorities…

“Rats” is how Hong Kong leader John Lee has taken to referring to a group of eight pro-democracy activists with a combined bounty of $1mn on their heads.

…“We should treat those wanted by police, especially the eight who violated the national security law, as street rats that should be avoided,” he said…

…Meanwhile Lee is also the jovial face of a “Hello Hong Kong” government campaign drawing international visitors. “A world city like no other extends the warmest welcome to you,” he says in a promotional video. The Chinese territory is also attempting to reboot its Covid-hit Asian premier financial hub status and woo foreign investments.

…But analysts said Lee’s priority — with the backing of Beijing — was to stamp out the influence of political activists and reinforce China’s tough line on national security, even if it damaged the city’s international reputation.

…a foreign business chamber representative said Hong Kong “is sending out so many mixed signals” as the hard line pursued by Lee — a former career policeman handpicked by Beijing as Hong Kong’s chief executive last year — hinders attempts to restore confidence.

For the sake of argument, let’s accept the whole narrative about ‘black violence’ and evil foreign forces: it was necessary to crush the pro-democracy movement and much of civil society to save Hong Kong from doom. But now there are no protests or meaningful opposition. Isn’t the ongoing NatSec panic now sheer overkill?

Surely we have reached the stage where authorities can declare ‘mission accomplished’ and ease off on the constant NatSec frenzy. But every week, the government announces another heavy handed NatSec measure, and that leads to more bad press internationally  – then we get another outraged statement on ‘slanders and smears’ in overseas coverage (the latest).

One explanation for this is that we have a billion-dollar NatSec enforcement apparatus/complex established in the heat of the moment now looking for threats to crush. 

Another is the nationwide push from the very top in Beijing to stress NatSec, from the proposed ‘patriotic education’ law to tighter regulation of data and compliance companies. Hong Kong’s leaders have to overtly show they are on board with this campaign. (Worried Mainland officials are now lobbying foreign companies to resume investment in China. Some observers hope that economic pragmatism will convince Beijing to reverse some of the NatSec focus.)

Deeper in the background is the recent reshuffle in Beijing’s management of Hong Kong. RFA describes how the CCP’s Hong Kong and Macau Work Office has taken direct control of the local Liaison Office and other structures…

Its remit – according to plans passed by the National People’s Congress in March – will be to “deploy the governing power of the central government” in Hong Kong and to “maintain national security” … [as well as] “supporting” the integration of both cities with the rest of China.

UCA News reports Taiwan-based pan-dem commentator ‘Sang Pu’ saying that the new structure…

…would probably run a “rectification” campaign which could mean that some heads will roll in the local administration.

“It has the spirit of [political] struggle – the more communist the better. Nobody in the Hong Kong government has said anything – they must think there is a crisis coming,” Sang said.

“Everything they do … will be about demonstrating loyalty – it’s a continuation of the spirit of the Cultural Revolution.”

Whatever the exact reasons why the NatSec paranoia still drowns out ‘Happy Hong Kong’, there are people wondering whether it is all going too far. The UCA story continues…

Jinghaihou, a mainland Chinese blogger and a former columnist for a Beijing-backed newspaper in Hong Kong urged the authorities to ease the political crackdown on the city.

Jinghaihou alleged that “Hong Kong is losing its uniqueness under the national security law… there are fears the city has lost its luster. It is neither special nor a particularly attractive destination and has been marginalized on the international stage.”

…”Since the implementation of the National Security Law in Hong Kong, a small number of people have gotten into the habit of overdoing the implementation of some policies… of mechanically implementing the government’s decisions…” Jinghaihou said.

He further alleged that the officials had stooped low “to the point where Lu Xun is being taken off library shelves, and movies that have nothing to do with politics are no longer being shown,” the blogger wrote.

“They always seek left over right, regardless of the consequences,” Jinghaihou said, blaming the local government for its “frivolous” use of the law to scare people.

Even the pro-Beijing Sing Tao Daily newspaper on July 11 published an article hitting out at local officials for their “excessive leftism” and calling for a balance between national security, and the need for investment, human rights, and freedom.

Jinghaihou’s blog (in Chinese) is still up. His prime concern is that Hong Kong is ‘losing its uniqueness’…

Hong Kong’s efforts to bring order out of chaos are intended only to restore the benchmark and correct Hong Kong’s constitutional order under the Constitution and the Basic Law, not to implement the“one country” principle in Hong Kong…

…The breadth of freedom of Hong Kong citizens is an important indicator of the success of the “one country, two systems” Hong Kong practice, and everyone from top to bottom is happy to see it…

…Hong Kong’s multiculturalism is directly linked to its international status. Homogeneity will cut itself off from overseas. Only tolerance can consolidate its traditional dominant position, and diversity can make money.

“Maintaining the uniqueness of Hong Kong” is to make the people here love her, those who have left are willing to come back, and those who have never been here yearn to go … 

He does not take issue with the ‘only patriots running Hong Kong’ principle.

HK01 has a summary (also Chinese) and adds that in earlier posts he suggested that resolving Hong Kong’s conflicts required breaking the grip of vested interests, and that the post-‘turmoil’ situation looks like ‘over-correction’. 

A thread on all this from Bloomberg op-ed writer. Jinghaihou could get in trouble for his post – or maybe Hong Kong’s authorities are getting a ‘coded message’. 

In which case, you could in theory see the NatSec panic toned down a notch to a more moderate level of ‘excessive leftism’ – if not to the extent that ‘those who have left are willing to come back’.

reminder – and a video version.
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15 Responses to Have we had too much excessive leftism?

  1. MeKnowNothing says:

    Somewhat surprised that https://hongkongfp.com/2023/07/15/as-hong-kong-issues-arrest-warrants-for-overseas-activists-a-brief-history-of-extraordinary-rendition/ didn’t make it in today’s carefully curated collection of links…

    Will we be seeing Mr Dykes making a hasty exit next? The dig at Toady Tong couldn’t possibly go without retaliation. At least there’s a few more flights now…

  2. Nury Vibbrachi says:

    Much fine analysis but you know what I think. Stalin didn’t analyze. He just didn’t take risks. Xi is the same.

    Peking’s CCP apparat doesn’t give a hoot about the Hong Kong economy, its public image, its credibility, its constant absurdity and self-contradiction or its huge blunders.

    The aim is crush, control and stay in power. It’s an obvious fact but needs to be restated. Constantly.

    Let’s think instead about the daily horror of the Transcommunists now running Hong Kong. Their fear, their inadequacy, their self-doubt, their turmoil, their inability to travel anywhere but Fujian and Guizhou and Hainan for a break.

    That’s a lot more interesting than analyzing Stalinism.

    And watch out. They’re coming for your shit! Huw Edwards probably didn’t read this on the BBC but it IS a BBC article.

    “A former Soviet agent says he has found evidence that Joseph Stalin spied on Mao Zedong, among others, by analysing excrement to construct psychological portraits.

    “By the sound of things, it was a top secret and rather smelly experiment.

    “According to Russian newspaper reports, in the 1940s Stalin’s secret police had set up a special department to get its hands on people’s faeces.

    “The ambitious aim: to analyse samples of foreign leaders’ stools.

    “In other words, espionage via excrement.

    “It is former Soviet agent Igor Atamanenko who claims to have uncovered this unusual project, while doing research in the archives of the Russian secret services.

    “In those days the Soviets didn’t have the kind of listening devices which secret services do today,” he told the paper.

    “That’s why our specialists came up with the most extravagant ways of extracting information about a person.”

    “Mr Atamanenko says it was Stalin’s henchman Lavrenti Beria who was put in charge of the secret laboratory.

    “When I contacted Mr Atamanenko, he told me what the Soviet scientists had been looking for in faeces.

    “For example, if they detected high levels of amino acid Tryptophan,” he explained, “they concluded that person was calm and approachable.”

    Stay calm and flush well!

    Hurrah!

  3. Chinese Netizen says:

    Does all this mean we’ll be hearing less from “Vag’s View”?? If so then praise be!

  4. HKJC Irregular says:

    @MKN – Eloquently put by Dykes; I think he should stand his ground and see how that Blogger’s scolding of HKGov officials and their Legco lackies pans out.

  5. Is it safe? says:

    Celine’s First Law:
    National security is the chief cause of national insecurity.

    Once you get national security police (secret police), internal and external foes will target them for infiltration. The secret police also have vast powers to blackmail and intimidate other members of the government. For these reasons, a higher-level, more secret, secret police force eventually has to be created to monitor the ordinary secret police. It follows that because the higher set have even more powers, they need more monitoring and an even higher set of secret police must be created to do that. And so on, and so on until everyone in the state is spying on everyone else or the money runs out.

    Naturally, all these secret police forces have to justify and want to increase their budgets, whilst less and less government money is available as more forces are created, and the police state makes less and less money as it becomes more and more of an international pariah due to all the police activity.

    And inevitably police who don’t find national security threats everywhere and jail people will soon be under investigation for being compromised by domestic rebels or foreign forces, due to the suspicious behaviour of not finding national security threats everywhere which may lead to torture and jail time for them.

    Thus the secret police become the greatest threat to the secret police, and all the secret police forces have to find more and more threats to national security, mostly in order to stay safe from the secret police.

    Eventually the actual chief threat against the nation, its economy, citizens and government is the national security apparatus, and this focus on national security leads to a state that is so insecure, it is terrified of nebulous non-threats like art, poems, movies, library books, speech therapy for kids and so on.

  6. wmjp says:

    espionage via excrement

    Wasn’t there a story about Dubya having his shit shipped home for secure disposal whenever he was travelling outside the US?

  7. Joe Blow says:

    Now that the overall requirements have been lowered, there is at present a massive run on the “police inspector” level of employment in the HK GestaPopo force. The main driver of this enthusiastic response is the absurdly high level of remuneration for this humble post. So every Tom, Dick and Ah-keung is trying to get in, knowing that most Hongkongers are shunning employment in the Popo. They see their opportunity. In particular, mainland compatriots are lining up in great numbers. Yay!!

  8. Chief Historian says:

    Funny how “Asia’s Finest”, the Hong Kong Police’s name for themselves under British administration, has evaporated from memories since 2019.

    Like, gone, vanished. Evaporated! “Asia’s Finest” is no longer polite conversation.

    Why? How can this be? As everyone knows, “Asia’s Finest” are not mentioned anymore to save the blushes of the underlings.

    Like everything, the former Hong Kong wallahs show that it is the British who were THE BEST THING that happened to the colonies, from feral Africa to trading Asia to the Dominions to anything. But as soon as the johnnies get involved handling their own affairs, absent the Brits, it all goes to pants.

  9. Mary Melville says:

    Anti-smoking campaign steaming up to fill in gaps left by Covid.
    Note there is no mention that probably as many as 90% of the imported labour will be puffing away so we will actually see a spike in numbers.
    As for fines, now when was the last time you saw dilatory FEHD officers give a fine for butt tossing, or littering of any kind for that matter?
    Now they are sporting body cams our tax dollars would be better spent monitoring the footage that would show that they spend most of the day hanging out in the conveniently parked staff siu ba.

  10. truth says:

    As to the Dykes article, Ronny Tong was accurate. Arrest pursuant to an overseas warrant was why Pinochet was detained in UK, although not in prison.

    So the 8 rats will have to be careful on their travels not to go or pass through anywhere that recognises the HK warrants.

  11. MeKnowNothing says:

    “As to the Dykes article, Ronny Tong was accurate. Arrest pursuant to an overseas warrant was why Pinochet was detained in UK, although not in prison.

    So the 8 rats will have to be careful on their travels not to go or pass through anywhere that recognises the HK warrants.”

    There was an Interpol Red Notice for Pinochet:

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/1998/oct/18/pinochet.chile

    Whilst as of right now (or perhaps more accurately, end-of-business in Lyon yesterday) there are (were) none for our so-called rats:

    https://www.interpol.int/How-we-work/Notices/Red-Notices/View-Red-Notices

    Defo though ‘truth’ – they’d best avoid going to or inadvertently ending up anywhere that still cooperates with Hong Wrong or is buddy-buddy with the Glorious Motherland.

    Will be interesting to see if there ever are Red Notices issued for them, as what the rats allegedly did – at least to some – might be seen to be political “crimes”. Interpol doesn’t do anything for “activities of a political, military, religious, or racial character”. Surely Pikachu & PK know this…

  12. Din Dan Che says:

    @chief historian

    If you dig deeper, I do believe you’d find it was the late, great Kevin Sinclair who came up with the tag ‘Asia’s Finest’

  13. Chief Historian says:

    @Din Dan Che

    Thanks for the reminder of Kevin Sinclair… a blast from the past. I did not know Sinclair had passed, I somehow assumed he was lingering onwards in the suburbs of Hemel Hempstead or a bungalow in south-west Brisbane or wherever, telling tall stories of when he was The Man in colonial Hong Kong.

    Sinclair’s book “Asia’s Finest” is not the fancy title these days, but it was written in the early 1980s, when Hong Kong was still in the glory British era. The Joint Declaration bombshell had still not landed and many about town considered the Police and the whole town eternally British. Golly, I miss those days.

    I believe “Asia’s Finest” was Sinclair’s rendition of what he heard the RHKP call themselves, if memory serves. It sounds exactly what the grey brigade SSPs and ACPs would call themselves.

    As I say in my prompting post, “Asia’s Finest” has now been scrubbed, officially, the name is too jarring and obvious if it is used. It is not to be spoken, because it’s clear the descendants to “Asia’s Finest” have proven dreadful and abysmal, everyone knows.

    The contrast between what was and what is upsets the sensibilities.

    Well done, Britain, says I. You gave this town a magnificent Police Force before the johnnies pissed it away.

  14. truth says:

    MeKnow

    Have a look at the Executive committee of Interpol

    https://www.interpol.int/en/Who-we-are/Governance/Executive-Committee

  15. Night Market says:

    The CCP sees HK’s call for ‘toned down a notch’, and raises it another notch…

    “Counter-espionage veteran Dong Jingwei appointed to head central government’s Office for Safeguarding National Security in the city. Beijing’s new man in Hong Kong expected to play major role in security and stability of city.”

    https://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/law-and-crime/article/3228157/deputy-minister-mainland-chinas-counter-espionage-services-new-national-security-chief-hong-kong?module=live&pgtype=homepage

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