A commenter notes some recent mildly skeptical pieces in the SCMP, including one asking – after few non-DAB or DAB-type candidates got on the District Council ballots – why Hong Kong’s Chief Executive doesn’t trust voters…
…the problem is that Lee is also a politician. He has political power as the city’s chief executive, so it has to be more than that. Is it that Lee is suffering from a crisis of faith in the very system he has been instrumental in putting in place?
…[Decision-makers] are not leaving anything to chance. In other words, there is no room for “faith” in the equation, not even in the patriots to win the patriots’ game.
…How much time needs to pass before those  elections can be forgiven and forgotten? Would the completion of Article 23 legislation next year do the trick?
It comes down to the lack of faith in voters themselves. This then raises the question of how we can convince those in power that we can be trusted. What will it take? Do we need to pass a patriotic exam before qualifying as a voter? Or should we attend education seminars and rack up enough hours to qualify?
Perhaps this isn’t so much mildly skeptical as naive. Is the CE a ‘politician’? Does he have ‘political power’? Or Is the whole NatSec/all-patriots era about a more centralized, top-down power structure, in which local officials are not actually at the top, and the people have no input?
Another question: will the UK Privy Council’s judgement curbing the reach of a former British colony’s sedition law affect the Stand News and other cases in Hong Kong? Not if that more-top-down structure applies to the judicial, as well as executive and legislative, branches.
In the paywalled department… Minxin Pei at Bloomberg on why China’s generals keep disappearing…
Once appointments and promotions can be bought, corruption becomes hard to contain. Officers must first be corrupt enough to accumulate sufficient dirty money to bribe superiors if they want to advance in the system. Over time, bad money drives out good; a very large number of officers in the military are thought to gain their positions via this route.
When investigators searched the home of Gen. Xu Caihou, a vice chairman of CMC and the de facto top political commissar of the PLA, in 2013, they reportedly found more than a ton of cash, jade, and valuable antiques stashed in his basement. One can only imagine how many junior officers must have bribed him over the course of his career.
And a WaPo extract from new book Among The Braves, on the 7-21 Yuen Long attack…
Events in Yuen Long on the night of July 21 when residents were brutalized by marauding gangs would rupture whatever hope still existed that Hong Kong could reach some kind of political compromise. Reporting for a narrative history of the pro-democracy movement reveals that the police were aware of the planned attacks, as were government officials close to Hong Kong’s political leadership. Yet they did nothing to stop it.
More on which here.