Hong Kong will never have democracy. Not if we can help it. The dream of a utopian, independent city state, a financial dynamo at the heart of Asia, where the people confidently go about their business, safe in the knowledge that their culture and prosperity are advanced by an elected legislature, and defended by an independent judiciary? Pie in the sky.
Comrade Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor said as much three years ago, a full six months before the National People’s Congress released its (take a deep breath now) “Decision of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress on Issues Relating to the Selection of the Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region by Universal Suffrage and on the Method for Forming the Legislative Council of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region in the Year 2016”. Seriously..
With titles like that, is it any wonder speeches at the NPC can last three hours or more?
Anyway, demonstrating admirable foresight, Comrade Nanny wrote that “if people retain their own stance, refusing to return to the legal framework of the Basic Law or accept the political reality, universal suffrage for the 2017 election will become nothing but a castle in the air”.
Building a castle for Carrie
Today, Comrade Nanny will inherit her very own castle, for the next four years at least. as the 1,194 member Election Committee carry out their sacred, patriotic duty to democratically elect whoever Beijing tells them to.
Strangely, it’s not been an easy sell. Ever since December, when Chief Executive Comrade Lufsig made the shock announcement that he’d step down to spend more time with his fellow Party members, the Propaganda department have worked our collective balls off to pave the way for a smooth transition. By smooth, I mean no surprises. And believe me, the boss hates surprises.
We then had to wait a whole month for Comrade Nanny to ‘reluctantly’ accept the divine mandate that the world already assumed she’d been given. Well, everyone except the Feng Shui ‘master’ who predicted she’d have retired to the UK by now.
Despite the late start, it should still have been an easy race. But the truth is, nobody really likes our dear former Chief Secretary. She has all the empathy, charm and sincerity one might expect from a career bureaucrat and the inspirational leadership of a primary school maths teacher.
When she announced her candidacy, Comrade Nanny explained that God had told her to run, and she then informed a bunch of nuns that she had a pre-booked serviced apartment in Heaven.
Cultural heritage lovers dislike her because she knocked down the Star Ferry and Queen’s piers, made it easier for developers to demolish old buildings, and her team texts in simplified Chinese. Green groups resent her because she reclaimed the harbour and backed away from the Small House Policy and the Heung Yee Kuk.
Let’s not even consider her role in the constitutional reform fiasco, where she served as a proxy punching bag for Comrade Lufsig, while he hid in Government House.
As a leader of the people, Comrade Nanny couldn’t be more out of touch. She’s evidently never used an Octopus card to ride a train, has never bought her own toilet rolls and thinks Tin Shui Wai is more trouble to travel to than Beijing.
When she did visit Beijing last year, she came back with two gifts: The Party’s blessing as the new Hong Kong CE, and a patriotic Museum that to everyone’s surprise, most Hongkongers don’t seem to want.
But then again, catholics, the poor and even the average Hongkonger aren’t really Comrade Nanny’s core constituency.
Make no mistake, this election has been a struggle. It’s no secret that Hong Kong’s pro-establishment camp dislike one another. The Party is well aware that many of our allies, in Legco, in the functional constituencies and the tycoon class are little more than self-serving running dogs who love neither the motherland nor the Party. Many of these people are more concerned about their own popularity than loyalty to the Party.
So they look at John ‘Pringles’ Tsang Chun-wah, who has twice the public support of Comrade Nanny, and they waver. But as Comrade Lufsig says, “Electors shouldn’t just look at opinion polls and vote for the popular candidate.” Of course they shouldn’t. That would make the whole process look too much like an actual election, and we don’t want anyone to get the wrong idea about that.
So just as in 2012, when we had to threaten and cajole the tycoons into abandoning the bourgeois oenophile Henry Tang Ying-yen in favour of Comrade Lufsig, this year we again had to enlist help from up north.
The Shenzhen tour by National People’s Congress chairman Zhang Dejiang and Comrade Sun Chunlan, head of the United Front Work Department, made it very clear that Comrade Nanny is the chosen one.
In an interminably long analysis for Sing Tao Daily yesterday, Lo Man-tuen, member of the CPPCC and the Hong Kong Association for Promotion of Peaceful Reunification of China Limited made it crystal clear that Comrade Pringles is a closet democrat and a foreign stooge who simply can’t be trusted.
In brief, Comrade Pringles is lazy; he’s challenged Beijing’s authority; he ran when he was told not to; he colludes with foreign forces; he doodles; he failed to support Comrade Lufsig; he shook hands with the Paramount Leader and then talked about it (forgetting the first rule of Xi Jinping club); he failed to condemn the Occupy movement or the Mongkok riot; he continually got the budget wrong; and he admired the movie Ten Years.
As an aside, was 10 Years really so unpatriotic? Surely young Hong Kong children, cultivated by National Education to join the Party and egg subversive booksellers is a heroic act that any patriotic parent would support. If you haven’t seen it yet, buy the film here and judge for yourself.
Phoney Beatlemania will not save John Tsang
Six months ago, Comrade Pringles looked like a rank outsider. The Financial Secretary whose forecasts are routinely wrong, whose budgets never fail to please the rich and ignore the masses, who snubbed pan-democrats in Legco and who just two months ago, was ridiculed for the wobbly roll-out of his stationary food trucks; how could this man run for Chief Executive?
Perhaps we were guilty of hubris, but in Sai Ying Pun we assumed Comrade Nanny would be a popular choice compared to him.
But overnight, the same people who used to throw eggs at Comrade Pringles, suddenly came pouring onto the streets to support him.
Watching his open topped bus mobbed by adoring crowds this week, I reflected that I haven’t seen anything like it since the unfortunate disturbances of 2014, or since K-pop sensation Rain opened a boutique in Tsim Sha Tsui a couple of years ago. Though in this case, the average age of the crowds were a bit older. It’s as if the pan-democrats have seen the light, and that light is ABC.
The about-face by the pan-dems was an unpleasant surprise, not least for democratic gooseberry Justice Woo Kwok-hing. We’d expected them to put forward one of their own number, as they have in the past, but after Long Hair dropped out, the whole strategy changed. On Monday, they chose to support a man they’d previously dismissed as a middle class dilettante, a miserly skinflint, a foreign food faddist, out of touch with the grassroots and a CY stooge.
If last year’s strategy was Anyone But CY, this year it’s Anyone But Carrie, Anything But China.
What does China really want?
This whole idea of choosing our leaders by elections, even small-circle ones with a predetermined winner, seems like an idea rife with risk.
According to Comrade Wang Guangya, head of the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office, the Chief Executive must meet four requirements: To love the country and Hong Kong, be trusted by Beijing, be capable of running Hong Kong, and be supported its people. In that order.
The key bit here is to be trusted by Beijing. Trouble is, it’s next to impossible to do both. There’s a clear contradiction in demanding loyalty both to Beijing and to the people of Hong Kong. We send these people out in public to campaign for an election that the public can’t take part in, and then lo and behold, the public get upset.
So with Hong Kong facing another four years of turbulence, the boss wants us to come up with a strategy to adopt the Macau model: One candidate, 95% of the votes. Perfect.
By tonight, we will know the outcome of the chief executive election. Although we already know who will win. The key thing as far as the Liaison Office is concerned, is how many seats she wins by, and it had better be more than 689.
Castles in the Air video