Tuesday 6 August 2019

City gripped by insanity

The South China Morning Post this morning, 6 August 2019
We wake up this morning to our morning newspaper blaring the headline “CITY GRIPPED BY ANARCHY”.
Insanity more like.
(BTW, for English readers, the South China Morning Post is a good and reasonably neutral source of information.  It is not behind any paywall. ie, it’s free to read it and has pretty good articles and interesting columnists).
We’ve had our views published in the Post, Jing and I, as have many others, with the tide running pretty solidly against the ongoing violence and chaos. Let alone “anarchy”.  We have our Chief Exec, Carrie Lam, talking about Hong Kong being “destroyed”, for goodness sake.
We were all on the side of the protesters when they were against the Extradition Bill (反送中). But now it’s not clear what they want. Their demands are -- if not inchoate -- already substantially granted, or else simply unreasonable.
What are the demonstrators after?
Alex Lo in his column My Take,  has done us a favour by summarising them. Alex Lo is no Beijing toady, no reflexive supporter of the HK government.
It’s a pretty good summary, I reckon.  Here’s what he says:
1.    The extradition bill is a moot point. It is “dead” and cannot possibly be revived any time soon. If protesters must insist on “complete withdrawal”, you have to wonder why they think it’s worth wrecking Hong Kong for just two meaningless words.
2.    The “riot” characterisation of protests. The police and government have conceded on that point. But that won’t stop police from charging suspects with rioting, as they have done with 44 protesters in the latest round.
3.    Discharge all arrested protesters. Here, we are in a vicious cycle. The more people protest, the more protesters will be charged, and the less likely all of them could be pardoned. A blanket amnesty is simply not on the cards.
4.    An independent inquiry. It hinges on the scope and nature of the inquiry. If it’s just to go after police misconduct, it’s a non-starter. If it’s a commission for truth and reconciliation, then that could have wide public support. But so far, the opposition has shown no interest in reconciliation, only criminalising the police.
5.    Universal suffrage. Beijing has always insisted any such reform must be based on the so-called five steps process, a constitutional procedure involving the Hong Kong government, the legislature and the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress. My guess is that the protesters and probably most pan-dems would not agree to those five steps. How do we plan on getting past that?
Add to that two more:

6. “Free Hong Kong” 光复香港
7. “Revolution of our times”时代革命

Yesterday Carrie Lam, the CEO of Hong Kong, and a gaggle of officials, gave a presser, which was pretty disappointing.
Carrie Lam and officials, yesterday.  Don’t they look like a tired lot?
Nothing new offered, and predictably the reviews were damning. Jing and I watched it and thought it was pathetic, nothing more that repetition of “rule of law” and “please don’t be violent”.  After two months??  Couldn’t she/they have come up at least with a proposal to have a hearing on police actions -- and also including investigation of actions of the protesters.
They looked like a tired and defeated lot. And this is our leaders?!

As the the more recent demands:
What does “Free Hong Kong” mean?  If it’s that Hong Kong should be independent, then forgeddabout it.  It’s never, ever, never, never, going to happen.  And Beijing holds way too many cards (as in the whole pack), when it comes to means to stop that. So if they keep on about “Free Hong Kong” and they define it as independence, this is sheer stupidity and bullheadedness and failure to face reality.
I also note that the use of the Chinese characters Guang Fu 光复 relates to the liberation of Taiwan from Japan after WW2, and so is insulting to Beijing, no doubt deliberately so, just as the use of the word for “China" that the graffiti writers are using (Zhi Na 支那) is insulting to Beijing because it’s the word Japan used when it occupied ManchuKuo before WW2.
And what does “Revolution of our times”时代革 mean?  Does it mean a revolution to socialism, as in Venezuela?  If not, what? Revolution to do away with Chinese sovereignty?  Again, if so, it’s just not on.
The International MSM is covering this as if it were a major “democracy movement”.  Maybe it is. But there are aims here -- to the extent that they even have aims -- that are simply ridiculous and unattainable. Hong Kong independence being the  main one.  We ought recall that all our governments -- as in essentially the whole world -- recognise Chinese sovereignty over Hong Kong.  No ifs no buts.
“Liberate Hong Kong and Revolution of our Times”