If, by some chance, you were not included in this year’s Bauhinia honors list, here are some tips for anyone aspiring to win the top awards:
1. Join a pro-government party, preferably the DAB, whose members get the lion’s share of the awards.
2. Try to say something nice about CY Leung and his government in public. This may not be easy but as a minimum make it your business to say very unkind things about the democrats.
3. Try to be appointed to as many official committees as possible. You do not have to do anything once appointed; mere membership is enough.
4. If in doubt as to what to say, mention as often as possible that you are a patriot. If you are careless enough to be a foreign Hong Kong resident, you can still do this but be sure to say disparaging things about your country of origin.
I hope the above helps but please remember that second- and third-tier awards are open to people who actually do something to help the community as a whole, unless, of course, you happen to be democratically-inclined.
It’s not only Johannes Chan
The most alarming aspect of the Communist press-led campaign to prevent Johannes Chan from becoming a pro-vice chancellor at Hong Kong University is that it is very much the tip of a fast growing iceberg.
Over at City University, an arguably even uglier attempt was made to deprive political scientist Joseph Cheng of his pension, following a spurious (and ancient) allegation of plagiarism that had already succeeded in having him demoted during his last days at the university.
Professor Cheng is a high-profile democrat and member of the Civic Party. Professor Chan is less of an activist but is regarded to be in the democrat camp and attracted the fury of the leftists because of his association with the Occupy Movement founder Benny Tai.
Other democrats in the education sector have been given clear indications that their involvement in the wrong sort of politics poses a threat to their career prospects. Meanwhile, democrats are being purged from media positions and public sector employees have been told that they can expect to be punished for participating in pro-democracy activities.
Most of this intimidation is conducted in a very Hong Kong sort of way. It tends to be subtle, avoids anything in writing and, of course, all these moves are accompanied by stern declarations that they have “nothing to do with politics”.
The only visible sign of the campaign is largely confined to the increasingly rabid leftist newspapers who, in Cultural Revolution style, busy themselves picking targets and fostering campaigns to get them punished in some way or another.
It may be argued that this is how politics works and as Hong Kong’s politics are becoming increasingly polarized it is to be expected that those challenging the established order will have to face the consequences.
It was not always like this; Hong Kong enjoyed a golden era in the dying years of British rule and the dawn of the Special Administrative Region. Back then even the government in Beijing was busy engaging with the democrats, while British colonial officials encouraged more political engagement and were careful to treat government opponents with kid gloves.
The picture was very different during an earlier colonial period when government opponents, specifically members of the clandestine Communist Party, found themselves under constant surveillance and paid a high price for their beliefs.
Some four decades later Hong Kong is busy slamming into reverse gear and going back to these very bad old days.
Hong Kong’s world beating protest record
One of Hong Kong’s many world-beating statistics you will never see emanating from the government’s propaganda machine is the one showing that relative to the size of its population the SAR is home to some of the biggest anti-government demonstrations anywhere in the world.
Indeed, so big are local demonstrations that when a “mere” 48,000 people joined the July 1 protest it was viewed as being something of a failure. This is roughly half the number of people who joined a similar rally last year. However, in the period in between pro-democracy activists have spent a great deal of time out on the streets and some protest fatigue must have set in.
If the anti-democrats are seeking to take comfort from this they should remember a couple of things.
First, the democrats have a strong history of being able to mobilize more supporters than anti-democrats for street protests and they don’t need to be paid or transported. Secondly, Hong Kong people are not stupid; they understand timing and know when it is more or less important to take to the streets.
This means that the next time (and, really, it is only a matter of time) the government does something to threaten the liberty of Hong Kong there will be a response. The problem is that some of those responding are getting more frustrated and may well resort to more desperate kinds of protest.
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