Have we in Hong Kong become so accustomed to people being kidnapped from our midst and transported to secret locations in China that we now take it for granted?
The latest incident of Xiao Jianhua seems hardly to have raised an eyebrow.
The wealthy businessman was in the Four Seasons hotel when about six men surrounded him. CCTV records him being removed from the hotel in a wheelchair.
His wife filed a missing persons report but subsequently withdrew it after a statement was printed in a newspaper allegedly from her husband saying, “Regarding the reports on me in recent days, I have to say that I, Xiao Jianhua, have been recovering from an illness outside the country.”
It does not take Sherlock Holmes to deduce that there is something clearly irreconcilable between his wife’s report and his claim to be recovering from an illness – and where better than Hong Kong to seek medical attention?
In effect, he has been “disappeared”.
The pattern is similar to Lee Bo; sudden disappearance from Hong Kong followed by a stage-managed declaration of voluntariness manufactured in the mainland.
Once he had returned to Hong Kong, Lam Wing-kee, one of the five booksellers, gave a chilling account of his arrest and video false confession under duress.
This sort of propaganda garbage is entirely normal by Communist Party standards; for them the ends always justifies the means.
The only truly extraordinary thing is that intelligent Communist Party chiefs could delude themselves that any astute member of the public would believe such a tissue of lies and deceit.
In actuality they don’t give a damn about what anyone thinks.
But it is one thing for the party apparatchiks whose mindset has been conditioned, having grown up in and been nurtured by a ruthless communist doctrine, and an altogether different proposition for a Hong Kong civil servant.
In the case of both Lee Bo and Xiao Jianhua, leading executives of the Hong Kong government protest their ignorance of any such incursions by mainland security personnel, maintaining a pretense that nothing untoward has occurred.
Has our secretary for justice publicly condemned these illegal swoops and kidnappings?
There is an irresistible inference to be drawn that the government of the SAR is complicit in these renditions, most lamentably, the mislabeled Department of Justice.
China’s Public Security Bureau personnel have had unfettered license to kidnap people going about their legitimate business in Hong Kong, bypass the normal immigration channels and then detain these individuals in secret locations on the mainland.
There is no extradition treaty between Hong Kong and the PRC and Article 22 of the Basic Law prohibits Beijing from interfering in SAR matters other than foreign relations and defense.
In the case of the five booksellers, C.Y. Leung and Rimsky Yuen put on a transparently incredible show of making inquiries with mainland personnel; little sound, no fury and no result.
Similar fatuously vacuous noises are being uttered in relation to Xiao.
And, apart from Xiao’s case, the chief secretary on whose watch these events took place is currently Beijing’s anointed candidate for the next chief executive.
The idea that Carrie Lam will stand up for the integrity of the rule of law in Hong Kong is beyond the most fanciful of beliefs.
Her record reflects wholly adversely on her suitability for independent, courageous and Hongkongophile leadership.
She sees no conflict in being publicly anointed by Beijing as the sole acceptable candidate.
Nor is she in the least concerned that this undermines her in the greater public perception of her suitability.
She, herself, is so deeply indebted to the Liaison Office that in a fairly conducted election she would already have been conflicted out.
The possibility of Russian interference in the US election is a bagatelle by comparison; the overt chicanery is here for all to see.
Beijing screams blue murder if anyone dares to even comment on the propriety of the internal governance of the PRC, but sauce for the Chinese goose is obviously not sauce for the Hong Kong gander.
So where does that put all those grubbily sycophantic pro-establishment businessmen and Hung Yee Kuk members who have answered the call to commit their votes to her in exchange for a pat on their darkly dyed heads by the Liaison Office?
What is really in it for them? What have they been promised in return for the Liaison Office’s instructions?
More government contracts that do not go out to public tender?
Sweetheart deals over development land and New Territories village houses?
Unfettered spiraling rentals that drive small and medium-scale indigenous Hong Kong retailers and restaurateurs out of business, depress the economy and increase unemployment?
Instead of trawling over the three ex-civil servants’ manifest lack of the necessary qualifications for CE, the press should be examining the motives of the Fred Karno’s Army of electors.
In Treasure Island, young Jim Hawkins only learned too late that Long John Silver was a pirate. The Election Committee has no such excuse.
Ask not for whom the electors poll, they poll for Carrie.
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