Unwanted army cadets land on Hong Kong doorstep

January 20, 2015 15:26
Members of the Hong Kong Army Cadets will be taught to march Chinese-style, like PLA soldiers. Photo: Xinhuanet

Quick, somebody throw hot chili oil in my eyes.

Like you, I read the story in EJ Insight and other publications about the inauguration of the Hong Kong Army Cadets -- a paramilitary group for young Hongkongers.

In case you missed it, China Daily called it the city's “first uniformed youth group to follow Chinese foot drill protocols".

I don’t know about you, but the image of a bunch of erstwhile innocent kids in PLA-style uniforms goose-stepping through Central to the blaring tune of the March of the People’s Liberation Army is unsettling.

After all, when young Hongkongers normally get together, they call for Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying’s job, take part in extended camp outs and make paper umbrellas.

With all the transparency of a crooked CY Leung smile or a Xi Jinping corruption purge, the Hong Kong Army Cadets is clearly an attempt to “re-educate” Hong Kong’s youth after 79 days of protest calling for fully free elections for the city’s next leader.

While few details have emerged about the secretive organization, it’s not hard to imagine that “foot drill protocols” might lead to ideological training camps promoting Marxism and socialist values.

China Daily said that at Sunday’s inauguration ceremony at Ngong Shuen Chau Naval Base, the new recruits took an oath pledging to observe strict discipline and solidarity, to work out for physical health and steadfast spirit and, last but not least, to serve the country.

Cadres have been built on less.

Fortuitously, not many impressionable Hong Kong young people took the bait, free swag notwithstanding.

Dozens of students from local universities and secondary schools joined the Hong Kong Army Cadets group, said China Daily. To me that means more than 24 and less than 199.

Worse, local media reported that one of the group’s first “recruits” said he never agreed to join it, despite being presented as one of its members.

The student said he and others were drafted just to make the ceremony look good -- they agreed to take part in exchange for a free PLA uniform.

Nobody ever said Hong Kong kids were geniuses.

Speaking of numbnuts, whoever made the baffling decision to make Leung’s wife, Regina Leung, commander-in-chief of the Hong Kong Army Cadets should be drawn and quartered.

The newly created cadet group highlights China’s rising concern with Hong Kong students, who led the unprecedented protests last quarter seeking to remove Beijing's limits on the city’s election, Bloomberg said.

CY Leung is on record as saying young people need to be guided better.

Regina Leung said at the ceremony that it took over a year to put together the new group, with strong support from the city's government, the Liaison Office of the Central People's Government and the PLA's Hong Kong garrison.

For what it’s worth, and despite the free uniforms, the creation of the cadet group doesn’t mean the PLA is interfering in Hong Kong affairs, Secretary for Home Affairs Tsang Tak-sing told reporters.

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A strategist and marketing consultant on China business