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 Post Posted: Fri Dec 09, 2016 1:10 pm 
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What a twist!

CY Leung, our unpopular, ornery taint-muppet in chief has announced that he will not be running for "re-election" next year due to family reasons. (1)

"Re-election" is in quotes because it is a fake election. Special interest groups "elect" most of a 1,200 committee, most of whom are then told by Beijing who to vote for. It is not about special interest groups buying political influence, it's the other way round. Special interest groups displaying loyalty to Beijing in hopes of obtaining favourable treatment (or avoiding retaliation).

In any case, if CY Leung's not running it's because Beijing has decided to replace him. With who? We don't know. It will probably be someone awful.

And lest you think this is a sign of softening, I doubt it. I think it's one part of a pincer movement. Leung's departure is the carrot; there will be a stick.

(1) The media assumes said family reason is his daughter, who is a Lindsay Lohan-style headcase. Or rather, the media assumes the flimsy unsaid cover story is his daughter. Or, the media assumes that CY Leung is allowing the media to assume that the flimsy unsaid cover story is his daughter.

Hong Kong political reporting requires living in a meta-reality that everyone knows is bollocks but imagines that other people take seriously so therefore nobody can acknowledge it is bollocks. Or else, everyone knows it's bollocks, knows everybody else is pretending, but to enable the pretense to continue, nobody dares call it bollocks. It goes 3 or 4 layers deep.

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 Post Posted: Sun Dec 11, 2016 2:50 am 
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Maybe Beijing thinks that letting this whole slow oath business get so far out of hand means that Leung doesn't have firm control anymore. If so, I expect they're replacing him with someone they expect to quickly take firm control...

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 Post Posted: Sun Jan 22, 2017 11:13 am 
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All signs now point to Beijing favouring Chief Secretary Carrie Lam (e.g. the current no. 2) for the new Chief Executive. She is a lifelong civil servant who has proven her loyalty to the regime by having shouldered the responsibility for promoting the failed constitutional reform package. She was once viewed as a competent administrator, but now she's seen as a craven sell-out. Unless some kind of crazy scandal turns up (always possible), she will be anointed. Apparently, Hong Kong's elites have been grumbling about how obvious Beijing is being this time around. It's like they're not even pretending to ask the elites who they would prefer.

There are two other major wannabe contenders, who obviously want to run if only Beijing would give them the green light. (It is not legally necessary to obtain Beijing's approval to run, but unless you are a protest candidate, it would be political suicide to do so without.)

The first is John Tsang the Financial Secretary. He is favoured by the tycoons, the civil service, and considered acceptable to the democrats. He's solidly pro-business, is the sort of easy-going sign-anything-you-put-in-front-of-him boss that civil servants prefer, and has been given to making conciliatory statements towards the democrats. He's the perfect compromise candidate, which is exactly why Beijing doesn't seem to want him. He's not beholden enough to them. Also, he's kind of an empty suit.

The second is a politician named Regina Ip. In 2003, she was the most hated person in Hong Kong. She was the Secretary for Security, whose job it was to push a national security bill. The bill sparked a massive protest (back when our protests were very polite), it went down in flames, and Ip resigned. She has since rehabilitated herself as an obnoxious conservative politician who has been described as Hong Kong's Sarah Palin, but this is unfair to Sarah Pallin, because Sarah Palin has the benefit of actually being stupid. Ip wants the top job really really really badly. The desperation wafts off her in clouds. But while Beijing is happy to use her to drum up pro-establishment votes, it shows no sign of trusting her to do anything more, to her obvious chagrin. At least the schadenfreude is entertaining.

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 Post Posted: Mon Mar 27, 2017 1:42 am 
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Welp. As predicted, they've chosen Carrie Lam (the current no.2) to be the next Chief Executive. Lam basically distinguished herself to Beijing by being a loyal stooge all through the Umbrella Movement. She was the one they sent out to "negotiate" with the students - i.e. repeat the government line in front of the camera. She's the one they sent out to sell the doomed electoral reform package to the public. Everyone could tell she didn't want to be doing it, but she plastered that fake smile on her face and did it anyway, at considerable cost to her reputation. Some years ago she was seen as a capable and intelligent civil servant, but now she's seen as a hopelessly out-of-touch lapdog. How out-of-touch? Years of living with maids and chauffeurs has rendered her incapable of buying her own toilet paper.

Her chief rival was the old Financial Secretary John Tsang, a charismatic empty suit who despite being mediocre at running Hong Kong's finances (1), has managed to attract quite a following by being cosmopolitan, personable and cheering for the right football team. This automatically made him suspect to Beijing, so he wasn't allowed to win.

Ms. Lam "won" the election with 777 out of 1,200 votes. Only 1,200 people on a specially vetted Chief Executive Election Committee are allowed to vote; most of them vote for whoever they're told to vote for. There was little enthusiasm for Lam even amongst these loyalists; several of them complained openly that they were being pressured to support her. You know it's messed up when the participants in a rigged election complain that it is too rigged.

The number 7 sounds like a Cantonese swear word for "penis". If we can't choose our own leaders, we can at least mock them mercilessly with rude puns. Reporters laughed out loud when the vote counts were read out. Divine intervention elaborate protest prank?

(1) We are perhaps the only non oil-state government in the world that routinely winds up with more money than it knows what to do with, to the point where it's embarrassing. With the surpluses we're running we could have set up an universal pension, but John Tsang's vision has never extended any further than a bunch of lazy one-off tax rebates.

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 Post Posted: Fri Jul 14, 2017 4:34 am 
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Update.

Remember how last year Beijing muscled in and reinterpreted the constitution to kick out two newly elected lawmakers for botching their oaths?
There was a court case already in progress but the paranoiacs up north didn't trust our Court of Final Appeal so they pre-empted the ruling and went NO THIS IS WHAT THE LAW MEANS.

Well, there were four more pending court cases over oath-botchers and the court obviously felt compelled to apply Beijing's interpretation retroactively and has just disqualified them from office.

6 total purged.

Purges over political viewpoints are a thing now.

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 Post Posted: Wed Jul 19, 2017 1:47 am 
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Nine more lawmakers are at risk of being ousted from their seats, bringing the total to fifteen. The government says it won't sue them, but it doesn't have to. They can sit back as "patriotic" groups launch civil suits against them. Not all of them botched their oaths, some had waved banners or shouted slogans before or after reading their oaths as directed. But according to the Interpretation imposed by China's National People's Congress, this is also not allowed, and there is nothing to stop a judge from applying it retroactively. You can be punished today for an offence you committed before anybody said it was an offence. It's Alice in Wonderland legal reasoning from the School of The Law Says Whatever We Say It Says.

With these six and possibly more lawmakers gone, in the window before by-elections are held to replace them, pro-government lawmakers can change the procedural rules to eliminate the filibuster (we have a real filibuster that involves filing endless amendments to legislation to hold it up, not like the Americans who just get to yell "filibuster!"). Then the democrats will lose the only veto power they have, since they are already numerically in the minority due to our bizarre lobbyist-based election system.

Any ousted lawmakers will probably not be allowed to run for office again since the government has claimed the right to pre-disqualify any candidates based on insufficient loyalty.

It can only get worse.

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 Post Posted: Thu Aug 17, 2017 7:27 am 
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We are in the darkest timeline. North Korea. Charlottesville. And now this.

3 pro-democracy activists were jailed today for unlawful assembly during the 2014 Occupy protests. Joshua Wong, Alex Chow and Nathan Law were student leaders who led protesters in a charge over the barriers around Civic Square, kicking off the 79 day protest movement. The three had previously been handed community service sentences by a lower court, which they have already served. But the government thought their sentences weren't harsh enough and appealed to put them in prison. Does that count as double jeopardy in America? I guess that's allowed here?

Their sentences of 6-8 months appear to have been calculated to disqualify them from running in elections for the next 5 years. We have four year terms, and we just had elections last year.

Apparently Marco Rubio is pushing the Senate to vote for sanctions.

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 Post Posted: Thu Aug 17, 2017 3:55 pm 
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Double Jeopardy is when someone is found innocent of a crime, they can't be charged for that same crime again later on. I'm not sure what the law says about recharging someone for a crime they already served their sentence on.

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