Hong Kong used to be the can-do capital of the world. Few economic achievements seemed beyond the reach of its plucky people and savvy entrepreneurs. Its public infrastructure was a marvel. The place exuded unbounded vitality and irrepressible self-confidence. Everything worked. Facilitating their feats were the British, who ran a superficially benign and reasonably efficient colonial dictatorship.
Came time in 1997 to return the prime booty of the Opium Wars to China, the Brits left behind a quasi-democracy designed to be dysfunctional. Against Beijing-friendly forces were entrenched a formidable coalition of Beijing-haters and mentally colonized West-is-besters. Naturally, the latter have been discreetly supported by the Anglo-American Empire — a fact Hong Kongers are too “polite” to point out forcefully even today.
The latest reminder of the territory’s predicament came this week, when carelessness on the part of the new Justice Minister over illegal structures at her home gave anti-Beijing forces an opening to fan a public scandal. Incredibly, the incident was a bizarre rerun of the controversy that crippled C.Y. Leung politically as he took office as HK’s Chief Executive five years ago. Coming after a series of battles typically manufactured by the opposition coalition, the new tempest prompted Michael Chugani, a prominent local newspaper columnist, to write:
“North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has a nuclear button. US President Donald Trump says he has a bigger one. We in Hong Kong have a self-destruct button. Kim and Trump haven’t used theirs yet but we use ours regularly. We press it first thing in the morning to blow ourselves up.
“When I wake up every morning, I put on the news. I see and hear people talk about co-location, political persecution, politicised judges, police fury over the jailing of comrades, Beijing’s heavy hand, and lately even illegal structures – a long-buried phrase that has returned to haunt us. It’s always the same people repeating the same points, which pass for news.”
Billing themselves as “pro-democracy,” this anti-Communist alliance has paralyzed governance in Hong Kong for two decades with its relentlessly obstructionist behavior. Such sustained, slow-motion suicide has dropped HK substantially down the global rankings of human accomplishment, sparked deep social divisions, and revived among the middle class a desire to emigrate. Above all, the internecine conflict has disenchanted many young HKers, turning them into rebels without a cause. Politically, their loss of direction and hope has been channeled by the pan anti-Communists into mindless, know-nothing opposition to both the local government and the central authorities in Beijing, worsening the tensions. Meanwhile, during the same 20 years, China achieved historically unprecedented progress and prosperity — which bypassed HK almost completely, thanks to the faux- democrats’ bone-deep Sinophobia and tireless efforts to segregate the two.
The anti-Communists’ control of the key sectors of education, the legal system and mainstream media, plus the protections of One Country Two Systems, ensured they would continue their depredations without let or hindrance. The intensification of their antics recently has turned political life in HK into a never-ending farce.
Summed up commentator Chugani:
“Our first post-colonial Chief Executive was forced out. Our second was jailed. Our third was so loathed he couldn’t seek a second term. And now we have Carrie Lam, who expected the political honeymoon her predecessors never got but is instead getting her teeth knocked out. Some are already saying she is the second coming of C.Y. Leung.”