FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

Hong Kong’s Enemy Within

The bedrock of any nation is its government — the manifestation of its sovereignty and protector of its people. But what if the personal loyalties of a substantial portion of civil servants do not lie with the sovereign? Worse, what if these allegiances are actually more to other powers — forces that are at odds with the sovereign and working to undermine its interests?

Naturally, such a situation would never be tolerated in any normal jurisdiction. Hong Kong, under One Country, Two Systems (OCTS), is not a normal jurisdiction. Its sovereign is China, but large swathes of the special administrative region’s power structure are not only alienated from it, but also feel attached to the Western values and worldview of their former colonial masters. That’s because under OCTS, decolonization has been merely nominal.

Under normal conditions, it would not be a problem if government officials maintained a strict, professional political neutrality, as they are required to do. But in times of extreme stress, like the present, the underlying tensions have burst forth with a vengeance. As the US Empire unleashes a full-spectrum war against China and a color revolution against Hong Kong, the local government has itself become arguably the biggest obstacle in the SAR to a resolution favorable to the sovereign. Over the past two months, it has been increasingly clear that many civil servants are actively or passively helping the very pro-”democracy” protesters and rioters that the administration is trying to curb.

The sickness of Hong Kong’s 180,000-strong government starts at the top. The Carrie Lam administration remains flat on its back, after its knockout two months ago by the blackshirt shocktroops of local Beijing-haters and their Anglo-American allies. As the democracy thugs rampage throughout Hong Kong, terrorizing ordinary folk, disrupting their lives and trashing the economy, all Lam has done is to keep turning the other cheek, offer “dialogue” with de facto terrorists and try to bribe them with cash handouts. That might have made some sense two months ago, but are laughable amid the hugely escalated violence today.

Essentially, top officers of the Hong Kong SAR government are neocolonial civil servants more conditioned to following and executing orders than providing bold, visionary leadership. As a veteran Hong Kong observer says: “Our government is dysfunctional. The top officers took decades to climb to where they are. Each is more concerned about retiring with a hefty pension than sticking their neck out, leaving a bad name in public … or with securing a final promotion. So don’t look for our government ‘leaders’ to calm this perfect storm.”

The problem of neocolonials then extends to all major departments of the SAR administration. How serious is it? A preliminary estimate has been circulating online recently. It places the percentages of pro-”democracy,” anti-Beijing personnel at:

+ Legislators 40%

+ Judges 80% +

+ Department of Justice 50%

+ Medical & Health 30% +

+ Teachers 50% +

+ Education officials 70% +

+ Media (RTHK) 90%

+ Social welfare 95%

+ Environment & Public Health 50%

+ Customs 30%

+ Fire Services 20%

+ Police Nearly 20%

If such figures are anywhere near the truth, they would help explain a phenomenon of fundamental importance: why Hong Kong, in the two decades since reunification with China, has drawn further away from its motherland rather than closer to it.

Government leadership (or lack of it) directly impacts all aspects of life in Hong Kong. When the “Cockroach Revolution” is over, those in charge of a needed reform & rectification campaign to follow will have to do a proper, thorough job. Real decolonization will be essential, if Hong Kong is to have a sound, constructive future as a genuine part of China.

Well-placed mainland friends have started to talk about a “second return to the motherland” for Hong Kong. Both Beijing and Hong Kong got key parts of the first return wrong — quite disastrously, as present events are proving. They must not repeat the mistake.

The author is a veteran journalist based in Hong Kong. He contributes to 21SilkRd in Facebook.

More articles by:
Weekend Edition
August 07, 2020
Friday - Sunday
John Davis
The COVID Interregnum
Louis Yako
20 Postcard Notes From Iraq: With Love in the Age of COVID-19
Patrick Cockburn
War and Pandemic Journalism: the Truth Can Disappear Fast
Eve Ottenberg
Fixing the COVID Numbers
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Every Which Way to Lose
Paul Street
Trump is Not Conceding: This is Happening Here
Robert Hunziker
The World on Fire
Rob Urie
Neoliberal Centrists and the American Left
John Laforge
USAF Vet Could Face ‘20 Days for 20 Bombs’ for Protest Against US H-Bombs Stationed in Germany
Andrew Levine
Clyburn’s Complaint
Kavaljit Singh
Revisiting the Idea of Pigou Wealth Tax in the Time of Covid-19
Paul Ryder
Here Come the 1968 Mistakes Again
T.J. Coles
Fighting Over Kashmir Could Blow Up the Planet
David Macaray
Haven’t We All Known Guys Who Were Exactly like Donald Trump?
Conn Hallinan
What’s Driving the Simmering Conflict Between India and China
Joseph Natoli
American Failures: August, 2020
Ramzy Baroud
Apartheid or One State: Has Jordan Broken a Political Taboo?
Bruce Hobson
The US Left Needs Humility to Understand Mexican Politics
David Rosen
Easy Targets: Trump’s Attacks on Transgendered People
Ben Debney
The Neoliberal Virus
Evelyn Leopold
Is Netanyahu Serious About Annexing Jordan Valley?
Nicky Reid
When the Chickens Came Home to Roost In Portlandistan
Irma A. Velásquez Nimatuj
The Power of the White Man and His Symbols is Being De-Mystified
Kathy Kelly
Reversal: Boeing’s Flow of Blood
Brian Kelly
Ireland and Slavery: Framing Irish Complicity in the Slave Trade
Ariela Ruiz Caro
South American Nations Adopt Different COVID-19 Stategies, With Different Results
Ron Jacobs
Exorcism at Boston’s Old West Church, All Hallows Eve 1971
J.P. Linstroth
Bolsonaro’s Continuous Follies
Thomas Klikauer – Nadine Campbell
Right-Wing Populism and the End of Democracy
Dean Baker
Trump’s Real Record on Unemployment in Two Graphs
Michael Welton
Listening, Conflict and Citizenship
Nick Pemberton
Donald Trump Is The Only One Who Should Be Going To School This Fall
John Feffer
America’s Multiple Infections
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
Thinking Outside the Social Media Echo Chamber
Andrea Mazzarino
The Military is Sick
John Kendall Hawkins
How the Middle Half Lives
Graham Peebles
The Plight of Refugees and Migrant Workers under Covid
Robert P. Alvarez
The Next Coronavirus Bill Must Protect the 2020 Election
Greg Macdougall
Ottawa Bluesfest at Zibi: Development at Sacred Site Poses Questions of Responsibility
CounterPunch News Service
Tensions Escalate as Logging Work Commences Near Active Treesits in a Redwood Rainforest
Louis Proyect
The Low Magic of Charles Bukowski
Gloria Oladipo
Rural America Deserves a Real COVID-19 Response
Binoy Kampmark
Crossing the Creepy Line: Google, Deception and the ACCC
Marc Norton
Giants and Warriors Give Their Workers the Boot
David Yearsley
Celebration of Change
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail