“Hong Kong: The Crisis Deepens” by Frank Ching

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"The Hong Kong administration is facing a deepening governance crisis as mass protests continue over the extradition issue and violence escalates. While the bill allowing extradition to mainland China has been suspended, the government refuses to withdraw it and now, protesters have added to their demands, such as a commission of inquiry to look into mounting clashes between police and protesters. 

The government has shown an inability even to discharge routine, yet highly symbolic, functions with an international impact. Secretary for Justice Teresa Cheng, who was billed as the guest of honor at the celebration of Canada’s national day, failed to show up for the event. She did not notify Jeff Nankivell, Canada’s consul general, of her inability to attend until after the reception had begun.

Appearances at such diplomatic events are rotated among the top four officials in Hong Kong: the Chief Executive, the Chief Secretary, the Financial Secretary and the Secretary for Justice.

That day, June 27, the Department of Justice was literally under siege, with hundreds of protesters encamped outside urging the secretary not to prosecute those who had been arrested since June 9, when a million people took to the streets to oppose the extradition bill, which had been initiated by Chief Executive Carrie Lam. Ms. Cheng, who had strongly supported the bill, declined to meet the protesters.

Staff in the department who left for lunch did not return and reportedly were told to work from home in the afternoon. But the secretary was not seen to leave the building.

The reception was to celebrate the 152nd anniversary of Confederation July 1 and, coincidentally, to mark the 22nd anniversary of Hong Kong’s unification with the People’s Republic of China.

In her absence, Consul General Nankivell had the stage to himself. He delivered a lively talk, shifting deftly from English into French or Cantonese, eliciting much applause. At the end, he raised his glass and declared, “… and I now have the solo privilege of asking you to join me in a toast to the people of the People’s Republic of China and the people of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. Cheers!”

While the support rating of Chief Executive Lam has fallen to lower than that of any other Chief Executive since the handover in 1997, that of the Justice Secretary has dropped even more.

According to a survey held between July 2 and 8, while Lam’s rating was at 33.4 out of 100, Cheng’s was 21.6, with 68 percent of respondents opposed to her remaining in office. Similarly, only 21 percent of respondents wanted Secretary for Security John Lee to remain. Cheng and Lee were the two officials responsible for shepherding the bill through the legislature.

The surveys were taken in the week immediately after the storming of the Legislative Council building, during which there was widespread criticism of protestors for causing property damage.

Almost anywhere else, a government with such numbers would fall, or at least the key officials would resign. In Hong Kong, however, it isn’t that easy because the Chief Executive is appointed by Beijing and, according to media reports, the Chinese government has rejected her offer to resign, telling her to remain in office and clean up the mess she made.

But the Lam administration may not be up to the task. In fact, it is avoiding sensitive issues. A national anthem bill, making it a crime to disrespect China’s anthem, has also been suspended.

The civil service can run on autopilot but police morale is a grave concern. While protest marches are still peaceful, they are often followed by clashes between protesters and the police, often leading to injuries on both sides.

The Junior Police Officers Association, which represents the bulk of the 31,000-strong police force, has in a statement said that management “should not assign them tasks that may result in injuries or deploy them to dangerous places to minimize their occupational risks.” Otherwise, the association said, it would “seek legal advice to find solutions that will better guarantee the safety of officers.”

Last Sunday, [July 21], another massive anti-extradition march was held. Protesters’ main demand was a commission of inquiry to look into the background and reasons for growing clashes between police and protesters. Former chief justice Andrew Li is one of its proponents, but Chief Executive Lam has rejected the idea.

Lam’s closest advisers, including Bernard Chan, convenor of the Executive Council, have said in recent days that the chief executive would make no more concessions. Evidently, an inquiry to seek the truth is considered a concession by Lam and her advisers."

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20 Responses to “Hong Kong: The Crisis Deepens” by Frank Ching

  1. walrus says:

    I am concerned for the people of Hong Kong. The one thing the Chinese will not tolerate is political disorder because Hong Kong is potentially an example for the rest of China.
    I would therefore hope for a negotiated settlement that preserves face. This is not a time for Western SJW’s to egg the kids on either.
    The alternative is perhaps Two hundred thousand young hong kong Chinese in prison camps………or worse. The Chinese are quite ruthless in dealing with potential insurrection and couldn’t care less about western hand wrinklier, sanctions and congressional resolutions.

  2. Godfree Roberts says:

    ‘Almost anywhere else, a government with such numbers would fall, ‘
    Except the USA and the UK and France and…

  3. tjfxh says:

    Early warning signal? This incident is starting to look like a revolution.
    Sputnik International, Chinese PLA Holds Riot Drills Near Hong Kong as Protests Escalate

  4. Eliot says:

    I do not know China, but in my ignorance, I assume they would trade the cities wealth and prestige for security. They would sacrifice the whole enterprise.

  5. Jack says:

    The people of Hong Kong don’t want the jackboot of CCP. More than 2 million people out on the street. That’s the equivalent of 70 million Americans out on the streets protesting on a single day. They want no part of CCP authoritarianism. How will Xi and his totalitarian politburo respond?
    We’re seeing the early signs. Foment violence and then crackdown with repression and violence.
    https://twitter.com/SCMPNews/status/1153221895115821056?s=19
    The world is witness to a great people demanding freedom from CCP totalitarianism. A Tiananmen moment is approaching!
    If Trump wants to be the man who he thinks he is then he will draw a red line on a massacre of the people of Hong Kong. He will inform Xi in no uncertain terms that the US will become an implacable enemy of the CCP if that happens.
    It is time we stop conflating the Chinese people with the CCP. Many people in China would like to see the end of the CCP thugs.
    https://quillette.com/2019/07/22/when-the-lion-wakes-the-global-threat-of-the-chinese-communist-party/

  6. b says:

    “Secretary for Justice Teresa Cheng, who was billed as the guest of honor at the celebration of Canada’s national day, failed to show up for the event. ”
    Last time I looked there was this tiny issue of the Huawei founders daughter imprisoned in Canada on Washington’s behalf. That a Chinese functionary would not attend anything Canada might well be a consequence of that.
    “While the support rating of Chief Executive Lam has fallen to lower than that of any other Chief Executive since the handover in 1997, that of the Justice Secretary has dropped even more.”
    That was so much better in the glory 99 years of British absolute rule over Hong Kong. People could vote out the governor … Oh wait, could they?
    Who btw voted for Boris Johnson as PM?
    “The civil service can run on autopilot but police morale is a grave concern. While protest marches are still peaceful, they are often followed by clashes between protesters and the police, often leading to injuries on both sides.”
    “Peaceful protesters” who storm the Legco, attack police lines, defile Chinese state symbols and generally riot.
    This is just another paltry color revolution attempt organized by the various U.S. services. Note that the leaders of these marches have all visited the U.S. and were welcome at the state department.
    Hong Kong was once important and got rich as it was the only door to China. That has changed. A dozen Chinese cities are now bigger and richer than Hong Kong. All are open to the outside. Hong Kong lost its gateway function. It is now just one of many other Chinese cities and its begging for a special status is no longer justifiable.
    If Hong Kong insists on being a pain in the ass, China will simply stop doing business with it. Xi Jinping seems to take that route.
    Let’s see how long it can survive without the mainland behind it.

  7. Jack says:

    You should ask Xi and the CCP polltburo why they care so much about HK that they’ll be willing to massacre them to comply to their dictatorship? The people of HK are protesting because they don’t want that.

  8. b says:

    SOME of the 7.5 million people in Hong Kong are protesting.
    The majority does not want colonial flags or problems with a larger China.
    Every election in Hong Kong has shown that the so called “pro-democracy” parties represent only a minority. Rioting will not change that.

  9. John Minehan says:

    I would suspect the truth lies somewhere between Gordon Chang and “b.”
    I recall thinking the PRC’s government would fall in 1989, before Tiananmen Square. I was wrong.
    Let’s see . . . .

  10. John Minehan says:

    “Every election in Hong Kong has shown that the so called ‘pro-democracy’ parties represent only a minority. Rioting will not change that.”
    But it may indicate that **ENOUGH** people are now willing to act. As the American revolution demonstrates, it does not take a majority to get change, “but rather an irate, tireless minority keen to set brush fires in people’s minds,” per Sam Adams.
    I’m not sure that exists here, so Let’s see . . . .

  11. walrus says:

    If the issue about Hong Kong freedom is seen as increasing the possibility of a color revolution in China, the Government will kill every living thing in Hong Kong and then destroy the city as a warning to others.

  12. Jim S says:

    b,
    Outside observers ought to study carefully whether this is a color revolution or not; however, it’s an error to conflate “pro-democracy” with the desire for China to live up to its promises vis-à-vis Hong Kong and thereby dismiss the latter out of hand. Irrespective of the consequences it’s simply bad analysis. You haven’t come out and flatly said it, but you are very close.
    Back to color revolutions: this is an important discussion. MoA and SST have done sterling work covering the conspiracy against Syria; The Saker’s Vineyard has done likewise for Ukraine and Russia; I doubt anyone who regularly follows you or Col. Lang or The Saker has any illusions about color revolutions. However:
    – If all color revolutions are “pro-democratic”, are all pro-democratic movements “color revolutions”?
    – Are all pro-democratic movements therefore cynical conspiracies?
    – Are pro-democratic movements cynical because democracy is fundamentally corrupt?
    – If democracy = bad, is communism = good? (And a system where the Party nominates all candidates in all elections is merely going through the motions, however it describes itself.)
    This is a ridiculous chain and might be accused as a strawman, except it seems to be where some commentators are headed. The reader may be advised to spend some time considering it.
    Even in the case of Syria I believe you yourself have pointed out that many of the issues taken up by the jihadis were valid. I don’t believe President Assad is so foolish as to declare victory and rest on his laurels: all of the original issues are still outstanding, compounded by new issues associated with an insurrection. Likewise with Ukraine–take away the color revolution and you still have an extremely troubled nation. To deny this is to do violence to the peoples of Syria and Ukraine.
    All of this is to say that merely declaring “color revolution” is not grounds for rushing to a conclusion.
    Interestingly there doesn’t seem to be much cross-talk between Chinese dissidents and the West. I suppose with over a billion Mandarin speakers they don’t lack for conversation partners, censorship notwithstanding–and talk they do if you know where to look. Perhaps it’s for the best: in the end this is going to be decided by the Chinese themselves–HKers and mainlanders. But if the Party has no fear of foreign military power, it is still extremely sensitive to world public opinion.

  13. turcopolier says:

    walrus
    I completely agree. Hog Kong delenda est would be the watchword.

  14. walrus says:

    I have an image of the alleged secret British telex reporting what happened in Tienanmin square. 10,000 dead. Four waves of soldiers, progressively using more force. The last wave was with ball and bayonets. What was left was a bloody pulp, including some soldiers from the first three waves, after the tanks and APC’s drove over them. The remains were incinerated and the ashes flushed down the drains. The 27th Army did it, I think they were from the far west and were therefore insensitive to “democracy” and local politics.
    Hong Kong should consider that precedent.

  15. Jack says:

    Yeah. “SOME” of the people protesting happen to be a quarter of the population out on the streets of HK on a single day.
    What do you think would happen if 20 million Germans were out on the streets of Berlin, Munich, Frankfurt and Hamburg protesting their government? I’m sure if they were demanding a proletarian revolution you wouldn’t label them a “pain in the ass”. Just like you believe Venezuela had a Golden Age under the Chavistas as their economy imploded by half.
    You believe that President for Life Xi Jinping would just “stop doing business” with HK if the people continue to be a “pain in the ass” by protesting CCP authoritarianism? Either you’re naive or disingenuous. I’m willing to bet you that Xi will not hesitate to murder tens of thousands in HK to subjugate them. The people of HK would be quite happy to have the CCP thugs stop doing business with them and leave them to their own destiny. There’s no reason to doubt they could follow a similar success story of Taiwan.
    BTW, how’s your CCP social credit score? Getting an A on Xi Thought?

  16. Jack says:

    The CCP is ruthless when it comes to any challenge to their monopoly on power. Xi has just completed a domestic coup by removing all his competitors from any levers of power and becoming President for Life. He’s preparing the PLA to suppress the people in HK and their authoritarian playbook includes a massacre of many, many people.
    That’s why it is important for Trump to inform Xi that any massacre in HK would be the responsibility of the CCP and that would be a serious red line.
    https://www.wsj.com/amp/articles/chinas-military-keeps-close-watch-on-hong-kong-protests-11563987042

  17. Fred says:

    Jack,
    Oooh, a “red line”! Nice double entendre there. Just what is Trump going to do, ask for a declaration of war against China for suppressing an internal revolt in a former British colonial city? He should be directing the FBI to look investigate all the recent Chinese imigrants and work and student visa holders. Of course given the great examples of FBI counter-intellegence agents that has been on display these past two years I wouldn’t expect much in the way of results.

  18. Jack says:

    Fred,
    Trump doesn’t need a declaration of war. That would be foolish. But if the people of HK are massacred then he can sanction the top CCP officials who have stashed large amounts of their loot in the US. I would also advocate blue peacock’s suggestion to ban US investors from financing CCP linked entities. He should also use his bully pulpit to highlight the treatment of the 2 million Uigyurs in concentration camps.

  19. different clue says:

    I wonder if those Hong Kong “protesters” who stormed the Legco, etc. etc. were undercover false flag Communist China agents and provocateurs . . . sent to “paint a picture” for gullible anti-Americanitic culture-racist anti-Americanites overseas.

  20. Jim Ticehurst says:

    walrus…That’s the Bloody Truth Mate..I have images as a child in the 1950s of actual film footage on TV in Black and White…Of Maos Purge in China…and Seeing a Big Hut..and The Chi-Coms…were bring person after person out of the Hut..Hands tied to poles behind their Back…and Then being Shot…I have despised Communists ever since then…That’s the Real China..With Nixons help (Kissinger) they came a Very long Way..When they feel like it…Games Over…And Yes…Hong Kong should Consider that Precedent….

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