Wednesday, 21 March 2012

All Over Bar the Shouting as Group Think Takes a Firm Grip


A quick look at today’s South China Morning Post confirms the inevitable, which is that Hong Kong will have to get used to five, possibly ten, years of Leung Chun Ying, who will, I predict, turn out to be just as malleable if brighter than the first two disasters, Tung Chee Hwa and Sir Donald Tsang Yam Kuen.

The headline of the front-page article (“Beijing Lobbies in Push for Leung Victory”) pretty much sums it up. Henry Tang supporters are being leaned on to switch horses in midstream for the sake of stability and “smoothness”.

Among all the predictable tales of Leung getting a bigger photo and bigger font than his rival in yesterday’s Wen Wei Po and Tang getting no photo at all in its sister paper Ta Kung Pao – sure signs for the experienced China-watcher, as well as indeed for a kindergarten pupil who hasn’t fallen asleep on its tiny desk, of Beijing’s anointing – was a gem of the type one was beginning to think might be going out of fashion as the Communists buy into the modern craze for lacing their vocabulary, if not their thinking, with ugly words like “transparency” and “accountability”.

Building on Prime Minister Wen Jiabao’s recent comment that he and his mates would like to see elected a candidate with strong public support, a source close to Beijing is quoted as saying, “The central government is now expressing our (emphasis added) views and concerns through various channels and platforms.”

Surely some mistake – the shadowy fellow meant to say “expressing their views and concerns”? I don’t think so. Some habits die hard. You can have all the talk you want of “governance” and “transparency” – not least, because no one knows what they mean – but at the end of the day there’s nothing that marks out a total system quite as well as the right to think other people’s thoughts for them.

After all the fun of the run-up to the non-election, chances are that CY Leung will turn out to be merely a sheep in wolf’s clothing.       

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