Chinese Government Decides It's Done Fucking Around, Forces Hong Kong To Engage In 'Patriot-Only' Elections
from the flag-humping-now-mandatory dept
Hong Kong is now just China. The last pretense of the region being anything but another Chinese province has been washed away.
It’s been a steady erosion since China took possession of the region from the British government back in 1997. Despite an agreement to steer clear of direct control of Hong Kong’s government until 2047, the Chinese government immediately began meddling, amping things up when Hong Kong residents engaged in sustained pro-democracy protests.
Over the past couple of years, the Chinese government has turned protesting into a crime with life sentences attached and restyled the Hong Kong government in its own image. It has also used the greatest excuse ever invented for governmental power grabs — “national security” — to make it easier to jail opponents, eject problematic government officials, and control the flow of information, along with the information itself.
Control of the internet has been handed over to Hong Kong police, an entity which is entirely subservient to its new masters. As if that wasn’t enough, the Chinese government, with the assistance of the complicit remnants of Hong Kong’s government, converted the burgeoning police state into a literal police state by making a police commissioner the region’s Secretary of Security (the same police commissioner who presided over numerous acts of violence against pro-democracy activists) and elevating the former Secretary of Security to fully-compromised Chief Executive Carrie Lam’s second-in-command.
The latest move — enabled by a law passed earlier this year — cuts Hong Kong residents out of the election loop. Only certain people are allowed to vote for their new representatives and officials, and they’ve been preapproved by the Chinese government.
Hong Kong’s political elite began selecting a powerful committee on Sunday which will choose the city’s next leader and nearly half the legislature under a new “patriots only” system imposed by Beijing.
The first poll under that new system — carrying the slogan “Patriots rule Hong Kong” — took place on Sunday as members of the city’s ruling classes cast votes for a 1,500-seat Election Committee.
In December, that committee will appoint 40 of the city’s 90 legislators — 30 others will be chosen by special interest groups and just 20 will be directly elected. The following year, it will pick Hong Kong’s next Beijing-approved leader.
China is at least being honest about why it’s instituted a new election system that ensures China will be well-represented in Hong Kong’s government.
Beijing insists the new political system is more representative and will ensure “anti-China” elements are not allowed into office.
Carrie Lam, the current head of Hong Kong, made it clear she agrees with the new system inflicted on her region with a statement that sounds like it was crafted by a North Korean government official/Donald Trump speechwriter:
Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam told reporters Sunday: “The Election Committee elections are very meaningful as it is the first elections held after we have improved the electoral system to ensure that only patriots can take office.”
A caricature in a political satire couldn’t have said it better. And that’s all Lam is at this point. Unfortunately, she presides over a region that has to pay for this buffoonish kowtowing with their lives and liberties. To be sure, self-preservation is a powerful motivating force for most politicians, but Lam’s abdication of her role as a servant of Hong Kong residents means people are going to end up dead at the hands of her new overseers.
And, to be sure, Lam herself wants to live an unencumbered life, but she’s going to have to step over the bodies of the “non-patriots” she used to serve to do it. The same can be said for everyone in the Hong Kong government who has decided it’s better to serve oppressors than fight to live free.
This bogus, jingoistic election is the end of Hong Kong as we know it. China will be more than happy to profit from the region’s immense wealth, but it’s never going to restore rights to the people who made Hong Kong what it is.