Not Over Yet

26 November 2019


Cogito Ergo Non Serviam

ChiComs Side-Stepping Hong Kong Liaison Office


The Chinese Communist Party has realized in recent months that it lacks the ability to manage the ongoing strife in Hong Kong. The Liaison Office of the Central People's Government in Hong Kong has traditionally managed relations with Beijing, but it now appears that a different operation in Shenzhen has been set up recently to allow for a more effective response to the people's demands for freedom. With a disastrous election behind them in which they lost control of 17 of the territory's 18 districts, the Chinese Communists are considering new personnel in Shenzhen to handle the response to the defeat and to the continued protests.

The Hong Kong official government has lost all credibility with its people, but at the same time, Chief Executive Carrie Lam has no credibility in Beijing either. The only reason she has not been sacked is a matter of reputation for President Xi. If she had to go, it would reflect badly on him. This is aggravated by the ineptitude of the Liaison Office. "The Liaison Office has been mingling with the rich people and mainland elites in the city and isolated itself from the people," a Chinese official told Reuters. "This needs to be changed." Reading between the lines, that means that the office has lost the confidence of Beijing.

Reuters reports, "The crisis center is located at the secluded Bauhinia Villa, a property owned by the Hong Kong Liaison Office, according to sources and official media, and named after the orchid that adorns the Hong Kong flag and currency. The villa, located just across Hong Kong's border with the mainland, has served as a crisis center before: Senior Chinese officials stayed at the resort during the pro-democracy 'Occupy Central' protests that rocked Hong Kong in 2014." It acts as a command center with daily written reports sent to President Xi.

The wire service went on to quote Sonny Lo, a long-time political commentator in Hong Kong."The Hong Kong situation has increasingly made Beijing authorities uncomfortable." They want security and no media attention, which is why "they select[ed] Shenzhen rather than Hong Kong as a kind of parallel headquarters in dealing with the Hong Kong crisis."

As the election results rolled in, the ineffectiveness of the Liaison Office became clear, even to those in the Beijing information bubble. The head of the Liaison Office, Wang Zhimin, may lose his job. Between a new head for the office and the move of operational command to Shenzhen, the Beijing government is going to be able to react to the upcoming protests.

Based on the way President Xi has treated with Uighur population in the West, the way he has centralized power into his own hands, and the way the Beijing government has tried to weasel out of its commitments under the 1997 treaty that gave Hong Kong to China, the response is going to be a hard-line one. Whether it is violent remains to be scene, but Beijing is in no mind to negotiate.

© Copyright 2019 by The Kensington Review, Jeff Myhre, PhD, Editor. No part of this publication may be reproduced without written consent. Produced using Ubuntu Linux.

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