There was a time when ‘Hong Kong independence’ didn’t exist. So Chinese officials had to invent it. Chief Executive-at-the-time CY Leung highlighted the little-known concept as a looming danger in a policy address three years ago. If the plan was to fabricate or exaggerate a subversive threat, it worked. To many people who had never previously thought about it, separatism sounded like a brilliant and appealing, if idealistic or theoretical, solution to Hong Kong’s problems.
It became one of Beijing’s most popular local ideas!
But having contrived ‘pro-independence’, the mighty Chinese Communist Party must now fight and destroy it – and it almost looks as if they are panicking in fear of the bogey man.
Beijing and its local puppets have used supposed pro-independence thought-crimes to bar radicals from the Legislative Council. And they have now choreographed an absurd mass-freak-out (including an inane ‘shocked’ government statement) over academic Benny Tai, who mentioned independence as one of many hypothetical scenarios at a conference no-one would ever have heard of in Taiwan.
The United Front would keep special tabs on Benny for his role in Occupy (he still awaits trial for somehow instigating the Umbrella uprising) and as a chicken to be tormented to warn Hong Kong’s monkey-academics to keep in line. As a special target for demonization, he is a crap choice – a harmless podgy intellectual – but the CCP seem desperate.
Benny says he is being followed, and that if he crosses the border, it will be against his will whatever he apparently says at the time. This would once have sounded over-dramatic, but is now sensible.
Some good background to all this is here. A key point is that the government insists that talk of independence ‘goes against the Basic Law’ or similar wording suggesting it is illegal, but it has never prosecuted anyone. This is because to propose independence is merely to propose a change to the constitution (or to CCP policy, or to whatever) – it’s simply an opinion. Another is that Benny, disqualified lawmakers and many others who get the full United Front orchestrated mouth-froth treatment are not even proposing independence.
Beijing’s local officials are going overboard in whipping up hatred of dastardly splittists and their ideas. ‘Independence’ clearly scares the CCP (perhaps they are dimly becoming aware that it is a de facto reality in Taiwan), and they are visibly anxious to implement Article 23 or other national security measures that will set a precedent for the criminalization of opinions in Hong Kong (and thus censorship). The more agitated and impatient they get, the harder and more counter-productive it will be.