Rule of Law ends at science parks

This countdown to the Kim-Trump meeting is reminiscent of long-ago hyped-up boxing clashes – the ‘Rumble in the Jungle’, the ‘Thrilla in Manila’, and now (fingers crossed) the ‘Mega-bore in Singapore’.

On the subject of fights, Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam has apparently knocked Science Park Chair Fanny Law out cold. It’s unusual for disharmony among bureaucrat/establishment insiders to become public – though Law has a reputation for abrasiveness.

It would be nice to think that Carrie might celebrate her first year in office with a purge of space-wasting ‘elites’. But even the shuffling of public bodies’ figureheads requires the approval of Beijing’s overseers, and they want unity and calm. (And anyway, who do you replace them with except more ideas-free shoe-shining dotards?)

What’s going on? It could be that the CCP want a more dependable stooge to supervise the tech-park empire, which is going to include the Lok Ma Chau Toxic Mud Shenzhen Innovation Hub-Zone Thing. As the South China Morning Post story points out, the Hong Kong government is spending billions on down-the-toilet ‘Tech’ subsidies, and Xi Jinping himself has decreed that Hong Kong get further into ‘Tech’.

‘Tech’ is also of course the main mission of the Greater Bay Area Vision Hub Thing, which seems designed to absorb Hong Kong at least psychologically/symbolically into a larger cross-border entity. And, needless to say, ‘Tech’ is a competitive weakness for Hong Kong. The more Hong Kong focuses on ‘Tech’ rather than on industries that thrive on its non-Mainland strengths (rule of law, a free press, etc), the more the city’s ‘separate’ economy and identity will be diminished. Which is the plan.

On the other hand, if Carrie or her minders want to indulge in a little populism, there is no shortage of front-men at under-performing public bodies to fire. The poor wretch Fred Ma, titular leader of the once-flawless-now-deteriorating MTR, cursed by hot weather and forgetting to pray, would probably (secretly) love to be sacked from his sinecure.

 

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