While the Chinese leadership’s paranoia about splittists is real, the official panic about Hong Kong independence is fake. There is no contradiction in this. Andy Chan and his HK National Party exemplify the current constraints on the Communist Party’s control over what Hong Kong people can say or do. It is not Andy Chan who must be crushed, but the rights and freedoms Andy Chan enjoys.
But of course they can’t say that. So the poor schmucks at the bottom of the power structure – the Hong Kong administration – must fabricate yet more freaking-out over ‘independence’ at every available opportunity. As it happens, a handful of students start the new school year with a pro-independence phrase or banner on campus, and Chief Executive Carrie Lam and her colleagues must press the Instant Loud Orchestrated Shock and Fury button.
Carrie announces that she is ‘heartbroken’ by scurrilous separatist sentiment. She invites us to believe that the scamps concerned are being unfair to other students and hints yet again that mere talk of self-determination is in some way illegal. She repeats Chinese officials’ description of the concept of Hong Kong independence as ‘absurd’ – though simultaneously a threat to national security.
If anything is absurd, it is all the contrived alarm and phony emotional distress. But the atrociously unconvincing dramatics are aimed at her bosses higher up the party-state’s chain of command.
Perhaps Carrie consulted David Bandursky’s invaluable new self-help guide, What to Say When You’re a Party Official. The willingness to publicly speak idiotic BS with a straight face is the Communist Party’s most elementary loyalty test. Her predecessor CY Leung of course fervently believed what he said, which dangerously creeped Hongkongers out. Once again, we briefly imagine a twinge of sympathy for Carrie coming on, but it passes.
(As Churchill dismissed looming profundities, ‘…it was after dinner and I Let it go’.)