Oh no – it’s the ‘fourth way’!

As a British colony-turned-Communist Chinese colony, Hong Kong does not do participatory government. Policy-making takes place behind closed doors; public consultations are rituals, and the semi-elected legislature is increasingly a rubber-stamp.

If you want to be involved in formal ‘politics’, you can either be in the pro-dem opposition camp, criticizing and protesting to no avail, or you can be a shoe-shining pro-Beijing loyalist rewarded with some ceremonial position. Either way, you will have no input.

Amazingly, a few people imagine that they might be able to play a role and have some influence by rising above and differentiating themselves from the pro-dem/pro-Beijing divide. This must take audacity and optimism – or maybe a mix of naivety and narcissism.

A HKFP article looks at Ronny Tong, a pro-democrat who tried to invent an independent, middle-of-the-road ‘third way’, but essentially handed himself on a plate to the United Front – they saw him coming a mile off. He is now a dependable Beijing apologist.

As that China Daily column makes clear, the CCP does not recognize any sort of ‘third way’: you are either a loyalist under its control, or an enemy that must be eliminated. Someone presenting themselves as neither, and implicitly as some sort of equal, might strike the Leninist power as a possibly useful conceited schmuck or a sinister imposter sent by hostile forces – there are no neutral players.

But where do you go if you genuinely feel you could contribute constructively to a better-run Hong Kong, and you want to do more than nag for the occasional bicycle path while maintaining some sort of conscience or integrity?

Perhaps former lawmaker Christine Loh is exploring a new lateral-thinking ‘third way’ – judging from the gist of a concept/book she and legal academic Richard Cullen have just produced.

A plug for No Third Person declares ‘The British version of the Hong Kong story no longer holds’. The introductory article goes on about this need for a fresh post-colonial ‘narrative’ – Hong Kong ‘rewriting its own affirmative story and intensifying its commitment to understanding the mainland’s development experience and political system’.

The article insists that ‘China’s writ does not run directly in Hong Kong’ as Beijing must work through our independent courts. It cautions against seeing Beijing’s concerns about national security as ‘a cloak to exert increased control’. It pleas for people to drop ‘Western’ assumptions of how we would be better off with representative government, though it also says ‘restarting negotiations with Beijing on electoral reform is also possible with full acceptance of “one country”’.

Maybe this leaves you bemused. Who even said the British story still holds? No-one. It’s irrelevant. But if you desperately yearn for a neo-third way that makes sense to the CCP without actually ditching your brain or selling your soul, at least too much, it’s a brave try. As if to say – I’m Beijing-friendly, but not a moron shoe-shiner, and I’m available!

Maybe it’ll work. Bet you it doesn’t.

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19 Responses to Oh no – it’s the ‘fourth way’!

  1. Stanley Lieber says:

    For two decades, I’ve held the view that Ms. Loh was overrated as a force for positive change in Hong Kong, but I allowed myself to be cowed into silence by friends who were amongst her most ardent supporters (mainly well-heeled expats 20 years her senior).

    It’s taken her a while, but she’s finally vindicated my dim view of her abilities and her commitment.

  2. Joe Blow says:

    Yep. Christine has gone full Quisling. She even got a pat on the head from Alex Lo. She is now fully and finally embracing the China co-prosperity sphere that will bring untold happiness to everyone and perhaps even a nice cushy job for Christine. Bravo.

  3. Donny Almond says:

    To get an insight into Christine Lohan have a look at her BBC interview while serving 689 and especially the part where she asked the camera to be switched off when her incompetency suddenly popped out of her blouse for all to see.

  4. Stephen says:

    Doesn’t Christine primarily live in the U.S. these days, possibly due to the paid surrogate controversy many moons ago ? Has a few years of the Trumpster put her off democracy ?

    So you’ve Ronnie and Christine switching sides (or moving to the non existent middle) and Frederick Fung cleverly deciding to split next months by election Pro-Dem vote. There is some serious politics going on and it’s just unfortunate we haven’t got any serious politicians.

  5. Henry says:

    I met Christine a long while ago. Asked her a (not too difficult question, to which her response was “I must be British” (or Briteesch” as she pronounced it.) I’m not, by the way.

  6. Cassowary says:

    Loh’s schtick’s always been that she’s got some sharp insight that will reframe the problem and lead to a clever solution if only people would see things her way. And for a while it made her seem smarter than everyone else. Here it’s like she’s trying to dismantle a nuclear submarine with a Swiss army knife. It’s the wrong scale entirely. Sorry Christine, there’s no cheat code to defuse Xi Jinping’s paranoiac ambition. You can’t turn this regime into a reasonable negotiating partner if only you said the right words to make them see how very useful you are. We fight or we capitulate. Those are our choices. Even you can’t think your way out of this one.

    Oh well. At least the air’s cleaner than it was 10 years ago.

  7. Your first paragraph shows absolutely no understanding of the East.

    As if hardly anyone in Hong Kong would give up a dollar for an argument about democracy.

    The Democratic Party had 89 members the last time I looked. Maybe you can make it 90!

    They would much sooner let dumb Westerners and others do their work in that department for them.

    As if colonialism gave them a voice.

    Give over. Please.

  8. Paul says:

    So where do we think Michael Tien sits on the “loyalist or enemy” scale? He does seem to have some intelligent things to say on some subjects which could hardly be described as Pro-Beijing or even pro-HKSARG.

  9. Old Newcomer says:

    I used to rather like Christine Loh – the only LegCo member ever to mention in an interview that she is partial to a spot of skinnydipping – but I have long given up hope of her ever achieving anything useful politically.

  10. che gui(vera) says:

    I think both Tiens will be first up against the wall when the revolution comes.

  11. Wiggett Wiggins says:

    Christine Loh, smug. Smug, Christine Loh.

  12. Gweilo Newcomer says:

    Christine Loh still trying to position herself as the Chief Executive of all our dreams. No thanks.

  13. Des Espoir says:

    Christine Loh’s article “Hongkongers urged to break colonial chains” (SCMP C2 1/10/18).

    Christine Loh’s article in SCMP about breaking colonial chains was superb hypocrisy…May I ask if this means that Ms Loh will be breaking colonial chains by handing back the Order of the British Empire which she received from the British Government?

    Interestingly, in the honours list in which her award was announced, each recipient had a citation saying why the honour was bestowed. The only person for whom no reason was given was actually Ms Loh. What secret and clandestine services was she carrying out for the British Government to win the award ? – services so confidential they could not be mentioned..?

  14. Queenie says:

    Henry says:
    October 3, 2018 at 2:44 pm
    I met Christine a long while ago. Asked her a (not too difficult question, to which her response was “I must be British” (or Briteesch” as she pronounced it.) I’m not, by the way.

    —-
    It is sort of the default assumption when someone is behaving like an obnoxious pr**k though, isn’t it?

  15. dimuendo says:

    Queenie

    Why is it “the default assumption” somebody is British if perceived by the asked to be acting as an obnoxious prick?

    Why indeed, according to you, is somebody an obnoxious prick for asking a question?

    Full disclosure: I am British, have never (to my knowledge) been described as an obnoxious prick although I have been described as difficult. Is the latter now forbidden? Is it wrong to seek to hold people, including Ms Loh, to account , even by asking “not particularly difficult” questions?

  16. Henry says:

    Hi Queenie
    You’ve obviously had more practise than most. You and George Adams should get together. I’d hate to see your love child.
    Love and kisses
    Henry

  17. Xiao Yao says:

    @Cassowary: Spot on!

  18. Din Gao says:

    Underground Front: The Chinese Communist Party in Hong Kong
    ISBN-13: 978-9888028948
    Christine Loh – 1 Feb 2010

    Waiting for the sequel…

    Could be a long wait…

  19. Guest says:

    How many usernames does NTSCMP have to use on these threads?

    Maybe it’s his attempt to make his numbers seem bigger than they really are.

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