HK approaches peak white-elephant orgy

In case you missed them, the public holiday brought us two little reminders of Hong Kong’s place in Beijing’s scheme of things.

Five days ago, our top officials were pleading ignorance of the opening date of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai Mega-Bridge. In classic condescending-Hong Kong-bureaucrat-lording-over-peasants fashion, Transport Secretary Frank Chan brushed away suggestions that the white-elephant project would open towards the end of the month. He – and the rest of us – has now been notified that the big day will be October 23.

We still don’t know whether this means traffic will start flowing on that day, or Chairman-of-Everything-for-Life Xi Jinping will simply cut a ribbon at a non-opening opening ceremony. So Frank could, in his own little inadvertent way, be correct, strictly speaking. The point is that our government knows no more about what is going on than anyone else.

The vast link, with three lanes in each direction, will be the World’s Biggest and Longest Slab of Concrete Over Sea in the History of the Universe. It will also almost certainly be embarrassingly under-used. Of the three cities it connects, only Zhuhai and its hinterland has capacity for extra traffic; Macau’s road network is totally full, as is downtown Hong Kong’s. Apart from buses going back and forth, and presumably some trucks carrying containers full of Hello Kitty phone cases, it is hard to see who will use it, especially given the ‘fast and convenient’ permit system for car owners.

The South China Morning Post laboriously describes the thing as part of the Greater Bay Area Hub-Zone Branding Concept. But it is actually the other way round – ‘Bay Area’ is an extension of the bridge project, which came first as a symbol if not means of integrating/absorbing Hong Kong into the Mainland.

This will be the second approx-HK$100 billion pointless-infrastructure fiasco inaugurated within a few weeks, following the West Kowloon High-Speed Rail Vibrating Express Line Hub (which at least has some potential use for those of us with an urgent desire to get to Wuhan). It also comes in the midst of the uproar about the Trillion-Dollar Sandpit Lantau Reclamation Wacko Proposal. We are surely hitting Peak Taxpayer-Wealth Destruction Orgy.

The second reminder of Hong Kong’s place in the Communist Party’s world comes from the peculiar goings-on at a gathering of Hong Kong’s pro-establishment tycoon-owned media bosses in Beijing.

They were supposedly summoned to celebrate the 40th anniversary of China’s opening. But they also received a lecture from a CCP propaganda chief demanding (if we read between the lines) that they censor or tailor their coverage to help keep Hong Kong from becoming a base for hostile forces that threaten the nation.

The media folk were told these comments were off the record. But their social-climbing name-dropping instincts naturally got the better of them, so it became a news story back in Hong Kong. The exact chain of events probably varied from one outlet to another, but in general it seems the panicky belated pre-emptive shoe-shining then kicked in, and the story was pulled. Realizing this made them look even more stupid, some ran a discreet version (not for the print edition, obviously).

Most observers assume that the CCP propaganda department is referring to the pro-independence/FCC issue. But its officials are probably thinking of how the local press could improve their understanding of ‘Xi Jinping News Thought’ with regard to all sorts of subjects, such as Xinjiang prison camps, speculation about factional squabbling among CCP elites, or analysis of China’s economic problems. Anything, really. Beijing is telling the Hong Kong establishment media to start getting used to closer guidance. Mainlandization means ‘you do what we say’.

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7 Responses to HK approaches peak white-elephant orgy

  1. Joe Blow says:

    There is a full moon on October 23. The opening of the Bridge to Zhuhai, Zhongshan and maybe more far couldn’t possibly have anything to do with feudal superstitious beliefs like fung shui or divination?

  2. Chris Maden says:

    There’s a cheeky little video cartoon in the middle of the SCMP’s article – well worth a look.

  3. Kap'n Konkrete says:

    You criticize the utility but zink of all zat Beton!!!!!

    Und der Stahl…

    und der Asphalt…

    Reinforced concrete was invented in 1849 by Joseph Monier. and the first concrete house was built by François Coignet in 1853. The first concrete reinforced bridge was designed and built by Joseph Monier in 1875.

    Zer French beats us to it! Scheisse.

    And come off it. Have you seen Hung Hom recently?

    Hong Kong doesn’t need any mainland interference to create a nightmare. It can do one all on its own.

  4. Chinese Netizen says:

    Wuhan. Give it a miss. You won’t regret it.

  5. Old Newcomer says:

    Now here’s an idea: since the Macau bridge will never be used much, demolish it and use all that concrete waste to create the East Lantau Council Estate. That way we will only have one white elephant/eyesore instead of two. Brilliant, huh?

  6. Reader says:

    Old Newcomer:
    ‘East Lantau Council Estate’
    Love it!

  7. Stephen says:

    @Old Newcomer,

    Unbeknown to Frank, however, “The Chairman of Everything for Life” is due to ejaculate on the ‘bridge to nowhere’ next week. Therefore it is to be revered not demolished.

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