It seems quaint now, but there was a time when Hong Kong’s pro-democrats shrieked at the slightest apparent infringement of local rights and freedoms. They warned that the city was like a live frog that doesn’t realize it is (for some unexplained reason) in a pot of water being heated very slowly.
We don’t hear the frog-in-pot cliché anymore. Beijing’s officials are now openly in charge, and it’s hard to keep up with their daily efforts to force Hong Kong into line with Leninist party-state requirements.
The politicized rewriting of school textbooks – a hackneyed authoritarian cliché in itself – is underway. The local education bureaucrats are desperate to find incorrect phrasing to redraft, apparently objecting to ‘Hong Kong is in southern China’ as being insufficiently accurate-while-patriotic, leading to mockery, which in turn will lead to hypersensitivity.
And ‘national security’ laws are on the way. In Communist Party fashion, this will mean the banning of words and ideas, not just subversive or seditious acts. Indeed, as a small unarmed populace of a relatively confined enclave, Hongkongers almost certainly have no capacity to materially endanger national security even if they want to.
Chief Executive Carrie Lam does not rule out the prosecution of people calling for an end to one-party dictatorship. To confuse the issue, Beijing’s top man here says that ‘one-party dictatorship’ is not actually in the nation’s constitution.
Wouldn’t this make prosecuting someone who calls for it redundant? Or would the crime be to erroneously suggest the nation has a one-party dictatorship? In which case, demanding that China keep a one-party dictatorship (when it doesn’t have one) would also be illegal. Right?
Sounds like we will also need a ban on ‘historical nihilism’.
Update: we’re in making-it-up-as-we-go-along mode.