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November 04, 2014

Comments

ajay

So how does the Occupy Central movement spread its message in the outlying local communities? Well, they can start by not talking about highfalutin ideas such as civil disobedience, court injunctions, chief executive nomination committee or Basic Law amendments. That housewife on the Lam Tin pedestrian overpass is most concerned about business turning bad, her work hours being cut back and hence reducing her income which is needed to buy food to feed the family.

I'm trying to think of a way in which this paragraph could be even more patronising, but... it just isn't happening.

dsquared

They could add "on the door step" a few times and react to all criticism by saying "well of you came round here and met real people you'd understand". Basically aiming for Nixon but getting Hazel Blears.

dsquared

Or maybe do a bar chart saying "only one party has any chance of beating the Communists!!" and call everyone irresponsible and childish for not engaging with their ideas

Dan Hardie

'As mentioned in previous posts, lots of potential here for Nixonian backlash politics, which, interestingly enough, the Hong Kong government has so far failed to mobilise.'

And I think the rest of your post explains why- absent a really major failure of judgement by the HK government- there won't be any backlash politics. Why take a chance on mobilising the business community and the working class- both of whom might be strong enough to smash the students and intellectuals now, but whose later demands might turn out to be a bit harder to accommodate- when you can just rely on time and apathy and the demonstrators' narrow support base to do the job for you?

jamie

Maybe, but the problem with that is that the Occupy phenomenon is only the latest iteration in a general growing disillusion in the HK establishment by the public at large, whatever they may think of Occupy itself. The tycoonocracy just can't run the place to the satisfaction of the public or, probably, Beijing. Leung and co clearly just don't know what to do about the Occupy movement, despite considerable latitude from China.

It may be that the DAB - which is generally assumed an operation run by HK's underground Communist Party - decides to move independently and uses its mainland contacts to propose that Beijing steps back from rule through the local business establishment and takes a populist turn, complete with a little tactical tycoon-bashing, better welfare and so on.

DAB has got a whole bunch of numpties but also some very capable people (eg Jasper Tsang) who could put a strong case for this. There's already some muttering from that quarter about the offensively elitist response some pro-Beijing figures (including Leung) have made to the demonstrators.

It's also notable that though support for the Umbrella Movement is weak, the public is still opposed to the managed democracy election settlement imposed by Beijing. If Beijing wants to turn this round, it actually has to let its local assets do some managing, and DAB would probably be far better at this than the current lot.

Dan Hardie

Hmmm: just how ready is Beijing to see a successful, influential political movement which calls for things like 'better welfare' and a fair deal for the little man? If the CPC allows that kind of thing to succeed in Hong Kong, what happens when a bunch of stroppy workers in Beijing or Guangzhou decide that they would like better welfare? And given that there's no Occupy Beijing or Occupy Guangzhou movement for them to thump, who do they come up against as an enemy?

I don't say the CPC won't do what you're saying they might, but I do say (based on my admittedly very limited knowledge) that they'd almost certainly be making a big mistake if they did.

jamie

I think introducing managed democracy to Hong Kong might be a strategic error in itself by Beijing, especially given the pressure Xi is putting the Party under right now. There must be provincial leaders looking at Hong Kong wondering why they can't have the same 'high degree of autonomy' the Hongkongers have, even when they just let all these kids run amok.

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