Saturday, 27 May 2017

Culture Clash

Zhang says Hong Kong's civil servants must be loyal to Beijing...
The mainlandization of Hong Kong continues with Zhang Dejiang, one of the seven members of the Politburo Standing Committee now saying that the city's civil servants must be Chinese loyalists in order to do their jobs.

During a speech at the Great Hall of the People Saturday, Zhang said Beijing would invoke a number of "implicit powers" -- which have so far not been paid close attention to during the first 20 years of the city's handover.

"It should be stressed that [Hong Kong's] governing teams... must be made up of patriots who respect the Chinese people, sincerely support [China's] resumption of sovereignty and pose no threat to [Hong Kong's] prosperity and stability,' he said, referring to late leader Deng Xiaoping.

Hong Kong's values are under threat again by Beijing
"The central government is responsible for supervising whether [Hong Kong's] public officers uphold the Basic Law, and whether they pledge allegiance to the country and [Hong Kong]."

This is a blatant desire to encroach upon the city's values and way of life we hold dearly. Our civil servants may be bureaucratically difficult to deal with, but they have always been politically neutral. But now China plans to ensure Hong Kong is made and run in the same way as every other mainland city -- through political loyalty and guanxi.

Leung Chau-ting, head of the Federation of Civil Service Unions, said he was concerned about Zhang's suggestion that understanding of the Basic Law could carry weight when civil servants' jobs are assessed.

"The focus should always be professionalism and the willingness to serve the public," he said. "It is not our daily work to explain the Basic Law to fellow Hongkongers."

Zhang also called for a closer look at other powers that the central government could use to scrutinize the city's affairs, including that of instructing the chief executive and assessing legislation reported by the Legislative Council.

Does this mean Legco will mean nothing anymore? That lawmakers we elected into the Legislative Council will be moot?

How will this affect Hong Kong's rule of law?
Up until now, the power to assess legislation was considered a ceremonial power, as the National People's Congress has never objected to any reported laws.

Zhang also urged academics to spend more time studying the Basic Law and instill the "correct" national views in Hong Kong teens. Sounds like a veiled demand to institute national education of some sort.

Veteran democrat Martin Lee Chu-ming, who helped draft the Basic Law in the late 1980s, said Zhang's remarks regarding the "supervisory" role over Hong Kong officials, were not in the Basic Law, and they could even deter talent from taking on important roles.

"It's a completely different picture to what was depicted by Deng Xiaoping... also the Sino-British Joint Declaration and Basic Law," he said.

"Good lawyers would not dare be judges then... You have to become a puppet [of Beijing] and probably face against the public of Hong Kong," he said.

Is Zhang hinting the days of non-Chinese judges and lawyers are over now? Is this the beginning of the end of rule of law in Hong Kong?

His declarations show impatience on Beijing's part in seeing how reticent Hong Kong is about falling into line with China. It feels that 20 years have passed and attitudes should have changed by now.

But they haven't and now Zhang believes he now needs to crack the whip to make integration even faster.

However most Hong Kong people will not do this without dragging their feet...

Hopefully this will spur more people to come out for the June 4 candlelight vigil and the July 1 march...

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