Thursday, 16 November 2017

Carrie Lam, Beijing Whisperer?

Lam tried to play down fears of greater control of Hong Kong by Beijing
During the 19th party congress, Chinese President Xi Jinping said the central government's "overall jurisdiction" over Hong Kong should be combined with the city's high degree of autonomy in an "organic way".

What does that mean?

For Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, it was a statement that Beijing was committed to upholding the "one country, two systems" principle that guarantees the city's semi-autonomy.

Xi is taking a greater interest in Hong Kong, good or bad
But how "semi" is "semi"?

Which is why Lam was keen on playing down perceptions that the central government was having greater control over the city.

"Sometimes it is because of some misunderstanding or oversensitive reaction," Lam said during an interview on RTHK television program Legco Review. "Sometimes someone says something out of their care for Hong Kong but it is seen as interfering in Hong Kong affairs. Sometimes the chief executive tries to explain the central government's policies but then I would be seen as currying favour with the central government.

"This kind of meaningless speculation and suspicion does no good to the successful implementation of the one country, two systems policy."

Is she saying we shouldn't read too closely into Xi's words?

Does she think we're newbies?

Every pronouncement from Beijing must be carefully scrutinized, though they can mean one thing one day, and something completely different another day. Or they can be twisted into whatever verbal pretzel the Chinese leaders want it to be.

For Lam to think we would be mollified by her comments, it only raises red flags.

In the meantime we're going to continue to see if we can gather more hints from Xi, while Lam's credibility as the Beijing whisperer is questioned.

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