By Thomas Hon Wing Polin
The bedrock of any nation is its government — the manifestation of its sovereignty and protector of its people. But what if the personal loyalties of a substantial portion of civil servants do not lie with the sovereign? Worse, what if these allegiances are actually more to forces that are at odds with the sovereign — and working to undermine its interests?
Naturally, such a situation would never be tolerated in any normal jurisdiction. Hong Kong, under One Country, Two Systems (OCTS), is not a normal jurisdiction. Its sovereign is China, but large swathes of the special administrative region’s power structure are not only alienated from it, but also feel attached to the Western values and worldview of their former colonial masters. That’s because under OCTS, decolonization has been merely nominal.
Under normal conditions, it would not be a problem if government officials maintained a strict, professional political neutrality, as they are required to do. But in times of extreme stress, like the Black Terror uprising that began last summer and is still simmering, the underlying tensions have burst forth with a vengeance. As the US Empire escalates it full-spectrum war against China and sponsors a color revolution against Hong Kong, the local government has itself become arguably the biggest obstacle in the SAR to a resolution favorable to the sovereign. Since last June, it has been increasingly clear that many civil servants are actively or passively helping the very pro-“democracy” protesters and rioters that the administration is trying to curb.
The sickness of Hong Kong’s 180,000-strong civil service starts at the top. The Carrie Lam government has remained flat on its back since its knockout last summer by the blackshirt shocktroops of local Beijing-haters and their Anglo-American allies. As the democracy thugs rampaged throughout Hong Kong, terrorizing ordinary folk, disrupting their lives and trashing the economy, all Lam did was to keep turning the other cheek, offer “dialogue” with the de facto terrorists and try to bribe them with cash handouts. Such craven cluelessness was laughable during the height of the Black Terror last year, and it remains so today.
However, it was not hard to understand. Top officers of the Hong Kong SAR government are essentially neocolonial civil servants more conditioned to following and executing orders than providing bold, visionary leadership. As a veteran Hong Kong observer says: “Our government is dysfunctional. The top officers took decades to climb to where they are. Each is more concerned about retiring with a hefty pension than sticking their neck out, leaving a bad name in public … or with securing a final promotion. So don’t look for our government ‘leaders’ to calm this storm” of political violence and subversion.
Indeed, the neocolonialist disease extends to all major departments of the SAR administration. How serious is it? A preliminary estimate was circulating online recently. It places the percentages of pro-“democracy,” anti-Beijing personnel at:
+ Legislators 40%
+ Judges 80% +
+ Department of Justice 50%
+ Medical & Health 30% +
+ Teachers 50% +
+ Education officials 70% +
+ Media (RTHK) 90%
+ Social welfare 95%
+ Environment & Public Health 50%
+ Customs 30%
+ Fire Services 20%
+ Police Nearly 20%
If such figures are anywhere near the truth, they would help explain a phenomenon of fundamental importance: why Hong Kong, in the two decades since reunification with China, has drawn further away from its motherland rather than closer to it.
Government leadership (or lack of it) directly impacts all aspects of life in Hong Kong. With the coronavirus crisis now abating, democracy “subversives” are trying to restart their Revolution of Our Times. It cannot continue indefinitely, however. When the Black Terror is finally over, those in charge of an overdue reform & rectification effort will have to do a proper, thorough job. Real decolonization is essential, if Hong Kong is to have a sound future as a genuine part of China.
Two decades after pro-forma reunification, it’s clear that neocolonialist HKSAR authorities are incapable of leading a sustained campaign of decolonization. That’s why Beijing has over the past half-year been incrementally climbing into the driver’s seat on the matter. It’s the best hope yet, for both the city and the country.