My Take

Beijing's latest edict on Hong Kong born of frustration with pan-dems and their ilk

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 15 September, 2015, 1:56am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 15 September, 2015, 1:56am

University students burned copies of the Basic Law during the June 4 vigil. Protesters regularly target mainland visitors. Soccer fans boo the national anthem whenever it's played. Some self-styled nativists openly profess Hong Kong's need for full autonomy. A few pan-democratic lawmakers are forever filibustering against the government. The list goes on; no wonder Beijing is worried.

The more Hong Kong resists, the harder Beijing tightens the screw. It's in this context that we can make sense of Zhang Xiaoming's declaration that the chief executive is above all the branches of government and that there is no Western-style separation of powers.

It is the latest move by Beijing to muscle in on the city's affairs and show who the real boss is. As I always like to quote an old Cantonese adage, you provoke a ghost, you get sick. You keep poking your finger at Beijing's nose, even when it's often unwarranted and unnecessary, this is what you get.

Some pan-democrats and their allies claim they know this and when they protest, they confine their grievances to Hong Kong's affairs. So their favourite tactic is to undermine Leung Chun-ying and criticise him.

The latest badmouthing was when the Democrats led by Emily Lau Wai-hing met Beijing's representatives and told them how unpopular Leung was in Hong Kong and how unsuitable he was for the top job.

During last year's Occupy protests, student leaders made the absurd claim that Beijing was misled by the Leung administration and so produced its inappropriately restrictive edict on the city's electoral reform. Really, did anyone think Beijing didn't know what it was doing?

Pan-democrats and the liberal media always accuse Beijing of trying to polarise their camp by meeting some of their members it brands as "moderate" but not others.

Yet, from day one, they have been trying to drive a wedge between Beijing and Leung.

Beijing is fed up. By saying Leung is effectively above the three government branches and is equally responsible to Hong Kong and the central government, Zhang is saying no one and no organ of power can decide Leung's fate other than Beijing.