My Take

A conspiracy theory for Hong Kong’s leadership race right out of a political thriller

Perhaps the powers-that-be have grander plans for Regina Ip if she becomes chief executive – just do the maths

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 17 December, 2016, 1:47am
UPDATED : Saturday, 17 December, 2016, 8:51am

Hong Kong people love conspiracy theories, so let me contribute one of my own.

Ever wonder why the government decided to go after four more pan-democrat and localist lawmakers over their oath-taking? Isn’t getting rid of Yau Wai-ching and Sixtus Baggio Leung Chung-hang enough?

Perhaps the powers-that-be have grander plans for Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee once she becomes chief executive. It’s all linked to reviving the failed government political reform and enacting Article 23 of the Basic Law against secession, treason and subversion.

Ip promised to push for both when she announced she was joining the chief executive race this week. She failed to enact Article 23 when she was security chief in 2003. Now it’s her chance at redemption.

As for the political stalemate in Hong Kong, what better way to break it – to “Win Back Hong Kong”, as her campaign slogan says – than to force through the version of universal suffrage sanctioned by the central government? But how? Well, do the maths. You need a two-thirds majority in Legco to pass the revived reform. You only need a simple majority to pass Article 23.

In run for top job, Regina Ip seeks balance between pleasing Beijing and Hongkongers

There was no hope for any political reform package when 30 members of the new Legislative Council in October were either pan-democrats or localists. Now, however, we are down to 28. With those four others being taken to court … You get my drift.

But there will be by-elections, no? The government could delay and defer as long as possible. By then, it will have forced through a vote on Article 23. Or, worse comes to worst, if the government must hold polls, Beijing-friendly candidates may get lucky and win back a few of those six vacated seats. We will then be close to having 47 votes, the two-thirds majority.

Once she has “universal suffrage” in the bag, Ip can argue that as a quid pro quo, we need to enact Article 23. She will have the votes. OK, she will again have half a million people or more protesting or rioting. But so what? We have survived Occupy Central.

As you can tell, I am working on a reality-based script for a political thriller. I just skip the sex and murder for this family newspaper. The award-winning Kara Wai Ying-hung can play Ip, our femme fatale.