My Take

The ABC of kindergarten politics among pan-dems

Pan-democrats say one thing, do another, and still spit the dummy when their plans don’t pan out; Hong Kong’s leadership contest is just the latest example

PUBLISHED : Friday, 20 January, 2017, 1:20am
UPDATED : Friday, 20 January, 2017, 1:20am

The ABC campaign continues apace. Instead of “Anyone but CY”, it’s now “Anyone but Carrie”. Some pan-democrats have lost their way to the extent of being childish. Democracy may be the greatest invention since the wheel, but it still gets a bad reputation from the incompetence and stupidity of those who advocate it.

The first salvos have been fired. A typical piece from this new ABC genre is from journalist Ching Cheong, in the Hong Kong Economic Journal. He calls on all pan-democrats sitting on the Election Committee to vote as a bloc to stop former chief secretary Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor from becoming chief executive. He thinks they should all vote for ex-finance chief John Tsang Chun-wah. This is certainly a viable strategy. After all, the pan-dems control more than a quarter of the votes on the committee.

I don’t want to debate here whether Lam or Tsang is the better choice for Hong Kong. What concerns me, instead, is that pan-dems like Ching, who was once jailed on the mainland, seem oblivious to the consequences of such a strategy: they are legitimising the very election system that they once denounced as illegitimate “small-circle vetting” and still do.

Hong Kong is not America, so keep religion out of politics

But it can’t be “small circle” if you control such a substantial voting bloc as potentially to play kingmakers. Indeed, once pan-democratic groups started to campaign fiercely in the past two months to win as many seats as they could on the committee, they were inadvertently accepting the very system they had denounced. If it was so rigged, how did they manage to win so many seats? I still get comments that claim there is no difference between a North Korean-style election and our chief executive election because the latter is all engineered by Beijing. If so, why bother with winning 330-plus seats on the committee? In case you change the topic and cry indignantly why we can’t all vote, well, it’s because the pan-democratic camp voted down the electoral reform package in 2015.

Some people’s self-righteousness is so great it makes them think they can have their cake, eat it, and still claim the moral high ground. Tsang may be the pan-dems’ choice, but he is no pan-democrat. Is there any doubt that as chief executive, he would be perfectly controllable by the big brothers in the north?