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The thoughts of an American expat in Hong Kong living on an "underlying island"

With the 1 year anniversary of the start of Occupy Hong Kong, lots of stories have been written. One of interest as a jumping off point to larger issues is this interview with Occupy players one year on from Harbour Times.

The group {Scholarism} is also advocating constitutional amendment ( 修 憲 ) and the establishment of a shadow government to achieve self-determination. However, Wong does not see the ideas being endorsed by many of the pro-democracy players in the near future.

“The pan-democrats are still too obsessed with restarting the five-step political reform process, which would not yield any fruitful outcome so long as Beijing dictates the content of the reform package. Meanwhile, localist groups do not seem to be paying too much attention to actually reforming the political structure,” {Joshua} Wong explains.

Team CronY from Day One has said that negotiations must work within their framework and misinterpretation of the Basic Law. Pan-dems suggest that the process is not flawed, it's the crap misinterpretation of the Basic Law by Team CronY and the NPC SC's 8/31 White Paper that violates the Basic Law that has prevented the system from working. If Team CronY and the NPC Standing Committee worked within the true language of HK's Basic Law the existing system could and would work for all HKers.

The alternative of course is the belief that Team CronY and the NPC Standing Committee have always been liars and will always be liars and can always be counted on to negotiate in bad faith. The only outcome then is to dismiss negotiations and bypass the CCP altogether. We can see Joshua Wong's approach above which would amend the Basic Law to remove the institutional blocks on a government responsive to the needs of the people, such as the Nomination Committee, the Functional Constituencies in LegCo and the farce of split voting on members bills in LegCo.

Another alternative that's proved popular with young HKers is the Localist movements. Just as the United Front has pushed hard with cash and offers of high-paying government jobs for Nelson Wong and other anti-democractic sell-outs, it would be foolish to think the United Front has not also been pushing hard to recruit on the anti-negotiation side as well. And this brings us to HKI and its convenor Ray Wong Toi-yeung ( 黃台仰 ). HKI claims that it's more effective in getting actual policy changed than the pan-dems by direct and more confrontational protests. Have they really been more effective? Beyond the change by the CCP on multi-entry visas from Shenzhen, it's work on cross-border smuggling has been a dismal failure, and some would argue the CCP's change of heart on multi-entry visas came as a result of polling on the issue and the obvious strain on Team CronY resources, like the MTR. Why do I suspect HKI is a United Front organisation?

Beyond leading new modes of protest in Hong Kong, HKI hopes localists will displace the traditional pan-dems completely in the political landscape. “The [LegCo] elections next year will be critical. It will give localists a larger platform to promote their ideas. A chance to publicly debate with pan-dems and even the pro-establishment,” says Ray Wong. The duo believe that, given their mishaps during the Movement, the traditional pan-dem camp’s influence will slowly wane and their ability to mobilise will diminish.

“In the next ten years, localists will overtake pan-dems,” predicts Ray Wong.

Yeah, HKI has no political quarrel with Team CronY and the CCP who are actually making the policies they protest. They want to eliminate the opposition to Team CronY and the CCP rather than creating a second opposition front. This sounds exactly like Nelson Wong and company with their new 'moderate' United Front political party. Furthermore HKI really didn't push items like voter registration of youth prior to this year's District Council elections and are more interested in possibly pushing candidates to dilute the pan-dem portion of the vote to boost pro-CCP victories. Classic United Front org just like Nelson Wong and friends.

Whether HK's youth will be smart enough to dump Ray Wong or not will be interesting to watch as he and his ilk have captured a fair amount of the mind share for more direct action among the crowd that finds the pan-dems inactive. And given the United Front has both sides of the debate covered, the likelihood that any real progress for democracy in HK will be derailed in the near future by negotiations in bad faith by the United Front from all sides.

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Another in a long line of SCMP horror stories about Umbrellas causing HK economic harm accidentally shows that HK's tycoon associations are not only incompetents reliant on the HK government killing off their competition but also mentally deficient.

"They dared not pursue their claims because they were scared of being labelled by protesters as 'blue ribbons' and in turn losing more business," Sze {a permanent honorary president of the Chinese Manufacturers' Association, a local deputy to the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference and a spokesman for the Alliance for Peace and Democracy} said, referring to the colour assigned to the anti-Occupy camp, as opposed to yellow for the pro-democracy movement.

"This incident was most terrifying to me because people could not exercise their rights to seek compensation."

Huh? Could not exercise their rights to seek compensation? You just said they could but declined to pursue compensation because they would have lost more money than any compensation they MIGHT have been able to prove in a court of law. And as cases that have been pursued shows, there isn't much chance for the CMA members to prove any losses at all that are directly attributable to the Umbrellas.

But as if the basic understanding of being able to exercise your rights being muddled wasn't enough, there's this self-delusion about the CMA's role in HK's economy.

But anti-business sentiments were strong in the society, he noted. "We are not professional politicians. What we care for is Hong Kong's competitiveness. But what we say has never succeeded in moving people's minds. This is my frustration."

Perhaps the CMA has never succeeded in moving people's minds, because the people realise the CMA doesn't give a rat's ass about HK's competitiveness, but only about it's members ability to profit from CronYism that cripples HKers' wages and actual business competition via various government policies.

Quite the sensible article on HK tourism but misses the point of tourism in HK. It's not about attracting those types of tourists.

The focus on shopping is designed to bolster commercial rents. The call for building new tourist spots is a double benefit to the tycoons who control the construction industry and the FTU who will be employed to build the tycoons' new playtoys. Beyond this benefit to Team CronY, wages for most tourist spots, gold/jewellry shops or theme crap are min wage so provide max margins for owners.

Started on Aug 14, 2015, the main theme of this blog post was reinforced in a month by CCP-ass kisser Regina Ip on Sept 20.

And of course none of the articles that deal with HK tourism numbers deal with the fraud of HK Tourism Board flaunting entrance numbers (in and out same day counted as equal to overnight visitors which are internationally counted as tourists). As written about years ago, this sleight of hand by the HK Tourism Board encourages non-tourist smugglers at the expense of real tourists. It's time for CCP to step up and cure the supply chain on shoddy goods on the mainland and stop forcing HK to be the solution to the CCP's piss-poor safety records for consumer products. And time for Team CronY to give up being the supplier of bribes to CCP to cover up the CCP's piss-poor safety record of protecting PRC consumers.

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Let's set the scene. After the 97 Asian economic crisis, a conclusion was reached that massive cash reserves were the way to avoid economic crisis. So the CCP had both the mainland and HK run up huge cash reserves. On the mainland this was driven primarily by running a massive trade imbalance with the US and EU. The trade imbalance was loved by Alan Greenspan and George W Bush as it allowed a way to drain inflationary cash out of the country at a time of a massive asset inflation bubble and meant that the CCP had the cash to buy US government assets that would fund George W Bush's off-the-books War on Terra/Afghanistan/Iraq.

Then came Lehman Brothers. The collapse of financial institutions and the asset inflation Ponzi scams in the US and EU meant a lot of deleveraging happened and cash vanished into nothingness. The cash that was driving the consumer-side of the trade imbalance disappeared and PRC exports plummeted. This kicked the legs out from under the CCP's growth plans.

The CCP's response was a huge prolonged Keynesian cash dump. Driven by an ideology that says infrastructure investment always produces huge ROI, cash was dumped on infrastructure projects of the 'build it and they will come' variety. Early on it was apparent that most of this would be nearly useless with no positive ROI. The cash also proved inflationary and property asset inflation was set in motion creating the PRC's own property bubble. The CCP, like Team CronY in HK, have slowed the bubble, but never popped it. The powers-that-be hoped that enough cash could be created to inflate incomes to catch up with asset prices.

As the big cash on quick flips in property slowed, the cash needed to flow somewhere else. That somewhere was into the stock market and bonds. Asset inflation kicked in and the CCP's mass line to buy stocks to refinance SoE debt, relaxation of rules on margin buying and distaste for moral hazard meant massive asset inflation disconnected from all underlying business indicators.

This lasted until someone noticed the disconnect (my goodness, the Emperor has no clothes) and PRC stocks started collapsing. Cash, lots and lots of cash, was needed to prop up the vision of mass line infallibility. Although prices seem to stable for the moment (?perhaps due to nearly all stocks now being owned state agencies?), confidence in the stock market doesn't seem to have returned. Money is fleeing back to property (reinflate the bubble!) or fleeing the PRC completely. The last quarter or two have seen big sales by the CCP of US dollar assets apparently to cover for these outflows.

So how do you balance the cash outflows if not by selling off foreign reserves? Oh yeah, the geniuses of the CCP leadership thought long, hard, and ultra-creatively and came up with 'trade imbalances'. It used to work in the time of asset-inflation-driven demand bubbles in the US/EU. And then the geniuses of the CCP leadership thought long, hard, and ultra-creatively about how to best create 'trade imbalances' and came up with 'devalue the currency'.

Of course the CCP's marketing department was busy listening to foreigners' hopes for the PRC economy. How do we sell this devaluation to create trade imbalances to make the IMF and friends love us? They want the pricing of the RMB to be market driven, so we'll say the CCP policy is exactly what they want to hear so the gullible can be happy. And the gullible will sing the hallelujahs of the genius CCP leadership pushing forward with market reforms.

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With the expected defeat of the Electoral Reform Package, many are claiming the HK Govt and CCP are in uncharted territory/uncharted waters. Not really, beyond the FUBAR antics of the pro-CCP loyalist legislators after the division bell rang, CY has already tipped that the post-2005 Electoral Reform Package plan has been put in place. The CCP doesn't have a very broad playbook, so it's not unexpected that CY will sound a bit now like Bowtie did then. "Blame the pan-dems for everything, and I mean everything that's ever gone wrong in HK including the FUBAR loyalist walkout. Call them obstructionist. Say you'll be focussing on livelihood issues and economic development. Call the pan-dems obstructionist some more and unpatriotic. Rinse. Repeat."

The appearance of waves of radical centrist commentators bemoaning the inability to reach a compromise is also expected. "Why weren't the 'moderates' allowed to have their way? The CCP was so moderate for engaging in dialogue and negotiations. Thank goodness, HK still has the ICAC to keep us free of electoral corruption." Any compromise, even if one side surrenders nothing and the other is asked to surrender everything is quite rational and reasonable and oh so very moderate. It's all BS, but some political/marketing guru told the CCP loyalists to try to win the public opinion of HK's middle ground.

Given the CCP's absolute intransigence on compromise and rejection of every pan-dem modification, no matter how meagre, it's expected that Hong Kong would split into 3 camps. The first are the loyalists. They'll follow Ip Kwok-him out of the LegCo chamber without question and vote for his stupidity in the ballot box in 2016. The second are the opponents of the reform legislation. I believe the Liaison Office has been working hard to divide and conquer this segment with the rise of some 'localist' groups that are quite well kitted out and who spend most of their time attacking the pan-dems instead of the policymakers that have created the situations these 'localists' claim to be interested in. The third group are 'the middle'. This can be divided into two groups. Surrender monkeys, who were willing to accept the Electoral Reform Package because the CCP said it was the best they could get and surrender monkeys accept being powerless and take what's put on their plate and are grateful like good children. The second group are the parasitic optimists. They believe they'll get rich if they stick close to The Party.

The road forward will see The Party try to keep the surrender monkeys servile yet content with the crumbs placed on their plates and launch enough white elephant projects and investment schemes/scams to keep the parasitic optimists fixated on the belief that one more pull on the slot machine will make them wealthy. The important thing to note is that real wealth and societal security must be withheld, as the lack of financial and societal security for the masses is one of the keystones of Maoism to keep the masses agitated and uncertain. So Team CronY will push the Innovation & Technology Bureau for the CronY iProA through the LegCo FinComm while withdrawing actual social welfare bills to blackmail the pan-dems while the loyalist press corpse will bash the pan-dems for being obstructionist and the zombie press corpse will wonder why the pan-dem FinComm isn't taking up the social welfare bills instead of wasting time on the ITB.

So even if the White Elephant and CronY projects have changed, the basic plot remains the same. 2015 is Back to the Future 2005.

ADDENDUM 19 June 2015 3:42pm
Shortly after the original publishing of this, CY Leung spoke for a 2nd time in 2 days to the public and announced that he'd change the agenda for the FinComm and set the ITB to the side in favour of more grassroots livelihood issues. Stay tuned to see what really ends up on the agenda when the FinComm meets.

UPDATE 19 June 2015 6:20pm
Didn't take long for zombie press corpse to prove me right.

Chief Executive CY Leung said he would bring a series of economic initiatives to lawmakers next week, and called for their support.

Democratic lawmakers had been filibustering all budget items during the city's pro-democracy protests, holding up funding for a variety of slated projects. Leung said that a continuation of such actions would hurt the community.

"It's time for all of us to move on," Leung told reporters. "We should try to forge consensus on various economic and livelihood issues."

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If I personalise the Individual Visit Scam as being CY's responsibility, it's only because CY claimed that title long ago in a speech on 23 January 2013 to the Joint Business Community Luncheon.

Ten years ago, I was sent by the then Chief Executive, Mr C H Tung, to Beijing. We wanted to explore with the Central Authorities the possibility of allowing residents in the more affluent cities in the Mainland to come to Hong Kong as tourists without having to join tour groups. Some commentators were again sceptical. They somehow believed that these tourists would not have the spending power, that they would pose a risk to law and order, and might even become illegal immigrants. But again we ploughed on.

The rest is history. Today, the Mainland is the biggest market for our professionals and the biggest source of tourism income. The sceptics were wrong on all counts. These two sectors of our economy have seized on the opportunities and confronted the many challenges by working with the Government. Both sectors have benefited from CEPA.

Please note the effort CY expends on entangling CEPA and the IVS. This is part of the mythos of the CCP being HK's economic saviour in the post-SARS world. For the average HKer, CEPA is a joke only highlighted by the VAT-avoiding smugglers that have become the target of localist protests in HK. At worst CEPA represents the transfer of wealth and talent from HK's developed industries to the mainland, like the film industry, which leaves the film industry actually in HK on life support. The IVS, on the other hand, is the crown jewel for two groups of shibboleth babblers: the 'CCP is infallible' shibboleth babblers and 'growth in stats on the Bloomberg News scroll bar is the only goal' shibboleth babblers. Both of these babbling groups are willfully blind to the actual impacts in reality of their beliefs, which is why they're conjoined twins in HK to block out any sort of reality creeping in to governance via votes of people living in the real world.

In the real world people can clearly see there is an alternative to their economic dead-end policies which produce community-killing economic distortions. In the real world the grand story arc from the political marketing team faces the reality of shops being forced to close to make room for the conjoined twins to suck even more money out of the economy to line their own pockets. And no return of the smugglers or sudden appearance of southbound-cash being dumped in to the HK-listed stocks of mainland corporations will change that reality on the street.

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So Team CronY is at it again. From trying to push Rule By Law with draconian punishments for exercising HK's Freedom of Speech and Commerce to CY trying to smear localists as being bad for HK.

The Chief Executive, CY Leung, said on Wednesday that a fall in visitor numbers over Easter due to anti-mainlander protests is a warning sign that's seriously tarnished Hong Kong's image as a tourist hub.

HK retail sales for February 2015 show that there really isn't any damage to HK's economy from a visitor slowdown. We'll have to wait until early May it seems for March's retail data to appear (4 weeks to collect retail sales data? Really?), but the only folks that might be suffering from the slowdown in mainland visitors are the Team CronY players involved in skimming a percentage of the mainland M2/M3 cash growth scam at the retail cash till and commercial rents.

It’s official: Hong Kong’s retail sales in the first two months of 2015 were flat. There was no slump as previously, widely reported.

Hong Kong’s Census and Statistics Department (C&SD) figures on retail sales released Tuesday show February sales soared 14.9 per cent, reversing the 14.5 per cent fall widely reported in January.


“The subdued performance was mainly due to the notable fall in the sales of jewellery, watches and clocks and valuable gifts, conceivably reflecting the weak tourist spending on big-ticket items. Yet, the performance of many items that are more closely related to local consumption showed some relative improvement from December 2014.”

So what's CY's reaction to this potential rebalancing of HK's economy towards reliance on more stable local consumption?

Mr Leung said the government will launch a campaign to beef up tourist numbers later this month, but did not elaborate.

CY banging a shoe on the lectern and shouting that "This Aggression against my Individaul Visit Scan as HK's Saviour Must Not Stand" What a sorry sad little man is this CY!

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I haven't written in a long time, so I decided to rewrite this Wall Street Journal article Look Elsewhere for Chinese Shoppers, Political Tensions Are Bad News for Hong Kong Retailers because it's clear from the actual body of the article that if there are political tensions causing problems for HK retailers, it's tension on the other side of the border with Xi Jin-ping's purges.

So here goes my rewrite:

Many of the Chambers of Commerce in HK as well as members of the Chinese Communist Party's United Front in HK and Western media have said that HK's 'chauvinist fringe' have or will have a negative impact on HK's economy. The statistics on actual visitors from the mainland to Hong Kong paint a different picture. Actual arrival numbers from the mainland continue to rise. (Please remember arrival numbers include tourists, personal tax arbitrage shoppers, and possible multiple daily entries by parallel goods traders tolerated by the CCP due to low-quality low-confidence goods on the mainland.) There are some negative numbers involved though. Sales of high-ticket ostentatious items fell by 24.5%: gold, luxury watches and other items associated with bribes/laundering corrupt cash.

This drop in sales has been associated by many observers with the arrest of party members on charges of corruption. (Be aware Xi Jin-ping has also convicted many anti-corruption citizens for demonstrating that the current 'anti-corruption program' is another big wind from the center to allow factional purges.) Another possible explanation is cash tightening on the other side of the border due to a pause in the property bubble causing a ripple effect in 'shadow banking' products. On the other hand no one beyond the looniest of United Front spokespersons has suggested the drop is due to HK's 'chauvinist fringe' calling anyone a locust.

Of course no one has suggested that the drop in mainland purchases due to anti-corruption purges on the mainland might actually support some of the contentions by HK's 'chauvinist fringe', for example that cash pouring into HK's retail and residential property markets wasn't legitimate and that the economic dislocations on commercial property rents and occupancy were harmful and unsustainable. As they say in San Francisco, eviction is death, push out mom & pop shops for big chains selling products unwanted by locals and you're exchanging family livelihoods for some minimum wage retail jobs and diverting the profits to the tycoons owning the chains. This is further supported by the drop in the stock prices of retailers that sell a huge proportion of their goods to mainlanders, when it was floated to curb mainland visits by 20%.

As for buying HK stocks, my advice is simple. HK's government has designed the economy around 2 pillar industries: labour exploitation and skim. If CCP continues their recent push of ongoing near-permanent stimulus cash injections and Team CronY continues to walk back limitations on corrupt money flooding HK's residential property markets, then HK's stocks will almost surely be stable at worst. If the US economy rebounds and provides a market for HK businesses to skim a percentage on goods trans-shipped via HK, it's a short-term buy and don't ask about the long-term, because you don't want to worry about missing out on those stock profits NOW NOW NOW!

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In the book Edge of Empires, John M Carroll, makes clear that Hong Kong's politics have always been neatly linked with the socio-economic myth-making of the ruling class. From the time British tycoons were taking credit for the economic activity of Chinese merchants to the time of Chinese elites becoming incorporated into the elite social structure. It's even continued in post-handover Hong Kong as the economic elite state HK success is as an entrepot in order to forget the role of manufacturing in Hong Kong's economic success as Hong Kong's manufacturing was shipped north by the economic elite.

So it shouldn't be surprising to informed observers of Hong Kong's politics to see pro-Team CronY elite wrapping their anti-democratic propaganda in socio-economic myth-making. SCMP featured an op-ed from Andrew Leung on Saturday April 11 and an op-ed from Regina Ip on Sunday April 12 that both wrap Hong Kong's economic success in the mantle of Hong Kong's elite. Andrew Leung stated Hong Kong's economic success was because of the current unrepresentative CE Election Committee and argued that the future Nomination Committee needed to be just as unrepresentative in order to maintain Hong Kong's wealth. Regina Ip on the other hand stated that Hong Kong's economic success was dependent upon the combination of the anti-democratic colonial rule and Hong Kong's elite and suggests that Hong Kong's future wealth depends on leaving Hong Kong's political power with them for the future. Given that Hong Kong's current elite's wealth and power stems from inclusion in Team CronY, it's cannot be surprising that they see their continued power and wealth as being dependent upon Team CronY retaining its stranglehold on Hong Kong's political and economic system.

The problem with myth-making is that it doesn't stand up to scrutiny of facts. Much like Team CronY's team studying Hong Kong's financial future made up all sorts of crappy assumptions about growth in government infrastructure spending in order to justify Hong Kong going broke in the future (is this disclosure the cause of Tom Holland's disappearance from SCMP?), the more you look at the foundational premises of Team CronY's myths and you see they are built on crap. For example Li Ka-shing's success depended upon the pre-DAB creating a violent disturbance large enough to allow him entrance to Hong Kong's property market. Sun Hung Kai's foundation is linked to the squatter clearances, New Town development plans and reservoir formation with their attendant resettlement property and vouchers of the late 50s and early 60s. Both of these firms survived the economic downturns in the post-bubble and SARS-era due to government policy interventions by Tung Chee-hwa in the property market in order to ensure property did not drop far enough that Li Ka-shing's late 60s success could be repeated by a new challenger.

Would Hong Kong have been more successful if the property market had been allowed to collapse further? Such a collapse would have made commercial rents more amenable for new start-ups (and not just tech start-ups at the beginning of the tech bubble) that would have broadened Hong Kong's tax and employment base, but threatened the economic and political stranglehold the current elite still enjoy, so Hong Kong as a whole and the mass of Hong Kongers have ended up much worse off, as demonstrated by one of the worst Gini co-efficients in the world, due to the continued stranglehold.

In addition to the crap foundations of the elite's economic myth-making, their anti-democratic drumbeat relies on lies of omission and misdefinition of the most basic terms in Hong Kong's Basic Law. For example Regina Ip failed to explain what were the polarising forces the colonial government feared. I guess she doesn't like pointing out that Hong Kong doesn't have and will never have universal suffrage under democratic principles due to 70+ years of meddling by the Communist Party of China in Hong Kong's affairs and that the polarising forces were the CPC and KMT. At least Ms Ip has learned not to bite the hand that feeds her. On the other hand Andrew Leung starts swapping 'representation' with 'representative'. As anyone who studied basic statistics or polling theory, which the DAB has great interest in given their harrassment of HKUPOP, one group is representative of another if their respective proportions are 'similar', a maths concept taught in Hong Kong in the lower secondary forms. Since Hong Kong's Basic Law mentions democratic forms, we know the similarity should be along the lines of population democgraphics. The current Election Committee has lots of groups represented, but their proportions are not similar to Hong Kong's demographics unless you re-weight the greater population by making Party loyalty and wealth outweigh concepts of one man, one vote. Why would you do that? In order to ensure that your place as one of Hong Kong's elite at the pinnacle of the Gini co-efficient is never threatened by the groundlings that want to change the system they know is designed to exploit their labour (HK's 1st pillar industry) and skim their salaries directly into the pockets of HK's tycoons (HK's 2nd pillar industry).

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Upon assuming office Xi Jinping told his cadres to cut the bullshit and speak plainly. Unfortunately that command has not trickled across the border to The Party's cadres in Hong Kong. But let me talk plainly about Article 45 of HK's Basic Law and provide a modest proposal that is the only way forward.

The Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region shall be selected by election or through consultations held locally and be appointed by the Central People's Government.

"The method for selecting the Chief Executive shall be specified in the light of the actual situation in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and in accordance with the principle of gradual and orderly progress. The ultimate aim is the selection of the Chief Executive by universal suffrage upon nomination by a broadly representative nominating committee in accordance with democratic procedures.

Beyond Article 45 of the Basic Law, we must also accept the Communist Party of China's definition of 3 words: representative, democratic and balanced. No, you won't find balanced in the Basic Law, but it's been a key word uttered by the faithful to guide HK's ongoing 'consultation' on the 2017 CE Election. You also won't find the method the nominating committee should use stated in the Basic Law, but you can be sure the DAB/Communist Party meant that nominating committee isn't supposed to be a rubber stamp for civic nomination but only rubber stamp the DAB/Communist Party/tycoon choices for CE.

The CPC and friends have clearly stated that the existing Election Committee is 'representative', perhaps in the way that a committee of 10 whites, 9 blacks, 4 Arabs, 5 South Asians, 2 Parsees and a Chinese would be representative of the population of Hong Kong, since many groups are 'represented' without concern if their proportions are actually 'reprentative'.

'Democratic' here is like the Democratic People's Republic of Korea or perhaps the elections held by the late Saddam Hussein. There was voting. The people made their choice and that provides the chosen with legitimacy. End of discussion.

'Balanced' means that the will of the people shall always be countered by the will of The Party. The people's will cannot provide the choices of the nominating committee.

The level of protests from the Democratic Party/Civic Party/the Front for Hong Kong People's Liberation Power/the People's Liberation of HK Power Front/etc. reminds us that the base problem is that the Communist Party will not allow a Chief Executive for Hong Kong that stands up for Hong Kong. Stop imports of diseased chickens? Maybe if the chickens are Vietnamese or American, but never good Chinese Communist chickens.

Given that the CE must be acceptable to the CPC, let's identify what the CPC wants from HK: money. The CPC comes to HK to raise money, goes to Beijing to decide where the money will be spent, and Shanghai to spend it on projects. What's given to HK? Lots of poor Chinese, whose welfare will be left to HK taxpayers, and petty cross-border arbitrage experts with suitcases unburdened by 20% tariffs unlike the legitimate foreign imports with which they compete.

So given this basis, it's clear that only a candidate chosen by the Liaison Office or HK's tycoons will be allowed on the ballot. So the only practical solution to this situation is obviously a nominating committe with 2 people that broadly represents 'the only opinions of any value'. First, the head of the Liaison Office as Xi said to cut out the bullshit, which means dropping the pretense that local shoeshiners on the current nominating committee are independent thinkers and don't rubber stamp the choice provided them by the Liaison Office. Also since everyone knows The Party represents the will of the people, the protests from the pan-dems about unrepresented are clearly untrue. The second member will be a champion appointed by the tycoon godfathers.

And with these two candidates on the ballot, the loyal HK press can salivate and push their horse race coverage of this 'election campaign' to new heights. And The Party can rest easy in their delusions that given an opportunity to rubber stamp their choice via an election, their HK CE choice will never be as unpopular and loathed as Tung/The Donald/Team CronY and will be internationally acclaimed for their progressive implementation of democratic reforms from all corners of the globe.

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