You are required to love the party, not the country | Lam Hoi

Published (HKT): 2021.02.24 09:12

In recent days, it has been rumored that Beijing is planning to boldly and decisively amend the electoral arrangements for the chief executive and the legislature. On Monday, Xia Baolong, director of the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office, gave a new account of “patriots administering Hong Kong” at a seminar held by the Chinese Association of Hong Kong and Macao Studies, which seems to be preparing the public for a “political reform” to be forced through by Beijing. Xia listed three major criteria for a “patriot” in his speech, indicating clearly which categories of people are excluded, as well as putting forward five principles for “perfecting the related system before implementing ‘patriots administering Hong Kong’. Simply put, “patriotism” is going to be placed as the maximum program in the Hong Kong polity. Later on, the program will be implanted in every level of the political structure through amendments to the system and regulations, so that no position, be it elected or non-elected, is going to be taken up by “the unpatriotic”.

Xia Baolong distorts Deng Xiaoping’s criteria

Who are deemed “patriots” that are qualified for a post in the Hong Kong political framework? Xia cited the criteria for a “patriot” laid down by Deng Xiaoping in the first place: “respecting his/her own nation, earnestly and sincerely espousing the motherland resuming the exercise of sovereignty over Hong Kong, not causing damage to the stability and prosperity of Hong Kong”. Then he put on an unauthorized construction never mentioned by Deng, pointing out that “patriots must respect and safeguard the fundamental system of the country and the constitutional order of the SAR, alleging that “‘one country, two systems’ is an essential part of the socialism with Chinese characteristics, and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is the leader of the socialism with Chinese characteristics and founder of ‘one country, two systems’; if a person professes espousing ‘one country, two systems”, yet oppose to the founder and leader of ‘one country, two systems’, is that not self-contradictory”?

To make clear the purpose and main theme from the very beginning, he made “supporting the one-party dictatorship by the CCP” part of “being patriotic” and “espousing ‘one country, two systems”. To put it another way, the pro-democracy figures in Hong Kong are going to be totally excluded from the camp of “patriots” and “espousing ‘one country, two systems’”, and they are not going to take up any post in the Hong Kong political framework.

Yet, the way Xia put it is different from what he regards as a standard – “Deng Xiaoping’s criteria”. Xia did not cite on purpose the second half of Deng’s original text: “As long as they have these qualities, they are patriots despite believing in capitalism, feudalism or slavery. We don’t want them to agree on China’s socialism, but only require them to love their motherland and Hong Kong.” Founder of “one country, two systems” principle, Deng obviously did not require “patriots” to espouse the CCP and the one-party dictatorship. Xia quoted out of context to misrepresent it as “those in support of ‘one country, two systems’ have to love the party”. By Xia’s reasoning, “if a person professes espousing ‘one country, two systems”, yet oppose to the founder and leader of ‘one country, two systems’, is that not self-contradictory?”

Surely, what Xia said is well-reasoned in the era of Xi’s dictatorship. After all, with Deng’s reform and opening up policy almost pulled down, it is not surprising that his “one country, two systems” is getting out of shape. Those who run Hong Kong are required to actually love the party in the name of being patriotic, while those party lovers who engage in administering Hong Kong have the right not to be patriotic. Take the pro-establishment political figures in Hong Kong today. Quite a number of them such as Tung Chee-hwa and Tam Yiu-chung, their offspring and relatives have foreign nationalities, but they can still hold on to the high-ranking positions, taking part in the power game of ruling Hong Kong. Accusing foreign forces of cracking down on China, they are not ashamed of their offspring having nationalities of the Five Eyes.

Conversely, in Xia’s words, “the majority of the ex-lawmakers elected via “one man, one vote” by the majority of Hong Kong civilians, who have no foreign nationalities and “have always had the tradition of loving the motherland and Hong Kong”, are labelled as “those opposing China and disrupting Hong Kong”, and the major targets the future “political reform” of Hong Kong will be leveled at. How come the representatives elected by “the majority of patriotic Hong Kong people” have become “unpatriotic”? How come the naked officials (referring to government officials whose spouses and children all live abroad permanently) and bigwigs spurned by “the majority of patriotic Hong Kong people” have become reliable “main patriotic forces in governing Hong Kong”? The bewildering and self-contradictory arguments are so blatant that even sophistry by official mouthpieces in Communist Party writing style cannot gloss over. In the final analysis, the current overriding guiding principle of the CCP governance is to have “party lovers administer Hong Kong”, not “patriots administer Hong Kong”. Given that you appear to be party-loving enough, who cares even if you are unpatriotic? Isn’t Chen Ping, an anti-US “academic” and CCP mouthpiece sojourning in America, an exemplary “patriot” for Hong Kong patriots’ reference?

(Lam Hoi, journalist)

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