Fool me once, shame on youWith Chinese officials constantly emphasising the importance of Hong Kong showing love for the Motherland, the latest earthquake in Sichuan Province has thrown up some interesting developments.
Fool me twice, shame on me
Hong Kong people have traditionally been quick to donate generously to victims of past natural disasters in China. However, the government's proposal to repeat its massive donation of local taxpayers' money following the previous Sichuan earthquake was not so readily accepted this time around. Having seen how much of their hard-earned cash ended up in the pockets of corrupt local officials last time - most notoriously, a school built with HK$2 million of our money was soon afterwards demolished to make way for a commercial development - Hong Kong people want guarantees that the money will reach those who really need it.
Ever eager to score brownie points in Beijing, the government perhaps did not stop to think that putting this donation on LegCo's agenda for approval would give the Council an opportunity to air complaints of corruption on the mainland, a sensitive topic which would usually be out of bounds for discussion. Naturally the pan-democrats seized that opportunity in yesterday's Finance Committee meeting, leaving the DAB with the awkward choice of either seeming to show a lack of love for the Motherland by rejecting the donation proposal, or seeming to condone corruption there by accepting it unconditionally. In the end no vote was taken and the issue remains unresolved.
However, also as usual, the pan-dems missed an opportunity to do better. If they were smarter, they would have painted their objections as showing their strong support for President Xi Jinping's recent calls for a determined fight against corruption in the Party, thereby casting anyone who disagreed as an enemy of the Beijing leadership. But perhaps that was too imaginative for them.
In fact, the pan-democrats seem to be letting the pro-Beijing parties hijack the mantle of "love" by default., like the "Voice of Loving Hong Kong" group which first came to public notice by lovingly trying to silence any other voices at a public forum on democracy. Again the pan-dems need more imagination. Instead of "The Alliance for True Democracy", why not call their new united(?) front group "Love Hong Kong, Love China, Love Democracy"? Don't give those who are trying to ruin Hong Kong a monopoly on claiming to love it.
Song for today.