December 30, 2005

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Beijing, Hong Kong, Macau and Chicago

Stephen Vines in The Standard sympathises with Donald Tsang during his "duty visit" to Beijing, explaining how this yearly ritual follows closely what has always happened for Hong Kong's rulers. The difference in Beijing insists on doing the assessments in public:

surely there's a less humiliating way of conducting relations between the central government and the SAR. Schoolchildren might expect to have their report cards made public - although even this is frowned upon these days - but heads of government should be treated better.

However, this is unlikely to happen within a system that maintains the old Chinese imperial principle of tremble and obey. The leaders in Beijing keep their grip on their vast empire not by being nice or by conceding liberal doses of devolved power, but by making it absolutely clear that all real power resides at the center, and that the center not only manipulates the levers of control but does so in full public view.

There is an interesting contrast between how China treats its SARs and its provinces. The SARs are vassal states but the provinces are different - they are political power bases (for example the Shanghai faction) and often compete with or ignore Beijing's orders. There is a great irony that the "One Country, Two Systems" idea that drives the Special Administrative Regions actually lands them under greater central control than China's provinces.

The other stark contrast is between Hong Kong and Macau. Macau's Chief, Edmund Ho, is and has remained Beijing's darling. Ho has turned Macau from a sleazy den of vice and gambling into a modern den of vice and gambling, embracing the gift of a gambling monopoly from his Beijing masters. The Macanese never expected democracy in their future and their previous colonial masters, the Portugese, never toyed with such ideas. Running a colony a fraction of the size of Hong Kong is, funnily enough, a fraction as difficult. But my sympathies today lie with the people of Macau, especially those near the grand opening of Fisherman's Wharf:

...singer Francis Yip and American soft-rock group Chicago, both top acts of the 1970s, will officially inaugurate the project by performing their signature songs for free on New Year's Eve in the complex's Roman amphitheater as part of a program to include fireworks and a show by a British acrobatic troupe.
Even at free it's too expensive. Hong Kong might have its troubles, but Macau can keep Chicago.

posted by Simon on 12.30.05 at 09:48 AM in the Hong Kong category.


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let you down three days grace
Excerpt: greatest love of all by whitney houston metallica for whom the bell tolls craig david - i dont love you no more stayin' alive bee ...
Tracked: February 13, 2006 09:09 AM


Well, Simon, I think Beijing realizes that vice is a "Hard Habit to Break." The "Glory of Love" being what it is between Beijing and Macau, I am sure Donald Tsang has seen Edmund Ho being told by Beijing that "You're the Inspiration." Which is why the Don was forced to embarrassingly expalin why his gambit did work, hinting that "It's Hard for Me to Say I'm Sorry" and ask the CCP leaders publicly "Will You Still Love Me?" in order to maintain his messy, multi-loci mandate.

All of which makes the people of Hong Kong, and you and I, want to "Look Away."

Chicago's really not that bad, eh? Nice town too (I was born there 32 years ago).

posted by: HK Dave on 12.30.05 at 11:55 AM [permalink]

That has to be perhaps the sorriest comment ever made on this site, and there's been some serious competition.

Chicago the musical - great. Chicago the city - great. Chicago the band - puke.

posted by: Simon on 12.30.05 at 12:02 PM [permalink]

You're welcome!:)I try.

posted by: HK Dave on 12.30.05 at 01:36 PM [permalink]

To be cheeky, I will state in no uncertain terms that Chicago are far better than that Australian band Air Supply.:)

posted by: HK Dave on 12.30.05 at 01:45 PM [permalink]

Nolo contendere.

posted by: Simon on 12.30.05 at 02:00 PM [permalink]

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