Little Hong Kong: Why I think John Tsang will win in the CE election (Part 21)

Yes, that’s right.  I think John Tsang will actually win in the upcoming CE election this Sunday.  Those who are aware of world politics, including PRC politics, would know that what appears to be the truth is never the truth, and what appears to be improbable might actually be true.  What the news tells us is one version of what’s “happened,” but the reports will never tell us why it happened.  The truth is always complicated.

The CE election is not a charade, but real business

Back to John Tsang.  Many say that the CE election is a charade.  The winner has already been determined.  Yes, and no.  Yes, because the winner is one of the 3 candidates.  But the actual winner, that’s a more delicate question.  To analyse the election, one must analyse the situation in the PRC.  The power struggle between state leaders is real, and Hong Kong is merely a battle in this war.  You know what I’m getting at.

The CE election is part of a bigger game

Politics is in itself a charade.  The CE election is just part of this game.  But if the election is a charade, why believe that Carrie Lam actually has Beijing’s support?  If Beijing genuinely want to continue CY Leung’s policies and doesn’t care about his popularity, wouldn’t it be easier to simply ask him to run for a 2nd term?  Beijing does care about the legitimacy of its leaders because it regards the CE as its agent in Hong Kong.

How our electors decide to cast their vote

John Tsang is indeed the most popular candidate out of the 3.  But the real issue is that the most electors vote based on who he or she thinks our national legislature (i.e. National People’s Congress) backs.  If the NPC’s leaders publicly back a candidate, the electors will know who to vote for.  If they don’t, our dear electors can only guess.  But they will never really know until the night before the election.

Beijing had learned from past mistakes

In 2012, Beijing made the mistake of publicly backing Henry Tang.  The result was that those who wanted to embarrass Beijing sabotaged Tang until he was “un-electable.”  Now, Beijing is all the more wiser.  Their game is to make us to believe that Lam is the preferred choice.  But Beijing never directly acknowledged this.  We only know this through “agents” like Mr. Tung Chee-hwa, who said Beijing won’t appoint Tsang even if he wins.

Rumors are actually just a smoke screen

These so-called “agents” are the real charade.  A very wise friend of mine once told me that many of these Beijing’s “show of attitudes” (表態) are not evinced by Beijing itself but those who received instructions to do so.  There is reason for this.  The Communist Party is an extremely intelligent bunch.  Through trial and error, they learned to play our game of realpolitik.  But there is one thing which we know – Beijing desires stability.

Beijing desires stability, first and foremost

With that in mind, what would ensure stability in Hong Kong?  If Lam wins the CE election, there is little doubt that Hong Kong will continue to be a fractured society.  Lam has stated publicly that she will continue CY’s policies.  But in reality, which candidate can best govern Hong Kong with legitimacy in face of a non-democratic system?  At the same time, how can Beijing emerge as winner?  The choice is clear.

Beijing already hedged itself against the risks

Tsang is a practical man.  If he knew he’d lose, he won’t run his heart out like now.  In fact, there is only one plausible explanation.  He’s probably told by a faction of the Communist Party that he’ll win and Lam is just a smoke screen.  I assure you Beijing must have already hedged itself against the risks of any potential successor of CY who has a remote chance of winning.  The only fools here are HongKongers like you and me who have no direct vote.

Beijing needs to convince us that “One Country, Two Systems” is working.  Failing to do so might cause instability, the last thing it wants.  The only way to win the hearts of HongKongers in this impossible situation is to manufacture a story where the “underdog” wins a dramatic victory against all odds to make people feel that their fight meant something.  Hopefully, this will be win-win for Beijing and Hong Kong.  Otherwise, just call me a dreamer.  I’ll keep my day job.


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