Hong Kong: the counter-revolution takes on a new face

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John Lee ‘elected’ GM to continue in Carrie Lam’s bloody footsteps

The so-called election of Hong Kong’s new chief executive ended unsurprisingly on May 8. As expected, John Lee Ka-chiu, the only candidate from Beijing, was elected with the “high” ratio of 1,416 votes. That’s 99 percent of the vote in the elite election committee, the highest of any chief executive election. All elections since the handover of sovereignty to China have been fake elections decided by the Small Circle Election Committee, which is dominated by pro-CCP capitalists. The CCP is the so-called dictatorship of the Chinese Communist Party. But this year’s election process more clearly reflects the deepening counter-revolution against the limited democratic rights of the masses in Hong Kong and shows that direct rule from Beijing has become a fact.

It was the first election of a chief executive since the million-strong protests of 2019 and the implementation of the national security law a year later. Last year, Beijing “improved” Hong Kong’s electoral system, further limiting the elected component of the Legislative Council (pseudo-parliament) as well as the Election Commission. This was done to prevent the now largely crushed pan-democrat parties from gaining any meaningful opposition within the LegCo. The rule changes do not prevent a small moderate “loyal” opposition from entering parliament to give a veneer of democracy.

Low turnout record

However, in the December 2021 Legislative Council elections, Beijing went further. All pan-democrat hopefuls have been disqualified. The final election result saw a record turnout of just 30.2%, with most voters refusing to participate, and LegCo was further reduced to a rubber stamp with no legitimacy among the masses.

In this year’s chief executive election, also “enhanced” by the CCP’s electoral reform, there is no limit to the number of candidates. However, despite this, the CCP didn’t have many options. The election was originally scheduled for March 27, 27. Current chief executive Carrie Lam had not announced her re-election aspirations pending instructions from Xi Jinping.

Later, Xian Guolin, a pro-establishment fringe figure and descendant of martial arts master Ip Man, took the lead in the election. However, in February, on orders from Beijing, the Hong Kong government announced that the election would be postponed until May using the pretext of the Omicron outbreak. In April, Beijing showed its hand. Lam, who had lost Beijing’s support, announced that she would not run again and the central government eventually expressed its “sole approval” for John Lee’s candidacy.

No room for “disunity”

This thin disguise has prevented other factions of the establishment from throwing their hats into the ring. Obviously, in the new counter-revolutionary situation, the CCP wants to avoid open displays of “disunity” as in the damaging dispute between CY Leung and Henry Tang for the post of Chief Executive in 2012, and the candidacy of John Tsang in 2017. They were all representatives of the pro-CCP capitalist establishment, but their rival ambitions opened up a split within the establishment that undermined its authority as a whole. Such incidents can weaken the regime and incite society to challenge its authority.

To guard against such embarrassing episodes, Beijing preferred to abolish the whole electoral charade and make it the first “one-man election” since the handover. In a show of loyalty to Beijing, 300 election committee members (a fifth of the total) rushed to nominate the sole candidate even before his political platform was announced.

Lee previously served as deputy police commissioner and then security secretary in Lam’s administration, overseeing brutal police tactics against the 2019 mass protests. Some people fear this could therefore mark the start of a “military rule” in Hong Kong. But the state apparatus in Hong Kong is not independent, it is entirely under the control of Beijing. Whether a civilian or military official is chosen does not make a fundamental difference, in the end it is the CCP that rules Hong Kong.

The general trend of counter-revolution in Hong Kong will only intensify. It will not slow down unless it meets resistance from a mass movement, which will most likely emanate from the working class of mainland China rather than Hong Kong under current conditions. According to our analysis, for Xi Jinping to demonstrate his power as a nationalist strongman, which he must do in the new Cold War, he will inevitably subjugate Hong Kong further.

The city is firmly in the CCP’s pocket anyway, and given the inexorable decoupling of China and the United States, Hong Kong’s economic and strategic position will decline, and Western capitalists will basically abandon Hong Kong, turning to larger strategic issues such as the Taiwan Strait and South China Sea.

“Rule 23”

After John Lee’s election, he has already said that pursuing national security legislation under ‘Article 23’ of Hong Kong’s Basic Law (mini-constitution) will be one of his tasks. in power. It will be more detailed and locally compatible legislation than the National Security Law, which was imposed by Beijing. The aim of the new legislation is to enable authorities to carry out more targeted repression, rather than having to balance between using colonial-era British laws or the ‘nuclear bomb’ of the Security Act national.

The authorities have not relaxed their repression against demonstrators or pro-democracy activists. According to the Security Bureau, more than 10,000 people were arrested during the 2019 anti-authoritarian movement, of which more than 2,800 were prosecuted and more than 1,100 were convicted. Since the passage of the national security law, 175 people have been arrested under the law and eight convicted. In May, five trustees of the disbanded 612 Humanitarian Support Fund were arrested, including former pan-democrat lawmakers Margaret Ng (Civic Party) and Cyd Ho (Labour Party). This was a crowd-funded initiative to cover the legal costs of arrested protesters. The police used the charge of “collusion with foreign forces” under the national security law. Ho was arrested for endangering national security and another individual was charged with failing to register a company for the fund.

It can be seen from this example that even the most moderate pan-democrats are not safe, not because they represent a real challenge to the authoritarian system but in order to slaughter them like “chickens” to scare the “monkey” of the mass struggle. Under the onslaught of CCP state repression, opposition forces in Hong Kong have nearly collapsed. And those who still function have largely chosen to surrender to the CCP. Bruce Liu Sing-lee, chairman of the Association for Democracy and People’s Livelihood (ADPL), a moderate right-wing pan-democratic party, said recently that the party wants to become a “loyal opposition”, believes that “Xi Jinping Thought” is in line with the founding goals of the party (!) and hopes to stand for election in the future. For these professional capitalist politicians, democracy has never been a principle, only a means to obtain votes and official positions.

The fate of Hong Kong is not in the hands of Hong Kong itself, but is dominated by the new Cold War, the political situation in China and around the world. Therefore, as was already clear during the 2019 mass movement, the anti-authoritarian struggle in Hong Kong cannot be completed in one city alone, but must be linked to an escalating mass struggle in mainland China. and must be based on the independent organization and program of the working class – rather than relying on the bourgeois opposition which, because it does not want to challenge capitalism. Instead, they limit the development of the struggle and depoliticize it to the point of betraying the movement to

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