I can’t really explain this entirely new and transcendent feeling. 

Here it is, 23 years after the 1997 handover from British to Chinese rule and just days after the promulgation of Hong Kong’s new national security law. Suddenly I see the light. 

Photos: via Piqsels

This must be what it’s like for those evangelical Christians when the heavens open (or their iPhones buzz) and God speaks directly to them: YOU MUST RECOGNISE AND RENOUNCE THE SINS OF THE PAST. EMBRACE ME AND FOLLOW THE NARROW PATH TO SALVATION.

And so I will. And so we all will. 

Let me now profess: The Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPCSC) is my personal saviour… And let me affirm to my nearly 7.5 million Hong Kong brethren: The Chinese Communist Party is good! …Choral response, please: All the time!

Music and lyrics chosen for this epiphany: March of the Volunteers, of course… Beautiful! 

cultural revolution
A public denouncement session during the Cultural Revolution.

And now, as this uplifting canticle seeps deep into your soul, upending your previously mistaken values and moral code, it’s time to renounce three false gods of old:

1) Democracy. For 23 years, you may have believed that this was the best path forward for Hong Kong, and you may even have suffered under the delusion that such a system was promised to Hong Kong in the city’s mini-constitution, known as the Basic Law. Forswear these diabolical thoughts as well as the spurious prophets who promulgated (there’s that word again!) such base fictions up, down and across our great city. 

Demosisto national anthem banner
Joshua Wong and Agnes Chow protest the national anthem law. Photo: Holmes Chan/HKFP.

Szeto Wah, founding chairman of the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China—rest in peace, but I renounce you! Martin Lee Chu-ming, 82-year-old founding father of the Democratic Party, I renounce you! As for the youthful Joshua Wong Chi-fung, Nathan Law Kwun-chung and Agnes Chow Ting—RIP Demosisto, but I must also renounce you and all others, young and old, like you! 

Democracy now bad, authoritarianism now good.

All praise to the CCP! Thank you for saving me, Hong Kong and  “one country, two systems”! 

2) Freedom of speech, assembly and the press. For 23 years, you may have thought that you could march and rally and say nasty things about the Chinese leadership and their representatives in the city. (Said representatives, by the way, should never again be referred to as puppets, lackeys, slaves or any other such undeserved pejoratives.) 

candle tiananmen vigil june 4 victoria park 2020
Photo: Chau Ho Man/United Social Press.

You may have used the “I” word; you may have called on foreign governments and NGOs to pressure Beijing into granting your wild-eyed demands; you may have carried a symbolic candle to Victoria Park on each and every June 4 for the past 23 years; and—in your frustration and anger when you felt scorned and ignored by the Hong Kong officials you expected to stand up for your hopes and dreams for your city—you may have stormed the Legislative Council chamber, set fire to a rubbish bin or inflicted damage on an MTR station.

And, if you are a journalist, you probably felt free to report and opine on all of the above without fear or favour. 

Stop now! No more! Otherwise, you could be found guilty of secession, subversion, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces to endanger national security—and spend the rest of your life in prison, possibly a mainland prison! 

missing booksellers lee bo
The missing booksellers. Photo: HKFP.

And don’t think you can hide. Mainland agents, soon to be formally stationed in the city but no doubt already present, will find you. They are very good at that. Ask the five Hong Kong booksellers who disappeared in 2015. And that was well before Hong Kong had received the blessing of this freshly minted national security law, which has been so gently placed in Annex III of the Basic Law. 

All praise to the CCP! And long live “one country, two systems”!

3) Independent judiciary. For 23 years, you may have retained confidence in Hong Kong judges to remain independent and immune from the sort of blatant political influence that is commonplace on the mainland. 

Rule of law, it was once called. But, let’s face it, you just can’t trust the rule of law to satisfy the Chinese leadership.

Thus, whenever Beijing doesn’t like what the law is allowing in Hong Kong, the ever-reliable NPCSC leaps into action to issue one of its reassuring “interpretations.” 

Leung Kwok-hung
Leung Kwok-hung during the 2016 oath taking ceremony in the legislature. File photo: LegCo.

Remember, for example, in 2016, when six duly elected (but, of course, altogether disreputable) lawmakers—including Law, Yau Wai-ching and “Long Hair” Leung Kwok-hung—turned their Legco oath-taking ceremony into an anti-China protest. 

Well, that was embarrassing, and so the NPCSC was quick to issue a “clarification” of Article 104 of the Basic Law, the article related to oath-taking, which subsequently resulted in the ouster of Law, Yau, Leung and the three other offenders from the legislature. 

So easy, problem solved—no need to get possibly perfidious local judges involved. And, thankfully, the same will be true in court cases involving the national security law. 

judges judiciary
File photo: GovHK.

Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor—famous for her clear-headed impartiality—will be selecting the judges who try these cases. Except, of course, for the “complicated” ones; only mainland judges can be trusted to get those right. 

All praise to mainland judges, to the CCP and to “one country two systems”! 

In closing, I feel obliged to offer a sincere and solemn apology for any and all of my past writings that could be construed as criticism of the central government and/or its loyal and able representatives in Hong Kong.  

Recently arrived mainland agents in the city should note that there are no such criticisms in this piece—and that’s the way it’s going to be from now on. 

I have seen the light. 

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Kent Ewing

Kent Ewing

Kent Ewing is a teacher and writer who has lived in Hong Kong for more than two decades. He has written for the South China Morning Post, The Standard, Asia Times and Asia Sentinel. Allegations to the contrary, he insists he is not a colonial fossil. Follow him on Twitter.