You'd think they have far more important and urgent matters on their plate like, say, the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak in Hong Kong and the rest of the world (including the part of Mainland China from where it emerged and some Hong Kongers remain stranded). But as was shown with the unveiling of a budget two days ago that increased funding for the police by 25 percent from the previous year to a whopping HK$25.8 billion (so that they can add 2,543 officers to the force along with six additional armored vehicles), Carrie Lam's administration's focus remains the repression of Hong Kongers seeking genuine universal suffrage.
Undoubtedly with the approval of, if not outright instigation by, the Communist Chinese regime's non-Cantonese-speaking Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office head Xia Baolong and Liason Office chief Luo Huining, the Hong Kong police swooped and arrested pro-democracy media tycoon Jimmy Lai, Labour Party vice-chairman Lee Cheuk-yan and former Democracy Party chairman Yeung Sam on charges of having taken part in an illegal assembly last August 31st. Later in the morning came news too of League of Social Democrats chairman Avery Ng having to return to prison to serve the remaining time of his sentence for revealing the identity of a goverment official being investigated by the Independent Commission against Corruption (ICAC).
If the new Mainland Chinese officials for Hong Kong think that these actions will serve as a deterrent to the pro-democracy camp, however, they really must not know Hong Kongers. And this especially since no member of the Hong Kong police force who attacked civilians inside Prince Edward MTR station that same terrible August day last year has yet to be arrested and brought to justice.
More than incidentally, August 31st happens to be a special date for my country of birth since on that day in 1957, it became an independent nation. And Malaysia has preying on my mind much of this week thanks to the political shenanigans that has caused a political coalition and government which had come to power 22 months ago to collapse and plunged the country into an avoidable yet serious crisis. Its twisty tale, filled with lots of intrigue and betrayals, has threatened to break -- if not already outright broken -- the hearts of many Malaysians.
It's not all over just yet -- though it can feel like it -- but already out of it has come lessons that apply to the Hong Kong political situation too. From self-described "reluctant lawyer" Fadiah Nadwa Fikri's Twitter account have come the following reminders: If we paid attention to history, this shitshow wouldn’t have been surprising. The systems were never built to accomodate the people. We can never beat them at their own game; and In the words of the great James Baldwin “History is not the past. It is the present. We carry our history with us. We are our history. If we pretend otherwise, we are literally criminals.”