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In the wake of the marking of the first anniversary of the enactment of the National Security Law for Hing Kong (celebrated in some quarters, vilified in others around the world; Hong Kong Free Press explainer here), the authorities held a conference. As has become customary among vanguard groups, and especially those in power, these conferences serve as an important space for communicating with the masses--both internal populations, and friends and foes abroad. This one was no different.
There were no surprises at the conference, unless one has been asleep since August 2019, or inattentive, or indulging in the grossest sort of self delusion. There was, however, a series of confirmations of approaches that ought to be carefully weighed. Coverage of the event by Hong Kong Television Ltd.'s iCable, and especially of the statement by Zheng Yanxiong, who is currently the head of the Office of the Central People’s Government for Safeguarding National Security in HKSAR, was particularly on point. The text of the reporting follows below along with links to the video.
In considering contemporary messaging it might be useful to keep the following in mind:
1. The definitive narrative of the situation in Hong Kong between 2019 and 2020 has now been settled. Expect to see a substantial amount of effort invested in ensuring that this orthodox version of the events--and more importantly their meaning--will be made compulsory at least within China. For those who read my book, Hong Kong Between 'One Country' and 'Two Systems', the outline of the definitive narrative and its meaning is unremarkable and the product of a long gestation. See my discussion:Chapter 20: Monday 18 November 2019; Open-Shut (bai he 稗閤) Strategies: 习近平;止暴制乱 恢复秩序是香港当前最紧迫的任务 [Xi Jinping; Stopping the storm and restoring order is Hong Kong’s most urgent task at present] pp. 255-262 (Access Free); Chapter 25: Tuesday 26 May 2020; For Whom is Hong Kong Home? “One Country-Two Systems,” the National Security Law and the Development of a Patriotic Front pp. 319-330 (Access Free). On this foundation the definitive narrative provided by Zhang Yanxiong becomes both clearer and better stuated within the ideological context in which it was fashioned.
2. The emphasis of the critical binaries will continue to shape policy for the foreseeable future. The principal binaries are stability versus chaos; patriots versus traitors, Nation versus foreigners; prosperity versus struggle. These binaries also shape the definitive narrative of the situation in Hng Kong since June 2019. The forces of disorder were both unpatriotic and destructive of China's long struggle to free itself from the dominion and corruption of foreigners and their (self serving) machinations. While it is necessary to engage with the foreign (e.g., Reform and Opening Up; emancipating the mind), there is a line that must not be crossed. That line is crossed when what is received transforms the recipient rather than being itself transformed and naturalized within the national context at its current stage of historical development. This the great sin of the protests, according to the orthodox narrative, was inescapably profound--internationalization, represented a rejection of the nation on virtually every level that counted for the central authorities. What follows is inevitable according to the logic of the narrative: 確保管治權牢牢掌握在愛國者手中才能更有效維護國家安全 [To more effectively safeguard national security it is essential to ensure that governance power s firmly in the hands of patriots].
3. The narrative thus inscribes meaning on the bodies of individuals. To be a patriot is to belong; to be labelled anything else is to invite rectification. The fundamental political choice presented in the narrative is inescapable and may not be avoided by individuals. A declaration of loyalty and the practice of loyalty by conduct may be necessary to provide the assurance demanded by national security in the aftermath of the chaos. That is the implication.
4 The unwillingness of the central and local authorities to compromise their core positions is reinforced. Again, one would have had to have been asleep since 2019 to be surprised. The central authorities and with them their local counterparts were able successfully (aided by the pandemic to be sure, but the serendipity of events is a constant marker in the course of human affairs and may be read as an exogenous sign to be exploited or avoided). That unwillingness to negotiate is meant as much for foreigners (the international community and its human rights sensibilities; and the forces of the great competing empires, the United States certainly (with respect to which walls of separation are continuing to be built by both sides) and likely the European Union the trade agreement with which is currently in shambles and who remain fractured in their version of unity).
5. 'Two Systems' is now ever more firmly tied to the fundamental premise of Chinese Marxist-Leninism in the New Era--that political organization is necessarily the product of a series of strictly arranged and interlocking relations between a leadership core and a collective. In this case the collective is the subordinate government of the HKSAR, and the leadership provided by the central authorities. Thsi privides context forZheng's statement: 他最後說公署會堅定落實中央對香港維護國家安全的戰略意識及政治決心，與特區管治、司法、執法團隊並肩作戰。[concluding statement that the Commissioner’s Office would firmly implement the central government’s strategic awareness and political determination to safeguard Hong Kong’s national security, and work side by side with the SAR governance, judicial, and law enforcement teams. ] This is no longer an ideological flourish but a statement of organizational structure that in the case of the HKSAR ('Two Systems') may not be ignored ('One Country'). At the same time the core of leadership of the Communist Party serves as the very center of this this set of interlocking relationships, with the core of leadership at its center.
6. "Security Brings Prosperity" the theme of the conference ought to be taken seriously as the core expression of the fundamental line around which the meaning of 'Two Systems' will be shaped. Prosperity is the objective to be measured. The results of that measure are themselves a function of security. The more precisely security is adjusted, so it might be discerned, the greater and more efficient the forard movement of prosperity, as such is to be measured. The enemy of security is chaos. And chaos is represented by the uncontrolled political acts of the masses. To avoid chaos, then, one must avoid both sovereignty detracting interference from abroad (including its international norms to the extent they have not been appropriately transposed by the leadership core of the nation and its political vanguard) and internal struggles for self determination. As Zheng pointedly characterized the issue: 「這已經不是甚麼民主思潮、自治呼聲、言論自由，而是徹頭徹尾的顛覆政權、侵犯主權，而且其中的 [This is not about democratic thoughts, calls for autonomy, or freedom of speech, but a total subversion of the regime and violation of sovereignty.]
7. Lastly, the wall in the image serves as a powerful image of the trajectories of the meaning making indulged in the conference. Even as Mr. Zheng it was reported in the West that "Facebook, Twitter, Google Threaten to Quit Hong Kong Over Proposed Data Laws." To avoid chaos and interference, it seems, that the walls of separation will demand that all interactions be carefully managed through increasingly well developed structures of managed exchanges. And in the context of data and information--a priceless commodity and an important element of national security, the nationalization of these objects and their control becomes a consequential element of the narrative represented by Hong Kong.
8. These remarks should be read together with those earlier made and considered here: 'Two Systems' Under 'One Country' Under the Guidance of the Communist Party--Hong Kong Officials Celebrate the Centennial of the Chinese Communist Party. The point here is there are transformative changes that are accelerating in Hong Kong.
More to come.
鄭雁雄指反修例事件屬「顛覆政權」 沒妥協餘地、唯有鬥爭 強調治港者須愛國
【有線新聞】中央駐港國安公署署長鄭雁雄出席有關《港區國安法》的論壇，說2019年反修例事件徹頭徹尾顛覆政權、侵犯主權，沒有妥協餘地，唯有鬥爭和法辦，公署將堅定落實中央對香港維護國家安全的戰略意圖及政治決心。 《港區國安法》實施一周年，律政司舉辦論壇，鄭雁雄於席上致詞時提到，香港維護國家安全是中華民族偉大復興進程中絕不能退讓的底線，亦為2019年反修例事件定性，「這已經不是甚麼民主思潮、自治呼聲、言論自由，而是徹頭徹尾的顛覆政權、侵犯主權，而且其中的『攬炒』、『黑暴』等極端活動，這更是演化成為毫無人道的、嚴重的反社會犯罪行為，對此沒有任何妥協、懷柔可言，不可以抱任何的幻想，不可以給予任何的可乘之機，唯有鬥爭、唯有法辦。任何人、任何勢力還想試探中央對香港維護國家安全的決心和底線，甚至膽敢在這一問題上輕舉妄動，只能是自取其辱。」 他說政權出了問題是嚴重的國家安全失守，確保管治權牢牢掌握在愛國者手中才能更有效維護國家安全，「不是任何人都可以掌權治港，在這個問題上絕不可以所託非人，實際上愛國者治港就是對香港管治團隊落實維護國家安全職責的最通俗表達，是高度自治與高度放心辯證關係的必然邏輯。履行這一職責與所謂的政治中立無關，與維護香港司法制度不矛盾，與維護香港法治精神、市場環境、公眾利益完全一致，任何人沒有任何藉口在維護國家安全上不作為、亂作為。」 他最後說公署會堅定落實中央對香港維護國家安全的戰略意識及政治決心，與特區管治、司法、執法團隊並肩作戰。