Asia City Online November 1, 2012
Here are three simple rules of basic survival: don¡¦t provoke a raging bull with a red cloth; don¡¦t unzip and put on a little phallic extravaganza in front of a policewoman walking down a New York street; and don¡¦t wave a Union Jack or a colonial Hong Kong flag around during an anti-China demonstration in Hong Kong.
It is thus no surprise that Beijing roared in frenzy at the sight of a few Union Jacks being waved about by maverick street demonstrators, who also shouted such blasphemous slogans as ¡§Long Live the Treaty of Nanking¡¨¡Xthe so-called ¡§unequal treaty,¡¨ under which the late Qing government agreed to cede Hong Kong to Britain in 1841. The scenes, ripe with the clear visual impact of political irony, were flashed across CNN and many international TV screens. Considering this a severe loss of face, pro-Beijing politicians first called for their immediate arrest and trial on the charge of treason. Reminded that the laws related to Article 23 are, sadly, absent, they then pressured the Hong Kong government to draft an interim law to make open display of the British flag ¡§illegal¡¨ in a move to curb what they see as a dangerous sign of Hong Kong¡¦s independence¡Xa nightmare for Beijing, out of fear that the Tibetans, the Muslims of Xinjiang, or even people in Guangdong province might follow suit and that China would crumble.
If the sighting of the Union Jack in broad daylight and the shouting of pro-British slogans cause as much hysteria as the wielding of a holy cross at the character played by Christopher Lee in most British-made Hammer-studio movies of the 1960s¡Xperhaps there is a need to ban the display of this symbol of Hong Kong¡¦s yearnings for the good old days and disgust with the present.
But there would be great difficulties in drafting such a law, let alone implementing it. Even if such a law were passed by the Legislative Council, Hong Kong independence supporters and separatists could still wave about a portrait of the Queen instead. The law would then have to add a long list of illegal items apart from the flag: the Queen¡¦s portrait, and those of Prince Charles, Princes William and Harry, Prime Minster David Cameron, former governor Lord Chris Patten, and former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, who fought with great prowess in the 1980s to preserve Hong Kong¡¦s freedoms by looking Deng Xiaoping, a chain-smoking dinosaur, in the eye.
And certainly more land would have to be allotted for the building of additional prisons, for as many as 10,000 convicted traitors would need to be locked up for shouting, ¡§We love Queen Elizabeth and hate CY Leung,¡¨ on Queen¡¦s Road recently. And should the latest James Bond movie be banned? Young cinema-goers could, moved by the British secret agent hero who saves the world from another crisis, perform a tearful standing ovation as the credits roll while singing ¡§God Save the Queen.¡¨