HK Observer: Rigged elections and rigged petitions

robert-carrollSo has the recent ´referendum´ on methods of electing the Chief Executive by the pro-democratic reform movement, Occupy Central been recognized by Beijing? Yes, recognized it has been, recognized as having to be countered, and well and truly countered it was too.
Gosh, a million signatories claimed, so far, in a petition against Occupy Central, including the Chief Executive compared to over 700,000 in the pro-democracy poll. So if so many voted against Occupy Central than voted in that organisation´s poll does that mean the people have given their view on Occupy Central? No. Firstly the petition is very narrow in scope, because people were not asked about Occupy Central´s objectives and raison d’être, only about the physical protest side of the organisation. The signers apparently oppose the physical occupation of Central but were not asked about details about political reform, unlike in the so-called referendum. Secondly, the lurking question; how seriously can we take the petition given that it has hallmarks of a propaganda campaign? Were they all genuine signings made without pressure? Was there a lot of marshaling of the troops, the multitudes of to-be-depended-on-to-act-as-requested allies? And how many who would normally be ´I don´t know´ in polls were asked to answer loaded questions like, Do you support Hong Kong´s stability and prosperity and are you therefore against Occupy Central? This even though they had answered to the effect of:  I don´t know anything about Occupy Central and, or, I am not interested in, and, or, neither do I follow politics.
That was reportedly the scenario when Hong Kong media followed campaigners asking ageing, sometimes illiterate, citizens at remote villages to say no to Occupy Central smacking of a case of desperation to boost the numbers by whatever means. Nevertheless isn´t it a healthy development when the pro-Beijing camp uses a petition intending to publicly reveal the results, not keep them secret as happens now with the Hong Kong government who never reveal the results of their regular opinion polls (not to be confused with public consultations).
Doesn´t it also add weight to the Occupy Central poll findings that 750,000 people reject rigged elections? Otherwise why would pro-Beijing groups put so much effort in a counter petition? If the Occupy Central poll was as valueless and unrepresentative of public opinion as claimed by Chinese officials, as well as Chinese propaganda news outlets, why mount a similar campaign? Why too was the campaign only focused on the ´Occupy´ part of Occupy Central not on mechanisms of electoral reform as was polled in the Occupy Central ´referendum´? Why was the counter campaign not sounding out citizens on the crucial issue, the methods of electing the Chief Executive, if those behind it are, in public, claiming they are confident they represent mainstream opinion? Perhaps they are afraid of getting uncomfortable answers.
Moving to McDonalds, didn´t the fast food giant really screw up with its lies and evasiveness about rotten and dirty food from China in its products? What a publicity disaster –  boo hoo – for one of the territory´s main junk food providers, that unfortunately has become a staple cheap chow. It´s a good thing they got found out before someone died of food poisoning. However since no one has died, or has yet been proven to be seriously ill from recently eating at McDonalds, it remains to be seen if regulators in China will really get tough on the guilty food suppliers. It seems that food regulators on the mainland get Communist Party brownie points if they don´t dig up food scandals, not if they do. The logic being that if there are few prosecutions they are doing their job well and of course there have vested interest in not getting on the wrong side of any company well-connected to more senior officials.
If nothing much is done, and given past local consumer behaviour after food scandals, people will turn away from McDonalds in droves. But is that such a bad thing?

Categories Opinion