Steerpike

Hong Kong lawmaker’s jibe at Britain backfires

Hong Kong lawmaker's jibe at Britain backfires
ANTHONY WALLACE/AFP via Getty Images
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China's lamentably poor 'wolf warriors' have given Mr S many laughs in recent months. Diplomats and functionaries within President Xi's regime are seeking to use Twitter to act as propaganda outriders by amplifying the Chinese Communist Party (CCP)'s belligerent messages to the outside world – a task at which they currently fail miserably.

It's not just mainland apparatchiks who try to prove their fealty to the CCP via shrill posts on social media. In Hong Kong, craven legislators have only been too keen to do the bidding of Beijing and jump on the Twitter band wagon. One such example was provided this week by Regina Ip, chair of the pro-Beijing New People's Party (NPP).

Ip has been known to covet the post of Hong Kong Chief Executive throughout her entire political life. Best known for her staunch support of the CCP, lowlights in a chequered career include racist comments about Filipino maids and refusing to burn her beloved Burberry scarfs – despite backing a boycott of the firm for its criticism of atrocities in Xinjiang.

First elected as a Legislative Councillor in 2008, she has proved to be a willing collaborator in the erosion, emasculation and abolition of democracy in the city-state. This perhaps should come as no surprise to anyone who has followed Ip's career; the last time free and fair District Council elections were held, the NPP was comprehensively rejected and lost all of its seats.

Ip spent the bulk of her life under British rule – including working for the then colonial government as a low-level bureaucrat– but now seems to have developed something of a loathing for the UK. On Saturday she launched an attack on those Hong Kong nationals who have chosen to take up the Foreign Office's offer of a British National Overseas visa to come and live here in Britain.

In a series of shrill tweets, Ip called such people 'naive' and mocked them as being 'mere objects of pity and welfare assistance' along with an article from the notoriously unreliable South China Morning Post which claimed Hong Kong migrants are facing 'mental health woes' since coming to the UK. In language worthy of a Dickens tract, it records the plight of one 'miserable' arrival who is 'traumatised by his immigration experience.'

Self-reflection is a quality sadly denied to most of Beijing's most slavish sycophants. Still, Mr S would hope Ip might ask why, in the first three months of 2021, nearly 35,000 of her countrymen and women chose to – as the article puts it – abandon 'their Hong Kong estates, company of friends and yum cha'? Could the creation of a police state perhaps have something to do with it?

Moreover, Ip's words ring all the more hollow when one considers her own back story. Regina herself spent a year here in the UK undertaking a masters in English literature at Glasgow University, where she developed a love of WB Yeats and the Elizabethan poet Sir Philip Sydney. Ip's daughter, Cynthia, is meanwhile believed to still be happily living and working in the UK herself – according to, er, her mother's Facebook posts.

 Back in February Regina Ip took to social media to mourn how her daughter would not be home for the Chinese New Year, bemoaning to her 134,000 followers how: 'My daughter works in England, because flights between Hong Kong and Britain are suspended and traffic between the two places is cut off.'

Mr S looks forward to Cynthia putting her mother straight about how awful life really is for those Hong Kongers living here in the UK.

Written bySteerpike

Steerpike is The Spectator's gossip columnist, serving up the latest tittle tattle from Westminster and beyond. Email tips to steerpike@spectator.co.uk or message @MrSteerpike

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