The Fortune Global Forum is becoming a global farce for the Hong Kong government. Sponsored by InvestHK an arm of the government the Forum is intended to be showcase of all that Hong Kong stands for. It has indeed showcased Hong Kong, although not in the way InvestHK would have wanted. It has shown that Hong Kong is now little more than any other Chinese city in abeyance to the capricious whims of the Beijing cadres. The evidence is compelling.
The Immigration Department has arbitrarily refused entry to US and UK nationals on the suspicion that the mainland might not approve of their religious beliefs. The police force mounted a completely overblown security operation to prevent supreme leader Jiang from clapping eyes on a few Falun Gong members or even 40 rather disheveled members of a local pre-democracy group. One country, two systems most of the time; it is one country, one system when Jiangs in town.
This shameless lack of spine is echoed throughout the business community. At the Forum, senior executives of many of the organizations taking part have had to toe the party line and trot out inane comments about the wonderful work of Chief Executive Tung Chee-Hwa and President Jiang. Presumably they know that if they do not do this then their business interests will be harmed.
Perhaps the supreme hypocrisy is that China denounces the rest of the world for linking business with such political issues as human rights and democracy. Yet no company has ever won a license in China without publicly fluffing Chinas political leadership. In China, business and politics are the same. The only thing that delegates will learn from the Forum this week is that the success in China lies, as ever, along kow tow road the same route as ever. They can rely on the Hong Kong government to show them the way.