Thursday, June 05, 2008

Home and Hearth

Thomas Jefferson once said "That everyman owes allegiance to that home and hearth into which he was born and beyond that, France!" So I guess the idea of dual citizenship has been with us a long time.

This issue of dual citizenship has been pretty embarrassing for the local Mandarins over the last week or so. THBT appointed a whole bevy of young (i.e. under 70) Yes men (or madams!) to fill positions in the government that were created just for them to occupy. I guess this is to start grooming the supply of Beijingophiles that can be trusted by the PRC to run for the Chief Executive office after Hong Kong gets universal suffrage in 3024.

As it turns out, everyone of these people had citizenship or permanent residency in another country. In normal circumstances that would be fine. If you are a lawyer or butcher, baker or candlestick maker here in Hong Kong it is OK if you someday plan to abandon us for retirement in Montana. But, governments should not be run by foreigners. That is what happens in a colony. Hong Kong is not a colony of Canada, the formerly great Britain which is now just the UK, Australia, the US or anywhere else. If you are going to be in the government be a citizen of the country that pays you and nowhere else. This is just basic patriotism.

Now to their credit, all of these people at once renounced their other passport as soon as it became know that they held them. However, they should have done this BEFORE a public outcry was raised. I would also question how much the renunciation really means? Did, for example the entire family of Greg So, who I have met and is fairly nice guy, renounce their Canadian citizenship? If not, what is the possibility of him regaining Canadian citizenship if his family moves there in the future? Given the insularity of the HK government from criticism I guess that this is about as good as we can expect.

The other part to this scandal is both more sinister and more repugnant to me. The government has not published and indeed refuses to publish the salary scale for these glorified paper-pushers and Donald Tsang want-to-be officials. The salaries of civil servants here are always somewhere above outrageous and generally just below what averagely corrupt third world dictators pay their mistresses to do the landry but at least we know what the salary is. How much are these people being paid if the government is embarrassed by their salary? The fact that we are not being told makes me believe that these salaries are the real reason that Henry what's-his-name the financial guy says that Hong Kong needs to broaden its tax base.

Hello corrupt mainland bureaucracy.

Until Next Time
Fai Mao
The Blogger who believe that government officials should work for less than market value rather than 4 to 6 times the market value


Anonymous said...

Maybe it should be looked into as to why these people obtained citizenship in other countries.

It might be interesting to find out if any did not trust the motherland enough around 1997, and wanted some insurance.

But that smacks a bit of a witch hunt.

Also, I always thinks there is something wrong when someone can renounce their citizenship so easily.

Surely they swore an oath to their new country to get their passport, and now they say, no thanks.

Is there any loyalty in that?

Fai Mao said...

I actually hadn't thought about the ease with which they gave up citizenship. I know that it is some difficult to give up US citizenship and that the US reserve the "Right" to tax citizens for 10 years if they think you you renounce your US citizenship to avoid US taxes. (I guess the IRS does not remember the Boston Tea Party)

But yes, this does seem to be rather quick. Maybe they just filled out the paperwork and turned it in and are then claiming that it is a finished.