The Hong Kong government pulled out of negotiating with protesters after news broke that in 2012 Leung Chun-ying received a $6.5 million payment from an Australian engineering company.
But the real reason for the pullout can’t be seen from the surface.
Leung has been Beijing’s man in Hong Kong as chief executive since early 2012. The Communist Party backed him—until now.
People’s Daily, the Party mouthpiece, previously said that the Party trusts Leung and expects him to calm things down and close up the Umbrella Revolution.
The Umbrella Revolution is a hot potato that the Party left in his lap. He was told it was his problem to solve, and to use any method short of using military force or killing people.
So Leung tried all the tactics, such as using triads to do dirty work, and also strong-arming most of the media into attacking the protesters. He tried all his tricks, and he used up all his tricks—and the students are not going away. They continue to peacefully insist on a dialogue.
The HK government first agreed to negotiate, then pulled out after the news broke.
The timing and the method of divulging the information about Leung’s payday are the keys. The paper with the information about Leung appeared out of nowhere in the hands of a well-known investigative reporter whose father was Australia’s ambassador to China.
Someone in a high position leaked the corruption information deliberately, knowing it would become news quickly.
This made people realize that Beijing will sacrifice Leung if convenient. It’s a hint that Leung’s removal may come soon.
Leung realized the backing he thought he had was tenuous at best, and he would not be able to negotiate with anything behind him. What direction could he take, what tone could he bring to negotiations? There is no longer the perception of backing from Beijing.
It was the hint from Beijing—in the guise of leaked news—that canceled the negotiations.
In fact, the Party would never give up anything in negotiations anyway, and it was just a tactic to gain time and soften things. Now the tactic has been withdrawn.
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