China’s State Council on Friday (25) approved a change of personnel at the top of the Hong Kong government, with Secretary for Security Li Ka-chiu, who has taken a tough stance against the “anti-China” movement, being promoted to Chief Secretary for Administration, the first time since the handover of sovereignty in Hong Kong that a “military official” (Li is a police officer) This is the first time since the handover of sovereignty in Hong Kong that a “military official” (Li Ka-chiu is a police officer) is in charge of all 180,000 civil servants. In this round of personnel transfer, Li Ka-chiu is not the only person to be reappointed police. Police Commissioner Tang Ping-keung was promoted to the Secretary for Security, and the post of Commissioner of Police was taken over by Deputy Commissioner Siu Chak-yee. The former Chief Secretary for Administration, Mr. Matthew Cheung, retired from the “civil service” (government service). In the history of China, this “emphasis on military rather than civilian” situation can be said to be unique.
In ancient times, when civil officials had a normal promotion pipeline and were more easily respected, such as during the Empress Wu period of the Tang Dynasty, there was a reluctance to transfer civil officials to military positions. As the Song Emperor Zhao Kuangyin established the Song Dynasty through a military coup, and the phenomenon of military coups to seize power and become emperor was quite common during the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms, so the military generals were very uneasy, and the emperors of the final Song generation suppressed the military generals and even let the civilians take charge of the military. In the Ming and Qing dynasties, the situation of emphasizing literature over military has never been worse, the Qing dynasty from the first-class military governor whose power is difficult to humble from the second-class civilian governor, not to mention the lower-ranking military officials.
In Chinese history, the only time that a military official became a prime minister was probably in the late Tang Dynasty, when many military envoys were given the title of prime minister, but they had no real power.
In contemporary Taiwan, there are records of military strongmen serving as executive presidents: from 1990 to 1993, President Lee Teng-hui appointed former Chief of Staff Hao Bo-cun as executive president, and in 2000, when the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) first gained power, President Chen Shui-bian appointed Tang Fei, a former minister of national defense from the Chinese Nationalist Party, to lead his cabinet, although the Tang Fei cabinet lasted only four and a half months before it ended.
However, the situation in Hong Kong and Taiwan is very different. The Chinese Communist regime has a firm grip on the Hong Kong police force, plus they have the PLA troops in Hong Kong, so there is no fear of a “military coup” by reusing the police!