​Shake-Gate: Is Beijing REALLY identifying new Chief Executives with handshakes?

Now we head to China for a seismic overreaction about an election that is still two years away.
When President Xi Jinping shook the hand of Hong Kong Finance Chief John Tsang at the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank meeting last month in Beijing, it drew rabid rumours that this was Xi’s way of signalling that Tsang had gotten the nod of approval to be the next Chief Executive, reports the SCMP.
Tsang was, apparently, the only member of the Chinese delegation who received the wordless gesture from the president.
In similar hyperbole, Xi placed his hand on an infant during his visit to Guizhou last month, which analysts have described as the “anointment of the country’s next Yao Ming”. (He’s that big Chinese basketball player, if you don’t know.)
The as-of-yet unnamed infant is now expected to join the Chinese Olympic team in 2030 and win the gold in five different sports.
The only possible reason that “Shake-gate” is getting so much attention is that actually, it has form… kind of.
Once upon a time, a Mr. Tung Chee-hwa shook the hand of then Chinese president Jiang Zemin and subsequently became the first ever Chief Executive of Hong Kong, reports Apple Daily.
The same thing happened to then-Chief Secretary Donald Tsang on a visit to Beijing with president Hu Jintao. He later became the second Chief Executive of Hong Kong.
Seemingly random coincidence? Meticulously planned gestures by the Beijing government to subconsciously indicate to the world who the next Chief Executive is? Or do important people in China and Hong Kong sometimes just shake hands?
Are we really going to have to go through 20+ years of photo evidence to determine who three Presidents of China have ever shaken hands with to disprove this? 
For more analysis, let’s turn to the President’s resident body-language doctor, Mr. C.Y. Leung.
“It is normal for him [Xi] to shake hands with our representative official at an event which is attended by international figures,” he told the press this morning.
Leung also said that the gesture has been seen on previous occasions, and that the premiere is just showing his support for Hong Kong.
He stressed that the handshake was a simple professional greeting and shouldn’t be used as an indicator for the upcoming 2017 elections.
Oooh, alright! Raw nerve?
Tsang was equally defensive when asked about the gesture by reporters, and deflected a question about whether he is interested in Hong Kong’s top job by asking if others had also been asked.
There are two possible endings to this story. Either Tsang really is the next C.E. and we’re in for 50 more years of “Shake-gate” type analysis, or he won’t be, and it will be proven once and for all that we’ve all currently lost our minds on something certifiably insane. 

Photo: Flazingo Photos via Flickr

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