By David Pilling in Hong Kong

The election for Hong Kong chief executive, the rather po-faced name the business-minded city gives to its mayor, may have passed you by. After all, with an election committee of only 1,200 members that takes its cue from Beijing and only two credible candidates, it surely lacks the slapstick spectacle of something like the Republican primaries.

Think again. What ought to be a boring exercise in “managed democracy”, in which a captured Hong Kong elite does Beijing’s bidding, has turned into something altogether more exciting.