The Wuhan virus claims an unexpected victim: the UN’s ICAO civil aviation agency. As with the similarly afflicted WHO, China’s government has pushed its own people for appointments to the body and worked to freeze Taiwan out. Now comes the deliciously enjoyable backlash, complete with an apparently panda-hugging director-general whining. Beijing’s obsession with claiming Taiwan alienates not just the island, but the world.
The sickest institution of all, however, must be the Hong Kong government, which has spent the last week prevaricating over whether to require inbound travellers to complete forms, keeping schools closed, whether or how to tighten border controls, and of course whether to encourage the face-masks it also wants to ban.
Carrie Lam’s administration entered this health scare lacking:
- credibility, owing to past extreme incompetence (extradition bill etc)
- trust, owing to past prioritization of Beijing’s interests, lying about police violence etc
- legitimacy, having no mandate from the people but serving as a proxy for the despotic CCP
And we could add:
- basic respect among the public, after years of arrogance, indifference and disdain
- moral authority, owing to cronyism and hypocrisy (Justice Secretary’s illegal structures, etc)
Under the circumstances, it’s not surprising that officials are having a tough time. It might not make sense to close a border that 200,000 or whatever people cross per day. Maybe the empty blocks in Fanling are indeed the optimum location for a quarantine-type facility. But coming from these malevolent, deceitful clowns on puppet strings, why should anyone believe it?
One of the funniest lines I read over the holiday was in an article saying roughly “the virus gives the Hong Kong government an opportunity to show it can do a serious professional job”. It is, of course, giving the administration a golden opportunity to screw up even more than it has already in the last eight months. Sounds hard to achieve, but they will do it.
Note how the administration sprinted away petrified at the first whiff of a Molotov cocktail in the lobby of that building in Fanling. The officials are more scared than the residents.
Last night, thousands of health care workers lined up to join a new union. To the public, the nurses and others are natural heroes of the pro-dem cause, a worthy (and maybe more wholesome) successor to the protest front-liners. In stark contrast to the government, they care. To Beijing’s local paranoid overseers, such organization will look like a challenge, leveraging a health crisis to undermine state power, perhaps funded by the CIA.
To the aesthetes among us, they definitely get Poster of the Week Award…