The rumours are untrue. Unfortunately, it is not feasible for the government to issue face masks to all 7 million residents. But thanks to our multi-pronged® efforts, we can assure the public that large shipments will be arriving in the next few days, and existing supplies are sufficient provided people mellow out and do not hoard the things. If you have spare masks, please consider passing some on to those in need. In the meantime, the government will give priority to hospitals and medical personnel. We would also remind everyone that it is far more important to wash your hands with soap frequently. Heung Gong ga yau!
Is it really that difficult to sound vaguely like you give a damn? Apparently, it is: all low-paid brown people requested to stay indoors.
As the hostile tone of press statements shows, officials feel under siege and are in hyper-defensive mode – as if the whole world hates them.
Which it does. Even the Hong Kong government’s supposed allies are stroppy. The pro-Beijing DAB suggests closing the border and a member distances himself from the Fanling quarantine plan. Lawmaker Regina Ip demands a ban on Mainland tourists. Colleague Ann Chiang proposes steaming masks for re-use (which is apparently a stupid idea – but any original thought from CCP loyalists is impressive, and indeed subversive). Michael Tien ponders a state of emergency, while Alice Mak calls panic-buying ‘sad’. The tourism industry – a bloated parasite sector force-fed by officials – is even more miffed than usual.
While no-one in Hong Kong has died of the WuFlu (we have a name at last), ‘events’ are dropping like flies. Dozens of conferences and bore-fests about green fintech blockchain opportunities have, to everyone’s relief, been cancelled. Galleries want to pull the plug on Art Basel. Could the mega-tedium Rugby 7s be next?
I declare the weekend open with various topical and thought-provoking links…
The Progressive Scholars Group report on Hong Kong police brutality.
The Millions explores the overlap between the HK protests and The Hunger Games.
Nikkei on why Xi Jinping is in such a grumpy mood. (Yes, it’s the US trade deal and HK/Taiwan – but heart-warming to read the detail.)
David Webb explains how the HK government could in theory – without Beijing’s say-so – significantly democratize the Chief Executive ‘election’ system by expanding functional constituencies. (This is a good poke around the gory innards of the rotten boroughs structure, right down to the 10 seats for Taoists. Of course, this is not a ‘voting system’ at all, just a rubber-stamp for Beijing’s initial choice of CE. This is not a design flaw, but the whole point. In practice, any reform needs permission from the Leninists.)
CMP recounts the early days of WuFlu, and explains how the CCP manages the media at a time like this. Reuters also reports on the initial outbreak and delayed responses. And Minxin Pei says the disease is the result of Beijing’s autocracy.
Bitter Winter on the CCP’s rectification campaign against its religious members.
SE Asia Globe asks whether Sihanoukville can ever recover from being Belt-and-Roaded?
A think tank says Canada and Taiwan should be good buddies. Multiply by the number of free countries. What are the HK protests, Taiwan election, WHO and ICAO leading to?
Kings College London launches a great website on China’s Mao era in everyday objects. Worth seeing for the site design alone.
NPR with the (or one of many) definitive and authoritative answer to the Big Mask Question. In short: the basic blue masks are of limited use in particular circumstances, but otherwise not much point. But wash your hands. Also, eat your fruit…