Just as we feared Hong Kong’s glamour had faded forever, Selina Chow – former svelte TV newsreader and head of the Liberal Party – returns, calling for Hong Kong to close its border. Radiant in her defiance, like the hospital staff threatening to strike.
While the overtly ‘pro-Beijing’ DAB stooges must obey the CCP regardless of public opinion, the ‘pro-establishment’ business-based political groups once again follow their conscience and side heroically with the people. When the chips are down. It’s amazing how plummeting profits concentrate the mind.
Some say that travel bans don’t work against disease anyway. Others point out that other countries are doing it – and Hong Kong must either bar or be barred. The Hong Kong government, last time we checked, was still dithering and mumbling excuses. It has mustered the resolve to tell civil servants to work from home and shut sports facilities, but it has a huge hang-up about restricting cross-border travel.
The government lost all credibility long ago. What a combination: Hong Kong’s scared and leaderless populace meets up with its out-of-control, head-smashing paramilitary police force. You would have thought that someone in authority might think that, under the circumstances, this would be a good time to put the cops back into their pre-2019 smart-blue-uniform, friendly-helpful-polite mode. Wouldn’t you? No, of course not. Stupid question.
On the subject of questions, here’s one someone had to ask eventually: is Chief Executive Carrie Lam suffering from emotional or psychological problems, or even some sort of neurological disorder? The withdrawing into a shell, the lack of empathy – are these the result of extreme stress, or is this the way she really is? Another possibility is that, as a devout Catholic, she is overcome by some sort of martyrdom complex, in the grip of an Opus Dei-style self-flagellation thing, or re-enacting the Passion.
Or, more likely, her administration is powerless and waiting for orders from above. Beijing has the right to keep Mainlanders from Hong Kong by imposing its own outbound travel restrictions. But it seems Hong Kong may not on its own do anything that looks like ‘closing the border’.
Beijing’s officials must oppose such steps because of the symbolism – it looks like Hong Kong is part of the outside world rather than part of China. The long-term aim, after all, is to wean Hongkongers off the idea that they are a separate jurisdiction with a distinct identity, and convince them they are part of the Greater Bay Area and glorious motherland. Whatever you do, just don’t politicize the issue.