Great Moments in Message Management, cont’d

About a month ago, China’s Emperor-for-Life Xi Jinping handed out promotions to some of his trusted allies. The media focused on the appointment of Ying Yong and Wang Zhonglin as new party chiefs in Hubei and Wuhan – to replace officials who had failed to contain the coronavirus outbreak. In Hong Kong, the big news was the appointment of Xia Baolong as new boss of the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office, in place of (demoted) Zhang Xiaoming.

While we haven’t heard much from Xia yet, it is interesting to see how his fellow Xi loyalist Wang has done in Wuhan.

Last week he a big bright idea – namely to…

…carry out gratitude education among the citizens of the whole city, so that they thank the General Secretary [Xi Jinping], thank the Chinese Communist Party, heed the Party, walk with the Party, and create strong positive energy.

For reasons that remain unfathomable, the people of Wuhan did not leap with joy at this invitation to venerate the dictatorship that plunged them into weeks of death, disease, quarantine and internment.

In the CCP’s Leninist mindset, the Party guides the population’s thoughts, not the other way round. But this attempt at choreographing an outpouring of thankfulness among the happy campers of Wuhan failed to take off. Indeed, the propaganda masters had to categorize the proposal as a Class 1 Public Opinion Screw-Up on a par with the mishandled death (and re-death) of virus whistleblower Dr Li Wenliang.

The positive-energy morale-boost was withdrawn and airbrushed away – rather like the best-seller-but-pulped book How I Beat the WuFlu and Saved the World Before Breakfast, by Winnie the Xi himself.

We eagerly await Xia Baolong’s debut inspiring hearts-and-minds PR initiative for Hong Kong.

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18 Responses to Great Moments in Message Management, cont’d

  1. Joe Blow says:

    There seems to be a below-the-surface rivalry brewing between Bloody Carrie and FS Paul Chan. Anyone got dirt on that?

  2. Not Not Reactor #4 says:

    I bet that in a week or so’s time the Italians, Iranians, Brits, Spaniards, Yanks etc. will be wishing that their respective governments had the same level of bite, competency, AND concern as the Chinese one.

    A major problem WuFlu was, but it wasn’t an apocalypse (which I think quite a few commentators here would have wished for). Moreover, the impact on the health of people here in Hong Kong is close to negligible.

    Much of this can be attributed to the decisive actions of the President Xi and his advisers and officials, plus of course our very own city council.

    Once again, it’s time to “Rejoice at the news”.

  3. Boris Badanov says:

    Imagine how much more productive they’d be at doing real things if they didn’t waste time and effort on this internal CCP theoretic crap. Could you model how much of China’s GDP is wasted by the CCP’s navel gazing?

  4. Mary Melville says:

    On last week’s Straight Talk our FS gave a more than a passable impression of a ventriloquist’s dummy. He will make a perfect Chief Executive.

  5. Hamantha says:

    With respect to WuFlu and the claims made on this forum that it would be a sort of public health “apocalypse”, what I and a few others were saying was simply that the disease was shaping up to be much more virulent and deadly than the seasonal flu, and that it looked like it might be following a similar trajectory as the 1918 Spanish Flu.

    On that note, China has not defeated the virus yet, not by a long-shot. Assuming that China’s statistics are anywhere near correct, then China still has a huge population susceptible to the virus because, by definition, this is a novel virus to which previously uninfected individuals carry no immunity. As the pandemic worsens in coming weeks and months throughout the globe, other countries will re-import China’s disease back into the country and, while China may catch many of these imports, it is likely that at least a few will slip through unnoticed, triggering more outbreaks.

    Economically speaking, it’s pretty undeniable that an “apocalypse” of sorts has already been set into motion in the global supply chain and financial markets. Unless the disease just disappears, I’d expect we’re a ways away from hitting bottom.

    /Also, I stand by my earlier comment that Reactor #4 — or at least the shouty-louty damp squid of an oaf that comes to mind when I envision him — is likely incredibly high-risk for the disease. Or maybe that’s just wish fulfillment. Who knows.

  6. Stephen says:

    @Joe Blow / Mary Melville,

    I think our underwhelming FS has been tapped on the shoulder by Beijing and told he’s next. So picture the scene late summer of Paul dishing out the $10K, as the newly appointed CE, surrounded by adoring Pro-Establishment Legislators, doling out masks for all. Why wouldn’t you vote for the United Front in the September elections ? Perhaps poor Carrie hasn’t been told yet and is slightly miffed. Live by the shoeshine, die by …

  7. Quentin Quarantino says:

    @Hamantha: R #4 is definitely not high risk, considering that he lives in a village house apartment in Sai Kung (how more isolated can you get) and his only outing is the daily trip to the gwai lo pub.

  8. Henry says:

    Reactor 4 – how does it feel being an apologist for such a callous, vicious regime? I would guess much the same as world war 2 collaborators. Enjoy!

  9. Jason says:

    @NNR#4: Is your comment meant to be satirical? If not, in which world are you living?

  10. reductio says:


    To quote from the Big Short (the greatest film ever made on the 2008 meltdown, please tell me y’all have seen it).


    Someone who gets it, at last. Unless China can become a Hermetically sealed Middle Kingdom, it will kick off again over there. And India and Indonesia have so few cases? – give me a break. No, this virus is going to keep bouncing around in its Darwinian way for months.

  11. Winnie the Flu and Blustery Success Rate says:

    The thank you campaign got a great response from netizens including a wonderful clip from a comedy show saying: “I thank eighteen generations of your ancestors” — equivalent to saying “thank you and the horse you rode in on”.

    Preparations for Winnie the Flu’s official visit to the oh-so-thankful Wuhan included police occupying every single balcony along the route so that the grateful citizens of Wuhan couldn’t shout: “It’s Fake! All of the news is fake! Everyone is dying!” like they did the last time some Beijing officials visited with a news crew.

    Pure speculation on my part, but I’d say the “official” Chinese figures should be taken up one order of magnitude, and doubled.

    There was a couple of days (12th & 13th Feb) after a politburo meeting when Winnie called for smaller numbers of new cases [ie divide by 5] (deadline Feb 20th — “coincidentally” the first day no new cases outside of Hubei were recorded, and Hubei’s new cases dropped suddenly by 66%), where the rates went up 10 times then dipped to just over double. When tencent published enormous figures for an hour or two “by mistake” before going back to “official” numbers a few times, that was around 10 times higher as well.

    I’d double it as well for a down and dirty margin of error: most Chinese cases are never “confirmed” as many patients die before being given the test, and they won’t waste tests post mortem so they’re reported as just ordinary pneumonia deaths rather than covid-19.

    Have a look at @evdefender on Twitter for more on the dodgy data from the CCP.

  12. Stanley Lieber says:

    So is that why that big famous Chinese company is called Tencent?

    Whenever quantifiably bad news is reported by an official Chinese source, such as “the corrupt official stole $10 million” or “the number of infections is 70,000”, multiplying the official number by 10 would be a good approximation of the truth.

    Likewise, whenever quantifiably good news is reported by an official Chinese source, such as “100,000 Wuhan citizens greeted President Xi with shouts of gratefulness and joy” or “120 countries were thrilled to support the Belt & Road initiative”, dividing the official number by 10 would be a good approximation of the truth.

    Tencent. Now I get it!

  13. Hamantha says:

    @ Winnie the Flu and Blustery Success Rate

    I completely agree with your suspicion toward the official Chinese statistics, and also highly recommend any readers here to check out the Twitter page of @evdefender, who has been able to consistently guess the Chinese figures days before they’re actualpy published.

  14. Mary Melville says:

    Jockey Club considers private jet to get Joao Moreira, Zac Purton back from Dubai as coronavirus cuts flights March 9 2020
    Kind of puts the HKJC Environmental Sustainability pledges into perspective
    “For the Club, environmental sustainability is about much more than being a responsible corporate citizen. We act continuously for the betterment of our society.
    By optimising our resource efficiency, we can improve our business performance and help keep the Club competitive and sustainable. By reducing our carbon footprint and minimising waste through reduction, reuse and recycling, we can set an example to the community at large, making full use of the Club’s many long-standing community partnerships to help create a greener, better Hong Kong for future generations.”
    They forgot the caveat ‘as long as none of this gets in the way of maximizing revenues’.
    And lets not go into the issue of allowing some local jockeys the rare opportunity to ride some of the better horses.

  15. Reactor #4 says:

    @Mary Melville

    Close to my home in the Sai Kung peninsula is a small cave, and next to it is a patch of open ground that in the past has been used to grow veggies. The last “owner” moved out 7 or 8 years ago – perhaps it might be of interest to you? If so, I can put in a word with the village head, Mr C.

  16. @Mary Melville – while we’re on the subject of the Jockey Club, what’s with the suspension of the Mark Six? Is the Club, or the government, afraid someone might actually enjoy some good luck for a change?

  17. odaiwai says:

    Private Beach: Most people who buy tickets buy them in the Off-courses betting centres, rather than online, so it’s a way to avoid the large crowds in confined spaces.

  18. donkeynuts says:

    Talk about “big prick energy.” Geesh.

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