Yes, we’ve joined the ranks of banana republics

Hong Kong can finally look other banana-republic police states in the face – its new national security cops have successfully performed their very first ‘midnight knock at the door’ arrests, complete with bundling people into unmarked cars under cover of darkness. The targets are four, mostly teenage, members of Student Localism. (Whaddya mean, who?) The regime has now captured 16- and 19-year-old threats to national security, to go with the schoolkids-singing-a-song threat to national security, the blank sheet of paper threat to national security, and the half-dozen-word slogan threat to national security.

According to the SCMP report

In a late night press conference, Senior Superintendent Steve Li Kwai-wah of the National Security Department under the police force said the suspects’ group had recently declared the establishment of a body to promote pro-independence political ideals “using any means possible” and build a “Republic of Hong Kong”.

In plain English, these youthful enemies of the state (or more likely someone overseas) made a Facebook post. 

It looks like a case of desperately over-eager police trying to please their CCP masters. But maybe this is the CCP’s own idea of striking hard against an attempt to split a country of 1.4 billion. Whatever happens to them, Hong Kong’s status as a vicious and cruddy dictatorship is assured.

Meanwhile, the local administration fights the Covid outbreak by making construction workers, cleaners and others eat while squatting in bus stations and on sidewalks. The officials behind this are the same ones who are allowing public transport operators to reduce services – that is, increase crowding on buses and trains. (Similar deal with Post Office opening hours.) 

Moderate folk assume Carrie Lam is deliberately trying to encourage the outbreak in order to justify repression of protests. The conspiracy theorists think she’s just trying to kill us all.

Churches and small businesses are offering space for people to eat in. The government is responding by opening its hot-weather night-shelters, which being air-conditioned halls equipped with tables and chairs, can serve as non-restaurant restaurants – almost as if actual restaurants had been allowed to stay open.

Another conspiracy theory is that the government is attempting to drive the whole population insane with its stupidity.  

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16 Responses to Yes, we’ve joined the ranks of banana republics

  1. Joe Blow says:

    The Secret State Police has taken over an entire ‘locust’ hotel in CWB and brought in hundreds of staff from Guangdong. Now they are expected to actually DO something, of course, to please their boss, and his boss, and his boss, ad infinitum.

    Yes, fellow Bananas, we are now in the same boat as Cuba, Zimbabwe, North Korea and other international ‘success stories’. Last night, at 3 AM, I got out of bed, switched on the PC and deleted a Twitter message that I thought could be constructed, or explained, as rebellious or subversive, depending on your interpretation of the word choice and/ or sequence.

  2. Penny says:

    I wonder how many of the “Secret State Police” were virus tested prior to their arrival in Hong Kong.

  3. Mary Melville says:

    Looks the suggestion some years ago that the East Lantau Metropolis would make an easily sealed off detention camp to house dissenting citizens looks alarmingly spot on.
    As for the elections, instead of death by a thousand cuts, the annulment of Article 26:
    “Permanent residents of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region shall have the right to vote and the right to stand for election in accordance with law”, would be a more honest route to what is clearly the intended outcome.

  4. Stephen says:

    By choice I have never lived in a banana republic before so all this is a little new to me. As I understand it one feature of banana republics is to rig or postpone (cancel) elections. Surely that won’t happen in Asia’s World City ?

  5. a moron says:

    All bureaucracies have to justify their existence.

  6. Chris H says:

    And now we see an immediate about-face by officials, in reversing the ban on dine-in within 24 hours of it being put into place. The horrors that the average Hong Konger had to endure yesterday – akin to what all their domestic helpers have been put through every Sunday, from the beginning of time….

  7. where's my jet plane says:

    The no more than 2 people in a group rule: A rational person might assume that the Hospital Authority might think twice about parading 5 people (presumably not of the same household) on stage for a press conference on virus related matters.

    I’m hoping some brave spark of a reporter will risk a charge of promoting the downfall of the administration by asking Mrs Lam at her next pre-Exco presser how she manages to hold an Exco meeting given the 2 person rule.

  8. Big Al says:

    With all these posts about our wonderful government tell the plebs to do one thing then doing another itself, contributors have obviously missed the asterisk and footnote on all these government proclamations: * You, not us!

  9. HillnotPeak says:

    Hopefully superintendent Steve Li will find it difficult to travel to the USA and EU as his name is flagged.
    I suggest sunny Hainan.

  10. where's my jet plane says:

    12 DQs for starters: there is ‘no question of any political censorship’ or restriction of freedom of speech”
    WhoTF are they kidding?
    That’s a bunch of returning officers to join the no travel list.

  11. Probably says:

    2 people per table? How does that work on buses then? Maybe we need to increase the service frequency? Oh,… I’ll get my coat.

  12. conference says:

    Truly Third World when the government can change a policy overnight, effectively negating all of the analysis, thought and diligence which we know informed the policy initially. It’s unfortunate that the government lacks the same sensitivity to images of teenagers having their heads bashed in and gradeschool children being arrested that it has towards construction workers taking their meals on street corners, in the toilet, in the rain etc.

    It’s unfortunate that not as much thought and care went into this policy as was expended into the application program for compulsory quarantine exemption with its distinctive 33 categories for qualification and 11 different application forms, depending upon which government entity has responsibility for vetting and approving the same (really, see here, which is why they had to close the restaurants.

    Don’t forget that the new secret police inhabiting the Locust Hotel in Causeway Bay are completely outside the jurisdiction of Hong Kong and presumably bypassed the quarantine exemption application process entirely, as I did not see a category for commie enforcement robots. Presumably this would go for mask wearing as well; if anyone sees people on the street not wearing masks, its probably these blokes.

    Hong Kong these last three months is like watching someone with terminal cancer slowly dying (yes I have seen this). The the full court press seemed to me to start around 15 April with the Liaison Office pronouncing the city’s “system for safeguarding national security” as being inadequate. This started the 6 weeks of incredible headlines which in retrospect had most likely been carefully planned: HKMAO office accusing Opposition lawmakers for filibustering, arrest of 15 democracy persons, Central Government’s view on Article 22 and Hong Kong , Hong Kong government revising its press release, attacks on RTHK, and on and on through the announcement on 28 May of the National Security Law to come.

    We are almost near the end, at least for myself.

  13. Guest says:

    “The government is responding by opening its hot-weather night-shelters, which being air-conditioned halls equipped with tables and chairs, can serve as non-restaurant restaurants – almost as if actual restaurants had been allowed to stay open.”

    Then why not let the actual restaurants stay open? That would at least cut down on the styrofoam and plastic bag waste from the takeout orders.

  14. Hong Kong Hibernian says:

    I have it on good authority that all restaurants and pubs would have remained open in Nextpolis had the 500 sq. km been found for Ivan Ko and associates:

  15. Mary Melville says:

    According to media the pro candidate for the legal sector ” Angel Mak Daley told the press she had 3 brothers in villages on the Mainland. They all had many land lots and drove European cars.”
    So by inference vehicles made by SAIC Motor, Dongfeng, FAW, Chang’an, Geely, Beijing Automotive Group, Brilliance Automotive, Guangzhou Automobile Group, Great Wall, BYD, Chery and Jianghuai (JAC) are inferior?
    Surely grounds for disqualification?

  16. Mark Bradley says:

    Unfortunately Nextpolis in Ireland appears dead on arrival due to needing 500 sq. km that Irish citizens do not appear to be eager to give up.

    It’s too bad because the Nextpolis AKA New Hong Kong city is an “Internatioanl Charter City” which is a de facto city-state complete with its own legal system, currency, flag, anthem, constitution, border, immigration authority, etc

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