Can Hong Kong fight Covid 19 effectively when Beijing is ordering its puppet administration to focus on battling political opposition?
The authorities have already weaponized social-distancing regulations against protesters while leaving more obvious infringers alone. And of course, the LegCo election is postponed for at least a year on flimsy virus-related grounds, even though other life goes on as usual. (Is a day of gatherings to vote any different as a health risk from everyone’s weekly supermarket visit – entering a crowded building and standing in line for a few minutes?) Aside from undermining rule of law, this abuse of the rules sends a message that the government doesn’t see a genuine health risk.
Now we have a proposal for a health code scheme, which some local medical professionals warn is a move towards China’s social credit system. Sensible people do not indulge in conspiracy theories. But do you really believe the CCP would not exploit a health policy that could serve as a cover for increased surveillance and control over the local population?
This puts a sinister slant on the government’s eagerness to test millions of people for the virus. Is the public’s skepticism paranoia or summon sense? Especially when the screening of care homes – surely a prime target for such an exercise – is mysteriously ‘not practicable’. And extra especially if they try to threaten everyone to give samples.
The point is that, even if the government sincerely formulates a good policy (say, mass shots when an effective vaccine is available), so few people will trust officials that they will resist it anyway, and community health will suffer. The CCP, of course, couldn’t care less.
Community health will not suffer from anything the govt does, people have taken that responsibility upon themselves.
Worth a read
…looking closely at the facts, the conclusion is that these PCR tests are meaningless as a diagnostic tool to determine an alleged infection by a supposedly new virus called SARS-CoV-2.
The Government is currently trying to sell the following lemons:
1. Covid makes it impossible to hold the election
2. The Mainland has saved us all with their testing capabilities
Point (1) was never true of course, and the continuing decline in daily cases makes the idea even less credible as time goes on.
Point (2) is also not true, and the whole exercise is flawed. if you don’t make everyone test, and don’t lock them all down to do so, it won’t work.
I was staggered to learn yesterday that they have not been going to test OAPs in care homes and have no intention of doing so. If you want to stop people dying that is the number one thing you should be doing, but of course everyone knows that already.
Far better I suppose to focus on measures that are useless but mean you don’t actually have to do any work (masks outside at all times) and focus on frittering away money (building hospitals which aren’t actually needed given the steep decline in active cases) whilst everyone’s kids suffer.
This place will be the last to get rid of Covid restrictions. It’s a certainty.
The local government’s refusal to talk to the pro-democracy leaders, coupled with the imposition of the NSL, is causing the anti-government forces to solidify into a widespread, low-level and stubborn resistance to every government action or initiative, no matter how benign or unrelated to political issues, including education, health, infrastructure spending, civil service pay, etc., by citizens of every age and income group, that are being manifested in myriad public actions that deliberately fall short of arrestable offences.
The idiots have managed to create a whole-of-society anti-government resistance movement where previously there was none.
Whatever the actual prevalence of COVID-19 infection is in HK, as a percentage of the population, it’s low. A recent Cochrane study finds testing returns plenty of false positives and false negatives. So familiarity with basic statistics—see “base rate fallacy”—predicts universal testing will be a huge waste of effort and money that floods care facilities with false positives while encouraging false negatives to feel safe going out in public. Another brilliant policy from the geniuses that run HK.
Test accuracy: https://www.cochrane.org/CD013652/INFECTN_what-diagnostic-accuracy-antibody-tests-detection-infection-covid-19-virus
Base rate fallacy: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Base_rate_fallacy#Example_1:_Disease
Suppose I get tested and they find out that I am an asymptomatic Covid-carrier, will they put me in that Asia Expo hospital for two weeks or longer? And if I am not tested, the Covid will go away after a few weeks?
“The idiots have managed to create a whole-of-society anti-government resistance movement where previously there was none.”
Not quite the whole of society, #4 is still a HK Govt/CCP/HKPF believer it would seem.
@Jet plane: that article sounds like a load of conspiracy-mongering dressed up in confusing technobabble to make it sound plausible. PRC tests have limitations but it doesn’t make them “worthless”. They are useful as long as the limitations are understood. Listen to the This Week in Virology podcast for reliable information.
@where’s my jet plane: Thanks for the link—well worth reading.
I’d still rather live here than in one of those supposedly superior Western Democracies. In many such countries they’ve made a vastly bigger hash out of Covid than they have here; based on my regular perusing of the Western media, plus posts on various internet platforms made by family, friends and colleagues, it is clear that many are governed by idiots/cnuts. Critically, the notion of election campaigns spanning well over a year, that are then followed by the hundred-day honeymoons, before leading to the inevitable realization of another letdown, and then deep frustration, simply does not do it for me. It’s not a way to govern people.
Rat Trap: You’re talking about the US in particular, and yeah, the endless campaigns are an absurd nightmare (along with the endless fundraising, with resulting obligations to various unsavory types). But most democracies, west and east, get elections over with much more quickly. And in case you haven’t noticed, China is governed by idiots and “cnuts” (your construction is certainly preferable to the disgustingly misogynist one, which is you used it, no doubt).
“Is a day of gatherings to vote any different as a health risk from everyone’s weekly supermarket visit – entering a crowded building and standing in line for a few minutes?”
It’s interesting how context can affect the shape and motivation of an argument. In Hong Kong, your statement is logical–in fact, I never had to wait more than 30 seconds to vote. (My problem was that the CCP started removing the people I voted for from office.)
In the US, your question is verbatim part of the argument made by the Republican death cult which is ardently working to suppress the vote. Thing is, they are simultaneously and with increasing fervor closing polling places in locations expected to vote Democratic, wiping people off the voter registration rolls, and, of course, trying to kill the US Postal Service in order to screw up vote-by-mail as much as possible. That is, they are attempting to steal an election through means adopted by fascists around the world.
Don’t be so coy with your spelling. You’re a CUNT. Pure and simple.
If you’re worried about misogyny and gender balance and so forth, then I would simply add that Ratty, in addition to being a CUNT, is also a PRICK, a COCK, and a KNOB.
As a young person I spent much time in the UK; in political discussions it is often referred to as the “Cradle of Democracy”. One of the things I remember, and have continued to observe in my older years, is that come election time often the second largest party is simply not competitive enough to have any chance of assuming power at one the general elections (Corbyn-led Labour in 2019; Hague-led Conservatives in 2001). Invariably, defeated political parties are slow to enact change, so as a consequence a not-so-talented gaggle of people can govern for 2-3 election cycles. Also with the elections, who people vote for is often based around their perception of who will 4ck things up the least. It really is a rubbish way to run a country. This I contend is why successful big companies and organizations adopt a very different model – if you own shares, you will be acutely aware of this.
Reactionary #4: Your precious corporations currently run the world, which benefits wealthy shareholders (and a few Pooh-like politicians)and no one else. Let’s see how that’s working out…oops, not so well. Corporations are sociopathic fascists by proxy, and aside from killing and oppressing people in the right now, they’re killing the whole damned planet. Not a good idea to put them in charge, was it?
All political systems are vulnerable to corruption. But authoritarian systems begin as corrupt—they exist to enrich those at the top of whatever coup or fake revolution brought them to power. What’s happened to democracy was not inevitable, but the product of organizations and individuals with authoritarian values (and a healthy dollop of sheer materialist greed). As an American, I regard that racist, misogynist, homophobe Ronald Reagan as Patient Zero in this counter-revolution’s 60 year mission to destroy democracy in the US. (Yeah, yeah, it’s a republic—help, the pedants are after me!) Trump’s odious opinions and policies are only the culmination of this long game.
Unlike authoritarian governments, though, democracies which have been subverted by the corrupt greedheads offer the possibility of a peaceful transition to something more, well, democratic. In the US, there are strong progressive voices who are still able to present alternative forms of politics without being arrested and silenced by the current government. Whether that level of freedom is sufficient to withstand the potentially violent blowback should Trump lose in November is, sadly, an open question. But that’s not democracy’s fault.
@Steve…Apple paid 35 billion in taxes last year, employ 10,000s of people who also pay taxes, their profits go to pay the pensions of millions and millions of Americans. They gave me the iPod and allow me to call my Mum half way around the world everyday for free…can you leave them off your list of corporations who only benefit the wealthy?
“Whether that level of freedom is sufficient to withstand the potentially violent blowback should Trump lose in November is, sadly, an open question.”
As with the O.J. trial and every other landmark episode in the culture wars in America over the past 40 years, the only violent blowback to be feared in November is if Mr. Trump should win, which now looks increasingly likely to occur.
@ Steve – well said! Re sociopathic fascists – recommended reading:
Dark money – The hidden history of the billionaires behind the rise of the radical right
by Jane Mayer
Rocinante: Sorry, but Apple dodges way, way, WAY more taxes than it pays. Remember back in the IBM/Apple wars, the 1984 TV spot, etc. when the Macintosh was for rebels? We were deluding ourselves then, and even though we now see that Jobs was a psychopath and Apple today is just another global destroyer of worlds, we can’t get off the train. Sweatshop labor that can’t afford them produces these very good devices.
I am, of course, typing this on a Macbook. Such are the ironies of neoliberalism. The market is everything, everything is the market.
Penny: Yeah, Jane Mayer is a valuable human being.
Stanley: Way too early to pick a winner, but Trump already has announced that any result other than victory is fraudulent, and he will call his warriors into the streets. It’ getting even scarier over here, as if that seemed possible..
Trump is there because what one might call “normal democracy” failed. Hillary Clinton is/was rotten to the core and the American people saw this, and so a reality TV show host/repeatedly bankrupt businessman could exploit it. As the last 3.75 years have shown, though, Trump is a joke (the Mexicans will pay for the wall; injecting bleach etc.). However, the system is not just failing in the US. Look at the mess that is Europe and the UK. That’s the inevitable result of Democracy: to gain power you need to offer people things for their votes. Upon its introduction, the first few decades might be OK, but eventually you end up with a corrupted power-selection process. That’s why I like a bit of dictatorship – as with an old-style “firm” teacher, you know where you stand and each year they still deliver a good set of outcomes (exam results for the final-year students). One option is to drastically reduce the pool of people who can vote to a select group who have some depth to them. Then, they act in the best interests of society. This has a good a chance of delivering prosperity and stability, and a change in government does not results in a major shift in the general “plan”. Interestingly, HK has this basic system in place. You also need to regularly “take the temperature” of the populace by carrying out lots of surveys and holding lots of surgery type sessions where the local people can express their thoughts.
Democracy’s repeated failing reminds me of the saying by Einstein: “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.”
Fortunately, we are about to enter a “Post-Democracy World”. Things will be better.
Best we don’t waste any more energy on #4 – the fascist is beyond redemption.
The argument from Reactionary #4 invites the reader to contest the fact that democracy constantly throws up bad leaders, or that you need to attract a majority/plurality of voters. That is asking us to share in the mistaken view that democracy has to put up good leaders, rather than simply allowing the prospect of voting out bad ones and conferring legitimacy on the government. The 2/3 election cycles he refers to in anecdotal cases need comparing to entrenched dictators like Mao and Mugabe.
Which begs the question of how, in the idealised world where “enlightened elites” choose the leaders, the rest who do not hold the vote guard against vested interests. It also glosses over how a former Party insider recently denounced them as zombies incapable of change, which seems a real-time example of the notable deficiencies in his magical kingdom thinking.
Let’s be frank that the HK system which did very little for policymaking but did temporarily provide political stability, discredited itself with the CL/LO/PEK of ignoring consultation/due process/feedback with the final breaking point of ignoring the protests. Yes, the more fortunate amongst us may have managed with 1C2S, but only the most anti-democratic would blame “shouty louties” for the failings of the system and people in leadership which were not democratic in the first place.
The mind boggles #4: You seem to think of dictatorships as some kind of perpetual motion machine that ensures “stability” (in the CCP sense) and is therefore preferable, even if the compromises involve the loss of basic constitutional freedoms and human rights.
But such historical stasis is unicorn thinking. It defies the evidence of history, the main truth of which is that change is inevitable. It’s what we do with that change that matters.
You’re like the granny koala in Aardman’s original “Creature Comforts,” which is to say you’re a defenseless pensioner who’s been left to die in a pandemic. The relevant passage is at 2:36 (but if by some miracle you’ve never seen this, by all means watch the whole thing: