We’re struggling to keep up with the horrors the CCP is inflicting on Hong Kong. The big topic when people are not social distancing is whether (and when and where) to emigrate – a debate reflected in a Reuters feature on activists’ different reactions to the NatSec Regime. Pettiness driven by official humiliation continues at Prince Edward MTR station, where the police are going to abnormal lengths to prevent people from laying flowers at the end of every month. And the Transport Department emerges as a strong contender for Complete Idiocy of the Week Award after vetoing the personalized licence plate ‘BE WATER’, on traffic-safety grounds, obviously.
At the same time, Beijing is excelling itself in spreading its own unique brand of obnoxiousness – its perversely shocking, semi-entertaining version of ‘soft power’ – around the world.
There’s the embarrassing attempt to prove that the Covid virus originated outside China. On a lighter note, state media are attempting to appropriate the label ‘kimchi’ for pao cai. As a seasoned (haha) fermenter of both, I could drone on about the differences. Among other things, the central Chinese include Sichuan pepper and white liquor in their pickled cabbage, which Koreans don’t. But – as with claims to Mongolia’s Gengis Khan – it’s almost as if they’re deliberately trying to annoy their neighbours.
Which brings us to Oz. With all the dignity of a drunkard kicking a koala bear, the CCP is punishing Australia with selective import barriers for not kowtowing to the Emperor. (You can show your support by buying some barley, coal or iron ore. If they don’t appeal, there’s this.)
Then there’s the Chinese foreign affairs spokesman’s tweeting of that meme. Beijing’s extraordinary freaking-out over Australia seems almost designed to force incoming US President Biden away from any sort of normalization of relations with China.
Whether in Hong Kong or the wider world, Beijing seems almost determined to make itself despised. The CCP’s apologists like to claim that Hongkongers are brainwashed and Western media constantly biased against China – yet Beijing’s actions almost purposefully alienate and make admiration and respect impossible. Strange way to make friends.
Speaking of which, Carrie Lam tries to rescue her reputation by clambering over her stacks of cash to give interviews with friendly media. If you want to sympathize with her sad plight (no hobbies!), or at least have a laugh, try this charm offensive. Emphasis on ‘offensive’.