The right jabs are now available

As if by a miracle, after weeks and weeks of apparent dithering, Hong Kong’s long-awaited roll-out of Covid-19 vaccinations suddenly falls into place: the experts give Sinovac their (kind of fudged, under no pressure) approval, and the government promptly announces that a million doses are on the way, and jabs start any day. Starting with vulnerable groups.

The trick now will be to convince the public that the Mainland vaccine is OK. (Top officials are receiving Sinovac to prove that the stuff doesn’t have nasty side-effects such as cognitive impairment – like we’ll be able to tell the difference.) 

It’s important! It’s not just about keeping the rabble from falling sick and dying – it’s about giving face to the almighty Party-State in Beijing. 

How different things might be if people had some faith in the government. Instead, most of us feel that the best way to ‘leave home safe’ is not to download the official tracking app of that name. There was a time when most non-paranoids would feel fine about the system. Now, even the most forgiving and guileless of us assume the CCP will harvest everyone’s personal data if it gets the chance.

Which brings us rather neatly to today’s round-up (not to be confused with yesterday’s) of reasons not to trust this regime…

Of course the High Court falls into line with the Court of Final Appeal and denies Jimmy Lai bail. Beijing has hinted via its state media that the case could be transferred to the Mainland if our judges play their old presumption-of-innocence tricks. Even extreme bail conditions are not vindictive enough for his National Security crimes of – essentially – meeting foreigners and Tweeting.

DW notes the barely perceptible slice-by-slice advance of Internet censorship in Hong Kong. So far, it’s just a few sites. Then another. At some point, it will be Wikipedia, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, NYT, BBC, etc. At what point will each of us first find a site we want is blocked?

And a prosecutor joins the Liaison Office – presumably to help ‘liaise’ the Department of Justice in the right direction. 

A selection of interesting links for the weekend…

Looks like someone at RTHK didn’t get the memo about ‘positive energy’. The little report on the priciest apartment (in price per sq ft terms) to be sold in Hong Kong intriguingly strays toward issues like social inequality and discontent. Or should we say ‘contextualizes’? A para on money-laundering would have made the item complete. The Tatler waxes orgasmic about the HK$459 million property – but maybe we should be skeptical. Who would spend US$59 million on any apartment, anywhere? Why? (‘Three parking spaces and a pool’ doesn’t quite cut it.)

Hong Kong’s stats show a decline in population. Interpret with caution. Quite a few people have decamped to the other side of the border because of the pandemic. The fall in births – to below the number of deaths – is perhaps more a sign of socio-political uncertainty

Foreign Policy looks Chinese taking to the Clubhouse app to make obscenely libellous fun of Global Times editor Hu ‘Frisbee’ Xijin. And Howard French looks back at the few days when Mainlanders shared online space with the rest of the world.

A mag called Protocol explains how, with a relatively unsophisticated traditional retail banking sector, Chinese microlending is getting weird and dangerous

“…now even the photo editing app tells me it can lend me money…”

News.com.au reports that Beijing is making Chinese people freeze in order to send the message that small countries must obey it.

From Fast Company, Chinese conspiracy theories about Covid-19. Sort of like American ones, but the other way round.

Foreign Affairs looks at the colonial origins of China’s Xinjiang policy

In pleading with Beijing to change its policies in the region, outsiders are in effect asking China to be a very different nation-state than the one it has chosen to be.

Trying too hard to be edgy and clever, the Economist recently ran an editorial arguing that what is happening in Xinjiang isn’t genocide. (‘Genocide’ means ‘killing a people’, and there are still lots of Uighurs alive – get it?) The newspaper was inundated with complaints, of which this is one.  

CMP dissects the contradictions in CGTN/CCTV’s whining after the UK regulator withdrew its broadcasting licence – essentially for being under CCP control, as the channel proudly proclaims itself to be domestically. Maybe the UK will now examine how British universities have become hooked on Chinese money.

And lastly, for your musical pleasure, another radio-type website – radioooo.com. This is actually not linking to real stations, but to streams of music that would have been broadcast at a particular time and place. Egypt in the 1950s is rather good. A serious time-waster.

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12 Responses to The right jabs are now available

  1. YTSL says:

    Raise your hands if you think that Jimmy Lai — and, for that matter, Joshua Wong — will get to taste freedom in their remaining lifetime. Yep, thought not.

    I think their main hope right now is that they will remain in Hong Kong rather than get sent to Mainland China. Though at what point will Hong Kong run out of prison cells/prisons for all of the regime’s political enemies? This especially when people are now being imprisoned without having been found guilty of whatever they have been charged with.

  2. Big Al says:

    To paraphrase the classic Unipart advertisement from the 1980s, “The verdict is ‘guilty’. Now, what’s the charge?”

  3. Henry says:

    The Alex Lo idiot who’s “My Take” column in the SCuMp looks increasingly like someone else’s take, also says the mass murder of millions of Uighurs isn’t genocide. He, very decently, did say that the Chinese authorities were guilty of various human rights infringements there though

  4. Chinese Netizen says:

    Hopefully Jimmy and others will be able to pull some sort of Chen Guancheng type miracle escape aided by sympathetic individuals employed by the NatSec apparatus who’ll have to revert to Sgt Schultz styled “I saw noooothing! I heard nooooothing!”

  5. Justsayin says:

    I’d not be installing any tracking software that the Chinese government gave me

  6. where's my jet plane says:

    The Lo crap on no genocide was plagiarising the Economist who have have had a lot of scorn heaped on them for it.

  7. where's my jet plane says:

    The I&TB is angered that no one believes it.
    So: The app does not have a tracking function and venue check-in data will not be uploaded or transferred to the Government or any other systems. The data is saved on users’ mobile phones only.

    Therefore: Why does a user have to agree to any information uploaded being tranferred to any Tom, Dick and police force that asks for it? If nothing is uploaded what is there to pass to the fuzz?

  8. Stanley Lieber says:

    @Justsayin

    If one uses public transportation or visits public buildings, public hospitals, shopping malls, grocery stores, restaurants, hotels, etc., eventually it will be impossible to avoid the tracking app. For the moment, all one can do is complete the proffered paper forms with the name of one’s favourite dead celebrity.

  9. Mary Melville says:

    The six-month investigation (RTHK) also found the broadcaster relied heavily on 2,200 contract staffers, without any comprehensive system in place to ensure these non-civil service employees understood the station’s duties as set out in its charter.
    No mention that the government has been artificially keeping the civil servant headcount at 170,000 (Small Government, Stoopid) for years by restricting the number of civil servant posts and outsourcing many duties.
    The cleaners were the first victims of the ‘mean and lean’ approach that has also contributed to phenomenon of Real wages having increased by a mere 12.3 per cent in the last decade while the Gini coefficient continues to rise. The outsourced posts come with lower hourly rates and zero ‘perks’.
    Message for Sec for Commerce Yau, ‘Pull the other leg, it’s got bells on”.

  10. A Simple Minded Poor Man says:

    Sinovac itself claims its vaccine is about 50% effective in preventing The Flu. This tells me that a non-negligible number of guinea pigs who took it actually caught Got sick. Since the Motherland only reports a handful of Flu cases every few days, it seems that Sinovac must have tested their juice somewhere else (that is if you believe the Chinese government). Anyone know where it was tested?

  11. where's my jet plane says:

    @SMPM
    Brazil was one testing ground, they came up with the 50% figure.

  12. Hamantha says:

    Allow me to continue harping on the low efficacy of Sinovac and other poor-quality vaccines…

    1. Low-efficacy vaccines give people the wrong idea about how immune they actually are, with recipients thinking they’re neigh invulnerable, when they are anything but.

    2. Low-efficacy vaccines will still result in infections amongst the vaccinated, and will give evolutionary pressure for the disease to evolve resistance against the vaccine and its attendant anti-bodies. This may prove to be detrimental not only to the low-efficacy vaccines themselves, but also toward the high-efficacy vaccines currently available that utilise some of the same anti-bodies.

    I’m no expert, but these two factors alone appear to be a pile of tinder, waiting for a match.

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