Leave Home Watched

China’s top disease guy admits the domestically produced anti-Covid vaccines are a bit crappy. State media then rush out an exclusive about how he was misquoted. 

In Hong Kong, the government has been loyally pushing Sinovac, regardless of whether this has the effect of weakening trust in vaccination in general. It is also renewing efforts to get everyone to download its ‘Leave Home Safe’ app, now expecting restaurant and bar owners to enforce it. As well as being clunky and (apparently) croney-sourced, the software is of course designed to monitor you.

In normal freer times, we might not worry much about that – but in today’s Hong Kong few people are going to totally believe that the system is not connected with Beijing’s NatSec secret police. If a regime will raid AbouThai, why wouldn’t it introduce political surveillance under the guise of public health measures? This is what happens when you lose credibility.

Some midweek links…

Photography geek Lok Cheung on leaving Hong Kong.

The Toronto Star reports on a new website dedicated to collecting Hong Kong’s memories of the recent years. You can upload photos, poems, audio or artwork to be tagged on a map. The really cool thing is the url – bewater.la. (Since you’re wondering, .la is the domain for Laos, mostly used in Los Angeles.)

HKFP on the government’s paranoia about people casting blank votes in neutered elections.

David Webb disproves official claims about the government’s plan to allow company directors to partially obscure their identities on the Companies Registry. 

Jeffrey Wasserstrom’s personal take on masks and the loss of freedom in Hong Kong

What makes it Kafkaesque is that even after issuing rules requiring masks be worn, the Hong Kong government has continued the court battle to defend its edict banning the wearing of masks.

Georgetown Law’s Asian Law Center has a hefty report on Hong Kong’s NatSec Law…

Over the past seven months, the NSL has been used repeatedly as a tool to threaten and suppress political expression, in particular pro-independence speech or other forms of expression. A full 22 of the initial 105 NSL arrests, and four of the first five cases charged under the NSL, have to do with so-called seditious or pro-secessionist speech, or possession of such materials. Of those, 12 are “pure” speech cases, such as chanting and displaying pro-independence slogans, and do not involve other alleged crimes. The other 10 involve a combination of alleged speech crimes and other acts. 

Lowy Interpreter’s analysis of Beijing’s H&M/Xinjiang/cotton uproar.

Chinese authorities now invite citizens to snitch on online commentators who stray from CCP-approved versions of history. By linking to things like this, for example.

Possibly paywalled, but worth noting: people are starting to notice that it’s OK to call China’s regime ‘totalitarian’. 

…the government exercises a form of power in China that is as fine-tuned as it is total. Whether it’s lashing out at a corporate critic, silencing all warnings of an emerging infectious disease, or suppressing the language and religion of an entire ethnic group, China’s government is no brute-force authoritarian regime. It is the inventor of a new 21st century techno-totalitarianism. It possesses all the tools of classic totalitarianism—and many new ones of its own invention.

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5 Responses to Leave Home Watched

  1. Honkeydonkey says:

    Hong Kong, a short story:

    Hong Kong Government: Leadership is about power, so you must do what we say.

    Hong Kong People: Leadership is about trust, and we don’t trust you so we won’t do what you say.

    Hong Kong Government: We will make it impossible for you to NOT do what we say, thereby forcing you to trust us, so how do you like that!?

    Hong Kong People: We do not like that, and therefore will even more so distrust you.

    Hong Kong Government: Well, like, that’s your opinion man.

  2. YTSL says:

    In pushing the “Leave Home Safe” app more than coronavirus vaccines, the Hong Kong government is making large swathes of the Hong Kong public even more disinclined to get the vaccines. Also, why isn’t Carrie Lam wearing a mask anymore? Isn’t this illegal — or is this her unmasking the fact that Hong Kong now has “rule of (wo)man” rather than “rule of law”?

    Re Lok Cheung’s video: therein has been provided a good example of the kind of person that the security law, etc. had made feel a need to leave Hong Kong. Not a radical but a more or less ordinary fellow who loves Hong Kong but values freedom of thought, speech, etc. more/too.

  3. Sam Clemens says:

    The U.S. is now vaccinating 4.75 million of its citizens every day.

    Why can’t HK do that?

  4. reductio says:

    How does David Webb find the time for all this? The guy is undergoing treatment for a very serious form of cancer, and continues to manage his wonderful web(b)site, yet still finds the time and energy to run rings around this particular government lackey. Like watching a master batsman whacking some cackhanded bowler for six, time after time. Well played , sir!

  5. Chris H says:

    I would love to see a statistic (not that it would ever be available) as to how many people are using fake “LeaveHomeSafe” (also, really, it should be called LeaveHomeSafely) apps these days. Of my group of friends, I know at least two that use a “fake” app when scanning in.

    This behaviour will only lend itself to having fake “vaccine proofs”, when the Govt figures out how the layman is supposed to prove to premises that they are vaccinated….

    Should be interesting.

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