It seems the CCP has sent out the word that absolutely no June 4 vigils are to take place in Hong Kong. The event that cannot be named must not happen or even be publicized, as we will remind you at length. The countermeasures (and counter-countermeasures) are drawing so much attention it would have been lower-profile to just let the usual event go ahead. We have even had pre-emptive mini-vigils.
Hence the ever-rising number of cops being mobilized. The Hong Kong Police have let it be known that they will mobilize
1,000 2,000 5,000 7,000 to stand around looking macho in Victoria Park and other places their Facebook-lurking intel suggests there might be gatherings. Never in the field of public health have so many officers been crammed together in such large numbers to enforce social-distancing measures.
Even Home Affairs – the doziest government department out there (which is saying something) – gets in on the act.
Local United Front groupies get classy: churches hosting memorial services have banners hung outside naming them evil cults spreading chaos.
Elsewhere in law-enforcement overreach: an Israeli hosting company removed Nathan Law’s 2021 HK Charter website upon request by the HK Police claiming extraterritorial jurisdiction in cases of subversion etc. The cops were probably surprised that the company – one Wix – complied, for a few hours until it reinstated the site. Chances are an underling took the high-handed letter from the HKP seriously (copy here). Wix has now apologized.
From the Diplomat, a good intro to a (paywalled) story on the NatSec Law (‘more accurately, a regime security law’)…
If Hong Kongers do not want to be extradited across the border to mainland China, the central government simply brings its secret police and public security agents to openly operate in the city…
Why did Beijing elevate elections and unionizing to national security threats? As Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam put it, the entire opposition represented the “enemy of the people.” This is the CCP’s code for an all-out struggle.
Some weekend reading…
Elizabeth Economy in Foreign Affairs on the reality behind Xi Jinping’s hubris…
…China’s own society is fracturing in complex and challenging ways. Discrimination based on gender and ethnicity is rampant, reinforced by increasingly nationalistic and hate-filled online rhetoric. The creative class is at loggerheads with petty bureaucrats. And severe rural-urban inequality persists.
He’s not that much into federalism: Xi’s historic mistake – obsessive centralization and control-freakery – by J Bradford DeLong.
Globular Times quotes a Pakistani think-tankie type as saying that Chinese Covid vaccines are the best as they suit Asian people’s genes. She also raves about Belt and Road.
Lowy Institute’s Interpreter on the CCP’s Tibet paranoia. In coming weeks: the Xinjiang paranoia, the Mongol paranoia, the Hong Kong paranoia, the foreign media paranoia, the Christianity paranoia, the June 4 paranoia and so on – an exciting 173-part series.
Vanity Fair’s in-depth – long – contribution to the big Covid lab-leak debate.