I thought everyone at the SCMP had gone to Bloomberg, but apparently there’s still someone left. This story crystalizes (perhaps unwittingly) the deranged politics behind Hong Kong’s futile campaign to eradicate the Covid virus from its shores.
After much blather about cross-border task forces, it describes a (non-official) proposal to emulate Mainland practice by locking down entire districts of the city (generally contiguous urban areas with an average population of 750,000) on a rolling basis in order to test every inhabitant. Shoe-shiners and ideologues ponder bans on all travel between these districts, the fanciful logistics of locking down and testing hundreds of thousands per day, and the exercise as a test of patriots-only governance.
And finally, the token sane person…
Former Hospital Authority chief executive Leung Pak-yin said district-based lockdowns could not help curb the virus’ spread even after testing capacity was ramped up, as cases could go undetected during the incubation period or there could be false negative results.
“After the testing, the uninfected people will get infected once the restricted areas are released. The cycle will repeat itself,” he told the Post, suggesting resources instead be spent giving rapid self-test kits to residents and guiding patients on recovering at home.
From David Webb – a searchable breakdown of the Employment Support Scheme, which spent HK$90 billion subsidizing companies. HKFP report. Coming top with HK$800 million was Dairy Farm (Wellcome, 7-Eleven, Mannings, etc), who probably wouldn’t have laid off many workers anyway. Here’s a table showing companies in order of average amount received per member of staff. It would have cost a fraction of 90 billion to have put the newly unemployed on the dole.
And CMHK and PCCW bar Hong Kong Watch…
It’s trivial to get around the block on Hong Kong Watch. Just reconfigure your DNS server to one of the many open ones available outside HK (for example, Google’s has the IP address 188.8.131.52 ). I haven’t used HK-based DNS for ages.
Your readers and commenters may remember that I have said that what causes totalitarian regimes to fall is their insistence on refusing to follow what any reasonable person would call logic, but to instead repeatedly practice a form of juggernaut strong arm logic until the entire system collapses. Of course, the paradox is that they think the strongarm tactics is what keeps things stable. Their inability and unwillingness to see its true outcomes is actually what causes the disorder.
In other words:
If they recognise or talk about the failure of the system, it will collapse, because “the people” see the man behind the curtain. If they keep going, it will also collapse.
I think this is what we are seeing. They will just keep going until a force of nature destroys the party.
That’s just how things go. Read history! It’s right there.
Couldn’t read the SCMP article due to their own in-your-face get-the-app crap, and hongkongwatch has indeed been banned from my internet. So, too, has my VPN. Who needs censorship laws when every provider is doing it out of patriotic duty…
@Paul: Thank you! For others- article at https://www.windowscentral.com/how-change-your-pcs-dns-settings-windows-10.
I really hope you are right. Lately I’ve been buying into the 1984 hypothesis; essentially 1984’s central theme is that technology will make it impossible to overthrow a totalitarian state and it certainly does feel that way when it comes to the CCP. I would be delighted to be proven wrong.
I can access http://www.hongkongwatch.org from a certain local university that will remain nameless. My phone plan which is PCCW of course can’t access.
We should all be grateful that the patriots running Hong Kong were so busy partying with the likes of Shitman Dung the past 2 years, that they didn’t have time to plan the logistics of a mainland style lockdown of the city.
Another link for a slightly faster and (allegedly) more private DNS from Cloudflare, with phone apps as well, on 184.108.40.206 and 220.127.116.11 :
@Mark Bradley: I don’t think the websites they block are the most likely to topple them
Hong Kong Watch’s recent report on ESG and Human Rights in China is still downloadable (for the moment, anyway) from https://static1.squarespace.com/static/58ecfa82e3df284d3a13dd41/t/614ae75b8d5bf9133a94a290/1632298845996/ESG%2C+China+%26+Human+Rights+%28Web%29+%281%29.pdf – any bets on how long it stays available?
And right on cue the international media have noticed:
Hong Kong looking ever more un-appealing.
@ mark bradley:
“I really hope you are right. Lately I’ve been buying into the 1984 hypothesis; essentially 1984’s central theme is that technology will make it impossible to overthrow a totalitarian state and it certainly does feel that way when it comes to the CCP. I would be delighted to be proven wrong.”
I think orwell has a great essay somewhere about the nuclear arms race, and if I have it right (not really arsed enough to check), he does write something like the rise of the atom bomb meant that there was less hope for democracy because what actually helped democracy spread was the ability of the people to defend themselves with cheap technology. Authoritarian states and democracy states taking up nuclear arms meant, he reasoned, that the people had less power to overthrow tyranny and less power to create the threat of a check against tyranny becoming entrenched in democracy.
So you have a point, but I think in some ways the jury is still out. Because that orwellian logic is strangely orwellian. the idea that soem democratic super power like the US would potentially use nuclear arms against its own people — that’s what I take the logic to mean — is ridiculous. But, there you go.
In some ways, China is a huge authoritarian state that has tried to ensure that largeness but has also tried to use technology to behave like a small kingdom, because that makes it manageable. That’s why some of the biggest tech startups with the largest state funding and funding from state-friendly VC like Hillhouse (a graduate of Yale, by the way, is the founder, along with his wife), going to social apps and messaging apps. it helped build ni and hardwire China to be monitored, by giving the appearance of creating free and liberal thinking.
There’s a reason that there were so many missionary tech mission flights to Israel. Israelis are the best at monitoring tech. After all, most of the high tech people in startup land all served in teh military there. You won’t believe how many Israeli startup founders have “intelligence services” in their CV. Almost all of them.
so, you are on to something, that kind of technology driven by surveillance is endemic in china and really entrenched.
At the same time, as we have seen, social media and messaging and media can also create a bubble of perspective, and so I ask you, what is more likely to happen? that the western democracies completely fall apart because they express free uncensored opinions on the world wide web, or a totalitarian state erodes under the echo chamber logistics of its media message hierarchy?
When you read the SCMP, do you ever get the feeling that the press is just an instrument of control and messaging? see how quickly it is put in place? it happens so fast that nobody debates it, or even notices it. it just… happens. And when that happens, you can trust that people won’t blink an eye or self reflect on what has happened to them. they will simply keep reading, and commenting.
Don’t forget you can access some or all hongkongwatch.org content via the Web Archive at https://web.archive.org/web/*/hongkongwatch.org