How’s this for a dilemma? Local state newspapers again warn Hong Kong – in Xi Jinping’s name – to suppress the Covid outbreak at all costs. And a loyalist advisor says that Beijing above all fears social instability here. Does anyone in Carrie Lam’s administration have the courage to tell their bosses that Mainland-style anti-Covid measures are more likely to provoke public anger (maybe civil disobedience or even protests) than the lack of them?
Lau Siu-kai’s comments on Wednesday came after Wen Wei Po and Ta Kung Pao quoted President Xi Jinping as saying that the SAR government must shoulder the main responsibility of reining in the pandemic.
“If the Covid situation gets out of hand and people’s dissatisfaction accumulates, leading to all sorts of anti-government behaviour… that would not be what the central government wants to see,” he told RTHK.
…He said local authorities may now be under pressure to consider measures less welcomed by society, including real-name contact tracing and getting more people vaccinated “through harsher means”.
Carrie’s (perhaps understandable) tactic is to thank Beijing profusely. Back in Hong Kong bureaucrats’ comfort zone, she asks property tycoons to find hotel rooms for quarantine. According to the SCMP…
The liaison office said Xi’s message had “injected strong, positive energy” into the city. “Sectors in society are greatly encouraged and expressed one after another that President Xi’s important instructions have made Hong Kong people feel extraordinarily warm,” it said.
Among Beijing’s priorities: to show that the CCP can outperform the West through its PR-driven zero-Covid approach; and to use Covid as a pretext to encourage ‘integration’ and to impose Mainland-style social controls like surveillance apps on Hong Kong. If only it were just a deadly public-health issue!
Oh no –
God the Anglican church has entered the picture. If a city-wide mass-testing takes place next week, the authorities will no doubt find tens of thousands of Covid cases. Reverend Koon, in his capacity as a lawmaker, suggests quarantine camps over the border. Another member of the all-patriot legislature proposes a Berlin-style airlift dropping cattle from drones (or something) to ease Hong Kong’s food-supply problem.