Street theatre

Hong Kong authorities consider city-wide Covid testing. How can they roll this out with just one or two weeks’ notice? Do 7.5 million people have to line up for hours? In the streets? In bad weather? (Apparently, it would be done by ID Card number.) Actually – 22 million people…

Up to a million people would be tested every day, and everyone would have to go through three tests within three weeks.

All 177,000 civil servants will be on standby, with their boss mentioning Xi Jinping’s instructions to battle the outbreak.

What will the authorities do with the 100,000, 200,000 or whatever cases they detect? Why not put the same effort into vaccinating the elderly? 

Strange to think that after National Education, fake universal suffrage, the extradition law amendment, the National Security Law, elimination of a semi-representative legislature, the shutting of Apple Daily and arrests of pan-dem figures, Beijing’s ultimate alienation of Hong Kong would result from imposing bad, PR-driven public-health policy.

Meanwhile, hospitals and staff are exhausted, stressed and buckling. More pictures here.

Advice from OT&P

In our opinion the majority of people in Hong Kong are likely to be infected over the next 2-3 months. A recent review in the Lancet suggests that up to 90% of these cases will have no symptoms[1]. For the majority of the rest, especially the vaccinated, it will be somewhere between a mild cold and a bad flu.

CMP looks at how Xi Jinping’s ‘important instructions’ on Covid to Hong Kong have not been reported in the Mainland…

Given the preeminent status of Xi Jinping within official CCP discourse, we would generally expect anything bearing the label “important instructions” to have pride of place on the front page of the official People’s Daily as well as top provincial CCP papers. But this is not what happened with the directive on Hong Kong. Instead, it has been entirely absent from the mainland media.

Some weekend reading…

George Magnus’s forecast for China

Common prosperity is supposed to build a superior socialist society in which innovation and productivity define a confident and modern China. It might. Yet it is more likely to be a governance own-goal in which the contradiction between the political control the party craves, and the incentives for innovation and productivity it needs cannot be resolved under current political settings.

How to categorize China? Communist? State capitalist? Something with Chinese characteristics? Andrew Batson asks… 

[Jude Blanchette remarked] “It’s patently obvious that China is not a state for workers and the proletariat, and has become one of the most deeply unequal societies in the world … your European welfare state will do better than China.”

China today obviously does not look like much like China in the 1960s, or the Soviet Union in the 1950s, or Yugoslavia in the 1970s: all uncontroversial examples of actually existing socialism. 

(His answer is to focus not on the economic system but the governmental/control structures. It’s Leninism.)  

From Geremie Barme, a translation of an essay by an anonymous writer with the pen name of Fang Zhou – an appendix to a larger piece entitled Xi Jinping’s Empire of Tedium, on what Barme describes as Xi’s ‘totalitarian nostalgia’.

Vice asks whether Eileen Gu is a suitable role model for China’s young women. (On my ‘to read if bored enough’ list, so the answer remains a mystery to me.) 

On out-of-area matters for the hardcore curious – a long but engaging YouTube look at NFTs.

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20 Responses to Street theatre

  1. donkey says:

    This is where Big Lychee Hemlock Aristophenes shines. These pointed, precise reversions to critical thinking and history.

    For the first 1/3 of today’s reading, up to the “bad PR-driven policy” my only comment is a hearty chortle chortle into my morning tea.

    For the rest, though, it bears repeating that while China tries to convince the world that it has lifted so many people up from poverty, it, ironically, and cynically, has done so on the backs of so many workers and labour. It’s extremely important that public figures continue to call out the fact that China is not state capitalist; it is NOT communist. It is something more like a true gulag state. It is supremely dictatorial and held in the clutches of a fantasist. Of course, how many in the Western press study history? How many even can read a book, when the glare from the hot lights of the tv studio and the melting drops of their heavy makeup foundation muddy the pages of any book they might open. Except their copy of the latest Mitch Albom tome.

    I have tried to point out to redditors and social media mavens and “influencers” who are so sympathetic to China that they are appeasing a hugely tumorous dictatorship. But I am told, with precise academic language that makes it really unclear what they are really saying that I am indeed uneducated and deluded by the phantasm of capitalism.

    Well, I like little bits of evidence that reveal the hypocrisy.

    All Xi needed to do was call Lam and say, what’s the deal Lamb? No. Instead, he demands that “the worker,” the “labour” that the Party seeks to help do the work for him. Transcribe his emperor decree. Twice. Spend one to three hours on the story, make sure it gets approval, in triplicate, and the once and twice over, before going out in the daily, and then also three times at night on the news.

    It’s funny how in life, nobody stops to look at which cog they are being asked to be on the machine gear. They simply roll over, and over, and over in the crushing greaseworks of the leviathan.

  2. Ho Ma Fan says:

    @donkey: what type of tea bags do you use for your morning tea, if you don’t mind me asking?

  3. Natasha Fatale says:

    From today’s SCMP:

    “With the fifth wave coinciding with Lunar New Year, normally a period for businesses to bump up profits, the government also faced opposition from various sectors if more stringent social-distancing measures were in place.”

    Those nefarious “various sectors” are up to their usual tricks again.

  4. D3SH says:

    I always find it funny that when people praise China for lifting millions out of poverty, they seem to forget who it was who wrecked livelihoods and put those millions into poverty in the first place.

  5. Boris Badanov says:

    A simple comparison of the relative awesomeness of the CCP in “lifting the Chinese people out of poverty”. GDP per capita China = US$10,000 odd. GDP per capita Taiwan US$32,000 odd. China should ask Taiwan if it could take it over and the ensure common prosperity that the CCP promises but seems to have been rather ineffective in delivering.

  6. Natasha Fatale says:


    …HK GDP per capita is around US$46,000.

  7. Load Toad says:

    Xi’s vague exhortations are a big part of the problem, ‘Try Harder’, Use All Resources’…then the sycophants have to work out what it means and after making an interpretation they have to do the utmost with great enthusiasm – until changing direction at the next mindless and uninspiring statement.

    Where in history has this happened before with great results?

  8. MT says:

    @Boris: In fairness to the CCP, Taiwan and China didn’t start off on an even footing. In 1950, China GDP per capita was just 54% of Taiwan’s.
    By 2018, the PRC’s GDP per capita had climbed to a whopping 30% of Taiwan’s. Progress!

  9. Big Al says:

    @Load Toad
    The Great Leap Forward?

  10. HKJC Irregular says:

    @donkey – are those tea leaves you use smokable? Asking for a friend.

  11. justsayin says:

    Fascism with Chinese Characteristics is what I call it.

  12. A Poor Man says:

    Boris – Yes, imagine what the Chinese economy would be like if the KMT had won the civil war. I guess it would have become the largest economy in the world sometime in the mid-1990’s.

    Donkey – You are not quite correct regarding mRNA vaccines. What they are are short chains of RNA (something that your body produces naturally) that specifically promote the production of small fragments of the spike protein of the SARS coronavirus. Once the small fragments of the spike proteins are produced in your body, your immune system will produce antibodies that can “neutralize” them, and the actual coronavirus itself, if you are ever exposed to it. mRNA is produced from your DNA (a process known as transcription), and it is involved in the production of every single protein your body makes (a process known as translation). Therefore, your body is very adept at disposing of mRNA, regardless of its origin, once its reason for existing no longer exists. Thus, the vast majority of the knowledgeable scientific community consider them to be safe. A reasonable analogy to taking a mRNA vaccine is eating non-human meat that contain DNA, RNA and proteins that humans don’t have. Clearly your body has means for breaking them down and disposing of what is not useful and can’t be recycled.

  13. Carrie Lamster murdered my hamster says:

    We are living in interesting times. Every other shopfront in Causeway Bay is closed because “one of our employees has tested positive for the Covid virus.”

  14. Mark Bradley says:

    Man the comments here are amazing as always. 420 smoke tea everyday.

  15. The plan starts here says:

    Another important and obvious thing that bears repeating to all the folk that still think the CCP are masterful 3-D chess style strategic long-term thinkers, and/or that dictatorships are OK as long as the trains run on time:

    Hong Kong’s current “put the sick outside in the car park in midwinter” chaos at hospitals, the possible “maybe taxi drivers can ferry the sick to those car parks”, and the “hey maybe now we’re screwed we should set up a committee to get the rest of the country to help us” are the fruits of over two years’ worth of the CCP’s finest patriotic planning and preparation for the pandemic. There’s a lucky advantage totally squandered.

  16. Caractacus says:

    Just imagine if instead of testing everyone the recalcitrants were made to have the vaccine.

  17. Knownot says:

    Why have Xi Jinping’s ‘important instructions’ to Hong Kong to deal with Covid not been reported in the Mainland? China Media Project, cautiously, does not answer the question. In my ignorance, I will attempt two answers.
    1. In order to reveal the ‘instructions’, it will be necessary to reveal the seriousness of the epidemic. People may blame the Central Government, not the HK Government.
    2. People may think: If the virus has not been eliminated there (in HK), has it really been eliminated here (where we live)?

  18. Chinese Netizen says:

    @Caractacus: I suppose anti vaxxers in HK could go to the reliable old “Our Freedoms” argument like in the west. Except in HK there are no freedoms.

  19. Reader says:

    @ Knownot
    A follow-on (genuine) question, to anyone who can help me – so how widely are Hong Kong’s current Covid travails being reported up north? Is the rampaging virus on sacred Han soil yet another not-to-be-mentioned topic?

  20. Mary Melville says:

    So what are the ‘patriots ruling’ ………….. 90 Leggers, 1,500 Election Committee, the Neighbourhood Watch, etc doing? Have not spotted any of them with their sleeves rolled up and getting stuck in around my ‘hood. Nor have pals in other districts.
    Oh for the good old days when we had caring, sharing district Councillors who would stay up all night during lock downs assisting residents in need.
    ‘Conspicuous in their absence’ would sum up this bunch.

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