’No full lockdown’ and other glimmers of common sense – until further notice, hurry while stocks last – from the CE as Covid cases go past 50,000 a day. (Background on how officials compile the data.)
Breaking through the Covid gloom, a few rays of NatSec… Human rights lawyer Paul Harris leaves Hong Kong. And criminalization of speech continues with a NatSec judge’s conviction of Tam Tak-chi for sedition. Some depressing details and analysis of the judgement here and here. A round-up of the round-ups.
Some recommended reading for the mid-late week…
A thread linking the declines in Covid-era Hong Kong’s governance and in political and human rights…
…over the course of two years of Beijing eroding the city’s democracy and local politics, Hong Kong’s ruling class has been completely severed from the people, and chained ever-more tightly to performative acts to signal fealty to China, rather than its own residents.
…The panic-buying and hysteria in Hong Kong is a natural outcome of the confused public messaging that comes from a govt that no longer truly has the autonomy to craft, tweak and shift policy on its own…
Similar comments here…
[The Hong Kong government] lacks strategic ability; it operates in excessively siloed ways; it is almost innumerate; it privileges performance over substance and seems oblivious to actual human behaviour; it is often callous in the extreme; its communications are appalling.
Where are political talents like Eddie Chu Hoi-dik, Gwyneth Ho and all those energetic community-minded Legislative and District Council members again?
More international coverage of Hong Kong’s descent, this time from AFP. CNBC marks the 100,000th BNO Hongkonger applying to emigrate to the UK.
DW on the documentary Revolution Of Our Times showing in Taiwan – the article omits the title of the film.
If you’re getting bored reading how China will come out of the Ukraine crisis a big winner, some alternative – and probably more realistic – views. In HKFP, academic Paul G Harris examines the damage to China’s reputation…
What was Beijing thinking when it embraced an autocrat who had already annexed a huge chunk of a neighbouring country’s territory – the Crimean Peninsula – and deployed his war machine and mercenaries to other parts of Ukraine as well as to Georgia, Libya, Syria and beyond? At the very least, Chinese officials seem to have displayed poor understanding of Russian history and the psychology of Putin.
Howard French on Ukraine/Taiwan comparisons…
As Ukraine and Zelensky have shown, aggressors face even stronger sanctions from global opinion when they launch attempts to take over democratic underdogs. And China, in this regard, seems even less prepared than Russia to deal with the toxic fallout.
A Forbes op-ed looks at the economic price Beijing might have to pay for aligning itself with Russia.
And CNN reports on how China’s stance is endangering its citizens in Ukraine.
A Stimpson Center report speculating that Putin hoodwinked Xi over Ukraine. Some Chinese historians feel the same.
(Politico asks an expert whether Putin is really deranged enough to use nukes. You might not want to read this.)
1. China knows what it’s doing with Russia. This is part two of an information war and ideological battle that started at least twenty years ago and pits the unwitting “West” against a conniving and subterfuge-inducing matrix of global micro powers who demand to be taken seriously and heralded as the new world order. China and Russia are kingpins here. They want absolute destruction of the Western political model, especially democracy. They will try to end it by letting Russia snap up all non-aligned partners in Eastern Europe and maybe even go after countries like Finland before they get into NATO.
2. More needs to be made of the lack of cohesive narrative embedded in the Hong Kong situation. Ironic, isn’t it, that the chaos and disorder of the riots and protests against the extradition law pales in comparison to a fumbling, non-stick adhesive government that has no checks or balances on its power but cannot glom together a narrative that actually calms the populace?
What could this lead to? Well, if Lam and co. can’t get their heads around what to do to calm the natives, then the PLA and the police will enact a kind of martial law, where the gun administers food stores and handouts. This will continue a narrative already out there that Hong Kong is not a finance center. It’s a giant quarantine camp that operates like a prison. You can’t come in. You can’t leave. You can’t dissent. You can’t get food. You can’t stay at home with a minor cold.
3. We are about three weeks away from anarchy if this keeps up. Lam has lost control. And the Central government seems to be fine with it.
4. There are likely 1.25 million infections still wandering around. None of the social distance protocols make a difference. We’ve ruined businesses. We’ve bankrupted small companies. We have caused all our talent to flee. It’s amazing to me that a country so obsessed with managing its infrastructure and it’s systems has no clue what they are doing.
It will be useless to even do the testing by the time they actually spin it up.
Certainly our esteemed judges are following Carrie’s admonishment not to be caught up in the “meaning of words”. Those pesky words and their meanings, eh?
If China was hoodwinked, consider the possibility that it was a very similar selective blindness to other perspectives which led it to so badly misgauge public opinion in HK in 2019.
If Curry Cunt (who is like a mother to me) is going to force 7 million + people to line up for testing x 3, creating masses of people all over Hong Kong at the same time, how easy, or difficult, will it be for “hooligans” and “counter-revolutionary elements” to start their own little street carnivals that may then result in “mayhem” and “destructive behavior”?
2019 was the warm up. As only an observer, I have a great deep sense we are about to see seismic fighting in this city. I am aware that sounds panic-inducing, but the cooperative elements of Hong Kong are leaving, or giving up. When businesses start shuttering like they are, when the government cannot get its act together, when nobody in leadership is even able to hear the voices of agitation and confusion, you are setting up for big changes and big problems. I hate to say it, but the rubicon has been crossed.
I enjoyed your contributions today. Thank you.
There are few people in the street these days but yesterday I bumped into a swarm of PTUs on patrol, including two white shirts. They seemed eerily out of place on that sunny afternoon in Hennessy Road, Wanchai. I think the government, inept as they are, knows that something is up.
Transport Secretary Frank Chan says,
“Because for fresh food, the most important thing is that it’s fresh.”
That’s right. Perhaps this is the kind of charismatic member of the administration Mr Zeman was hoping for in yesterday’s letter?
donkey Sir, I am positive (haha!) that the disturbances that will occur during the Great Test Debacle of 2022 will make for dramatic optics that will flash around the world at the speed of lightning, or faster.
Quote from a chatty secu this afternoon : ‘Don’t worry ……. its like a cold. Lots of people I know said they just had a sore throat for a few days and are fine now’.
For sure they do not figure in the official infected numbers.
U-Select got stocked up with veggies this afternoon, some greens looked a bit wilted as if they had been on the road for some time. Perhaps Frank Chan needs to refine ‘fresh’.
And we managed to get a train load of produce through – low tech solution that should have been on standby. It could be operated with robots to load and unload. What
have all those IT billions been squandered on?????
@Stanley et al,
It gives me great pleasure to every once in a while offer you a glimmer of my once-brilliant but now-dimmed cerebral phantasm. I only ask you remember me when our history is being written! Onward!
So what’s been going on behind the scenes in HK’s Covid planning? Suddenly the government’s own experts – Gabriel Leung, Yuen Kwok-yung etc – and fanboys like Zeman are all speaking out against current plans, especially timing of mass testing.
Assuming they have been advising Carrie and co, and that they know the mainland inputs to the process, what tipped them over the edge? Were they told that Beijing demands trump all, or was there real policy discussion? Why now?
I think we should be told.
@donkey I like your predictions and I hope you are right, especially the part about CCP collapsing.
Did you know that when Indian families in Hong Kong employ domestic helpers from India or Bangladesh or Sri Lanka, they only pay them a fraction of the official salary, as stipulated in the Immi Dept contract. This is commonplace.
This is modern slavery.
CCP knows as much as the rest of us. No more, no less.
Mr and Mrs Bombay – I think that has been common practice amongst some – hopefully a very small number of – Indian families.
And no day’s off either – after all, that’s usual practice in the sub-continent….
Herr Torquewrench: I wonder if said “helpers” are reminded daily how incredibly lucky they are to have a roof over their heads and a meal in their gut? No doubt the ones that come to HK to serve are also related to the servers of the big family back in the Motherland. That way if anyone gets out of line…others can be held accountable.
Re point 1. Still subscribing to the old “those guys are evil masterminds playing trans-dimensional chess” view, I see. I’m more of a Hanlon’s Razor subscriber: “never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity”.
That’s not to say I don’t think that both Putin & Xi are malicious and do want to take over the world and overthrow western democracy, but I don’t think either are actually clever or competent enough to do it.
As per Trump’s administration, a lot of the mystic farsighted genius ascribed to an idiotic crayon-eater’s dimwittery is just pundits’ and journos’ confirmation bias. They look for genius because they want desperately to avoid having to accept the unpalatable truth that the head of state actually does have the intellect, planning, foresight and impulse control of a mewling spoilt three-year-old, throwing huge tantrums at anything he doesn’t like.
Putin’s invasion is going so well that he started suing for peace talks on day 4, despite having overwhelming superiority of numbers. That alone suggests that something has gone spectacularly tits up on that particular decades-in-the-making conniving and subterfuge-inducing matrix of a chess game.
And remember when Xi Jinping decided to punish Australia by boycotting their coal because “they need China more than China needs them”? Australia gets a nice coal price bump while China gets a huge fuel shortage, higher costing coal, lower quality steel and rolling power cuts and electricity rationing across the country.
And it’s important to remember that paranoid dictatorships don’t do friends and allies (the whole system selects against those kinds of relations in favour of backstabbing pragmatists): they just do disposable “useful idiots” and people whose support is for sale to the highest bidder. So having one paranoid dictator take another one for a ride is just pretty much par for the course.
And let’s face it: even if he was totally upfront with the Politburo, as soon as Putin becomes very toxic or starts offering to pay in rubles, Xi will drop his “best friend” like the proverbial sack of burning shit.
lenin tripe: I stopped reading after this, because you obviously didn’t read what I was writing carefully and you have some sort of ideological tic that you have to get out of your system
” Still subscribing to the old “those guys are evil masterminds playing trans-dimensional chess” view, I see.”