HK celebrates slightly less horrendous week

Last Friday, I doubted that the week to come could possibly be any worse – and so it came to pass. The Hong Kong authorities have now in effect ditched zero-Covid, and the 5th wave seems to be plateauing

However, fans of awfulness needn’t worry – there’s still lots of idiocy in store. Pointless quarantines for arrivals, frantic construction of vast and probably superfluous isolation facilities, and an official need to present any and all improvements in the pandemic situation as miraculous gifts from Beijing. 

The SCMP helps out with the face-saving redefinition…

Pursuing a “dynamic zero” strategy in Hong Kong’s coronavirus battle is not about aiming for zero infections, but saving lives first…

To celebrate, some painstakingly curated reading and viewing for the weekend…

World Politics Review not mincing words in its article on Hong Kong’s Covid mess as a ‘cost of pleasing Beijing’.

On the subject of doing harm to satisfy the emperor, the SCMP reports that China’s GDP can grow at 5.5% this year, but…

“The target can certainly be achieved if Beijing insists, but it will come at a cost,” warned Larry Hu, chief China economist at Macquarie Capital.

“It may force the rise of [China’s] macro leverage ratio,” he said, referring to the measurement of an economy’s overall indebtedness.

In other words, they must damage the economy in the longer run (increasing debt, misallocating capital) in order to meet an arbitrary goal. Because not having a target – just living with whatever organic GDP growth comes along – is unacceptable to control-freaks obsessed with proving the superiority of their authoritarian system.

Which brings us to a YouTube video of HKU’s Frank Dikotter on how to be a dictator. “The moment you seize power you become afraid.”

And a CNN op-ed on how Xi Jinping’s unworldly zero-sum outlook keeps China from playing a big-boy role in the Russian war on Ukraine.

A fairly weighty essay in Made in China Journal on Hong Kong as an example of political restructuring in the context of ‘contemporary autocratisation’.

How the film Revolution of Our Times is playing in Vancouver

All 3,000 tickets for 14 Vancouver screenings in two cinemas, running from February 11 until March 13, were sold out almost immediately, organisers say.

Attendees said emotional scenes on screen were reflected among audiences; some wept throughout, others chanted the protest slogan “Hong Kong, add oil”, and at the end many stood and sang the unofficial protest anthem Glory to Hong Kong.

…Jenny Kwan, a Hong Kong-born member of Canada’s parliament, said that the screening she attended was an “emotional, heartbreaking” experience.

“You could hear people in the audience quietly sobbing. There was an intensity in the cinema, all around me,” said Kwan, the member for Vancouver East.

… and in Taiwan

The aftermath of Hong Kong’s protests have been warily watched from across the Taiwan strait, where some Taiwanese saw a warning for their own future. China’s president, Xi Jinping, has vowed to “unify” Taiwan with China, by force if necessary.

“I think with these screenings, the most important thing isn’t to get people to focus on Hong Kong, the most important is that they are focused on Taiwan, their home,” Chow said.

An interesting thread on how commercial and political pressures make China’s social media a haven for ultra-nationalism.

And for econ/history buffs, Andrew Batson on the reversal of roles in the China-Russia economic relationship from the 1950s to the 2020s.

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14 Responses to HK celebrates slightly less horrendous week

  1. A Poor Man says:

    When did the Hang Seng Index first trade at its current level of approximately 20K? Was it in late 2007? I wonder what Ah Chan still thinks that the HSI is a reflection of the public’s confidence in the government.

  2. donkey says:

    Only thing to be said is that the anger is palpable, and now that anger has grief and resentment fueling it.

    Grief of a lost culture
    resentment against a government that does not care
    grief about lost family
    resentment against a government that does not care
    grief about lost businesses
    resentment against a leader who is abrasive, wilfully callous because, i think, she is domineered over by her own fear of failure in the eyes of her betters.

    this is not a recipe for a happy 12-18 months

  3. Low Profile says:

    @ donkey – you forgot the quotation marks around “betters”

  4. Chinese Netizen says:

    @Donkey: Not to mention, the CENO gets to fuck off to Merry Olde England after she’s left her wake of destruction to live a bucolic life of leisure, sipping tea, counting all her cash and learning how to purchase toilet paper in the local shop. Let’s hope the UK government denies her entry ever again and that she’ll get an apartment in Shenzhen in the same block as Bowtie’s.

  5. Mark Bradley says:

    @donkey @chinese netizen

    So do you two think that cunt is finished and won’t have a second term as CE or do you think Beijing will let her stay on since they like seeing HK burn anyway?

  6. Fenton says:

    A bit of jail time with better food, accommodation and some company around sounds alot more preferable than isolation in a container.

  7. Chinese Netizen says:

    @Mark Bradley: Those shoe polish heads up north really do like doubling down to prove their infallibility, don’t they?

    She’s irrelevant anyway…as is ANYone that holds the CENO title.

  8. Mark Bradley says:

    “ She’s irrelevant anyway…as is ANYone that holds the CENO title.”

    Indeed. They all have to do Beijing’s bidding, though they all have different personalities and she is the biggest cunt of them all even bigger than CY.

    I do think CEs did used to have some agency/autonomy though. In the Bow tie era I think Donald had considerable autonomy which he used to listen to local property developers rather than Beijing. When Beijing did instruct him to do something like implement national education, he used his civil servant skills of telling Beijing everything they wanted to hear while kicking that can down the road so CY could do it instead.

    There was also a diplomatic cable where Donald Tsang complained about the difficulty of balancing between being accountable to Hong Kong and being accountable to Beijing. Indeed, it is an impossible mission that leaves everyone feeling unsatisfied; though personally I think he was the best post handover leader we had.

    Carrie and CY solved this balancing act by ignoring the wishes of the people completely and only listening to Beijing. I think Carrie did have a more free hand to do as she wished in governing HK before the extradition bill protests.

    I wonder if the extradition bill was her idea to impress Beijing or if was a “political mission” given to her by Beijing to implement locally by HK itself via its own legislative process.

  9. Des Espoir says:

    Whilst of course a sojourn in the slammer (as suggested as above) might be rather fun, for anyone who belongs to the Hong Kong Club, the Club’s articles say that anyone who does time for any offence is automatically kicked out of the Club… (fate worse than death…)

  10. Paul Tse, certified says:

    At the beginning of WW II, Jews and other “undesirables” like socialists, priests etc. were rounded up in occupied Europe. The smart ones had fled Europe before the war. Most of the citizenry duly showed up at the station when summoned. They were transported to the camps by trains and “neutralized” upon arrival. Sometimes within 30 minutes. The bravest went underground and into hiding. They survived.
    Now what are you going to do when the CCP summons you to show up at the Tsing Yi “isolation facility”?
    Oh, this is “exaggerated” you say? You won’t end up in a bodybag at the hospital, you say? Do you have any idea what is happening in the camps of Xinjiang right now, under the benign rule of the CCP? If you don’t have a clue, maybe you can ask “Englishman” Mike Rowse, who has actually visited Xinjiang.

  11. Chris says:

    Does that HK Club rule include time in a black jail or disappeared by the National Security Gestapo?

  12. Chinese Netizen says:

    “I wonder if the extradition bill was her idea to impress Beijing or if was a “political mission” given to her by Beijing to implement locally by HK itself via its own legislative process.” ~Mark Bradley

    I’d wager initially she flipped a coin – best out of 50k or so tries – to see whether or not she’d have the cajones to actually take some leadership initiative (being a lifelong bureaucrat and all that) to push it forward. After getting wind of the blowback, Beijing took over and had her ensure it would happen. ALL on her, banking that her personality and style would win over the citizenry of HK. The rest is herstory.

  13. Mary Melville says:

    Nailed it.
    “Some netizens compared the hair colour of Chief Executive Carrie Lam during the press conferences held on 9th and 10th March. It was found out that the volume and colour of her hair was significantly thicker and darker than the previous day. Many netizens said that they finally understood the justification for allowing hair salons to reopen.”

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