Hints of fading tolerance detected

The Hong Kong government’s latest flip-flopping U-turn offers a glimmer of hope. Chief Executive Carrie Lam ponders the possibility of loosening some of the city’s most absurd and detested anti-Covid measures, including flight bans, lengthy quarantines, face-to-face school classes, and social distancing. 

Although described as a ‘mid-wave’ review, the re-think comes two weeks after the current wave peaked. But let’s not quibble. We should drop to our knees in thanks that this administration can grasp the concept that, if you’re in a hole, the first step is to stop digging. Even if, to save face, the initial plan is to dig less frantically. 

It would be nice to think this means top officials are finally listening to exasperated public opinion – and/or are willing to nag their overseers in Beijing to let Hong Kong use some science and pragmatism in policymaking for a change. More likely, the tipping point has come as a result of a subtle shift towards reality by some Mainland experts, plus discreet but angry complaints from a small number of high-powered financial-sector bosses.

(Prediction: the authorities will not re-open beaches, barbecue sites and children’s playgrounds until the very very end of this process. Say mid-2023 or something – not until the regime finds some replacement post-Covid ways to needlessly hassle and torment the populace, to emphasize the joys of all-patriots government.)

With luck, the local administration can perhaps look forward to seeing less damning coverage in the international press, like the summary by Timothy McClaughlin in Atlantic summarizing Hong Kong’s Covid mistakes in excruciating detail

…In sum, decision makers ignored public-health expertise, driven instead by politics and overly enthusiastic efforts to show fealty to Beijing. The result has been an embarrassingly shambolic effort that has created a preventable public-health disaster, yet another glaring failure of governance from an administration whose defining characteristic is catastrophic ineptitude.

And, ouch…

The endless, unrestrained flattery [of Beijing by Hong Kong officials] seems akin to the celebration of an arsonist who lights his house on fire, cuts the water hose, and then cheers as the fire brigade arrives to extinguish the flames

A couple of things for the weekend…

Hollywood weans itself off kowtowing to the CCP, and the movies get better.

To put Hong Kong officials’ communication skills in perspective – Arnie addresses the Russian people.

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11 Responses to Hints of fading tolerance detected

  1. Casira says:

    So-called experts share guilt, they told politicians what they wanted to hear.

  2. Chinese Netizen says:

    Nice summation of HK’s woes with “patriots only government” etc etc

    https://www.nytimes.com/2022/03/17/opinion/why-autocracies-fail.html

  3. HillnotPeak says:

    Not bad Mr Schwarzenegger, not bad at all.

  4. where's my jet plane says:

    Shall The Failed Social Worker evermore be re-christened Winston Lam after Harry’s cartoon today?

  5. Reader says:

    And yet another overseas take on how badly Hong Kong is faring against Omicron – except that this is the Guardian “in affiliation with” Hong Kong Free Press.

    It’s surprisingly mild in its criticism of HK authorities, or perhaps HKFP is going a bit wobbly (though not as much as timorous Now TV).
    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/mar/18/hong-kong-covid-crisis-why-is-the-death-rate-so-high

  6. Stanley Lieber says:

    @HillnotPeak

    Ditto.

  7. Chef Wonton says:

    Saddest comment of today. Hemlock is one of the best Hong Kong commentators so this could happen.

    Hemlock (March 19): “Prediction: the authorities will not re-open beaches, barbecue sites and children’s playgrounds until the very very end of this process. Say mid-2023 or something – not until the regime finds some replacement post-Covid ways to needlessly hassle and torment the populace, to emphasize the joys of all-patriots government.”

  8. Penny says:

    This is intolerable:
    Coronavirus: ‘abandoned and in a living hell’? Staff crunch leads to 20 days without showers for elderly patients at Hong Kong’s AsiaWorld-Expo isolation facility
    http://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/health-environment/article/3170870/coronavirus-abandoned-and-living-hell-staff

  9. Chinese Netizen says:

    @Penny: “The joys of all-patriots government”. Where pleasing Beijing trumps actually making the lives of your “constituents” more tolerable.

  10. Hamantha says:

    @Penny

    This exact situation (i.e. the elderly not having access to timely care or bathing facilities for weeks at a time in isolation camps) occurred with the first wave of quarantine orders back in January 2022.

    At the time, I remember being appalled by the news. In fact, I shared it with every “elderly” person I knew, advising them to avoid being lured into the government’s detention system.

    To see the same story repeated 1.5 months later on an even larger scale is, unfortunately, not surprising. For those unable or unwilling to leave Hong Kong, they should steady themselves for this sort of abuse. It will only become more frequent.

    (Original article on the same subject published here: https://hongkongfp.com/2022/01/26/covid-19-family-of-88-year-old-woman-worry-for-her-health-hygiene-after-she-was-sent-to-govt-quarantine-centre/)

  11. dimuendo says:

    Paul

    Given your apparent background and views are you saying you are against polio immunisation, measles vaccination, MMR, etc?

    Why?

    I am old enough to know several people who had polio when children, and still have to live with the consequences.

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