‘Sources’ say Chief Secretary (for nine months) and ex-cop John Lee might ‘run for election’ or ‘enter the race’ for Chief Executive. There being no election or race (ignore blather about candidacy, convenors and campaigns), this means Beijing is appointing him as Carrie Lam’s replacement. The CCP has tired of Carrie’s warmth and charisma and decided to go full grim authoritarian apparatchik.
To the extent it makes any difference in terms of substance, expect an even more top-down, slavishly loyal, law-and-order-obsessed NatSec Regime to mop up remaining dissent and civil society (recent examples here and here). Internet censorship, surveillance, anti-terrorism patrols. Zero tolerance for laughing. The police state c’est moi. Many will look back at 2017-22 as a gentler time – probably from overseas.
Another rumour: Financial Secretary Paul Chan will ‘consider running’. Would a regime that backs Putin in Ukraine pick Paul Chan? Thank you. Also – the apparent leaks are all a joke to manage expectations so everyone is overjoyed at another five years of Carrie. As if people’s feelings are a consideration.
Today’s guest artist (click on a pic) dedicates her song to Regina Ip.
Enjoy the cheerful chaos of Covid policy while it lasts. The Mainland Chinese folk-medicine expert advises Hong Kong to implement the ‘Three Easies’ and the ‘Three Reductions and One Priority’. And the Hong Kong government unveils its latest exercise in futility: universal but voluntary self-testing over three consecutive days, with those testing positive kindly requested to inform the authorities.
Doing it for just one day would be too easy – you must put serious effort into putting yourself at risk of being sent off to an isolation camp, and don’t expect any actual incentives encourage participation.
Some say the idea is to use (predictable) non-compliance to justify a subsequent compulsory mass-testing. Others think this city-wide self-testing will justify not doing that. As ever, we are left in bewilderment.
I guess columbariums are closed? Some Ching Ming links…
Hongkonger Eric Yip wins the UK’s national poetry competition. He’s 19. Sneaks up on you, and is even more compelling on a second reading.
George Magnus on China’s political and economic outlook – ‘There is no liberal reform agenda in China anymore’.
Antony Beevor (of Stalingrad and Berlin fame) on Putin fighting WWII…
An almost Stalinist determination to right the Russian military—backed by the execution of deserters and failing officers—could well extend the conflict in a bloodbath of relentless, grinding destruction.
A look at the town where Volodymyr Zelensky grew up.
A history of Singapore’s 1979-onwards ‘speak Mandarin’ campaigns in posters and other publicity materials. In 1957, most Singapore Chinese used Fujian/Guangzhou languages – and only 0.1% spoke Mandarin.
If you’re passing the FCC, check out the exhibition of up-close photographs of scary Hong Kong wildlife by Lawrence Hylton.