The week starts with some light tawdry tittle-tattle gossip trivia from an international company’s office in Central. A woman working for the company lives with her father and has a cat. The father tests positive for Covid. Fearing for the well-being of the feline, she reports her beloved Dad to the authorities, who duly whisk him away for days and days in some isolation facility. Upon his release, the gentleman kicks the daughter out of the family home (and who wouldn’t?, you may feel). The woman also apparently has a small son, but there’s no more info on that. Maybe she’s sold the kid to buy cat food. I will spare everyone further details. Or pass on more as I receive them. Whatever.
How much taxpayers’ money does the Hong Kong government need to spend on a make-believe poll that produces a result decided – probably months ago – in Beijing? According to HKFP, the authorities budgeted HK$228 million this fiscal year for the Chief Election ‘election’, and the five-week delay (due to Covid) will somehow add another HK$50 million.
Surely you can’t spend HK$278 million on an exercise in which 1,400 people pretend to cast a ballot? Nearly HK$200,000 per cosplay voter. But they can. It goes on hiring venues, manning polling and counting stations, mailing, and renting storage space.
The Diplomat on Beijing’s choice…
The central government’s selection of Lee clearly indicates that it puts a higher priority on security issues over Hong Kong citizens’ livelihood matters, as well as the city’s economy and its status as a global financial center.
…the selection of Hong Kong’s chief executive may just be the latest in a series of policy decisions by Beijing leading to self-inflicted hardship. Beijing appears driven by paranoia over security and absolute state control, with a high dose of insecurity, leading it to ignore all the side effects of its extreme and draconian measures.
The weird thing is that Hong Kong should not be a hard place to run. If its leaders just don’t do stupid things, a resourceful population and all those traditional advantages we can list by heart should make the place pretty successful. Which brings us to TransitJam on how the once-a-week ‘Water Taxi’ is essentially another ‘food truck’ dud – a minor but potentially positive initiative delivered in such a way as to make it useless. This time with government subsidies…
…[ferry operator] CKS has been subsidised with free pier rental, free vessel licensing and is allowed to earn income from sub-letting its pier space.
Yes – there has to be a real-estate boondoggle somewhere in there.
Some reports say that the lockdown mayhem in Shanghai is subsiding; others that Guangzhou and other cities are next. An AP report from Shanghai…
“[The government] bragged too hard to their own people about how wonderful they are, and now they’ve painted themselves into a corner.”
And a SupChina interview with Geremie Barme on the ranting old Shanghai guy and the ‘empire of tedium’…
…the Communists present this façade of unbelievable unanimity and monolithic unity. A decade ago, some Party thinkers and leaders tried to edge their way towards substantive change that would allow China to develop a kind of social maturity that was more concomitant with its impressive economic achievements. Instead, Xi et al prefer a state of paternalistic infantilization. Now, the whole world is also held hostage to the tedious panoply of the past.
…Here is China, having achieved in the terms of its own modern history, unprecedented riches, hard-won (if draconian) social stability, extraordinary achievements in every major field of pursuit, yet it is as brittle, bitter, self-absorbed, and neurotic a nation as it has been at any other time since the end of the Qing dynasty.