Tuesday comes early

Former Chief Executive CY Leung claims that people leaving Hong Kong because of the NatSec regime are ‘relocating’ rather than ‘migrating’… 

Leung said the authorities could help to clear up misunderstandings such people may have about political developments in Hong Kong.

Of course – it’s because they’re stupid.

“They don’t want to give up their Hong Kong identity, and this shows that they want to keep the option of returning one day,” he argued, adding that those leaving have “relocated” to other countries but not migrated.

The telling points are that he implicitly accepts that NatSec is convincing people to go, and that it would be desirable that they return. But unlike the pre-1997 brain drain, today’s movement is not about individuals qualifying for a passport as a family insurance policy – they are selling homes and taking their kids away to start new lives.

Factwire looks at the business connections of John Lee’s sons. In fairness, it would be hard to work in any major local companies that do not have ‘Election Committee’ members among owners or senior management. Indeed – without wishing to sound like a snobbish former Company Gwailo – the Lee boys’ connections are rather underwhelming. (Sniff.)

Oiwan Lam on the next CE

If Carrie Lam’s mistake is bad political judgment, John Lee would not repeat that mistake as he is more unlikely to make his own political judgment.

…the political purge will likely continue and may further be extended to major social institutions in the name of counter-terrorism and counter-external forces…

You do not choose an ex-cop if you want someone who has his own ideas – just someone who snaps to attention and says ‘Yes sir!’ Looking at the public discontent in Shanghai, I can’t help wondering if Carrie Lam and her (non-ex-cop) colleagues countered Beijing officials’ insistence on a lockdown by warning of another 2019-style uprising if Hongkongers were forced to go through such a nightmare. Which brings us to…

Anne Stevenson-Yang in Forbes on China’s ‘governance implosion’

Even the 1989 Tiananmen uprising did not affect as many people as the Covid lockdowns.

…Venerable as they may be, the “theories” of General Secretary Xi do not cure COVID.

Unfortunately, rather than forcing the government to make the most obvious adjustment to the visible realities of the situation, the backlash is more likely to reinforce the Party’s sense of being under siege.

…The Party is locked down in its own self-made policy claims and propaganda. The botched lockdowns and flow of damaging videos and testimonials undermine Xi’s core messages: infallibility of the Party and total focus on the welfare of the people.

However, a CNN op-ed believes that Beijing will propagandize its way out of the mess…

…some argue that China has painted itself into a corner where it now needs to uphold its stringent policy, after reveling for two years in the success of “zero-Covid,” while scaremongering about the virus and generating broad support for the policy.

Huang puts it this way: “We should never underestimate the government capacity to redefine its narrative to sustain the public support. And we should never underestimate the people’s tolerance, even for policies that harm their interest.”

Given that the Chinese people have meekly absorbed disasters like the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution, I would guess the CNN prediction will be right. Blame it all on evil foreign forces.

Also Forbes on China’s apparent manipulation of Covid statistics…

Even sticking to [data officially reported by the Chinese government], obvious problems emerge. In some cases, the data is incomplete. In others, it is highly implausible. And some of what is reported cannot possibly be true. 

…One might wonder how China can claim a Covid mortality rate 30 times lower than Korea’s, 50 times lower than Singapore’s? Or 73 times lower than New Zealand’s (since April 2020)? 

…Tens of thousands of officially reported Covid cases throughout China (since April 2020) that have not resulted in a single death attributed to Covid? This is not possible, and not believable. China’s countermeasures, however extreme, have no effect on mortality once someone is infected. 

Interesting thread on the topic. A grim graphic of deaths in Shanghai from Covid-measures. And the BBC on deaths among the elderly.

(The latest word is that authorities in Shanghai are now admitting a handful of Covid fatalities.)

Even the SCMP’s laboriously pro-Beijing Canada-based Alex Lo finds fault

China’s zero-Covid success in the past two years is proving to be less than meets the eye. Its relentless and cruel application in Shanghai, the country’s richest city, is showing the world the ugly side of locking down millions. It is also looking increasingly pointless. 

The (probably paywalled) Economist’s intro to a story on Beijing’s zero-Covid fetish in Shanghai… 

It is often said that China’s government plans decades ahead, carefully playing the long game as democracies flip-flop and dither. But in Shanghai right now there is not much sign of strategic genius.

…The zero-covid policy has become a dead end from which the Communist Party has no quick exit.

It is one of a trio of problems faced by China this year, alongside a misfiring economy and the war in Ukraine. You may think they are unconnected, but China’s response to each has a common root: swagger and hubris in public, an obsession with control in private, and dubious results. Rather than being the product of statecraft with the Yellow Emperor’s time horizon, China’s actions reflect an authoritarian system under Xi Jinping that struggles to calibrate policy or admit when it is wrong

Beijing’s gullible apologists have long pushed the idea of Chinese leadership’s profound mystical oriental wisdom and ultra-long-term thinking in dimensions beyond barbarians’ comprehension. Others have known for decades – they’re making it up as they go along.

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7 Responses to Tuesday comes early

  1. BoeingBoeing says:

    I dare say that not only are they making it up as they go along, ser. They are also believing in the natural forces of history, which are always right, already written, and need only the right policy to guide into place their inevitable conclusion. In other words, though China has suffered disaster after disaster in its 12,000 year old history, nobody has actually bothered to change the formula. So, they are on autopilot, and the auto-thrust of their large commercial jet is having a bit of a time keeping the air flow rushing over the wings, if you get my point.

  2. Chinese Netizen says:

    Besides that nasty, ratty little “pornstache” on Gilbert Lee I’m sure both lads are fine, upstanding young men who pulled themselves up “by the bootstraps” (like Kim Kardashian) and decided on lucrative futures in the private sector rather than toiling as line grunts in the Popo, beating high school kids with truncheons or walking a beat in Sham Shui Po like daddy might have done, once.

    (How much longer until HKFP goes down via a NatSec infraction for reporting too much details on the family of the future Führer?)

  3. Mary Melville says:

    CY’ s take that the exiles will come flocking back is conveniently ignoring the fact that it takes a number of years to qualify for permanent status in another jurisdiction.
    Even uber-patriots like Zeman had to comply with the 7-year regulations here :
    A person is eligible to apply for a Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Passport if he/she is:
    a Chinese citizen;
    a permanent resident of the HKSAR; and.
    a holder of a valid Hong Kong permanent identity card
    So the renouncing of HK identity, and only if dual citizenship is not permitted, would kick in around 5 years from now.

  4. KwunTongBypass says:

    “ultra-long-term thinking” is what I console myself with when one of my stocks completely tanks!

  5. Patriots and their "exes" says:

    @Mary Melville
    689’s dimwitted take not only ignores the practicalities of immigration, but also opens up the obvious (and rather embarrassing to the HKSARG) inference:

    That the entire families of the current CE, the future CE and many of the other top HKSARG officials — aren’t really Hongkongers but have just “relocated” to Hong Kong because they “don’t want to give up their British identity, and this shows that they want to keep the option of returning one day”.

    A fuller list of the HKSARG officials expat families from an actual Hongkonger:
    https://twitter.com/joshuawongcf/status/1292119817592303618

  6. HK-Cynic says:

    A lot of my wealthier friends have “left” Hong Kong, but not really. That is, they’ve given up on Hong Kong for all impractical reasons. They’ll spend part of the year in places like London, Vancouver, Phuket, New Zealand, etc. but fly into Hong Kong for a month or two every year. Why? They want to retain their Hong Kong residency – but only and strictly for practical tax purposes. They’ll “live” in Hong Kong, but not really.

  7. so says:

    The CCP CREDO:

    “I drink it when I’m happy and when I’m sad.

    Sometimes I drink it when I’m alone.

    When I have company I consider it obligatory.

    I trifle with it if I’m not hungry and I drink it when I am.

    Otherwise I never touch it, unless I’m thirsty.”

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