Or you can withdraw from society and live a solitary existence

More on Hong Kong’s proposed Mainland-style Covid monitoring/control system

Reporters … questioned why [Health Secretary] Lo thought the health code system would work in Hong Kong when it was unsuccessful in preventing Omicron outbreaks in Macau or Shanghai.

Lo answered that the proposal was based on the city’s existing Covid-19 situation: “By reducing the chance of them getting into the community, we would be able to reduce the transmission from our current level,” he added.

Hey – it sounds better than ‘I have no idea’. Although…

…leading microbiologist Ho Pak-Leung from the University of Hong Kong said in a separate Monday morning programme on Commercial Radio that he expected the effectiveness of the new health code system at preventing Covid-19 infections to be limited given the virus’ transmissibility and the tendency for contact-tracing measures to lag behind the spread.

A Standard editorial says…

Under the new administration, color-coded Covid monitoring will undoubtedly go ahead.

This is despite concerns that the introduction of such a system could accelerate Hongkongers emigrating and discourage foreigners of high-potential from returning here, which would further isolate the city from the rest of the world.

The conspiracy theory – on the verge of becoming mainstream in Hong Kong – is that that’s the whole point. It continues…

But there are also concerns that, unless Hong Kong adopts a color-coded health monitor, the mainland will not agree to reopen the border for normal travel.

Until and unless there’s a major shift in Beijing towards mitigation rather than suppression of Covid, the border will only ever fully reopen if/when Hong Kong is as sealed-off from the outside world as the Mainland itself is.

…Privacy might have been a concern when the previous administration first launched the LeaveHomeSafe app.

But, having used the app day in and day out, people have become used to living in the so-called new normal.

It can be expected that they will also get used to the new color-coded health monitor – unless they are prepared to withdraw from society and live a solitary existence.

The column goes on to ask:

‘If someone is given a yellow or red code, many people around them are likely to be flagged too. How will the decision be made? Will they be able to use public transport?’ 

There are a lot more questions. Won’t the heightened surveillance mechanism further increase people’s incentives to keep quiet if they test positive or show Covid symptoms? Will the new features work when your device is offline (as the current LeaveHomeSafe does)? Will the authorities start demanding universal testing? Why shouldn’t a government that jails people for kids’ books about sheep use the ‘red’ code to place dissidents under semi-house arrest? Will this app ever be scrapped, or will it become a standard ‘public health precaution’ in operation permanently? Will it then be merged with facial-recognition systems? Or extended to control access to bank accounts and other facilities?

Also from the editorial…

When John Lee Ka-chiu was still chief secretary, he reportedly demanded that then-Innovation and Technology Secretary Alfred Sit Wing-hang strengthen the app to include extra functions – but to no avail.

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16 Responses to Or you can withdraw from society and live a solitary existence

  1. wmjp says:

    Anyone who thought Lee might relax restrictions when he became Chief Enforcer plainly forgot what he is. He is a policeman and it is not within the mentality of policemen to make life easier for those who they supposedly serve. They like restrictions, they like control, they like whatever they think might make their job easier. Lee’s performance when he was chief cop is, I suggest, a good predictor of what he will be like in future.

  2. Natasha Fatale says:

    At a farewell dinner attended by my spouse last week, five of the eight attendees had tested positive and recovered from Covid. None of them had reported it to the authorities. This is going on throughout the city and everyone knows it.

    The Soviet Union collapsed under the weight of the endless lies, deceptions and delusions. So shall it be in China. We are witnessing the beginning of the end.

  3. wmjp says:

    Joined up thinking by the new Health Secretary:
    Meanwhile, Lo also apologised on behalf of the government after long queues emerged at the weekend at Shenzhen Bay Port, as people rushed to cross the border to the mainland in the morning.

    Lo said while the quota for quarantine hotel rooms were increased, the arrangement for PCR tests at the checkpoint were not changed, leading to the long queues.

    Now, who would have thought increasing one and not the other would not cause a problem.

  4. reductio says:

    @Natasha Fatale

    If the Soviet authorities had had the degree of public surveillance and control measures that the CCP has today, I’m not sure it would have collapsed.

  5. Chinese Netizen says:

    Ho Pak-Leung said “…he expected the effectiveness of the new health code system at preventing Covid-19 infections to be limited…”

    Understatement of the year and being very self ass saving.

  6. Load Toad says:

    This place is an open prison – that’s what they want – ruining the place completely is a price they are happy to pay

  7. Mark Bradley says:

    “If the Soviet authorities had had the degree of public surveillance and control measures that the CCP has today, I’m not sure it would have collapsed.”

    Indeed. We’ve heard from many that PRC/CCP is about the collapse. I’ll believe it when I see it. I would love for it to be true, but extremely skeptical. This kind of regime knows how to survive and they learned all of the wrong lessons from the Soviet Union collapse so I’m not convinced history will repeat itself.

  8. Mary Melville says:

    Just a hint of clamp down on access to public transport will boost private car sales. This will blow the ‘Hong Kong has been adopting the policy of using railway as the backbone of our public transport system” out of the water together with the pledges to improve air quality.
    Lo is a hardliner and no doubt still harbours a grudge re the 2015 HKU protest
    https://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/education/article/1844768/its-insult-hku-professor-denies-diving-cheating-soccer
    I do not remember anyone being charged with pushing him?
    Now he has an opportunity to make the community pay for the widespread ridicule the incident generated.

  9. conference says:

    To wmjp:

    You should forget your “western” concept of policeman. We are not in the West. In the West policeman protect people from “bad guys”. Outside the West policemen protect the state from the “bad guys”.

  10. Mark Bradley says:

    “We are not in the West. In the West policeman protect people from “bad guys”. Outside the West policemen protect the state from the “bad guys”.”

    Even in the West (especially US, Spain, and France) police act like power tripping cunts. There are usually more options available for seeking justice, though in the US it’s only a recent trend where bad cops would actually get convicted for murdering people just for being black.

  11. wmjp says:

    @conference
    I don’t know how you interpreted my concept of policemen as “western”. And if that is your view of western police, you are living in a rose-tinted paradise.
    My point, basically, is that all policemen the world over have the same mentality – they want to be in control and do not favour any relaxation of restrictions on the public. Lee is no exception.

  12. Mark Bradley says:

    “My point, basically, is that all policemen the world over have the same mentality – they want to be in control and do not favour any relaxation of restrictions on the public. Lee is no exception.”

    Indeed. This is why I do not like police the world over.

  13. Low Profile says:

    @wmjp and Mark Bradley – indeed – that’s why you will see “ACAB'” scrawled on walls in the UK. Policing as a career tends to attract those with an authoritarian – and often misogynistic – mindset.

  14. Mark Bradley says:

    “@wmjp and Mark Bradley – indeed – that’s why you will see “ACAB’” scrawled on walls in the UK. Policing as a career tends to attract those with an authoritarian – and often misogynistic – mindset.”

    The only thing preventing cops in the west from turning into full blown authoritarian control freaks with no accountability are separation of powers and the democratic system and even these checks on power aren’t nearly strong enough as police tends to do everything they can to expand on their power. And absolutely you are correct: bullies, sociopaths, and other lowlives love to join the police

  15. Chinese Netizen says:

    “bullies, sociopaths, and other lowlives love to join the police”

    And thanks to generally low educational requirements, a desperate need to fill positions with bodies…ANY bodies to fulfill budgetary allowances and demands from the electorate for “more police to address this crime wave” (all across the States currently) – you get those bullies, sociopaths, lowlives and more often now, ex military as a feeder system into local PDs.

    Yes, ex military with their “take-n0-bullshit-from-the-natives” attitude they learned in Iraq/Afghanistan (or training), immediate snap to yessir/nosir obedience, looking at everything as us versus the enemy (unless white middle class or wealthy) AND possible mental health issue baggage!

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