Clutching at straws

The prosecution aren’t exactly holding back in likening sedition to treason in the speech therapists’ cartoon sheep book trial…

The defendants … were said to have “indoctrinated” readers with separatism, incited “anti-Chinese sentiment,” “degraded” lawful arrests and prosecution and “intensified” Hong Kong-China conflicts.

It would be interesting to see some evidence. Did the books’ authors ‘incite’ anti-Chinese sentiment or merely reflect it? Did they actually ‘intensify’ Hong Kong-China conflict? How is ‘degrading’ arrests a crime? And so on.  (And this, and this.)

Also not pulling any punches, Ben Cowling says quarantine for inbound travellers – whether in a hotel or at home – is pointless and should just be scrapped…

Noting that the justifications for home quarantine are the same as those given for hotel quarantine – namely to reduce the burden on Hong Kong’s healthcare system and stop new sub-variants from arriving in the city – Professor Cowling said merely changing the type of quarantine would be “illogical”.

“The sub-variants are already here,” he said. “Switching to home quarantine makes no sense to me. If the reason for home quarantine were the same as hotel quarantine, it would be illogical.”

(Compare such forthrightness with the inane and insipid blather of the SCMP’s editorial on the subject.)

Seditious sheep and compulsory quarantine are both examples of Beijing’s political dogma overriding reason. Rational people assume that, at some point, this must stop. They look for signs that common sense will return.

Some commentator somewhere recently floated the idea that China might allow BioNTech’s mRNA vaccine into the country ‘after Xi Jinping gets appointed to his third term as core leader at the CCP Congress’. Why is there this widespread assumption that Beijing will relax its zero-Covid policy after the gathering around October-November?

The accepted wisdom is that after the Congress, Xi will be emboldened and strengthened, and thus able to do something – adopt a science-based public-health strategy – that he currently cannot. But so far as we can see, Xi is more powerful than any Chinese leader since Mao at his height. He rules over a system that airbrushes away disasters, scandals and inconvenient history and replaces them with new narratives. With his ability to create a reality of his choosing through official media and propaganda, suppressing evidence of a personally humiliating U-turn would be far easier than suppressing a virus. 

He can change policy while blankly maintaining publicly that it is not changing – who would dare contradict him? He can place blame on other leaders for devising and sticking with the original approach. He can claim credit for a miraculous breakthrough that enables a new direction. 

Abandoning zero-Covid could consolidate Xi’s image and position, and give the Chinese economy a badly needed boost. If he wanted to do it, he would have. It will be no easier after the Congress. 

We can only guess why Xi clings to zero-Covid. But the idea that a party Congress will make a massive difference sounds like wishful thinking.

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13 Responses to Clutching at straws

  1. Mjrelje says:

    Zero-covid is now quite obviously as addictive to CCP as Opium was to China in 1839. It has enabled everyone to either be a prisoner or a prison-guard in the world’s largest open jail. There is little chance of seeing the great unelected off such control anytime soon.

  2. A Poor Man says:

    What motivation does an unelected government have to voluntarily give back power over the people that it has taken? Power is used by those in charge to remain in charge.

    The Leave Home Safe app is an example of this. The government admitted in early January that it can’t currently serve it’s stated purpose of notifying residents if they have been some place at the same time an infected person (remember when credit card receipts had to be used to trace customers of a restaurant where an infected flight attendant ate?), yet the government has gradually mandated that it be used in more and more places to constantly remind the citizens that it is in charge and that they must obey it. I predict that it will still be in use for many more years.

  3. Natasha Fatale says:

    Zero-covid enhances the CCP’s power. What’s not to like?

  4. Chinese Netizen says:

    CCPChina has “Zero Covid” and total gun control out of fear of the population that they rule over with no consensus.

    The USA government has no coherent, across-the-board WuFlu strategy and no gun control because of the fear that if they try, the population will lynch the so called leaders.

  5. Load Toad says:

    I’ve given up hoping for common sense to prevail or that a more reasonable or even constructive approach to dealing with Covid and starting to live normally again will happen. 2022 will be another wasted year.

    I now have to simply hasten plans to get me & my business out of Hong Kong.

    Unfortunately due to various considerations that will not be as soon as I want

  6. Mark Bradley says:

    “I’ve given up hoping for common sense to prevail or that a more reasonable or even constructive approach to dealing with Covid and starting to live normally again will happen. 2022 will be another wasted year.”

    I’ve already psychologically prepared myself that there won’t be quarantine free travel until 2024 for HK and that was before that health minister started dropping hints about potentially having Q free travel in November.

    But if you need to travel to China…..well I guess that might not even happen in 2024.

  7. Kwun Tong Bypass says:

    I just got it!

    We must adopt one of those great scientific methods invented by the CCP during the good old Maoist China: ALL OF YOU get your pots and pans and bang them with sticks and spoons and whatever you can find, as loud as you can, indoors and outdoors, in your cars, in the subway, in hospitals, in government offices (with a side effect that they wake up there!!), everywhere and all the time for 21 days!

    And the virus will drop dead. Right?

  8. Mary Melville says:

    At a time that businesses are closing down on a daily basis and more breadwinners are laid off or forced to work part time and their families to queue for food handouts, our new Sec for Home and Youth has got the priorities and is forging ahead with solutions to community woes …………………………
    https://www.thestandard.com.hk/section-news/section/11/243699/Extra-night-safety-for-girls
    Girls are set to get guardians to escort them home at night, thanks to the new Secretary for Home and Youth Affairs, Alice Mak Mei-kuen,
    How about giving them some karate classes or education on how to put down ham sap approaches? After all these pathetic males gets their kicks from generating alarm.
    But that would empower the gals and it is clear from the profile of the now male dominated legislature that a Talibanized / Gilead role for women is the way forward.
    Next step on the HA agenda, make more babies to address the low fertility rates???

  9. Covid's Metamorphoses says:

    It’s tempting to say that Xi clings to zero-Covid because he’s literally a stupid Cnut.*

    But I reckon it’s a threefold thing:
    First: What Stalinist control freak dictator doesn’t want more control? Apps that trace you everywhere and can ban anyone from leaving their house? Joy! Extra bonus: it keeps China isolated and insulated from “foreign forces” and makes it easier to stop the rich/middle class from bailing abroad with their cash.

    Second: Not only is it a good control method, it also serves as both a scapegoat and a distraction to cover for all the CCP’s recent self-inflicted mayhem: huge investment in useless infrastructure; local government debt; the real estate collapse; the hobbling of the hugely successful internet commerce and IT sector; the overnight deletion of the tuition sector; slavery in Xinjiang leading to sanctions; deliberately getting their entire blue chip economy delisted from the US; pushing up the price of coal to the point of rolling blackouts across China to “teach Australia a lesson”; aligning with Russia just as it gets sanctioned up the wazoo; making everyone go somewhere else to get stuff made; and destroying Hong Kong as a backup finance hub five minutes before it turns out they really need a backup finance hub. “It wasn’t us that screwed the economy, it was covid!”
    Covid is in short the new Goldstein or Trotsky.

    Distant Third: Their homegrown vaccines are hot garbage, and they refuse to use foreign stuff, so the Draconian measures are the best way to slow things down for hospitals without losing face. (NB — No doubt this was the initial reason for Zero covid, but the public health aspect is mostly peripheral at this point.)

    *Not a typo. Honest.

  10. Joe Blow says:

    Has anyone here have any idea how the power struggles between the major factions within the CCP are playing out?

  11. Eggs n Ham says:

    One of the wonders of Hong Kong that still stands is that anyone can walk the streets alone at any time of the day or night and NOT be at serious risk of assault or molestation.
    The supposed need for girls on their way home to have special escort mamas sounds like another manufactured threat like CY Leung’s ‘HK independence movement’.

  12. Mark Bradley says:

    “Has anyone here have any idea how the power struggles between the major factions within the CCP are playing out?”

    Xinnie is winning

  13. Chinese Netizen says:

    “Next step on the HA agenda, make more babies to address the low fertility rates???”

    Why? Just bring in shit tons of mainlanders. Peasants breed a lot faster/more efficiently than tainted sperm, city dwelling “incels” that have been glued to various types of screens and computer generated sperm killing rays anyway. Plus, peasants are the PERFECT stock for filling the ranks of the popo.

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