Some questions

1. A Security Bureau statement complains about a Ming Pao op-ed on the proposed legal ban on CBD products…

“The article, which questions the welfare sector, not only affects the morale of the workers in the anti-drug sector, but also arouses suspicion of inciting the sector to question the Government’s anti-drug efforts or to pull back its support…” 

Why is the Security Bureau concerned about a newspaper’s opinion piece on food/drugs/welfare matters? If there are factual errors in the column, shouldn’t it be health, welfare or perhaps justice officials who respond? Or is the phrase ‘arouses suspicion of inciting’ supposed to be a veiled threat to arrest and jail on a ‘sedition’ charge?

(In another hypersensitive response, Chief Secretary Eric Chan condemns a Wall Street Journal editorial’s ‘brazen disrespect’ for the bankers who attended last week’s financial summit.)

2. Why is the government so opposed to an overseas lawyer representing Jimmy Lai? Are they worried that an outsider will kick up a fuss – in or outside the court – if he perceives bias in NatSec judge’s handling of the high-profile case?

3. Why is BioNTech’s vaccine going to be approved for foreigners only in the Mainland? Is the product too good for the Chinese people to have, or not good enough?

4. And one from our own comments section: Is the Pan Pearl River Delta still a thing or has it been subsumed into the Greater Bay Area?

We can answer this: the latter. GBA is the new PPRD, with even more bonus extra added ‘integration’. The lure is even more much-vaunted ‘opportunities’. As with ‘Belt and Road’ at one stage, loyal public figures and businesses energetically display enthusiasm for the idea. 

The idea is symbolically bold, rejecting the fact that Hong Kong’s only reason to exist as a separate entity since the 1840s has been as a location for activities that can’t take place across the border – by definition the opposite of ‘integration’. If the GBA were a real thing (eg, if the whole region became a province-level municipality like Shanghai or Chongqing), it would mean the end of that role. 

As it is, the effort seems largely psychological. The phrase ‘Bay Area’ (which has no geographical basis) is an attempt to give the cross-border region a trendy identity of its own, echoing San Francisco or Tokyo. Promoters like to imagine that the whole concept of ‘Hong Kong people’ will fade away and everyone will proclaim themselves ‘GBA people’. There doesn’t seem to be a similar publicity campaign aimed at citizens of Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Foshan, etc.

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11 Responses to Some questions

  1. Casira says:

    It ain’t complicated, it’s Pearl River Delta for typhoon and pollution, Greater Bay Area for opportunities.

  2. wmjp says:

    The Finance Secretary has to be in the running for the Stupid Statement Award;
    A high-level banking summit held last week has shown to the world that Hong Kong has returned to normality, the city’s finance chief has said, as overseas attendees added that their experiences during the trip differed from foreign media reports.

    But then, when you live in a perpetual privileged bubble of course your experiences differ from the hoi polloi

  3. Goatboy says:

    As David Webb argued when the GBA idea was first promoted, it can only work if it becomes the GBA SAR – i.e. the nine Mainland cities are given the same privileges as the two existing SARs. Ain’t gonna happen, obviously. So it may go the way of the Belt & Road – Xi’s flagship policy just 3-4 years ago.

  4. I'm not on drugs, you're on drugs says:

    Once CBD was banned it moved out of the realm of a healthcare and into that of drug enforcement, and therefore something for the Security Bureau to get twitchy about. The hysteria of the Hong Kong government’s anti-drug public messaging sits in direct proportion to the scale of meth trafficking through here to places like Australia. Who cares if foreigners smoke meth, but local youths must be told, with bad acting and worse CGI, that trace amounts of hemp will cause psychosis followed by death.

  5. Paul says:

    My question of the day is how the Communist Party functionaries justify the complete abandonment of Covid regulations at the Sevens? There were 20,000-ish people clearly violating the rules on mask wearing and not gathering in groups of more than 12 for hours on end. And not a single arrest yet.

    Of course it’s all on video and everyone had to use the tracking app to enter, so perhaps the arrests will come later when the National Security infrastructure emerges from their financial summit-induced torpor?

  6. Mary Melville says:

    Re Masks at the Sevens , or rather lack of, good illustration in this clip. Subsequent arrests can always claim they were following the example:
    https://www.reddit.com/r/HongKong/comments/ynm7hz/secretary_of_security_chris_tang_being_booed_as/

  7. Low Profile says:

    @Paul – I suspect quite a few of those not wearing masks at the Sevens were the same people not wearing masks at the financial summit, which the government is keen to characterise as a big success and a “return to normality”. Cracking down on the Sevens crowd would send some pretty mixed messaging,

  8. Dr Zhivago says:

    @Paul Chess board view

    Sensible Heads in the government (do exist, here and there) knew the Sevens crowd would ignore COVID regulations and hoped it would encourage the Idiots in the government (here and there) to end the remaining restrictions.

  9. Stanley Lieber says:

    The government is opposed to an overseas lawyer representing Jimmy Lai because they know that the only professional field in which Hong Kong excels is bamboo scaffolding.

  10. dimuendo says:

    Tim Owen KC instructed, he hopes, for Jimmy Lai, may be related to the Tim Owen QC who unsuccessfully represented Rurik Jutting.

    So not a stellar track record.

  11. DelBoy says:

    The elimination of ‘colonial Hong Kong’ started years ago, probably starting with the re-painting of the red post boxes. The most insidious campaign is the government sending vans out to offer to change peoples coins into charitable donations or credited to their octopus cards. What they are really up to is removing the coins with the Queen’s head displayed. Give it a little more time and, voila, Hong Kong as a British possession? Never happened. Just like the cultural revolution will soon have ‘never happened’; especially as the youngest that experienced, remembered or suffered it are now in their seventies.

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