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.