Mid-hibernation links

It seems Hong Kong must get a taste of the Mainland’s instant Covid U-turns. After being told for years that reopening the border can’t be rushed, the government suddenly says

We must race against time to prepare for resumption of normal travel, with a two-pronged approach adopted…

…just as Covid is sweeping through the Mainland population.

Caixin on China’s shortage of fever and other remedies…

Panic buying might be one reason for the shortages, but the more pressing factor is the disruption to the drug manufacturing and sales industry caused by years of strict virus control policies.

Chiefly is the fact that the industry — just like everyone else — were caught off guard when the Covid policy changed, according to multiple sources in drug-making and sales industry who spoke to Caixin.

Over the past three years, demand for fever medicines and painkillers remained low as strict rules were imposed on purchases of such drugs in fear their use would mask outbreak clusters. This forced pharmacies to reduce inventories and drug makers to slash production, Caixin has learned.

People in Yunnan criticize shipments of Lianhua Qingwen medieval-medicine pills and demand paracetamol…

“Why give us expensive Lianhua Qingwen? What we need is drugs that can lower the temperature, such as ibuprofen and paracetamol,” said one Weibo user.

“Why can Lianhua Qingwen be transported and distributed freely, while the usual fever drugs are not available or distributed?” asked another.

(Worth reading just for the readers’ furious comments.)

A load of things you might have missed from the last week or so…

RFA looks at the politicization of schools in Hong Kong…

A Hong Kong teacher of 10 years’ experience who gave only the nickname Echo said this is the first time the profession has been asked to take exams testing their political attitudes.

“I don’t think this is reasonable,” she said. “How is mastery of the national security law related to the subject matter of somebody teaching math or physical education?”

“I think it’s very dubious … given that it’s a compulsory requirement [for employment], it looks a lot like a political review,” Echo said, in a reference to the political vetting of public servants at every level in mainland China for adherence to the Communist Party line.

“The government is fond of saying that politics has no place in schools, but now it’s the government that is putting politics in schools,” she said.

HKFP op-ed on the 70 ‘guidelines’.

Dozens of articles on China’s Covid wave. Here’s just one. Beijing’s state media struggle to find a ‘coherent narrative’. Former SCMP Wang Xiangwei editor blasts Beijing’s Covid U-turn, with some grim video footage from inside a Beijing hospital…China has had nearly three years to learn from other countries and prepare for reopening, how come it messes up big time?

Global Times op-ed (by an Indian) says everything’s fine – it’s just Westerners hoping China will suffer…

…people generally don’t die in China like the way they do [in the West]. Children aren’t shot in schools, civilians aren’t randomly killed by the police, and drug deaths and violent crime are extremely rare. As a result,  any event that causes Chinese deaths is warmly welcomed by Western propagandists.

Former diplomat in (paywalled) Globe and Mail predicts Xi Jinping’s downfall in the coming year…

The regime is not only suffering a grave loss of authority but is displaying a crippling incapacity to govern.

…Xi Jinping is highly skilled at domestic power-play, but his economic, social and geopolitical strategies have proved counterproductive. They are alienating the very people upon whose hard work and enterprise wealth-creation depends. They have turned the world’s most powerful nation from a benign partner into a hostile opponent. Regression and closure have replaced the reform and opening which gave people hope, some freedom and new opportunities in earlier decades.

From Politico: is China’s head of the UN’s Food and Agricultural Organization serving Beijing’s interests rather than the world’s?

Stephen Roach on why his quarter century as a starry-eyed China bull has ended

In 2017, Xi kicked off the 19th party congress with a regression to Marxist ideology that immediately became known as “Xi Jinping Thought”. Consumer-led rebalancing was de-emphasised. An anti-corruption campaign became less about purging wrongdoers from the party and more about eliminating Xi’s political rivals and consolidating his power. Xi’s geostrategic muscularity broke from Deng’s low-key “hide and bide” posture and led to a major conflict with the US.

But 2022 was the ultimate wake-up call for China optimists…

Took him 10 years to get it.

Russian number-two Dmitry Medvedev’s predictions for 2023, concluding with the immortal phrase…

Season greetings to you all, Anglo-Saxon friends, and their happily oinking piglets!

(On ThreadReader here, if it goes missing – but the original has comments, such as ‘I predict you will fall from a window’.)

Of possible interest to fans of Middle Eastern music: Silent Night in quarter-tone harmonization

Headline of the Year nominees

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6 Responses to Mid-hibernation links

  1. Chinese Netizen says:

    That kind of painfully obsequious and over-the-top anal tongue swabbing should be embarrassing for even the Global Times.

    Or not.

  2. reductio says:

    That Silent Night rendition was ear-opening in more ways than one. It connects nicely with the GT article as I now realise that my hearing has also been the victim of Western colonization along with “my” body (actually owned by the cis-misogynist-capitalist power structure). Hoping for 2023 that John Lee pushes for an eighth tone non-imperialist Hong Kong anthem to rouse the masses at sporting events.

  3. Mary Melville says:

    The rush to open the border is not for the benefit of our side, it is to ensure that HK shares the burden of providing medical care for thousands of seriously infected who will pore in and relatives desperate to find medicines to take back. Coincidentally the 20th anniversary of the introduction of Sars here.
    On the bright side our pharma stores will take it in.

  4. reductio says:

    On a more serious “Freakonomics” note. Isn’t lots of dead elderly people an overall positive for the Chinese economy? No long term state burden caring for chronically sick. Offspring have more cash to spend as they are no longer paying for care and/or medical fees. Finally, it eases, if only a little bit, China’s demographic skewness. Not trying to be a dick here, but once the initial crush on hospitals is over, what are the downsides from an economic POV?

    @ Mary Melville

    Won’t be long before the first fights break out. My money is on East Rail with its shortened carriages, or Shueng Shui (welcome back parallel traders!)

  5. so says:

    Solvent Sober Night is bested by https://youtu.be/-TGKJ9MgCOQ since the Queen of Sheba is prettier than thou.

  6. Mary Melville says:

    Whoops typo, meant of course RAKE it in! Agree East Rail will be best avoided, the shorter trains are already bulging. Who came up with that bright idea????? Extend the lines but shorten the trains, only in Honkers.

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