Reluctantly coming to terms with the fact that 2023 has begun.
Hong Kong is Asia’s Covid death-rate hub-zone. But first the good news:
Hong Kong, [unlike the Mainland], is still reporting covid deaths. Though Beijing has brought the city under its direct authoritarian control, Hong Kong’s official covid statistics are still widely regarded as transparent and accurate.
The bad news is that Hong Kong has six times the US – and double Botswana’s – Covid deaths per million.
In anticipation of upcoming high-profile court cases, Justice Minister Paul Lam seems to imply that overseas criticism of Hong Kong’s legal system constitutes a national security threat…
Lam warned of national security risks in the form of “escalating attacks” from the Western media and politicians.
“They have made repeated attempts to slander Hong Kong’s laws and judicial system and have even maliciously attacked court rulings,” he said, adding that the administration must strengthen its defense to “welcome” and prepare for such attacks.
“We must not think these malicious acts will peter out,” he said. “Instead, we must prepare for possible intensified attacks, especially when there will be a number of key national security cases this year.
“We must strengthen our defenses and retaliate, both internally and externally.”
Reading deeper between the lines, we have to wonder whether a bigger problem is a lack of genuine risks and dangers for the extensive NatSec bureaucracy to detect and fight. The main form of ‘retaliation’ here will be to mount more official overseas visits to tell ‘true and good’ stories about rule of law in Hong Kong. (Possible example: if you’re a cop accused of molestation and assault, you get bail; if you’re a speech therapist who produced sheep cartoons, you don’t. More cartoon panic here.)
You’d have thought the government would – out of enlightened self-interest – at least try to make accessing the tax department safe. But even at the new Inland Revenue Dept HQ, the Anti-Pedestrian Dept is at work: if you get run over crossing the road, it’s your fault for not driving there by car.
From a couple of months ago, for fellow followers of ‘neo-Stalinist decivilization of elite politics’, something from the Royal United Services Institute.
And after archaeology, nationalism gets into Mainland sexology.