Virtually every type of pickled vegetable on the market in Hong Kong contains insect parts. And the city’s annual book fair includes books pulled from public libraries. Which is the greater threat to society?
As those of us who make our own kimchi know, pickled/fermented vegetables are made from ingredients that grow in fields, which also host insects. In real life, it is not possible to wash every tiny bug part off the produce. Anyway, some recipes for kimchi actually require little arthropod invertebrates in the mix (such as shrimp), which are not hugely different. And the whole point of preserving is to eliminate harmful microbes – so no worries. The sodium is a different matter. (I once read that traces of insects among veg are strict vegans’ only source of certain important nutrients.)
Which brings us to that other potential contaminant: books. The Standard doesn’t mention which works it found at the fair. Could it be a former pro-democracy lawmaker’s book about cats? A dead intellectual’s memoirs of opposing colonial rule? A political-science textbook on separation of powers? An organizer puts a brave face on it, citing a government statement that it is still OK to buy the barred-from-library volumes from bookshops. Perhaps NatSec officials will visit the fair just to make sure there is nothing endangering the security of the nation.
In an essay published last July in a journal dedicated to President Xi Jinping’s thinking on the rule of law, Dong said “Western forces” had been instigating a “colour revolution” in Hong Kong, and the security law had been vital to restore order.
“The appointment of such a powerful intelligence figure as Dong to take charge in Hong Kong is a bit of surprise,” said one Asian envoy.
“The government is trying to show it is open for international business but this will send a shiver and raises fresh questions about the future operating environment.”