Our latest survey shows that the popularity rating of CE Carrie Lam has dropped significantly by 4.4 marks compared to half a month ago, now standing at 29.5 marks. 43% of respondentsgave her 0 mark. Her approval rate is 18%, disapproval rate 72%, giving a net popularity of negative 54 percentage points, which has dropped significantly by 10 percentage points.
And no, your eyes did not deceive you: "The leader who killed her city", as she was billed in an article in The Atlantic, has a minus 54 percentage point popularity rating. So if ever there were a democratic election in Hong Kong for Chief Executive, the odds would very much be against Carrie Lam winning it -- or another electoral race in the territory, actually!
In view of certain events and revelations that have taken place in recent days, I can only conclude that public confidence in the state of Hong Kong’s democracy, rule of law and stability, and also its government, will have fallen still further. Just from the past two days alone: yesterday, we had the bombshell ruling by Hong Kong's High Court that a "joint enterprise" doctrine can be used in cases of riot and unlawful assembly.
Consequently, "defendants who come before the courts in Hong Kong facing rioting and unlawful assembly charges may still be convicted – even if they were not present at the scene of protest"! Put another way: charges of rioting and unlawful assembly could legally be imposed on a crazy percentage of the Hong Kong population; this especially since the police were frequently kettling people and arresting pretty much anyone in the vicinity of protests in 2019 and 2020, including those taking place on university campuses, inside of shopping malls, and busy shopping, dining and drinking, and tourist districts -- and by anyone, I include such unlikely individuals as children out to buy crayon and a bus driver who honked his horn!
Then today, in addition to protest-related lawfare (which is being extended in 2023, at the earliest), we've got further shennanigans related to the suspension of the BioNTech vaccinations here in Hong Kong. More specifically, the Hong Kong government has apparently discarded all the problematic bottles, or the vials of BioNTech vaccine, that had been determined to be faulty. Consequently, as the co-chairman of the Medical Association's advisory committee pointed out, "we don't have those bottles as evidence for the company of BioNTech to check what had happened"!
Almost needless to say, this is not standard procedure. And it fuels people's suspicions that there is something weird going on, if not downright problematic, with regards to the government's handling of the BioNTech section of its coronavirus vaccination scheme.
At this point, about the best outcome we can hope for is that the Hong Kong public decide that there not only is nothing wrong with the BioNTech vaccines but also that the government seems to want to make it hard for people to take them, with the latter point getting people to, conversely, really want to get that vaccine as a result! Because if we're going to wait for the majority of Hong Kongers to be okay with taking the Sinovac vaccine, we're going to have to wait for an eternity; this even while there have been cases of Mainland Chinese individuals coming to Hong Kong to (illicitly) get those Chinese-made jabs!