Wednesday, March 30, 2022
Hong Kong law courts in the news along with two high-profile resignations from Hong Kong's Court of Final Appeal
Monday, March 28, 2022
The Hong Kong government's deficiencies laid bare by the fifth Covid wave (and its handing one more opportunity to China to tighten its grip on the city)
“Beijing has been trying to mould Hong Kong into another [Chinese] city,” says Lynette Ong, a political science professor at the University of Toronto. “The Covid crisis gives them a legitimate reason to do so.”...Jeffrey Wasserstrom, a history professor at the University of California, Irvine, says “there was once a chasm separating what takes place in Hong Kong from what takes place across the mainland border”. That chasm is getting smaller.Under the national security law, spaces like independent newsrooms, universities and civil society groups have felt a chill as Beijing seeks to integrate Hong Kong further into its fold.
And as Hong Kong prepares to welcome a batch of traditional Chinese medicine practitioners to staff treatment facilities and open more isolation camps built by mainland workers, the assimilation is now playing out more publicly than ever.
“The way that Covid has been handled by the Hong Kong authorities has demonstrated that the ‘one country, two systems’ concept is a pale shadow of what it once was,” Wasserstrom says.
[C]riticism and condemnation [has] rained down from former officials, business moguls and senior counsel, with former government adviser Jack Wong Chack-kie urging [Carrie] Lam to “resign in shame”. Even former commerce minister Frederick Ma Si-hang and Ronnie Chan Chi-chung, chairman of Hang Lung Properties, both usually circumspect about government matters, weighed in.Ma said the governing team’s handling of the fifth wave exposed “all kinds of administrative deficiencies” while Chan bemoaned a leadership that lacked humility and was full of unfounded self-confidence....Experts told the Post the raging fifth wave of infections exposed not only Lam’s poor leadership, but also the weaknesses of the government as a whole, from its inability to plan ahead, coordinate civil servants and departments and disseminate information, to its failure in offering solutions even with help from Beijing....[A specialist in public administration, Professor John] Burns, an emeritus professor at the University of Hong Kong, said: “Effective governance requires leadership. Unfortunately, our leaders lack the ability to mobilise their own colleagues and the people to win this war. Rather, they value hierarchy and bureaucratic process above all else.”
Friday, March 25, 2022
Wednesday, March 23, 2022
The latest (but, I trust, not last) about Samuel Bickett, and first mention here of "The Impossible City"
Monday, March 21, 2022
[I]n early 2020, Hong Kong was ahead of the COVID curve, not lagging behind it. As soon as news emerged of a still-mysterious virus, everyone here began wearing masks and adapted to social distancing almost immediately; I wrote article after article about what life would look like in the weeks to come in America, having seen the future myself. While the West was caught off guard, Hong Kong felt prepared.Now medical facilities are overwhelmed with sick patients, and because morgues have struggled to keep pace, body bags are piled up in hospitals alongside patients still receiving treatment. Coffins are being shipped in to meet the demand. Construction workers are racing to build isolation facilities, including one that looks like a wartime field hospital on the border with the mainland. Some 300,000 people are in isolation or under home quarantine. After recording only 213 deaths and about 13,000 cases of COVID-19 from January 2020 to early 2022, the city is swamped by the current Omicron wave, which began at the start of the year and has led to more than 960,000 cases and more than 4,600 deaths.