On the final day that Hong Kong's mask mandate is in effect
For some days now, the talk of the town has been on the gruesome murder of multi-millionaire social media influencer Abby Choi. Today, though, attention turned to the announcement this morning by Chief Executive John Lee that Hong Kong will scrap its anti-Covid mask mandate which has been in place for 959 days as of tomorrow.
This news has been greeted with glee by some but there also are people who have stated that they will continue to wear masks, mandate or no mandate. At which point, it's worth pointing out that an anti-mask regulation actually is on the books in Hong Kong (one of many of Carrie Lam's stupidities!), and people (most notably Joshua Wong) have been jailed for violating that which targeted pro-democracy protestors.
Speaking of Joshua Wong: today is the second anniversary of his arrest along with 46 other people who took part in and/or organised the democratic primaries of July 12th, 2020. AFP's Xinqi Su has a thread on Twitter about this that includes a reminder that today is day 16 of their trial, which is scheduled to go on for 90 days (a mere drop in the bucket in time compared to the 2 years the majority of the defendants have already spent behind bars) and, also, pertinent queries as to whether the "conspiracies" that the defendants are accused of taking part in are unlawful at all.
Two years on from their arrest and being put behind bars (despite not having been found guilty of their alleged national security law crimes), I think it's also worth reminding people that those currently behind bars include journalist turned political activist Gwyneth Ho, British Airways staffer turned trade unionist Carol Ng, nurse-union head Winnie Yu, former journalist and legislative councillor Claudia Mo, and former district councillor Tiffany Yuen. By the way, some 19.7% of Hong Kong's prisoners are female -- and their ranks (and those of Hong Kong political prisoners) also include the likes of lawyer and human rights activist Chow Hang-tung, and Apple Daily's deputy-chief editor Chan Pui-man (the latter of whom also happens to be the wife of Stand News' Chung Pui-kuen).
As I've long maintained, in a just and better world, these folks wouldn't only be free but also among Hong Kong's leaders and chief influencers. That this is not the case is a tragedy as well as speaks ill of Hong Kong's state of affairs -- and no amount of propaganda from the authorities can mask this fact.