Fight against epidemic turned political maneuvering|Chung Kim-wah

Published (HKT): 2021.01.26 09:18

Wuhan was locked down on January 23 last year, which marked the Chinese government’s formal acknowledgement of the danger of Wuhan pneumonia and the abandonment of its original intent to gloss over the fact. Yet, irrespective of whether the criticism of whistle-blower Dr. Li Wenliang has been repudiated, and whether he has even been dubbed a hero, the instinct of lying of the current China’s system to gloss over one’s faults while praising one’s virtue cannot be covered up!

During the period that the outbreak was concealed, the virus was spread all over the world to infect almost 100 million people, kill 2 million, cause incalculable economic losses and damages. And it is hardly avoidable for the system that brought about all the problems to be confronted with comebacks of the mutant virus.

Such a loop of concealment, suppression, boast, and reaping as one has sown has been clearly demonstrated over the past year. Now in different parts of China, widespread infections have been found. Beijing and Shanghai are undergoing what Wuhan suffered last year – city lockdown, which has elaborated with clarity on what it means by deceiving oneself and others, and curses always coming home to roost! When a fight against epidemic turns into political maneuvering, all measures will get just half the result with twice the effort at a heavy cost.

No matter how many more stories are to be fabricated and how many more people are to be blamed for it, they are to no vail. The original intent to silence everybody by scoring a victory in the vaccine contest cannot materialize now. So what even if it could? The image of the Chinese government and even Chinese people have been smeared. The world’s impression of the Chinese people is getting more and more negative, while the disservice done by the Chinese system has been plain as the nose on one’s face!

Over the past year, the hopelessly stupid SAR government has been following the Beijing-style administration to continue blundering and never admit their mistakes. With the coronavirus epidemic bearing down menacingly, “city lockdown” was proposed by medical experts as early as at the beginning of last year, but the government has been bent on having its own way for only one reason: frequent economic activities between China and Hong Kong. In the end, however, one year after the lockdown of Wuhan, Hong Kong has to backtrack and lock down a community. What could such a community lockdown achieve? Or is it a trial to pave the way for more community lockdowns and more citizens forced to take a virus test? Over the past year, the SAR government has been stumbling through anti-epidemic policies, missing opportune moments, and its measures have even been deemed political maneuvering.

Abuse of social gathering ban to crack down on freedom

There is only one measure the government has been holding fast to without hesitation – ban on social gathering. Regardless of whether the epidemic conditions were critical or not, it refused to reasonably loosen up the injunction. It is palpable that political consideration has been prioritized over everything, and the ban is maintained just for the sake of facilitating the abuse of power by the police to restrict Hong Kong people’s freedom. While the social gathering ban is in effect indefinitely, no reasonable measure is launched to cut off the transmission chains in communities and shut off the entrances through which the virus comes to Hong Kong. As long as the epidemic situation subsists, the ban on social gathering will be extended. The political plot contemplated by the SAR government is obvious.

The result of declining to lock down the city is more than ten thousand people infected. With just a small area locked down, Dr. Chuang Shuk-kwan from the Department of Health resignedly said that Hong Kong is such a small place that the people keep moving from district to district, and that the risk of transmission will not rise even if people leave a locked down area. The subtext is that even if a small area is locked down, the transmission risk will not be reduced. Indeed, this is just common sense: With the borders opening up to some people who are exempted from quarantine and a small area in the city locked down, what can such a lockdown achieve?

It seems that the SAR government cares more about manipulating its power and makes the plague an excuse for replacing political accountability with an authoritarian regime. It has gone so far as to wave aside all the standard executive practices, demand for consultation and making information known to the public, reasonable political accountability, let alone opinions of medical experts and practitioners.

The lockdown started at 6:00am. From the data known to the public, the timing cannot be justified with the epidemic situation. Isn’t that it started on weekend that fewer people needed to travel to work and ended on Monday before people rushed to work, coupled with information leakage, political maneuvering? By doing so, the government could also get just half the result with twice the effort, even achieve nothing. For how much longer will Hong Kongers be encumbered with such a hopelessly stupid government? How much more heavy cost are we going to stump up?

(Chung Kim-wah, vice CEO of the Hong Kong Public Opinion Research Institution)

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