Wan Lik Hang

China news #2

The latest news from the China media, once again is dominated by Covid-19.  The Chinese Government has long used slogans around the country to keep citizens informed and alert.  Here are a few about the virus:

“Not wearing a mask in public is like streaking in front of the coronavirus”

“Wear a mask or use a ventilator later. It’s your choice”

“Stay at home and do not open the door, even if your girl-friend or father-in-law visits!”  (This reminds me of the British navy’s toast “To our wives and girlfriends – may they never meet”!)

“People who have a fever and do not report it are enemies of the people”

“The animal you bite today might be the creature you meet in the underworld”

“You are an unfilial man if you take the virus home.  And you have no conscience if you infect your parents”

“It’s deadly to visit each other now.  Throwing a party is suicidal.”

The latest news from Western media seems to echo some of these.

Masks

There is also much discussion about masks.  Asian countries cannot understand why so few Westerners wear masks, even in cities hard hit by the virus.   

Infzm.com quotes Jerome Adams, director of the U.S. Department of Health: 

“Don’t buy a mask! Masks don’t help the public prevent new coronavirus, but if our health care workers lack masks and can’t take care of patients, they and the community is at risk!” 

In the same article the, author points out that masks are even stigmatized in the United States.  

However, experts from Asia, such as Yuen Kwok-yung, a member of the senior expert team during the epidemic in China, and Hong Kong Queen Mary Hospital, believes that wearing masks by the entire population is extremely important for the prevention and control of the epidemic.  

The clash of scientific ‘evidence’ should surprise no-one.  Wearing, or not wearing a mask is a cultural issue.  One believes what one believes.

Taking tough measures

HK01.com enters the debate on whether Western democracies can ever implement Chinese ‘draconian’ measure to halt the spread of the virus.  “In western society, “democracy” can easily become a reason for politicians to evade responsibility”, says the author, pointing out that in war time, democracies have often invoked emergency powers with or without consent of the people.

“It is difficult for Western society to make a quick decision on the epidemic. The root cause is probably not in a democratic and free system, but in a politician’s unwillingness to take political risks and use public opinion to conceal himself”.  

Aftermath experience

In further reference to what happens after the epidemic has passed, the Chinese Press has identified the problem of medical waste. Infzm.com is very critical of the Government’s waste disposal practices.    

“The plan (now approved) also requires that by the end of June 2022, every county in the country will build a complete system for collecting, transferring, and disposing of medical waste, thoroughly solving the problem of insufficient medical waste disposal capacity across the country, and finally achieving a smooth, safe, and reliable disposal.”

Where would you rather be?

Finally, the Greater Bay Area newsletter has these comments:

“Hong Kong and Macau have decided to stop all foreigners from coming in. Hong Kong says it will quarantine anyone from the rest of the world, while Macau has gone a step further and said it won’t even offer that option. Both will, however, allow people from each other’s jurisdictions to come and go freely, just as long as these people fill in a piece of paper with their contact details and swear that they haven’t been to an infected country recently.

It is hardly surprising. Canada and the EU have decided to do pretty much the same thing. Soon, just about every country on the planet will likely take the same approach.

None of these measures make sense, once the loopholes are considered. Why should Guangdong, which has the coronavirus under control, allow Hong Kongers in, and not vice-versa? Why should Macau allow Taiwanese in, and not mainlanders? Why should France allow people in from Italy, but not Macau? And why, oh why, should Canada allow Americans in, at all?

Such questions will likely soon be overtaken by much bigger ones, unfortunately. Such as: How will these governments cope with the economic consequences of their decisions? 

In this respect, the Greater Bay Area will likely soon become more obviously the best place in the world to be invested and/or employed. Sorry for the blatant schadenfreude, but where would a reader rather be, right now, than within the borders of a country with a domestic market of 1.4 billion people, a non-convertible currency, US$3.6 trillion in forex reserves, fully formed industrial chains (design, manufacturing, distribution) and the world’s leading e-commerce companies?”

The writer has some good points!

wanlikhang

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