In a bid to further cripple the freedom of their citizens, Hong Kong government officials are ramping up their response to Covid with a series of new draconian policy measures.
On Monday, the city’s Health Secretary Lo Chung-mau announced several new restrictions allegedly aimed at curbing the spread of the virus, including a mandate that requires positive Covid patients quarantined at home to “wear an electronic tracking bracelet.” Used earlier during the pandemic to keep tabs on new arrivals to the city, the revamped policy seeks to ensure that people who have tested positive for the respiratory virus do not leave their homes without government authorization.
Moreover, Lo also announced that the city will be updating its contact-tracing app, which will now include a requirement that citizens register by name when using the software. As Reuters reported, users were previously “not required to register with their personal details, and the app was used to enter venues and display vaccination records.”
Taking a page from the Chinese communist’s playbook, Hong Kong will also be implementing a traffic light color-code system, which aims to “restrict movement of infected residents and close contacts.” As Lo described, residents who test positive will receive a red code and “be barred from entering a list of premises, including ‘high-risk’ places such as hospitals and nursing homes,” while all people arriving to the city will automatically be flagged as yellow. Lo did not, however, explain what the codes “would entail specifically in terms of access to venues.”
“I’d like to say that we would make use of technology to put in place a precision strategy,” Lo said in response to concerns about the government’s invasion of privacy. “This is to reduce our cost in our fight against the epidemic and to maximize effectiveness.”
Covid is a Means to an End for the CCP
While officials such as Lo and newly sworn-in Chief Executive John Lee will cast the city’s draconian measures as an attempt to save lives, the arbitrary policies actually serve as a mechanism for the China-backed government to further suppress the liberties of the Hong Kong people. Since the enaction of a so-called national security law in June 2020 by the Chinese government in response to the citywide protests of 2019, Hong Kong authorities — with the backing of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) — have initiated a government crackdown on basic freedoms throughout the administrative region.
In addition to arresting more than 200 people for “national-security offenses” since the law’s enaction, CCP-backed authorities have detained pro-democracy journalists and forced several media outlets to cease operations, with such actions leading to the complete demolition of the city’s free press. Government officials have also overhauled the region’s election systems, wherein only “patriots” who have demonstrated their loyalty to the Chinese government are permitted to run for public office.
As demonstrated in mainland China, the primary interest of CCP-aligned officials has never been to preserve life, but rather to maintain the current power structure. By using Covid as an excuse for more restrictions, the CCP and its lackeys in Hong Kong are hoping to further assimilate the city into the top-to-bottom-run system used in China, while attempting to uphold the image of Hong Kong as a free system independent of influence from Beijing.
Chinese dictator Xi Jinping alluded to such desires during his July 1 speech marking the 25th anniversary of Great Britain’s handover of Hong Kong to China in 1997, in which he repeatedly emphasized the need for “patriots” to maintain their rule over the city.
“Keeping political power in the hands of patriots is a political rule commonly practiced in the world. No people in any country or region in the world will ever allow political power to fall into the hands of forces or individuals who do not love, or even sell out, or betray, their own country,” Xi said. “To keep the power to administer the Hong Kong [Special Administrative Region] firmly in the hands of patriots is essential for safeguarding the long-term governance and security of Hong Kong; at no time should this principle be allowed to be compromised.”
Just as CCP officials in China used the country’s health code system to suppress citizens protesting corruption, expect Hong Kong officials to abuse their newly adopted restrictions to carry out similar actions against their people. For the CCP and their Hong Kong allies, employing disproven lockdown policies is simply a steppingstone in maintaining greater dominion over the region’s civilian population — thus putting a final nail in the coffin for a once-free city.