🌊 Free Tide: Carrie Lam prioritizes mainland border reopening
Chief Executive lobbies for mainland government to reopen border, GBA accountants sign cooperative agreement, Tiananmen Square Vigil group members arrested, and more...
Today we’ve got some mainland border/Greater Bay Area news in store for you, and then a couple more NSL headlines (as usual). Enjoy!
~ Sze Yu
Carrie Lam pushes for mainland border reopening
Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam has told lawmakers that she has been actively lobbying the central government to reopen the border(paywalled). According to SCMP, the Chief Executive asked Beijing to establish further communication between Hong Kong and mainland medical experts.
Hong Kong’s frequent imported cases is one of the obstacles that hinders a full reopening. In addition, Hong Kong’s health code is not linked to the mainland’s because of privacy concerns, meaning authorities cannot directly track Hong Konger’s movements (unlike in mainland China). Lam, however, cites Hong Kong’s consistent record of little to no local cases in recent weeks and months.
When asked by lawmakers if Hong Kong had considered adopting a strategy of coexisting with Covid-19, Lam replied “Hong Kong cannot and should not adopt an epidemic prevention strategy of ‘coexisting with the virus’ … otherwise there is no hope of [quarantine-free] cross-border travel with the mainland.“
Coronavirus in Hong Kong
New cases: 2 (imported)
Total cases: 12,132 cases so far (89 active cases, 212 total deaths, 11,831 total recovered)
Deep-throat saliva sample tests set to be phased out
Compulsory deep throat saliva tests will soon be replaced by nasal and throat swabs in order to “enhance the effectiveness” of Hong Kong’s COVID testing.
Greater Bay Area accountants sign cooperative agreement
Accounting industry representatives from Hong Kong, Macau and Guangdong signed an agreement pledging closer cooperation this Wednesday(paywalled). Hong Kong representatives say that the agreement would grant local firms greater access to the GBA’s massive growing market.
The central government also recently announced plans to expand the Qianhai special economic zone in Shenzhen to further extend business opportunities for Hong Kong’s professional services sector.
4 members of Tiananmen Massacre vigil group arrested
The Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China said its Vice-chair Chow Hang-tung and three committee members were arrested in the early hours of Wednesday. A day before, the group had publicly refused national security police’s demand for information. In response, Secretary for Security Chris Tang vowed “swift and efficient action” against the group.
Chief Executive Carrie Lam denied that the arrests signified a crackdown on civil society.
Hong Kong security chief Chris Tang has blamed prison inmates for ‘scheming with others‘ and endangering national security. Last Thursday, anti-riot prison officers suppressed a protest by female detainees, reportedly including pro-democracy activist Tiffany Yuen. Tang claimed that the discovery of detainee’s possession of chocolates and hair clips exceeding the prison quota signified “privilege within prison walls“ and was a threat to national security.
Finance Secretary Paul Chan apologised for the government’s ‘inconsiderate’ roll out of the consumption voucher scheme. The government’s arrangements for physical registration forced elderly citizens to queue up in the heat for hours to re-submit their manual applications last week.
Chan Chak-Ming, the new head of the Hong Kong Law Society, has promised to “listen to different views“(paywalled). After recent warnings from the government to avoid “politicising“ the Law Society, the most recent elections left only six liberal members on the society’s 20-member council.
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