We are all watching with dismay over the possible Chinese “takeover” of Hong Kong, which would turn one of the world’s greatest beacons of freedom and free enterprise into a Maoist satellite state.
So we are especially saddened that the Hong Kong government is doing a pretty good job of it themselves. This short summary from the Wall Street Journal of how the militaristic lockdown rules still in place in the third year of the virus chronicles the island’s rapid demise. This Asian tiger’s commerce has slowed to a crawl. COVID lockdowns are accomplishing what the communists never could. Milton Friedman, who in his book Free to Choose, marveled over Hong Kong’s freedoms and remarkable prosperity post-World War II, must be turning over in his grave.
Flight bans, lengthy quarantine stays for arrivals and repeated school closures are pushing more people to a breaking point as the pandemic enters its third year and the city clings to a zero-Covid strategy abandoned by nearly all countries save for China. A growing outbreak at a public housing estate has prompted the government to lock down buildings and send more people into quarantine.
Executives complain the travel restrictions have prevented them from keeping tabs on operations in other countries or visiting business partners and potential clients, even in mainland China. Meanwhile, there is the ever-present risk of being sent to quarantine if they happen to cross paths with a Covid-19 sufferer in Hong Kong just by visiting a pet store or eating lunch out.
More than half of executives polled in a survey by an American business group in Hong Kong released Wednesday said the city’s Covid-19 policies made them personally more likely to leave. Almost a third said they were struggling to fill senior roles and had delayed investments in Hong Kong. The survey was conducted late last year, before the most recent round of restrictions that has barred flights from the U.S., U.K. and six other countries.