Editorials

All the latest comment, focus, and opinion behind the big news stories in Hong Kong, China & around the world
  1. If you are down and out, you had best hightail it out of Hong Kong. This city of Rolls-Royce and Gucci bags is the only modern metropolis without a social safety net. Government officials must wrestle with two urgent concerns: “flatten the curve” of infections, and cushion the economic impact of the coronavirus. They are faltering on both counts. The government did buy itself a modicum of goodwill by announcing a HK$10,000 (US$1,300) cash handout for each adult permanent resident. But it will…
  2. The coronavirus pandemic is reshaping the way the world lives, works and trades. The US-China trade relationship in particular is being disrupted in three distinct but closely intertwined ways: one, trade dependencies are being rethought; two, prospects for re-escalation of trade tensions are mounting; and three, mutual trust is deteriorating. Long before any of us heard the word “coronavirus”, a series of gradually escalating tariff rounds between the US and China beginning in 2018 created…
  3. Crises come in two variants: those for which we could not have prepared, because no one had anticipated them, and those for which we should have been prepared, because they were in fact expected. Covid-19 is in the latter category, no matter what US President Donald Trump says to avoid responsibility for the unfolding catastrophe.Even though the coronavirus itself is new and the timing of the current outbreak could not have been predicted, it was well recognised by experts that a pandemic of…
  4. The spat between China and the US over the coronavirus simmers on as American politicians continue to “hold China accountable” for the self-inflicted tragedies from America’s ill-coordinated and belated response to Covid-19. For the White House, shifting the blame to China, to avoid taking responsibility, was an expedient political ploy. It is certainly far easier than exercising effective leadership. As some US hawks fumed that China was emerging as a saviour in this global pandemic, they…
  5. It’s hard to know how the Hong Kong government decides when to be lenient or forceful in enforcing the law. It has countered anti-government protesters and rioters with great, some would say brutal, force since last June. Yet, when it comes to fighting Covid-19, it has been dragging its feet. Arguably, the epidemic is even more dangerous to public safety than violent protests.The enforcement of social distancing rules has been haphazard. Since the measure was introduced late last month to keep…
  6. HSBC chairman Mark Tucker is probably not a punk rock fan but he may find special resonance in this 1980s classic from The Clash: “Should I stay or should I go now? If I go, there will be trouble. And if I stay it will be double.”Ever since the banking giant relocated its global headquarters to London in 1993, there have been periodic talks about returning to its historical home in Hong Kong. Last time, the rumours were triggered by the turmoil of Brexit. This time, it is the shock decision to…
  7. Hong Kong police are once again on the front lines, this time to ensure health and social regulations are being followed to prevent the spread of Covid-19. Even as they play this pivotal role, they are carrying out traditional duties of law enforcement, while remaining alert to potential trouble from continuing protests. Responsibility for such varied duties requires careful deployment of resources and special training, and officers have to avoid infection. Juggling such jobs is challenging,…
  8. Self-isolation. Quarantine. Lockdown. The outbreak of Covid-19 and its subsequent dissemination across the globe has left a shock wave of disbelief and confusion in many countries.Accompanying this wave has been a spike in racist terms, memes and news articles targeting Asian communities in North America. Asian-Americans report being spit on, yelled at, even threatened in the streets. There has been a recent stabbing in Montreal and increased violent targeting of Asian businesses. Asian…
  9. In the field of epidemiology, there is a saying: “If you’ve seen one pandemic, you’ve seen one pandemic.” But while all global disease outbreaks are epidemiologically unique, their likely economic consequences may be easier to discern. The longer-term consequences, however, sometimes bear little relation to the immediate economic challenges arising from the pandemic and efforts to tackle it. As governments around the world impose business lockdowns to cut the rate of Covid-19 transmission,…
  10. At first impression, it seems the Covid-19 pandemic has become the great leveller. No matter how wealthy we are, how fancy our homes, whether we are bank executives or domestic helpers, we’re all self-isolating, feeling threatened by the coronavirus.Suddenly, our politics don’t matter and which part of town we live in isn’t important. What matters is that at the basest of levels – survival – we’re all in this together and if we don’t help one another, many of us might not make it. But isolation…