Hong Kong’s Disastrous COVID Response Is Another Cost of Pleasing China

Hong Kong’s Disastrous COVID Response Is Another Cost of Pleasing China
Patients in hospital beds wait in a temporary holding area outside Caritas Medical Center in Hong Kong, March 2, 2022 (AP photo by Kin Cheung).

After two years of controlling the coronavirus pandemic with stringent border restrictions and social distancing measures, Hong Kong’s zero-COVID policy has collapsed under the weight of the omicron variant. In the past few months, the city has experienced its largest outbreak of coronavirus cases to date, with tens of thousands of daily infections and a total of over 500,000 recorded cases as of Tuesday. The fatality rate has also soared, as the coronavirus ravages nursing homes in the city and afflicts its large population of undervaccinated elderly residents.

Medical experts have attributed the spike in cases to a series of policy missteps, but at the heart of Hong Kong’s disastrous pandemic response is a broader crisis of governance.

Beijing’s crackdowns on civil liberties and political freedoms in Hong Kong—particularly since the adoption of the national security law in 2020—robbed the city of the political autonomy needed to formulate policies that best serve the interests of its residents. Instead, Hong Kong’s puppet leaders allow political calculations to override science and the public interest. The restrictive, ineffective pandemic measures threaten Hong Kong’s reputation as an international financial hub. More importantly, it puts the lives of its people, the majority of whom cannot afford to leave for greener pastures elsewhere, at unnecessary risk.

Keep reading for free!

Get instant access to the rest of this article by submitting your email address below. You'll also get access to three articles of your choice each month and our free newsletter:

Or, Subscribe now to get full access.

Already a subscriber? Log in here .

What you’ll get with an All-Access subscription to World Politics Review:

A WPR subscription is like no other resource — it’s like having a personal curator and expert analyst of global affairs news. Subscribe now, and you’ll get:

  • Immediate and instant access to the full searchable library of tens of thousands of articles.
  • Daily articles with original analysis, written by leading topic experts, delivered to you every weekday.
  • Regular in-depth articles with deep dives into important issues and countries.
  • The Daily Review email, with our take on the day’s most important news, the latest WPR analysis, what’s on our radar, and more.
  • The Weekly Review email, with quick summaries of the week’s most important coverage, and what’s to come.
  • Completely ad-free reading.

And all of this is available to you when you subscribe today.