Felix Unger Day odd couple: China and Covid-19

Happy Felix Unger Day, November 13. This year’s odd couple is China and Covid-19.

The Middle Kingdom took the first hit from the virus and gave it to the rest of the world. While China has largely recovered – if you believe its numbers – its strategic and economic rivals continue to suffer from the pandemic.

Covid-19 has also made it easier for Beijing to exert its will on Hong Kong, imposing a draconian yet undefined national security law to quell dissent, effecting ending Deng Xiaoping’s “one country-two systems” formula for reunification. The virus provided a pretext to cancel elections, after pro-democracy candidates won 86% of seats in November last year, and then expel “ineligible” lawmakers sitting in the expanded session.

We can’t know whether security measures that promise long jail terms or the pandemic have quelled massive street demonstrations, but we do know who’s won, at least so far. Happy FU Day, Hong Kong, from the big motherland.

Totally globalized native New Yorker and former broadcast news producer Muhammad Cohen is editor at large for Inside Asian Gaming, a contributor to Forbes, columnist/correspondent for Asia Times, and author of Hong Kong On Air, a novel set in his adopted hometown during the 1997 handover about television news, love, betrayal, high finance, and cheap lingerie. See his bio, online archive and more at www.muhammadcohen.com; follow him on Facebook and Twitter @MuhammadCohen.