Editor’s note for Wednesday, June 3, 2020


Dear Access member,

Our top story today is about official reports that every resident of Wuhan over the age of six has now been tested for COVID-19. Nearly 10 million residents were tested between May 14 and June 1. See our first story below for details.

But don’t overlook this news from Hong Kong: “China’s leadership has heard the opinion of Hong Kong’s people on a tailor-made national security law for the city, and the central government remains determined to go ahead for the sake of national sovereignty as well as stability.” That’s the message Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam (林鄭月娥 Lín Zhèng Yuè’é) had for the city today after a one-day visit to Beijing, per the South China Morning Post (or see roughly the same in Chinese in the People’s Daily).

In Beijing, Lam “and her key legal and security officials met the top Chinese leader in charge of Hong Kong affairs, Vice-Premier Hán Zhèng 韩正,” who apparently said that the law “would only target ‘a small minority’ of criminals in Hong Kong.” This is complete nonsense: the proposed law has already caused companies like HSBC to “come out in support of [the] controversial national security law,” per Bloomberg (porous paywall), and there is no doubt the law will have a chilling effect on civil society.

Meanwhile, in the U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson “pledged Wednesday to overhaul immigration rules to grant almost 3 million Hong Kong residents a pathway to British citizenship, a response to Beijing’s move to impose a far-reaching security law here that many fear will dismantle the city’s political freedoms,” per the Washington Post (paywall). Beijing was not pleased.

Moving to the western side of the Atlantic, “The Trump administration on Wednesday said it planned to block Chinese airlines from flying into or out of the United States starting on June 16, after the Chinese government effectively prevented U.S. airlines from resuming service between the countries,” reports the New York Times (porous paywall).

Finally, tomorrow is June 4, the 31st anniversary of the brutal Tiananmen Square crackdown. Chinese media is of course avoiding the topic. But here in America where I’m writing from, Republican politicians are enthusiastically endorsing the idea of violent military crackdowns on popular protests: Senator Tom Cotton from Arkansas, who never passes up a chance to criticize China for human rights abuses, is advocating for a violent crackdown by the U.S. military on protests in the U.S.

Our word of the day is hypocrisy: 假仁假义 jiǎrén jiǎyì

—Jeremy Goldkorn, Editor-in-Chief