Pro-democracy activists, including a health-care workers union, in Hong Kong on Sunday called for a boycott of the city’s universal coronavirus testing plan, Reuters reports.
The opposition is not unconcerned with the virus, but is instead worried by the fact that medical staff from mainland China are supposed to assist with carrying out the plan at a time when many Hong Kong residents believe Beijing is stripping away their freedoms and enhancing its already strong grasp on the city, especially after the passing of a controversial national security law earlier this year and the postponement of September’s legislative elections.
The union, the Hospital Authority Employees Alliance, was formed during last year’s pro-democracy protests and has 20,000 members. It believes universal testing is not an efficient use of resources, arguing that focused testing is the better play for Hong Kong at this point during the pandemic, prompting suspicions about ulterior motives. Union leader Winnie Yu said it’s “clear to see the government has one and only one goal,” which is “to use the pandemic to achieve their own political aims” of doing “whatever they can to please the central government of China.”
Well-known activist Joshua Wong supports the boycott and agreed that the government’s plan is faulty. Per Reuters, Wong believes a full border closure would be more effective.
Neither the Beijing-backed city government, nor the Chinese Communist Party, took the criticism well. Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam said it’s an attempt to “smear the central government,” while Chinese state media considers the critics ungrateful. Read more at Reuters.
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