HK government's COVID-19 response = mass surveillance = data privacy & human rights violations
Updated: Jan 16, 2021
"There's something rotten in Denmark", so the line goes...but right now there's something rotten in Hong Kong! We the people of Hong Kong (HK) are now living under communist HK's undemocratic Chinese feudal plutocracy. This has serious implications for democracy and freedom, but also for our personal and collective health.
Such have been the moves and motivations of those in governance, that we find ourselves in nothing short of a MESS. It's a tangled web of fumblings flaws, deliberate omissions and scary consequences that need to be progressively unravelled, understood and addressed.
If our governments in Beijing and HK had not got us into this mess, what you are now reading would be both shorter and less concerning. Parts of this blog get technical, but please persevere if the finer details aren't your idea of leisurely reading.
The bigger picture of the HK protests, and the coronavirus (SARS-COV-2) and the disease it has lead to (the global pandemic referred to as COVID-19) is an increase in even more mass surveillance and oppression by the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and their minions (the HK elites) against the majority of HK people and those who are protesters.
We HK protesters get it! :
We demand that CCP and HK government upholds the Joint Declaration!
We have learnt to take care of ourselves, our community and Earth because we do NOT believe anything said or done by Emperor Xi Jinping, CCP, HK Chief Executive Carrie Lam or the HK government
We learnt from SARS (2002-2003) that to defeat a global pandemic like COVID-19 science must be used under HK's UN World Health Organization (W.H.O.) treaty 'International Health Regulations' (IHR). Illegally HK government's COVID-19 response has been politicized by CCP and government authorities!
In an attempt to shore up 'stability' for CCP's illusion of it's firm grip on China under the disguise of COVID-19 HK people's human rights are being grossly violated - freedoms of speech, association, Press, peaceful protest - and most importantly the UN's supreme human right the 'right to life'!
We do not accept CCP's illegal mass survellance! Unacceptably CCP and HK government are violating HK's data privacy laws and scraping our personal data to be used against us!
We do not accept any expansion of 'mandatory' orders for COVID-19 testing, contact tracing, vaccination, etc. because these are illegal violations of our human rights including data privacy, our right to life, etc. (Please see below)
Under international law the 'right to life' is the sole determining factor of everything involving humans! 'Right to life' is considered by the UN to be the 'supreme human right.' Save human lives - not the economy!
You would think that in a health crisis such as the current pandemic, every government of the world would hold close to this fundamental truth about the sanctity of human life. Under international agreements and laws that govern crises such as pandemics, we are all within our rights to expect nothing less from our governments. Sadly, however, we have seen that some governments have wavered in the face of economic and political crises brought on by the pervasive virus. Not every government has done or is doing everything it should to protect human life, and they are doing their best to wring their hands and get away with this failure! Why is this?
Hence, it is the growing belief of HK people that Chief Executive (CE) Carrie Lam and other senior government officials are treasonous! Facing the reality of police brutality and more recently the missing 12 youths arrested at sea by China the majority of HK people believe that the HK government is brazenly committing crimes against humanity!
Until the current political crisis in HK is resolved with a lawful political solution under the Joint Declaration there will be NO stability, and potent risks to our health, such as COVID-19, will remain. Until there is stability there will be NO prosperity in HK.
CCP in China uses mass surveillance to 'control' its citizens. In violation of the Joint Declaration the CCP, the world's worst totalitarian regime, since 1 July 2020 is using its National Security Law to directly and illegally instruct the HK government. CCP has replaced its policy of 'one country two systems' with CCP's 'one country one system.'
There are internationals calls for an independent inquiry into China's actions and those of the World Health Organization (W.H.O.). Under CCP China is considered by most experts to be the source and primary spreader of SARS-COV-2 - the world remembers and holds CCP responsible! We ask why did CCP allow the spread of COVID-19 worldwide?
Some people insist on holding up as a shining example the efforts of CCP to curb the spread of COVID-19 within mainland China. With its authoritarian approach to total lockdowns backed up by uniformed forced and government intelligence, it's undeniable such a strategy was as shocking to the democratic world as it was effective in controlling the virus. Another political stunt carried out by CCP was the incredible coordination that allowed new hospitals for covid patients to spring up in very quick time. Thanks to CCP we can only guess the immediate and lasting impact it had on people resident in places like Wuhan, and further afield.
We leave it to you to consider your government's Covid-19 response. We know that in the U.S. many consider President Trump's response has been far from satisfactory, and also that many citizens have rebelled against poorly implemented measures such as lock downs, stay at home orders, curfews and mandatory mask wearing. Why has the response of nation states such as the U.S., U.K. and China to COVID-19 been so different?
Should we just blame the W.H.O.?
For most nations the pandemic has pushed governance into unchartered waters - unchartered policy directions and difficult decisions. Rather than irrational kneejerk responses that ignore the foundations of our civility, good governance is about building consensus, creating rational and scientific awareness, spreading calm and intelligent thinking that encourages collective and individual responsibility. This is the stuff of our new paradigm, in which we recognise and embrace our interdependence.
NO government response to the COVID-19 pandemic should be allowed to ride rough-shod over people's rights and hard-won freedoms. People generally need to know that any sacrifice they make to fight the pandemic is temporary, and for the public good - NOT for the convenience, greed and avarice of politicians. Neither do people wish to be left forever vulnerable to abuse and exploitation by hastily concocted and enacted "emergency ordinance". People in HK know that "Freedom is not free"and they will keep fighting for their rights. CE Carrie Lam and others in government must similarly understand that with their authority they have an encumbent duty to act responsibly, matched with accountability when they fail to do so.
Flouting national and international regulations, covenants, standards and laws is not without consequences. In time there will be judicial reviews, hearings, investigations and trials far and wide. We are not just talking about the court of public opinion here.
The HK government's response to the global pandemic COVID-19 from the beginning has been POLITICAL, NOT SCIENTIFIC!
The HK and CCP governments need to change their attitude.
Rather than deny ordinary people's will, their voice and their concerns, those in authority ought to admit their failings and imperfections. Good governance is a work in progress, as is democracy. IIn the mean time, if other nations hold back on their criticism of CCP and the HK government for fear of seeming hypocritical in the face of the pandemic, they do the people of HK an injustice. If foreign governments and organisations such as the U.N. do not offer an outside observation of the wrongs or injustice being committed in the SAR, then they are in effect an accomplice to the inhumanity or crimes being perpetrated under their watch.
None of us live our lives in isolation.
WTPOHK understanding of HK PEOPLE'S MOST IMPORTANT ISSUES on 15 November 2020 HK government's Cap 599J regulation compulsory 'certain persons' COVID-19 testing (ranked most-least):
CCP and HK government are NOT legally fighting against COVID-19 global pandemic using SCIENCE: CCP and HK government during this COVID-19 global pandemic are using POLITICS to suppress democracy and human rights of HK people: This is AGAINST HK government's treaty obligations under UN 'International Health Regulations' (IHR) (see below). Inadequate response & responsibility to fight pandemic COVID-19 by HK government; the majority of HK people demanded a full lockdown of HK-China border; Hospital Authority's (HA) harrasment of healthcare workers; airport left open too long after first COVID-19 cases detected in HK and China; police arbitarily harass, arrest, etc. peaceful protesters using COVID-19 social distancing regulations; insufficient COVID-19 testing to open HK's economy; COVID-19 politicized in Legislative Council (LegCo) elections postponement; 4 lawmakers disqualified; enactment of National Security Law; currently 5000 HK people daily allowed to return to HK from the mainland without quarantine, etc.
There is NO rule OF law nor legitimate governance in HK! The CCP and HK government does not even recognize the public nor the public's interest in 'public health' nor the human rights of the majority of HK people who are protesters! Under ICCPR article 25(b), HK Bill of Rights Ordinance (HKBORO) article 21(b) and UDHR article 21.3 "The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government; this will shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret vote or by equivalent free voting procedures." In 24 November 2019 elections the majority of District Council seats were won by pro-democrat candidates who all supported the protesters' 5 demands. District Council elections are the only lawful universal and equal suffrage elections in HK! Without lawfully recognizing of HK PUBLIC as '..the will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government..' - which 'groups' and 'certain persons' inside Cap.599 are targeted and why? i.e. without being open, transparent and accountable, how can anyone conduct legal 'Compulsory Testing for Certain Persons'? How are groups decided? Are Doctors deciding based on public health concerns, or are politicians or other HK government employees deciding?
The majority of HK people have ZERO TRUST in CCP and HK government! Protesters do NOT BELIEVE ANYTHING CCP or HK government SAYS OR DOES! CCP has completely mishandled China's SARS-COV-2 and COVID-19 global pandemic; CCP's numbers on China regarding anything cannot be trusted and believed by anyone!
DATA PRIVACY (facts & perception); HK government in 2017 on 2 laptops 'lost' all 3.7 million HK voters private data; SO MUCH FOR THE HK GOVERNMENT'S HANDLING OF HK PEOPLE'S DATA PRIVACY AND ITS PERFORMANCE UNDER HK'S RULE OF LAW! HK people's primary concern of the September 2020 'voluntary' testing of 1.8 million HKers is that CCP's COVID-19 testing is collecting DNA and personal data on HK people! Under HK's law this MUST be resolved! HK government MUST comply with HK laws on Data Privacy and engage the public BEFORE issuing mandatory orders relating to Data Privacy, and Covid-19 testing!
Clearly responsibility falls to a nation's government in times of national and international crises. Every country has a responsibility to be a good neighbour, and in such times as pandemics international treaties and regulations apply. COVID-19 is NOT the first ever global health threat and it is unlikely to be the last. In 2014, for example the U.S. administration under President Obama set up a taskforce in response to the West Africa Ebola epidemic that was at the time considered a serious threat. In 2003, when HK was impacted by the SARS epidemic, the government of the time was responsve to scientific and medical advice. Fast forward to 2019, however and the response of Carrie Lam and the HK government to this medical crisis is very, very different.
HK is a clear example of rights denied. The fundamental failure of CCP and the HK government is to place politics and economics before the sanctity of human life.
For HK people the MOST IMPORTANT ISSUES remain unanswered. The nascent questions for the majority of HK people include:
When will HK's entire population and visitors have mandatory COVID-19 testing? MANDATORY TESTING IS UNACCEPTABLE TO THE MAJORITY OF HK PEOPLE!
When will HK's entire population have mandatory vaccination - especially a China made vaccine? MANDATORY VACCINATION IS UNACCEPTABLE TO THE MAJORITY OF HK PEOPLE!
As in China's oppressed regions of Tibet, Xinjiang, etc. WHEN WILL the entire population of HK be ordered under the GUISE of a COVID-19 public health initiative to compulsorily install an app on their smartphone (e.g. current HK government 'social credit' or 'health' app 'LeaveHomeSafe') ? A MANDATORY REQUIREMENT IS UNACCEPTABLE TO THE MAJORITY OF HK PEOPLE!
The HK government enacted on 15 November 2020 HK regulation Cap.599J 'Prevention and Control of Disease (Compulsory Testing for Certain Persons) Regulation' (Made by the CE in Council under section 8 of the Prevention and Control of Disease Ordinance (Cap. 599) 2008). Quote (format added, text unedited) from HK Cap.599:
"An Ordinance to provide for the control and prevention of disease among human beings; to prevent the introduction into, the spread in and the transmission from, Hong Kong of any disease, source of disease or contamination; to apply relevant measures of the International Health Regulations promulgated by the World Health Organization; and to provide for connected purposes".
CURRENT REGULATION CAP.599J, UNDER HK'S UN W.H.O. 'INTERNATIONAL HEALTH REGULATIONS', WAS ENACTED BY the continued alleged 'treasonous' acts of HK CE Carrie Lam, selected by the CCP, elected by only 0.1% of HK people who pay her salary and benefits, the very same people she is OPPRESSING and ABUSING as she chooses to follow the instructions of a 'foreign' body under the 'one country one system' being the CCP;
AGREED BY her personal and unelected 'Executive Council' (i.e. 'tea party');
DURING the totalitarian Chinese Communist Party's (CCP) 3 BREACHES (recognized by UK) of HK's UN international treaty Joint Declaration (JD) including by CCP's National Security Law (2nd breach) which results in there being NO RULE OF LAW IN HK - which is why this regulation has been passed;
UNDER the continued destruction of all UN HK human rights including HK's Legislative Council (LegCo) and its postponement and 4 elected Legislators disqualification by CCP being the 3rd breach of the JD;
UNDER the continued destruction of all UN HK human rights including ICCP, ICESCR, UDHR, etc. human rights and civil liberties including by the illegal acts under UN obligations of HK's police state against HK people;
UNDER the HK government's REFUSAL to follow SCIENCE from the beginning of the COVID-19 global pandemic created and spread by CCP;
UNDER HK government's POLITICIZATION of COVID-19 to be used for the oppression of HK people and NOT for their UN 'supreme human right' which is their 'right to life';
UNDER the HK government's REFUSAL to accept, from the START of COVID-19 pandemic in HK in late January 2020, and to ACT upon the will of the majority of HK peoples and healthcare workers who's reasonable request was for a total border lockdown with China to prevent the transmission of SARS-COV-2 into HK;
UNDER the HK government's refusal during COVID-19 to perform under ICESCR to act upon the great financial suffering caused to many of the roughly 20% of HK men, women and children who are living close to or below the poverty line and instead to; DISPROPORTIONATELY fund public and private sector businesses which benefits the ruling minority of HK elites;
WITHOUT the participation of A LEGITIMATE (i.e. universal and equal suffrage elected) Legislative Council (LegCo) there is NO LEGITIMACY in the use of any funds of the HK people's Public Purse;
WITHOUT consultation with healthcare professionals including Doctors;
WITHOUT HK public consultation;
WITHOUT the consent of individuals in HK!
Furthermore, considering the relationship between this Cap.599J 'regulation', the 'child' against the 'parent' HK legislation Cap.599 short titled "Prevention and Control of Disease Ordinance" which itself is a 'child' of the UN's W.H.O.'s International Health Regulations' (IHR) :
(Quote) The 'International Health Regulations' IHR (2005) contain a range of innovations, including (format added):
(a) a scope not limited to any specific disease or manner of transmission, but covering “illness or medical condition, irrespective of origin or source, that presents or could present significant harm to humans”;
(b) State Party obligations to develop certain minimum core public health capacities;
(c) obligations on States Parties to notify WHO of events that may constitute a public health emergency of international concern according to defined criteria;
(d) provisions authorizing WHO to take into consideration unofficial reports of public health events and to obtain verification from States Parties concerning such events;
(e) procedures for the determination by the Director-General of a “public health emergency of international concern” and issuance of corresponding temporary recommendations, after taking into account the views of an Emergency Committee;
(f) protection of the human rights of persons and travellers; and
(g) the establishment of National IHR Focal Points and WHO IHR Contact Points for urgent communications between States Parties and WHO.
From UN W.H.O. website:
"..Finally, the IHR introduce important safeguards to protect the rights of travellers and other persons in relation to the treatment of personal data, informed consent and non-discrimination in the application of health measures under the Regulations."
The fact that this WHO website mentions 'personal data', 'informed consent' and 'non-discrimination' means that these issues are INCLUDED in our human rights!! HK government is UNACCEPTABLY denying our human rights under Cap.599 and regulation Cap.599J!
WTPOHK UNDERSTANDINGS of the issues related to HK Cap.599 Ordinance and regulation Cap.599J:
Cap.599 is an Ordinance which exists SOLELY because of the UN treaty obligations "International Health Regulations" (IHR) promulgated by the World Health Organization (W.H.O.) and therefore HK government must follow IHR.
HK Doctors have stated that they were NOT involved in the decision making on the regulation Cap.599J (see below). This Ordinance is related to HK public health and therefore healthcare professionals must be involved.
Repeatedly Carrie Lam has refused to work with healthcare professionals who have stood on the side of HK people to ensure that the public has good health. This is Carrie Lam and HK government's problem and nobody elses!
This ordinance relates to people's democratic and human rights including the UN's 'supreme human right' which is the 'right to life'. Therefore the public must be consulted: so far the majority of HK people have not been recognized, nor have they been provided with their full rights under all UN treaties including the Joint Declaration. This is Carrie Lam and HK government's problem and nobody elses!
Because Cap.599J does NOT comply with the UN's 'supreme human right' the 'right to life' this local HK legislation is illegal and therefore is unacceptable to HK protesters who are the majority of HK people!
A judicial review of Cap.599J may be needed!
Under international law the 'right to life' is the sole determining factor of everything involving humans! 'Right to life' is considered by the UN to be the 'supreme human right.'
This supreme human right can NOT be derogated by the State for any reason; derogation "is the act of talking about or treating someone in a way that shows you do not respect him, her, or it."
Under HK's 'HK Bill of Rights Ordinance' (HKBORO) article 2 legislates locally in HK the UN's International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) Article 6.1. "Every human being has the inherent right to life. This right shall be protected by law. No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his life."
Because of the democracy and human rights guaranteed to HK people under the Joint Declaration our human lives are more important than money; this means that saving human lives has to take precedence over saving the economy!
Highly respected Medical Journal 'The Lancet', 21 March 2020 'How will country-based mitigation measures influence the course of the COVID-19 epidemic?' : "Governments will not be able to minimise both deaths from coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and the economic impact of viral spread. Keeping mortality as low as possible will be the highest priority for individuals; hence governments must put in place measures to ameliorate the inevitable economic downturn."
Faced with the COVID-19 global pandemic Taiwan, New Zealand and a few other countries have successfully focused on following the science to ensure a healthy community! By doing this they have also managed to 'save' their economies, further developed communities and democracy, human rights, etc.
The CCP and HK government has so far chosen to ignore its SUPREME HUMAN RIGHTS OBLIGATIONS during the current pandemic health crisis which is to protect HK people's 'RIGHT TO LIFE'!
HK government's November 2020 mandatory COVID-19 testing under legislation Cap.599J or any other rules, regulations, legislation etc. which does NOT comply with the UN's supreme human right - the 'right to life' - is unacceptable to HK protesters who are the majority of HK people!
HK people in 2002-2003 experienced SARS which tragically killed 299 HKers - we have experience of that epidemic and the necessary prevention methods (masks, washing hands, social distancing, etc.) and so we take care of ourselves because we have NO effective support from the HK government!
Further, Wuhan virus COVID-19 is a paradigm shift in consciousness. The key issue is that the more interconnected we all are with Earth and each other, the better our health - i.e. democracy rules!
Unacceptably, despite overwhelming HK public demand, there has NEVER been a total lockdown of HK's border with China! China is the source and first spreader of the Wuhan coronavirus SARS-COV-2 which causes the global pandemic disease COVID-19.
HK's anti-extradition protesters have been on the streets since 9 June 2019 until roughly January 2020 - when the combination of COVID-19 social gathering regulations, police brutality and mass arrest tactics coupled with the use of the colonial era 'Public Order Ordinance' stopped peaceful protests. HK had more than 2 million people, 25% of total population, march in protest on 16 June 2019. The end result of protests is that only ONE of HK protesters' 5 demands were met - the withdrawal of the anti-extradition bill!
EVERYTHING in HK is now political - and the average HK protester has NO reason whatsoever to listen, believe nor accept anything from CCP, Carrie Lam nor the HK government!
Having learnt what CCP has done in the 'autonomous' regions of Tibet and Xinjiang, HK people are deeply concerned about their data privacy, survelliance, security, etc. especially now that HK's National Security Law (NSL) has been illegally passed by CCP's NPC and that Chinese Police are now stationed in HK!
The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and their minions, the HK government, under the guise of 'COVID-19' global pandemic postponed the 6 September 2020 Legislative Council (LegCo) elections. However, by 6 September 2020 daily new COVID-19 cases had dropped to only single digit numbers!
To legitimize their LegCo postponement ruse, starting on 1 September 2020 HK government offered mass 'voluntary' COVID-19 testing: 'voluntary' in communist HK means some mainland Chinese companies employers in HK required their staff to undergo testing! At a STAGGERING and indefensible cost to the HK Public Purse of HK$530million (US$68.4million), contracting ONLY mainland companies (why? who knows the true numbers of infections and data privacy?), a total of 1.78 million (out of 7.5 million) HK people were tested with only 35 new cases found: this equates to a cost per new case of HK$15.14million (US$1.95million)! This is a total waste of HK people's Public Purse!
One would think that the CCP and HK government would be satisfied with 1.78 million HK people tested and only 35 new cases! Numbers of new cases in HK has dropped considerably since the increase in covid cases in July 2020, which was most likely caused by HK's leaking border with China! And mainland COVID-19 testing contractors had been well paid - isn't this what it's all about - corruption money for CCP? SEEMS THEY ARE STILL NOT SATISFIED!!
Since the COVID-19 global pandemic began, the HK government, despite repeatedly stating that health care professionals are involved as 'advisors' (see below), have NOT FOLLOWED the advice of their advisors! Instead Carrie Lam, increasingly under the instruction of CCP, has gone back to her usual bunch of hardline miscreant HK elites who through the unelected Executive Council ultimately control HK and who created the political problems in the first place!
HK government has proven that it has NO credibility regarding HK people's data privacy! In 2017, 2 laptops were stolen from government employees of the HK 'Registration and Electoral Office' (REO). They have never been recovered. Personal records of all HK's 3.7 million registered voters were in these two laptops! Was anyone fired? charged or sent to Court? So much for the HK governments handling of HK people's data privacy! So much for accountability!
WHY ARE HK PEOPLE BEING INFECTED BY SARS-COV-2 UNDER THE CURRENT LEGISLATION, POLICIES AND PRACTICES OF THE CCP AND HK GOVERNMENT?
HK GOVT HAS NOT DONE IT'S UTMOST TO ENSURE PUBLIC HEALTH IN HK BY NOT FULLY CLOSING BORDERS AND PREVENTING TRANSMISSION OF SARS-COV-2!
UNTIL THIS CHANGES THERE WILL REMAIN RESISTANCE BY HK PEOPLE TO ANYTHING AND EVERYTHING CCP AND HK GOVERNMENT DOES!
For example, in addition to ICCPR article 6 'right to life' the HK government has NOT met its obligations under ICESCR Article 12 (format added):
"1. The States Parties to the present Covenant recognize the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health.
2. The steps to be taken by the States Parties to the present Covenant to achieve the full realisation of this right shall include those necessary for:
(a) The provision for the reduction of the stillbirth-rate and of infant mortality and for the healthy development of the child;
(b) The improvement of all aspects of environmental and industrial hygiene;
(c) The prevention, treatment and control of epidemic, endemic, occupational and other diseases;
(d) The creation of conditions which would assure to all medical service and medical attention in the event of sickness."
HK Doctors professional body is the 'HK Medical Council'.
Doctors must register under the 'Medical Registration Ordinance (Cap. 161)'.
Doctors Code of Professional Conduct (page 15) of the Medical Council (Quote with format added) :
"2. Consent to medical treatment :
2.1 In law, a doctor cannot perform diagnostic procedures and medical treatment on a patient who does not consent to the treatment. A doctor who does so is liable to be sued for the tort of battery or prosecuted for criminal offences such as wounding and assault occasioning actual bodily harm.
2.6 Where there are statutory requirements that consent in specified circumstances be given in prescribed forms, those requirements must be complied with."
Doctors Code of Professional Conduct Article 2.6 does NOT comply with:
HK local legislation 'HK Bill of Rights Ordinance' (HKBORO) Article 2 'Right to Life' (ICCPR Article 6): "Every human being has the inherent right to life. This right shall be protected by law. No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his life." The UN supreme human right is the 'right to life'.
HK local legislation 'HK Bill of Rights Ordinance' (HKBORO) Article 3 (ICCPR Article 7): "No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. In particular, no one shall be subjected without his free consent to medical or scientific experimentation." This article introduces another UN treaty obligation 'UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment' (CAT).
Revised Part I(D) of the Code of Professional Conduct promulgated in
Issue No. 25 of the newsletter of the Medical Council in December 2018D.
Declaration of Geneva
Adopted by the 2nd General Assembly of the World Medical Association, Geneva, Switzerland, September 1948
and amended by the 22nd World Medical Assembly, Sydney, Australia, August 1968
and the 35th World Medical Assembly, Venice, Italy, October 1983
and the 46th WMA General Assembly, Stockholm, Sweden, September 1994
and editorially revised by the 170th WMA Council Session, Divonne-les-Bains, France, May 2005 and the 173rd WMA Council Session, Divonne-les-Bains, France, May 2006
and amended by the 68th WMA General Assembly, Chicago, United States, October 2017
The Physician’s Pledge
AS A MEMBER OF THE MEDICAL PROFESSION:
I SOLEMNLY PLEDGE to dedicate my life to the service of humanity;
THE HEALTH AND WELL-BEING OF MY PATIENT will be my first consideration;
I WILL RESPECT the autonomy and dignity of my patient;
I WILL MAINTAIN the utmost respect for human life;
I WILL NOT PERMIT considerations of age, disease or disability, creed, ethnic origin, gender, nationality, political affiliation, race, sexual orientation, social standing or any other factor to intervene between my duty and my patient;
I WILL RESPECT the secrets that are confided in me, even after the patient has died;
I WILL PRACTISE my profession with conscience and dignity and in accordance with good medical practice;
I WILL FOSTER the honour and noble traditions of the medical profession;
I WILL GIVE to my teachers, colleagues, and students the respect and gratitude that is their due;
I WILL SHARE my medical knowledge for the benefit of the patient and the advancement of healthcare;
I WILL ATTEND TO my own health, well-being, and abilities in order to provide care of the highest standard;
I WILL NOT USE my medical knowledge to violate human rights and civil liberties, even under threat;
I MAKE THESE PROMISES solemnly, freely, and upon my honour
WTPOHK lay opinions:
1. HK legislation Cap.599 and 599J violates HK people's human rights:
The UN supreme human right is the 'right to life'. HK local legislation 'HK Bill of Rights Ordinance' (HKBORO) article 2 'Right to Life' (ICCPR Article 6): "Every human being has the inherent right to life. This right shall be protected by law. No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his life."
HK local legislation 'HK Bill of Rights Ordinance' (HKBORO) article 3 (ICCPR article 7) anyone can claim not to give their consent to "torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. In particular, no one shall be subjected without his free consent to medical or scientific experimentation."
A Physician will violate her / his Physician's Pledge to the Medical Council including: I WILL MAINTAIN the utmost respect for human life; I WILL SHARE my medical knowledge for the benefit of the patient and the advancement of healthcare;I WILL NOT USE my medical knowledge to violate human rights and civil liberties, even under threat; I MAKE THESE PROMISES solemnly, freely, and upon my honour.
2. HK government is violating HK people's data privacy under the 'The Personal Data (Privacy) Ordinance (PDPO)'. Issues includes:
HK peoples are worried that during COVID-19 a DNA sample together with personal information such as photo, name, address, HKIDC, phone number, relatives contact details, etc. may be taken and be available to mainland companies and hence to CCP and their databases. On the face of it under the PDPO data privacy laws appears to protect HK people - but after the national security law was enacted on 1 July 2020 HK has no rule OF law so HK people feel they are not protected by the rule of law! It is unlikely that the majority of HK people will accept mandatory testing and there will be resistance!
PDPO says "The collective objective of DPPs is to ensure that personal data is collected on a fully-informed basis and in a fair manner, with due consideration towards minimising the amount of personal data collected. Once collected, the personal data should be processed in a secure manner and should only be kept for as long as necessary for the fulfillment of the purposes of using the data. Use of the data should be limited to or related to the original collection purpose. Data subjects are given the right to access and make correction to their data."
HK government has NO credibility on HK people's data privacy! One of the 'mysteries' of HK was why, in 2017 in the hands of HK government employees 'Registration and Electoral Office (REO)', personal records of all HK's 3.7 million registered voters were placed on two laptops which were then placed in an obviously unsecure location; these 2 laptops were stolen and never found! So much for the HK governments handling of HK peoples data privacy! Hong Kong gov’t loses computers with personal data of all registered voters!
3. HK government's smartphone app for contact tracing. On 17 November 2020 Apple Daily reported that HK government's COVID-19 tracking app 'LeaveHomeSafe' was launched on Monday and available for download on iOS, Android and Huawei’s HarmonyOS. The app is available in English and Chinese in both traditional and simplified characters.
However, the app's software design sparked invasion of privacy fears as it does not allow users to review what it has recorded while allowing the program to take a peek into a user’s device history.
The program did not require the user to enter any personal information, nor did it ask to activate the device’s location services. However, the app requires users to accept the terms and conditions, including one that states the health authorities might require information believed to be related to health emergencies.
The app has a simple interface and allows users to record places they have visited by scanning QR codes displayed in venues and on public transport. “If there is a confirmed case in a venue … the mobile app will notify those users who have visited the same venue at the same time with the infected person(s),” the app’s introduction said. Visit records will be removed after 31 days, it added.
However, the app does not allow the user to review the visit history while asking the user to allow the app to read the device and app history. “This is very strange. [The app] reads your stuff, but you can’t do the same,” said Wong Ho-wah, a data scientist and a member of the Election Committee representing the information technology industry.
The government should explain why the app can read the user’s device and app history to ease the public’s worries over invasion of privacy, Wong added.
QR codes will be installed in the city’s 18,000 taxis during the first phase of the app’s launch, but one New Territories taxi driver told Apple Daily that the app did not seem to be very useful. By the time he was notified that a person infected with COVID-19 had been in his cab, it would be two or three days late, the driver said, adding that he would go to the clinic if he felt sick. On top of that, neither did he think he would be reminding passengers to scan the QR code, he said.
It is rumoured that this app is destined over time to become a HK social credit rating app which is similar to what is used in China. For more information see 'China ranks citizens with a social credit system - here's what you can do wrong and how you can be punished'.
Pepe & Jeremiah B.
Please read our related COVID-19 blogs:
Doctors can demand Covid tests from Saturday
Apple Daily 26 November 2020
Health Secretary Sophia Chan said from Saturday onwards, doctors will be given the power to order patients with Covid-19 symptoms to undergo mandatory tests.
Speaking to reporters after attending a Chief Executive question-and-answer session in the Legislative Council on Thursday, Chan urged people to abide by their doctors' instructions, saying getting tested early is crucial to stopping silent transmissions within the community.
She added that private doctors are generally receptive of the idea, and have agreed to work closely with the government on the matter.
She had earlier said that there wouldn’t be a rigid definition of who should be tested, but "doctors must act according to their professional judgement."
If a patient refuses to take a test, they could end up with a HK$25,000 fine and up to six months in prison.
The health chief added that over the next few days, five more testing centres at the Lai King, Tuen Mun, Fanling, Hang Hau and Yau Tong community halls will begin operation to cater for an expected surge in demand.
Specimen bottles will also be distributed at the territory's 121 post offices from Saturday.
The latest arrangements come as sources say Hong Kong will record 82 new coronavirus cases on Thursday.
Hong Kong tightens COVID-19 distancing rules again as cases continue to climb
Apple Daily 24 November 2020
Hong Kong health authorities announced stricter COVID-19 prevention measures on Tuesday after the emergence of dozens of new cases in the past few days, with a growing cluster linked to dance clubs threatening to spiral out of control.
From Nov. 26 to Dec. 2, all bars, pubs, bathhouses, party rooms and nightclubs will be closed, with live performances and dancing activities also banned in those venues. The decision was made to address the spread of the virus in local dance clubs, the city’s health minister Sophia Chan said on Tuesday.
Banquets can only be held for up to 40 people, while eateries can only serve four people per table.
There were 80 confirmed COVID-19 cases reported on Tuesday, the highest single-day total in over three months. Of those, 69 cases were local infections, with 10 from an unknown source. There were also about 50 preliminary positive cases reported.
The cluster involving local dance clubs had ballooned to 187 cases, which is 54 more than the previous day, said the Centre for Health Protection’s Communicable Disease Branch head Chuang Shuk-kwan. She said the cluster had covered a wide scope, including at least 24 venues including town halls in Sheung Shui and Sha Tin.
Hong Kong has recorded 5,782 COVID-19 cases, with 108 deaths and seven people currently in a critical condition in hospital.
Hong Kong’s catering business has been decimated by the COVID-19 pandemic. From July to September, restaurant receipts shrank from HK$26.32 billion (US$3.4 billion) to HK$17 billion, plummeting 35.3% year-on-year and to its lowest levels since 2004. Thousands of restaurants have reportedly been forced to permanently close since the pandemic hit.
Despite the surge in local infections, Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam said on Tuesday that she had no intention to halt pathways allowing Hongkongers to return to the city quarantine-free, adding that about 3,000 people had used the relevant scheme to return to the city.
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'Doctors given no say in forced Covid test plan'
RTHK 16 November 2020 (formatting added).
The head of the Medical Association, Dr Choi Kin, says the government should have consulted doctors before pushing ahead with a plan for mandatory Covid-19 tests, accusing the health secretary of making "threatening" remarks regarding their compliance.
Choi told RTHK on Monday that he is worried some people will be put off from visiting their doctors altogether for fear of being made to take a coronavirus test.
He said the authorities should have consulted the profession about the plan and doctors have now been left with no choice but to comply.
On Saturday, Health Secretary Sophia Chan announced that doctors will be able to order their patients to take a Covid-19 test if they show symptoms. Any patients who refuse would risk a fine of up to HK$25,000 and six months in prison.
Chan said officials will discuss the move with doctors' groups this week and while the legal framework has already been gazetted, the measure will only be rolled out in "specific circumstances" and if the participation rate for voluntary testing is low.
On RTHK's Millennium programme, Chan was asked if a doctor would bear any responsibility if he or she failed to instruct someone to take a test and their patient was later found to have the virus.
"Of course it depends on each case....but for any kind of sickness, if a doctor is found to have a problem in their professional decision, the Medical Council has an existing mechanism [to deal with that]," the secretary replied.
Choi said Chan's comment appeared to be "threatening" towards doctors.
"The law has already been rolled out, there is no way we can avoid doing that. But it seems to me that it sounds a bit threatening," he said.
Choi also urged the government to draft guidelines for doctors in relation to what specific symptoms should lead to a Covid-19 test, in order to avoid any arguments with patients.
But Dr David Lam, a member of the Medical Council, said this would not be necessary and doctors would be able to use their professional judgement to decide when a test was warranted.
Lam said he backs the move to introduce more mandatory coronavirus testing because the voluntary programmes are not proving to be so popular.
On top of those flying into Hong Kong, other groups of people who will be forced to take Covid-19 tests include those linked to outbreaks, people leaving quarantine, and people who work in occupations deemed to be "high-risk".
'Forced Covid tests infringe on people's rights'
RTHK 15 November 2020 (formatting added).
A number of civic groups have criticised the government’s mandatory Covid-19 testing scheme, saying it violates human rights and freedoms, and may put people off from visiting doctors altogether.
Officials announced on Saturday that it is introducing the compulsory tests in a bid to stop a fourth wave of coronavirus infections in Hong Kong.
From Sunday, people with symptoms, those linked to an outbreak, staff working in jobs deemed as high risk, and people completing quarantine will be ordered to undergo tests.
Those who refuse could be jailed for up to six months and face a fine of up to HK$25,000.
But civic groups, unions and district councillors told a press conference on Sunday that the mandatory tests will infringe on human rights and freedoms.
They said while the government can encourage and appeal to people to take the tests voluntarily, it's wrong to compel people by making it a crime to refuse a test.
"The voluntary testing is the way to go. The mandatory [testing], will it be a surplus, or will it be an unnecessary policy?" questioned Jeff Au from the Civil Society Development Resources Centre.
Au said people should have the right to say “no” to the tests, as people's trust in the government is rather low these days, and the administration has yet to address privacy concerns about the data collected through the tests.
He complained about the lack of public consultation for the scheme and said he’s concerned the compulsory tests would eventually be expanded to cover everyone in Hong Kong.
Under the new measures, doctors are also given the power to require suspected Covid patients to get tested.
Cyrus Lau, a nurse from the Hong Kong Allied Health Professionals and Nurses Association, said people with minor illnesses may now have second thoughts about visiting a clinic.
“These penalties would scare away patients seeking medical consultation... If they do [take the tests], they can't even go away freely. They need to stay at a designated place in order to minimise the [potential] spread of the disease," he said, adding that those waiting for their test results may therefore be unable to go to work.
However, financial secretary Paul Chan said compulsory testing is the best option as it delivers great “value for money”.
He wrote on his weekly blog that while the tests may be a little inconvenient, it is necessary to come up with "forceful and comprehensive measures" to stop the epidemic from dealing a further blow to the economy.
Compulsory tests to begin; prison threat for refusal
RTHK 14 November 2020 (formatting added).
Hong Kong is introducing mandatory Covid-19 testing for high-risk groups with a threat of prison for anyone who refuses as the SAR steps up social distancing and quarantine rules.
Secretary for Food and Health Sophia Chan says the measures are essential if the SAR is to avoid a fourth wave of coronavirus cases. People who refuse a compulsory test face a penalty of HK$2,000 and will be issued with an order to take the test.
If they still refuse, the maximum penalty will be up to six months in prison and a fine of up to HK$25,000. The regulations take effect on Sunday.
"The signs are worrying, in terms of looking at all the cases and we have to do whatever we can in terms of our epidemic control measures to prevent the fourth wave from coming," Chan said on Saturday.
The government will publish the groups of people covered by compulsory tests. It will include people with symptoms, those linked to an outbreak, and staff working in jobs deemed as high risk, as well as people completing quarantine.
Doctors will be able to instruct people they believe have the virus to take a test.
Under new distancing measures starting from Monday, restaurants will be allowed to seat no more than four diners at a table instead of six. Capacity will be reduced from 75 percent of the usual level to half and businesses will have to close at midnight instead of 2am.
At bars, the number of customers permitted per table will also be cut from four to two, with people banned from drinking away from their tables.
There'll also be tighter measures at the border from later in the week. Everyone arriving at the airport from a high-risk region will have to wait there until they receive their test results, including groups who'd previously been allowed to wait at home for the tests, such as air crew.
The government is also proposing to bar hotels from having more than four guests in a room unless they're part of the same family. They'll have to record the details of all guests. It follows a number of cases linked to groups taking staycations at local hotels.
People undergoing quarantine in hotels after arriving in the SAR will not be allowed to receive visitors. Hotels will have to place them on different floors to regular guests.
The SAR reported three local cases of Covid-19 on Saturday, one of which had no clear source. There were five imported cases.
Compulsory COVID testing in Hong Kong may backfire, medical experts warn
Apple Daily 20 October 2020 (formatting added).
While the Hong Kong government considers imposing mandatory COVID-19 testing on patients with mild symptoms and residents of buildings with positive cases, medical experts warn that compulsory testing can backfire.
Representatives of a dozen medical groups, including President of the Hong Kong Medical Association Gabriel Choi, met with public health officials on Monday evening and voiced their opposition to mandatory testing.
Speaking on a radio program on Tuesday, Choi said coronavirus has a wide range of symptoms and it is essential for the government to provide clear guidelines on which symptoms require compulsory testing. But Secretary for Food and Health Sophia Chan told the medical groups in the meeting that it will be decided by the doctors' professional opinion and they can then alert the authorities.
The government also mulls imposing jail time on those who refuse to submit to compulsory testing.
There remains a huge grey area in the policy and, more importantly, it may jeopardize the doctor-patient relationship, Choi warned.
Requiring doctors to report patients to the authorities violates the Medical Council’s guidelines to protect patient privacy and confidentiality.
He questioned the necessity and effectiveness of mandatory testing given the pandemic is relatively under control.
Speaking on the same program, head of Hong Kong Patients' Voices, Alex Lam, agreed with Choi that the policy will damage trust between doctors and patients. Even if the policy is in public interest, citizens may be discouraged from seeking treatment as long as the concerns remain unaddressed.
If the government is determined to implement the policy, it should also guarantee that doctors will not be complained or bear legal consequences for violating their professional conduct, Lam stressed.
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Beijing’s push for mass Covid testing in Hong Kong commits the cardinal sin of public health
QZ 25 August 2020 by Mary Hui (fromat added).
The first rule of how governments should deal with public health crises is to not mix it with politics. The Hong Kong government, however, has done just that.
After weeks of heated debate about the efficacy of rolling out a universal coronavirus testing regime—at a time when new daily cases have fallen to low double digits and the reproductive number is below 0.5, meaning the outbreak is slowly petering out—the city’s leader Carrie Lam today slammed “so-called experts” for not fully backing the testing scheme, suggesting they’re politically motivated and conspiring to “smear” the local and Beijing governments.
That accusation carries all the more weight under Hong Kong’s newly authoritarian reality, where provoking by unlawful means “hatred” toward the government can amount to a crime of collusion with external elements, punishable by lengthy prison terms.
That those same experts have played pivotal roles in steering Hong Kong’s highly successful pandemic response does not seem to matter. Lam’s allegations have already had an immediate chilling effect: a prominent public health expert who recently criticized the mass-testing scheme declined to comment on her remarks to Quartz for fear of drawing unwanted attention.
Numerous prominent public health experts have in recent days questioned the need for universal Covid testing, which the government has repeatedly emphasized is strictly voluntary and will be conducted with the support of the Beijing government.
But despite a constant drumbeat from the authorities extolling the supposed virtues and urgency of such a testing scheme, they have so far failed to provide convincing answers to two key issues: effectiveness and trust.
First, it’s unclear what universal testing is meant to achieve.
Mass testing at the early stages of an outbreak is undeniably helpful in identifying clusters and isolating cases, as South Korea’s success in quickly controlling outbreaks earlier in the year can attest.
But Hong Kong has largely brought its latest outbreak under control after cases spiked in early July. Experts have cautioned that pouring resources into mass testing at this point is akin to “wasting bullets,” and a “scatter-gun approach” that costs “an enormous amount money to find mostly negative results.”
And that’s not to mention the irony of postponing next month’s legislative [council] elections supposedly over coronavirus concerns, only to urge 7 million people to converge on testing centers. Lam, however, has said that mass testing is less risky than millions going to the polls because it’s spread out over two weeks, rather than a single election day.
[Second'] Then there’s the intractable issue of trust.
There are widespread concerns among Hong Kongers that the Beijing-backed testing scheme is a convenient way to ferry reams of personal data into the hands of mainland Chinese authorities. Many also worry that the testing scheme is an elaborate excuse to obtain people’s DNA, which could then be fed into the central government’s database for biometric surveillance purposes. The Hong Kong government has denied these allegations.
Still, it also doesn’t help that police have already collected DNA samples of people arrested under the city’s new national security law, further stoking fears that Beijing could set up a DNA database for Hong Kongers much like they have done with Uyghurs in Xinjiang. The government has also been pushing for a digital health code to ease cross-border travel, but critics have called it a “Trojan horse disguised as health policy” and another worrying development in creeping state surveillance.
Meanwhile, Hong Kong has had no trouble rapidly scaling up its testing capacity to combat the latest outbreak, tripling its tests from about 110,000 conducted in June to nearly 300,000 in July (pdf). But the fanfare with which China has sent a team of 60 medical officials to the city to help with testing, and a splashy new slogan at a recent government press conference calling on people to “fight the virus with central government’s full support,” have left people wondering whether there is a wholesale effort underway to rewrite the narrative of the city’s pandemic response to cast Beijing as a benevolent savior.
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