Milk powder curbs may be the epitome of cognitive dissonance

Do extreme circumstances call for extreme solutions? That and parsing Wen Jiabao's words on Macau and Hong Kong

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 10 March, 2013, 6:06pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 29 August, 2013, 4:13am

“Hong Kong is now jailing China’s baby formula smugglers” a headline reads for Vice magazine’s Motherboard tech website.

The Asia Sentinel writes: “Hong Kong’s baby formula brouhaha”.

From the way it looks, Hong Kong is taking extreme measures on something as mundane as baby formula. Just think how that sounds: criminal does hard time for smuggling milk powder.

In fact, the Asia Sentinel calls it “cognitive dissonance”, which seems fair as Hong Kong’s Tourism Board says, “Welcome” but city dwellers say, “Hong Kong people come first!

The underlying issue is a worldwide worry that bulk buying by mainland Chinese will trigger a milk powder shortage. But China’s health minister, Chen Zhu, calls the smuggling a “temporary problem”, reports the Financial Times.

Still, a world map posted on Motherboard, taken from HKGolden, shows which countries have been affected by the “baby formula crisis”. They include Britain, the Netherlands, Germany, Argentina, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea and Canada.

Parents in those countries who do fear a shortage have legitimate concerns, and Hong Kong’s two-can limit is not expected to be a long-term solution - but that doesn’t make the possible prison term for offenders sound any less silly.

Macau and Hong Kong downsized

The Macau Daily Times took note that China’s Premier Wen Jiabao spoke less about the affairs of Macau and Hong Kong in his work report at the start of the National People’s Congress meeting last week, a story the South China Morning Post also reported.

Macau’s NPC deputies said was an unusual arrangement for a premier serving his final year of term, the newspaper reported.

Some delegates were not surprised and said Wen was leaving room for his successor, Xi Jinping, to develop his own policies on Hong Kong and Macau.

“In this report, the last part is suggestion but not action. So do not expect the suggestions to be very long,” said Macau delgate Chui Sai-peng. “It has left space for the new government to take the steps they want.”

In photos

Other coverage