By David Fleet
Brandon Twp.-Wai Choi says Hong Kong is complicated right now.
“It’s one county with two systems,” said Choi, a former Hong Kong resident, who now along with his wife Malinda have owned China Fare, 1764 S Ortonville Road, Ortonville for about 19 years. “Mainland China’s communist influence on Hong Kong, and now the coronavirus.”
Choi’s still has relatives residing in Hong Kong. His wife Malinda’s cousins—Yuet and Oi Cheung.
Choi was born in 1946 in southern mainland China. In 1957 Choi and his family moved from China to Hong Kong.
He was employed by the Hong Kong Department of Public Works for many years. Choi then moved from Hong Kong to the United States in 1971 and opened his first restaurant in Livonia in 1976 and later in Traverse City. He then moved to Ortonville.
According to news sources as of Wednesday deaths as a result of the coronavirus was near 500.
There is no sign of a slowdown of cases in China, according to reports. The death toll from the month long coronavirus outbreak has continued to climb in China, rising to more than 490. New cases have surged by double-digit percentages in the past 11 days, with no sign of a slowdown.
“They are really scared, ”said Choi. “We called them last week and they are having difficulty finding masks. They are completely out (of masks) in Hong Kong. There was only one store in Hong Kong with masks for sale, more than 3,000 people were lining up for them and they could only buy one.”
“The people (in Hong Kong) are fearful,” he said.
The concern of the coronavirus is compounded by the government’s inaction, said Choi.
“Oi is self employed in the retail business and they had to closed her store for a week so far,” he said. “They (government) want them to stay at home and not go outside.”
To make matters even worse the ruler of Hong Kong will not close the boarder to China, he said.
According to news sources, in the face of growing opposition Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor has repeatedly dismissed demands for a full border closure, saying logistical and business reasons, and arguing it would be mostly Hongkongers who commute that would suffer.
“They take precautions very serious,” he said. “They can’t leave. But, allow people to come from main land China. Because, they have leaders to come from China to influence Hong Kong. Even the airlines won’t come to Hong Kong now.”
Since summer violent protests have increased in Hong Kong. Many Hong Kong residents are now calling for greater democracy and an inquiry into allegations of policy brutality. Hong Kong was handed over from British to Chinese rule in 1997.
The ongoing protests in Hong Kong are subsided for now due to the coronavirus, he said.
“The protests were only in certain areas,” he said. “It was not all over the city.”