How China uses its powers to kill Covid

How China uses its powers to kill Covid


norman lebrecht

October 13, 2020

We reported earlier that all 100 musicians of the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra have been sent to quarantine camp after one of their number tested positive for Covid-19.

And it’s not just the musicians. Their families are also being ordered into quarantine.

Concern is being expressed for a clarinet players, who is pregnant, according to one report. 

Audience members who greeted players after the weekend concerts have been told they are safe, so long as they wore masks.

The status of the concert’s conductor Lio umclear.


The music director Jaap Van Zweden is coming to the end of 14 days quarantine in his hotel and will not conduct next week’s Beethoven concerts, which have been cancelled.

But here’s a twist: Hong Kong’s chief executive Carrie Lam attended the opening concert. She is due to meet the Chinese President Xi Jinping in Shenzhen tomorrow. Let’s see if that meeting goes ahead.

UPDATE: A statement from the HK concert hall:

Auditoria Building and Concert Hall of Hong Kong Cultural Centre temporarily closed
The Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD) today (October 13) announced that, as a musician who performed at the Concert Hall, Hong Kong Cultural Centre (HKCC) was preliminarily tested positive for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), the Auditoria Building and the Concert Hall of the HKCC will be temporarily closed from today onwards.

The LCSD will arrange thorough cleansing and sterilisation at the venues according to guidelines provided by the Centre for Health Protection (CHP). The Auditoria Building will reopen on October 16, while the Concert Hall on October 25.

The performer concerned last played at the HKCC on October 10 and made no contact with the public during the performances. He underwent temperature check when entering the HKCC and his body temperature was normal.

The LCSD is highly concerned about the COVID-19 epidemic and will continue to maintain close liaison with the CHP. Staff are reminded to pay attention to personal hygiene and to stay vigilant. They should seek medical advice immediately if feeling unwell.

Ends/Tuesday, October 13, 2020
Issued at HKT 19:15 



  • Karl says:

    That would be the way it is here if some people had their way. You are a resource that the State owns and you must be protected.

  • Sharon says:

    Could also be a way for China to try to show who’s boss in Hong Kong. What is happening there is tragic.

  • Like it or not, they do what works.

    China has only ~5000 deaths since the beginning.

    Here in the US we are over 200,000 deaths

    • Cubs Fan says:

      Do you really believe that 5000 number? I don’t.

      • So, what is the number that you believe, person who doesn’t have a real name? And tell us why you believe that instead.

        Any anonymous troll can say “Do you really believe…”

        Give us the number.

        Even if it were 20 times that number you don’t believe it would still be half of the US total.

        And in a country with 4x the population of the US.

        There isn’t another country on the planet that has handled this as badly as the US has.

        • Kman says:

          Two things can be true:
          – There isn’t another country on the planet that has handled this as badly as the US has.
          – China is covering up the substantially larger infected/deaths impact COVID has had on its country.

        • Birchley Poundbottom says:

          There isn’t another country on the planet that is as fat and diabetic as the USA either.

  • Roman says:

    With all of the criticism from the West, China saved more lives than any western country. They also didn’t ruin their arts and households because of the pandemic. It is good that European and American musicians have their freedom, but Chinese musicians have their bread and performances (and to a great extent freedom as well).

    • christopher storey says:

      I am used to reading drivel on this blog, but Roman’s post is absolutely unbeatable !

    • violin accordion says:

      Rapid and effective action, discipline and compliance and consistency from government and population have a lot to do with it. Like Cuba, Vietnam, Sri Lanka and others

      • Roman says:

        China is considerably more developed country than Cuba, Vietnam, Sri Lanka and in many areas than the UK. Also, aren’t we were sitting in lockdown in March-April the same way as Chinese people in February? We are almost in lockdown today, while in China this has only local effect.

        • Patricia says:

          China is a communist country. They are so developed that they created a virus, let it loose and lied about it. I don’t trust those Chinese figures and you shouldn’t either.

          • Roman says:

            Even if the figures are 10 times more, given the population of China it is still negligible in comparison to damage done to Europe.

            Yes, they created a virus, but do you think European and American laboratories don’t work on viruses at all? This could happen anywhere in the world, unfortunately.

            I also doubt your words that China is communist. Apart from symbolics they have nothing in common with communism. They look even more capitalistic than most capitalistic countries of Europe or America.

  • Jerome Hoberman says:

    Nice of all of you to opine about what’s happening in Hong Kong, but I don’t know any musicians here who are complaining — even though I’ve lost at least one crucial rehearsal to this week’s closure. We know that the precautions that have been taken have helped keep infection rates to among the lowest in the world. (And fewer people than normal have even had colds this year, maybe because everyone wears masks.)

    • Birchley Poundbottom says:

      Not true, the colds are just asymptomatic.

    • Ashu says:

      [maybe because everyone wears masks.]

      Not according to a close friend of mine who lives there. Watch out, the world’s become too small to assume you can still get away with this kind of fibbing.