The honey is sweeter in Hong Kong.

Honey badgers know that the honey is so much sweeter in Hong Kong, and that’s what attracted Nick Cummins to the Special Administrative Region of China. The honey is so sweet that it persuaded Cummins to appear in promotional videos for the fragrant harbour, and they have earned him his first nomination for The Frownlow Medal Hall of Fame.

The Frownlow Medal is awarded to the player whose off-field demeanour epitomises the values of the modern-day footballer and draws attention to the status of footballers as role models to young Australians. It covers Australia’s four major football codes; the National Rugby League (NRL), Australian Football League (AFL), the A-League (Football) and Rugby Union’s Super Rugby competition. NRL player Shaun Kenny-Dowall won the inaugural medal in 2015, while NRL star Jarryd Hayne is the most recent recipient.

The Frownlow Medal Hall of Fame honours former players and players who received media attention in previous seasons, for similarly scandalous behaviour, and its inductees include Ben Cousins and Julian O’Neill.

Critics have attacked Cummins for “endorsing a government that is violating human rights”, and is suppressing democracy.

“The people of the city are actually struggling because of what the government is doing. By taking these jobs, celebrities are endorsing a government that is condemned by the international community,” says Jane Poon, who runs the Australia-Hong Kong Line, a community that supports democracy, freedom, rule of law and human rights.

The former Wallaby and Western Force player appears in three videos called “Honey Badger x Hong Kong,” in which he visits tourist attractions. The videos make him the public face of Hong Kong, and were released on Cummins’ social media account and on Youtube for the Australian market.

The organisation picking up Cummins’ tab has also been accused of widespread human rights abuses in Xinjiang province, and of ignoring the international community to build its own islands in the South China Sea.

According to international sources, Beijing’s sweeping crackdown on pro-democracy leaders, students, and media organisations crippled Hong Kong’s global reputation, saw dozens of political figures jailed and sent thousands of people into exile.

Foreign Minister of Australia, Penny Wong, has repeatedly condemned the actions of the Hong Kong government. “Australia remains deeply concerned by the continuing erosion of Hong Kong’s rights, freedoms and autonomy, two years since the imposition of the National Security Law,” she said in June.

The promotional videos are designed to attract more Australians to the region in time for the Rugby Sevens tournament in November. With their release, Aussies can decide what’s worse; Ads promote a regime violating human rights, or endless ads flogging bamboo socks and undies.

Image: Getty Images


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