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Posts published in August 2019

HK Police Inciting Violent Confrontations?

We cannot vouch for the veracity of this picture. We saw it earlier today, but did not post it, because it was almost unbelievable. Now, others have seen and posted it, so we will repost it, without commenting on its reliability. If this picture is authentic, then it appears that a man armed with a pistol (some are claiming it is a Glock of a type used by the HK police) is igniting and throwing a “petrol bomb.” Again, if it is authentic, the residents of HK are not allowed to own firearms, so the only other possibility is that it is a member of the HK police or a CCP infiltrator. The only purpose for that would be to incite more violence and have it blamed on protesters.

On the other hand, we have commented earlier about real-looking, but fake, weapons being used in the protests. Without being able to see the entire pistol closely, it is impossible for us to say that this is an actual HK police service pistol or a fake. That said, it doesn’t seem likely any protester would carry a fake pistol when it would just increase chances of being shot by the police.

It is entirely believeable that CCP infiltrators are throwing these petrol bombs and performing other acts of extreme violence in order to blame the protesters and facilitate the CCP disinformation campaign again Hong Kong’s pro-democracy activists.

Police Brutality in Hong Kong

The BBC News (Chinese edition) shows some of the aftermath of the Hong Kong police brutality when they boarded subway trains and indiscriminately beat passengers, whether they were associated with the ongoing protests or not.

We wrote about this incident in our previous post, but it appears to be even more serious than it initially appeared.

This is enormously saddening and sickening. We have had some sympathy for the Hong Kong police. No doubt that they are under huge pressure to try to maintain law and order in Hong Kong under extreme circumstances, but after seeing their unrestrained violence against unresisting people, and seeing some (still unsubstantiated) reports that the police are behind at least some of the “petrol bomb” attacks, attacks by triad gangs on protesters, and other violence, it is getting harder and harder to have any sympathy at all for them. The Beijing and Hong Kong governments are failing the people of Hong Kong, hiding behind the police, and blaming the protesters for their failures.

It is looking more and more like Beijing is actively trying to engineer a violent confrontation in order to impose martial law in Hong Kong. The end of any form of “one country, two systems” may come very soon. The international community must stand up for Hong Kong.

More Violent Protests in Hong Kong; Police Beat Passengers in Subway Trains

As expected, protesters marched again today in Hong Kong. There are reports (and video) or protesters throwing “petrol bombs” (Molotov cocktails), including throwing them at the HK legislative building. There are also reports that police charged a subway/train station and fired pepper spray, resulting in numerous injuries, at least some to bystanders not part of the protests. The video is horrifying. Hong Kong police board a train, beat passengers with their batons, then get off the train without making any arrests. It appears to be totally unjustified violence.

The South China Morning Post has posted a timeline of the events as they are happening. They have also reported that at least two live-round warning shots were fired by the police into the air. Hong Kong police have also infiltrated the protest groups, arresting some protesters, but also causing fights between undercover officers and protesters.

The Hong Kong government has issued a statement condemning violence by the protesters. Of course, they have not, and will not, condemn unjustified violence by the police.

The Hong Kong government is said to be considering invoking emergency powers legislation. This will no doubt incite even larger protests. The HK government’s intransigence and unwillingness to negotiate the protester’s demands in any way, and unjustified violence by the HK police, is making the protesters more and more angry, and making the situation worse and worse.

The situation today in Hong Kong is extremely chaotic and dangerous. The HK police appear to be out of control (or perhaps beating protesters and bystanders is a deliberate tactic to provoked a confrontation). Will Beijing respond by sending in the PLA and People’s Armed Police to occupy Hong Kong? A large-scale, violent crackdown, with martial law imposed, could very well be the next step. When the government flatly refuses to consider the protester’s demands in any way, and the protesters will not back down, what other path forward is possible?

SCMP Letters: “Hong Kong is now a self-destructive patient.”

Displaying that special kind of ignorance of which only an academic is capable, Dr. Christian Chan, of the department of psychology at Hong Kong University, says that Hong Kong is a “self-destructive patient.”

When we are overwhelmed with emotions, reason alone is often insufficient or even counterproductive. Rather, we must first feel understood and our needs acknowledged. Empathy is shown – and cultivated – by exploring and acknowledging the person’s emotional pain. When we feel heard, we are more receptive to reason and change.

Dr. Christian Chan, department of psychology, Hong Kong University

Look, Hong Kong is not a patient in need of counseling, and to even suggest that is incredibly insulting to the activists that have put their lives on the line to fight for the freedom of the people of Hong Kong. Making them “feel understood,” showing “empathy,” and acknowledging “emotional pain” will not in any way help them achieve their admirable goals nor solve the long-term problem of Beijing’s continual erosion of the rights of the people of Hong Kong.

It is the governments of Hong Kong and mainland China that need change, not the pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong. The “thoughts” in Dr. Chan’s letter are just utterly ridiculous. Hong Kong University should be ashamed to have him teaching there.

More Arrests of Hong Kong Pro-Democracy Activists

The Hong Kong Free Press posted an article reporting on more arrests of pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong, including some Hong Kong lawmakers.

Pro-democracy lawmakers Jeremy Tam and Au Nok-hin were arrested on Friday evening – the latest of the high-profile pro-democracy activists to be rounded up by Hong Kong police.

Their arrests come after the detention of other several high-profile activists over the space of two days, including Joshua WongAgnes Chow, Andy ChanAlthea Suen and Shatin District Councillor Rick Hui. Lawmaker Cheng Chung-tai was also arrested en route to an event in Tin Shui Wai on Friday.

Hong Kong Free Press

Meanwhile, Global Times (one of the Chinese state-run media outlets) has reported that Joshua Wong and Agnes Chow were released hours after their arrest yesterday, deepening “concerns that a banned rally on Saturday could turn into extreme violence.”

We continue to be concerned that Beijing is trying to engineer a violent confrontation with police over this weekend, after arresting as many of the pro-democracy movement’s leaders as they can, in order to provide cover for a harsh crackdown on the protesters. Beijing needs to be continually reminded that a large-scale crackdown that results in extreme violence and deaths will have significant economic consequences, and they will lose standing in the international community.

Martial Law on the Way in Hong Kong?

This tweet by CGTN adds weight to our previous post:

Will the Hong Kong government declare an emergency, and Beijing then impose martial law on Hong Kong? Communication with Hong Kong being cut or restricted will not be a good sign, and the video implies that the Hong Kong government might do it.

Screen capture from CGTN video

Such regulations may provide for — censorship and the control and suppression of publications, photographs, communications amending any enactment, the punishment of any offence with such penalties, and sanctions including life imprisonment.

Carrie Lam, Hong Kong Chief Executive, speaking in CGTN video

The world needs to pay close attention to developments in Hong Kong this weekend and over the next week. The 70th anniversary celebration of the People’s Republic of China is October 1st. There is no doubt that the CCP wants the situation in Hong Kong resolved before then, lest it become a major embarrassment for the party and China. The CCP may see the Labor Day weekend in the U.S. as its best opportunity before then. A major crackdown, with arrests, armed and violent response to any protest, limited communication with Hong Kong, and martial law may be on the way soon. Let us all hope that it doesn’t happen.

The Crackdown in Hong Kong Begins?

Hong Kong police have arrested prominent activists, Joshua Wong and Agnes Chow, reports Hong Kong Free Press. Also, leader of the banned pro-independence Hong Kong National Party, Andy Chan, was arrested on the evening of August 29th while boarding a flight to Japan.

It is not the first time that Joshua Wong has been arrested for protesting for democracy in Hong Kong. Some that don’t follow Chinese politics may not know about the “Occupy Movement” or “Umbrella Movement,” a series of protests that took place in fall and winter of 2014. Wong was arrested and sentenced to six to eight months imprisonment for his activities during those protests. This long Wikipedia article has an extensive discussion of the events of the Occupy Movement (we know that Wikipedia is not always reliable, but the article goes into a lot of detail on what happened, so it is valuable, regardless).

So, protests for democracy in Hong Kong are not new, and the Chinese media’s feigned surprise at the current protests is disingenuous and ridiculous.

Yesterday, we posted an article on the rotation of the PLA contingent in Hong Kong, wondering if Beijing was rotating in forces prepared to deal harshly with the protesters – and hoping it was not. These arrests may be another precursor to that. Beijing would like to deprive the protest movement of leaders (they likely cannot comprehend that such a movement could be essentially leaderless), and then scatter the remaining protesters, thinking that without the leadership, the protest movement will dissolve – especially if it is under pressure by Hong Kong police and PLA elements using tough (read, violent) tactics.

Today, Beijing also “reminded” the Hong Kong people that the People’s Armed Police force is still just across the border:

And CCTV posted another article on the rotation of the PLA contingent in Hong Kong.

This post is more concerning than the one yesterday. It is much more militaristic, and the phrase in the tweet “perform its defense duty in Hong Kong in accordance with the law” is threatening.

The Hong Kong Free Press additionally reported that a planned peaceful march and rally to be held Saturday was banned by the Hong Kong police. It seems almost certain that there will be protests, marches, and rallies, despite the ban – which will then be (technically correctly) deemed illegal by the Hong Kong authorities.

This weekend the U.S. is celebrating its Labor Day holiday, the traditional end of summer, and preparing for kids to start the new school year. A major hurricane is aimed for Florida. News coverage of international events is likely to be less than usual. (see this comment at Small Dead Animals blog).

Is Beijing trying to engineer a violent confrontation with the protesters, using “illegal” protests as a pretext over this Labor Day weekend, when the U.S. is distracted? It would not surprise us at all. If news is blacked out and internet access to Hong Kong is shut down or restricted, be very, very concerned.

CCP Nuclear Hypocrisy

People’s Daily:

South China Morning Post:

The state propagandists in Beijing didn’t get the talking points to the SCMP in Hong Kong…

Taiwan Hosts TEDx Weekend

Taiwan President Tsa Ing-wen posted this:

It appears that Taiwan is working hard to improve its image and standing in the world. This is good news, and we urge the countries of the world to stand up to China’s bullying and support Taiwan.

Recently, we ran across this very interesting article by J. Michael Cole at the Taiwan Sentinel. Since 1949, when the Nationalist Party fled to Taiwan after being defeated by the communists, it has been Taiwan’s (the Republic of China’s) official policy that it is the legitimate government of all of China. In fact, that policy is enshrined in the constitution of the Republic of China. On the other hand, the CCP continues to insist that Taiwan is part of China, and does not recognize the Republic of China as the government of Taiwan. However, under the presidency of Tsai Ing-wen, Taiwan has recognized the fact that the CCP controls the mainland as the People’s Republic of China.

Is there a path forward? Cole argues:

The next step, therefore, is for Taiwan to openly declare its amenability to dual recognition, an option which it could propose to the handful of states that are currently rumored to be exploring the possibility of re-establishing official ties with Taiwan.

J. Michael Cole in The Taiwan Sentinel

Here, “dual recognition” would allow the government of a country to recognize both the People’s Republic of China (mainland China) and the Republic of China (Taiwan) diplomatically. Thus far, neither the PRC nor the ROC have allowed that. Especially, countries that want to maintain a diplomatic relationship with Beijing have not been allowed (by Beijing) to have official diplomatic ties with Taiwan. As Cole says,

No doubt, Beijing will continue to play the zero-sum game and vehemently deny the possibility that “two Chinas” or “one China, one Taiwan” can co-exist, but by ceasing to play that zero-sum game, Taipei would make it clear that the impediment to a peaceful resolution to the dispute in the Taiwan Strait lies with Beijing, not Taipei. The ball, the impediment to peace, would thereby be fully in Beijing’s camp.

J. Michael Cole in The Taiwan Sentinel

We agree with Cole. Taiwan should change its policies to allow dual recognition. In addition, because Taiwan has a free and open democratic government deserving of support, other democratic countries should stand up to Beijing’s intransigence and bullying and recognize Taiwan.

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