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Posts published in August 2019

China Rotates PLA Contingent in Hong Kong

A post by Xinhua News says that China has rotated the PLA garrison in Hong Kong. The rotation took place in the middle of the night. Maybe to avoid a confrontation with protesters?

Approved by the Central Military Commission, the move is normal routine annual rotation in line with the Law of the People’s Republic of China on Garrisoning the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, which stipulates that “the Hong Kong Garrison shall practice a system of rotation of its members.”

Xinhua News article

Xinhua says the rotation is routine, in accordance with the law. Let’s stipulate that it is. The question is, who is rotating in? It would not be surprising at all that the PLA contingent coming into Hong Kong are members of the People’s Armed Police or other forces in preparation for a crackdown on the protesters. Let’s hope that isn’t the case.

Protestors Denounce White Terror at Cathay Pacific

A Reuters article today reports on protests today against the “white terror” at Cathay Pacific, where many Cathay Pacific employees have been fired or have resigned over the ongoing protests in Hong Kong. China Daily News posted about this on August 21st (“Nice Little Airline You’ve Got Here. Be a Shame if Anything Happened to It.”) and again on August 23rd (“White Terror Continues at Cathay Pacific“).

China’s aviation regulator demanded Cathay suspend staff from flying over its airspace if they were involved in, or supported, the demonstrations. At least 20 pilots and cabin crew have since been fired, the HKCTU [Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions] said.


One of the at least 20 Cathay Pacific staff members fired was Rebecca Sy, head of the flight attendant’s association. She was fired without explanation after being shown screenshots of her private Facebook page.

The CCP fears, and therefore oppresses, any person or organization that it views might be a threat to its power: trade unions, religious organizations (Christian churches, Falun Gong, the Muslim Uighurs), rival political parties (which are essentially completely banned), even lawyers in mainland China.

Cathay’s director for corporate affairs, James Tong, said the Civil Aviation Administration of China had issued a directive “with regards to new safety and security measures” with which the airline was bound to comply.

“We fully support the upholding of the Basic Law and all the rights and freedoms afforded by it. At the same time, we are also required to adhere to all of our regulatory duties, including those prescribed by the authorities in mainland China. The airline must do this; there is no ground for compromise.”

Reuters – emphasis China Daily News

This is the usual kind of nonsense that the CCP spews when it demands that people comply – it’s all in the name of “safety” or “public harmony” or some other nice-sounding words. But behind those nice words is a gun, and they mean comply or die.

Canadian Province New Brunswick Removes Confucius Institutes from School

The CBC reports that New Brunswick will remove Confucius Institutes from its schools in two stages, with the final removal completed by 2022.

This is a smart move. The Confucius Institutes are part of China’s soft power initiatives. The money that China provides to fund the institutes always comes with strings attached, and those strings include not criticizing China or the CCP.

Now if only more American universities would catch on to this.

Human Rights Watch on Torture by Chinese Police

In a post here on China Daily News yesterday, we talked about the case of Yang Hengjun, a Chinese-born Australian citizen, who was seized by the Chinese police, held incommunicado for seven months, and then finally charged with espionage – a charge that could lead to the death penalty. The Australian government has been demanding his return – and rightly so.

An article by Human Rights Watch details one of the many reasons China’s “legal” system causes so much concern, and why the Hong Kong people are fighting so desperately against the extradition bill.

“We heard appalling stories of detainees being hung by the wrists, shackled for years, and terrorized by cell bosses, yet having no real means to hold their tormentors to account,” [Sophie] Richardson said [China director of Human Rights Watch]. “It’s hard to square such consistent accounts of abuse with claims by President Xi Jinping that the government respects the rule of law.”

China’s criminal justice system facilitates numerous opportunities for the police to abuse suspects and gives them enormous power over the judiciary, hindering any accountability efforts. Police alone make all initial decisions to deprive suspects of their liberty, and can subject them to 37 days of repeated instances of incommunicado interrogation before the procuratorate must approve their arrests. This contrasts starkly to the requirement in Hong Kong and many other jurisdictions, where suspects have to be brought before a judge within 48 hours of being apprehended.

Human Rights Watch – emphasis by China Daily News

No country has a perfect legal system, but seriously, would anyone willingly live under China’s system, where justice is arbitrary, judges are controlled by the CCP, lawyers are routinely charged with crimes for defending their clients, no one has a right to a trial by jury of peers or to face accusers, people are held for months or even years without charges, without the right to see a lawyer or family, and under the threat of torture to “confess” to crimes? China’s propagandists and apologists would have you believe that it’s only China’s internal business and no one has a right to say anything about it. No. When people are tortured and deprived of the inalienable human rights that all people, everywhere, naturally have, it is the whole world’s business.

Is This a Joke, CGTN?

This tweet and video is unintentional tragi-comedy.


CGTN asks, “Hong Kong, what happened to you?” Do they really not understand? I suggest that CGTN watch this SCMP video of the Chinese Foreign Ministry’s statement regarding the G7 statement on the situation in Hong Kong:

South China Morning Post

The statement by China is the usual blather about other countries not “harboring evil intentions” and not interfering in China’s blatant disregard for human rights – as if upholding and showing concern for human rights is somehow “evil.” But stop the SCMP video at 1:01. CGTN, do you see what is written on the wall there? “GIVE ME DEMOCRACY OR GIVE ME DEATH” The Hong Kong people know. They see China. They know China. They know the CCP. They know what happened at Tiananmen Square in 1989. They know that the Chinese Communist Party cares nothing about human rights. They know the Chinese Communist Party’s history of lying, propaganda, and deceit. They want nothing to do with it.

That is what happened to Hong Kong.

Why is Hong Kong’s Extradition Bill Such a Big Deal?

For people that have been following the protests in Hong Kong, but perhaps not closely, they may have heard that the protests began because of an “extradition bill” that was introduced by the Hong Kong government. That bill (an amendment to Hong Kong’s “Basic Law”) would allow people accused of some crimes to be extradited to mainland China to face trial.

So, why is that a big deal? Lots of countries have extradition treaties with other countries, right?Those of us living in countries where the legal system is (usually) fair and impartial, where our rights are guaranteed by a constitution or in the law may have trouble understanding why the Hong Kong people have been fighting and protesting so hard against that bill. Is it really worth all of the violence and mayhem that Hong Kong has endured for so long?

A Financial Times article demonstrates exactly why so many Hong Kongers believe it is.

[Australian citizen] Yang Hengjun has been held in China since January, when he disappeared in the southern city of Guangzhou, as his wife and child awaited visas to travel to Australia.

Marise Payne, Australia’s foreign minister, said the government was “very concerned and disappointed” to learn of Mr Yang’s formal arrest and criticised the harsh conditions he has been held in for seven months without charge.

“Since that time, China has not explained the reasons for Dr Yang’s detention, nor has it allowed him access to his lawyers or family visits,” she said. “I respectfully reiterate my previous requests that if Dr Yang is being held for his political beliefs, he should be released.”

Under Chinese law, the penalties for espionage include imprisonment or the death penalty.

Financial Times – emphasis by China Daily News

This is China’s “legal” system. They seize citizens of other countries that disagree with their policies with impunity, hold them for months without contact with their families or lawyers and without charging them. And when they do finally charge them, the charges are clearly politically motivated and for crimes that could result in the death penalty. It would be ridiculous if it weren’t so despicable and horrendous.

No one should think for a second that the CCP is in any way some sort of “benign dictatorship,” just wanting to grow their economy and make their citizens happy. No. As long as you toe the party line, you probably are fine, but if you dare criticize them, you are in danger.

“Protesters” in Front of U.S. Consulate in Hong Kong

Really, shouldn’t they be marching on an Astroturf field?

I wonder how much Beijing paid to get these members of the 50-cent Army out of their chairs? Amazing that they managed to get even 100 of them.

Carrie Lam Meets with “Young People” in a Useless Gesture

Carrie Lam has met with a group of “young people” after the violent events yesterday (link to South China Morning Post article).

The response of Hong Kong’s government continues to be weak and ineffective. Dialogue with “young people” is good, but until the Hong Kong government is willing to negotiate in good faith and respond to the protesters “five demands” in a positive way, it will accomplish nothing.

This is what is causing the stalemate between the Hong Kong government and the protesters.

First, Carrie Lam and the Hong Kong government’s intransigence on the extradition bill and other demands:

According to a source at the meeting, some attendees told Lam it was not necessary for her to satisfy the five demands all at once. But Lam could consider completely withdrawing the bill first and establishing the independent inquiry, they told the chief executive.

Lam responded that it would be difficult to completely withdraw the bill but stopped short of elaborating on the reasons, the source said. She also said the police had already been under huge pressure from the protesters’ accusations of excessive use of force.

SCMP article

And, the protesters do not trust the Hong Kong government:

Claiming he [Chris Chan, one of the protesters] represented 100 radical protesters, and was in touch with total of 300, Chan said the groups had no intention at all to hold a dialogue with the government. Previous dialogues had only led to protesters losing out, he said.

SCMP article

The message delivered to Carrie Lam at the meeting is reasonable. Carrie Lam has herself said the extradition bill is “dead,” so why not completely withdraw it? The protesters are right to be concerned that as soon as the pressure is off of the government, the bill with be re-introduced and quickly passed before anyone can do anything about it.

The Hong Kong government’s (and thus the CCP’s) refusal to negotiate in good faith and lack of any kind of creativity or willingness to take the protesters’ demands seriously is the ultimate reason behind the crisis. Of course, this kind of inflexibility and lack of vision is a prime characteristic of totalitarian states. The protesters need to adjust their tactics accordingly. Direct confrontation just leads to entrenchment by the government. We believe that non-violent tactics will give better results.

An article in The Strategist by Michael Shoebridge argues that Beijing is orchestrating events in Hong Kong to force a bloody crackdown. He is quite possibly correct – we have wondered if at least some of the violent attacks on the HK police could be by CCP “plants” among the protesters. If events in Hong Kong are being pushed toward a violent conclusion by Beijing, it is all the more reason for the protesters to adopt non-violent tactics. Confrontations, as we said earlier, just play into the CCP’s hands.

Violence Escalates in Hong Kong; Police Draw Guns

This is a very bad development.

Hong Kong protesters and police clashed violently yesterday, with protesters attacking police with sticks and other weapons, and police drawing their guns. One warning shot was fired into the air.

The scene looks very dangerous.

Other video shows the protesters attacking the police with sticks, clubs, and other weapons, including Molotov cocktails.

It is very difficult to understand what the protesters are thinking by these actions. In our view, they are playing directly into the CCP’s narrative, and they will turn public opinion against the protests. They obviously cannot win a direct confrontation with the police, especially if Beijing responds by deploying the armed police force that is just across the border in or near Shenzhen.

All people everywhere desire freedom, the right to self-determination, the right to directly elect their own leaders, freedom of speech and assembly, and so on. So the question in Hong Kong is how to achieve those goals. We were encouraged by the peaceful protests that occurred last week. These confrontations with the police are counterproductive and are likely to lead to a violent, deadly clash with Beijing’s armed police. That would be a disaster for everyone – and indeed a disaster for the entire world.

We implore the Hong Kong people to abandon the tactics of violent confrontation with the police. Non-violent protests are the only viable path forward.

RealClearPolitics: Trump is Playing the Long Game on China

An article on RealClearPolitics by Andy Puzder (former CEO of CKE restaurants, author and commentator) and Jim Talent (former US Senator from Missouri and a commissioner on the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission) argues that the U.S. has the upper hand in the trade war with China, and that President Trump is playing a long game in dealing with China.

The article says:

Unfortunately for China, that plan is not working. Our decision to finally get tough on trade with China is having far less of a negative impact on the U.S. economy than establishment American commentators and politicians predicted. The American economy remains strong, despite stagnating growth elsewhere in the world.

Puzder and Talent in RealClearPolitics

In our opinion from yesterday, we argued

So, if China’s economic health declines drastically, it probably will not be good for the U.S. economy in the long run, and there have been many signs that China’s economy is slowing, including lowering of interest rates by China’s central bank and other economic stimulus measures announced by Beijing. The trade war with the U.S., the protests in Hong Kong, higher labor costs in China leading to companies moving their manufacturing to countries with cheaper labor, China’s push to modernize its military – all of these factors (and probably others) have reduced China’s economic growth. If China’s economy drops into a recession, the entire world economy may also, and there have been some signs that it could happen (although it is by no means certain).

China Daily News, August 24, 2019

So, while we agree with Puzder and Talent on many of the facts, we disagree, at least to some degree, on the conclusions to be drawn from those facts. They believe that the U.S. economy will be minimally impacted by the slowing of the Chinese economy. We are less optimistic about that. They see Trump’s announced delays on some tariffs as just a short-term tactic in the overall trade conflict. We believe, still, that slow-rolling the trade war, avoiding any further escalation for the time-being (no additions to the tariffs already in place), as smart and necessary moves to prevent the entire world economy – including the U.S. economy – from dropping into a recession. If that happens, it could very well cost President Trump re-election.

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