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Posts published in September 2019

Hong Kong Has a Parade, Too!

Today in Beijing, the CCP held a military parade to celebrate the founding of the People’s Republic of China. There are plenty of pictures around the internet, so we won’t post any here.

The people of Hong Kong, despite applications for gatherings today being denied by the Hong Kong government, had their own parade to demonstrate again for freedom and human rights and against CCP totalitarianism and infringement of their rights.

Thousands of Hong Kongers have joined the march for democracy and human rights, carrying the trademark umbrellas that have become a symbol of the Hong Kong democracy movement (and an effective tool when facing down police pepper spray and water cannons) .

Our hopes and prayers are with the Hong Kong demonstrators. It is likely that there will be violence, unfortunately. We hope all involved (yes, even the police) will be safe and free from injury, and that the police will exercise restraint and be professional, even when faced with challenging circumstances; although, they have not been doing so in past demonstrations.

香港加油!

Hong Kong’s Anti-Extradition Bill Protests and China’s “Legal” System

As most everyone knows, the current protests in Hong Kong, which have been running for over 17 weeks now, were first organized as peaceful demonstrations against a bill introduced for consideration by the Hong Long legislature that would allow Hong Kong citizens to be extradited to mainland China for prosecution in some circumstances.

Why is that so concerning to the people of Hong Kong? This embedded tweet and the article by The Guardian make it clear.

Australian citizen living in the U.S. and former Chinese diplomat, Yang Hengjun, was detained in China last January and has been held incommunicado since then, with no contact allowed with the Australian embassy, lawyers, or his family.

He is allowed to shower once a week, and has access to a small enclosure outside his cell – with access to fresh air and natural light – for one hour, twice a day.
He is able to drink water when he needs it, and can purchase additional food, including fruit, biscuits, and chocolate.
He shares his cell with two other prisoners. The lights are on in the cell at all times.
Yang is taken from his cell once a week for interrogation, for up to four hours at a time. His hands and feet are shackled with heavy chains during questioning.
Investigators from the ministry of state security have reportedly told him he is shackled because of the seriousness of the crimes he is alleged to have committed. He has been told he potentially faces the death penalty.

The Guardian – emphasis by China Daily News

Yang is an Australian citizen, but the CCP seized him and holds him incommunicado on made-up charges of espionage, with no way to defend himself. The charges are completely motivated by Yang’s criticism of the CCP and pro-democracy writing. He is being tortured to “admit” his “crimes.”

This is how the CCP treats people, especially those that are Chinese – no matter where they reside – that criticize it. The people of Hong Kong are very well aware of this – some booksellers in China were subjected to the same kind of treatment. Is there any doubt at all that political dissidents in Hong Kong would be even more likely to disappear – sometimes permanently – should that extradition bill become law?

On the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China, no one should forget or ignore the true nature of the Chinese Communist Party – the political party and government directly responsible for the deaths of more people than any other in human history – perhaps ten or more times as many as the Nazis in Germany. CCP sympathizers like to say those things are all in the past, and the CCP is no longer like that. The case of Yang Hengjun, and many others, prove it’s a lie. The CCP is every bit as brutal and tyrannical today as it ever has been.

Support Freedom for Hong Kong!

UPDATE 9/29: There were rallies in many other cities around the world today in support of Hong Kong. Stand with Hong Kong!


Today and tomorrow there are rallies being held all over the world in opposition to totalitarianism and to support freedom for Hong Kong. Please attend one if you can!

A rally was held today in London in front of the Chinese embassy:

And in Berlin:

Rallies in other cities will be taking place today and tomorrow. We will update this post as additional pictures/videos become available. Support Hong Kong freedom!

UPDATE: Rally in Ukraine supporting Hong Kong. Hong Kong IS NOT China!

UPDATE 2: Seattle Stands with Hong Kong!

UPDATE 3: The Netherlands Stands with Hong Kong!

UPDATE 4: New York City rallies for Hong Kong!

More Unbelievable Hong Kong Police Brutality

This kind of thing is becoming pretty much an every day occurrence, sadly.

Agnes Chow Ting, one of the leaders of Hong Kong’s Demosisto, a pro-democracy organization founded by students, including Joshua Wong, Nathan Law, and others, posted this on Twitter today (in Japanese).

The video shows someone having a discussion with Hong Kong police officers. The discussion appears somewhat heated, but peaceful. The person is not violent in any way, but suddenly one of the officers sprays him directly in the face with pepper spray.

What isn’t clear in the video, but is said in Ages Chow’s post, is that the person that was sprayed is Eddie Chu, a lawmaker in Hong Kong!

Translated (by Google):

While Hong Kong legislator Eddie Chu was discussing police power abuse with police, another police officer put pepper spray on his face. Violent response to peaceful discussions. This is the Hong Kong police.

Agnes Chow – automatic translation by Google

Imagine the outrage if the police anywhere in the U.S. pepper-sprayed a lawmaker (state or U.S. representative or senator) without provocation. The police officer would be almost certainly fired and probably prosecuted. The police in Hong Kong are out of control. An independent investigation of the Hong Kong police is absolutely required.

Carrie Lam’s Political Theater

Today Carrie Lam, chief executive of Hong Kong, held the first of her “dialogues” with about 150 citizens/residents of Hong Kong. These dialogues will accomplish little or nothing, as the Hong Kong government has already ruled out any concessions to the pro-democracy demonstrators remaining demands, especially their demand to an independent investigation into the actions of the Hong Kong police. Recent events have shown that an independent investigation by someone with powers of prosecution is desperately needed. Despite clearly documented evidence of police misconduct and brutality, the Hong Kong government and police ridiculously deny that there are any problems in their policing policies or use of force.

Police tactics were a common theme at Thursday’s dialogue. Many speakers demanded tougher action against what they believe to be police abuses of power, such as excessive violence against antigovernment protesters and perceived leniency toward pro-Beijing groups who have attacked demonstrators. 

Wall Street Journal article
https://www.wsj.com/articles/hong-kong-leader-pledges-to-listen-at-televised-citizen-forum-11569523905?mod=e2twcrt

But of course, despite many people speaking directly to her about the problem with the Hong Kong police, and thus proving that the “dialogue” is a sham, Carrie Lam refused to even consider the idea:

Mrs. Lam stuck to her view that an ongoing investigation into police actions by Hong Kong’s independent police complaints council is sufficient. Critics have objected to its lead role, as the body doesn’t have investigative power, can’t summon witnesses and comprises many pro-government figures.

Wall Street Journal

The Independent Police Complaints Council is not independent, and it has no power to prosecute, so what is the point of its “investigation?” There is none. Carrie Lam is just trying to buy time with these so-called “dialogues,” hoping the protests will die out on their own. We think she is mistaken.

The people of freedom-loving countries around the world are more and more fed up with the CCP’s totalitarianism, lack of respect for the natural rights of all people, bullying, and brutality. Demonstrations will be held in cities throughout the world to reject totalitarianism and stand with Hong Kong. Please attend one if you can!

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Unanimously Passes TAIPEI Act

The Senate Foreign Relations committee unanimously passed the TAIPEI Act, introduced by Republican Senator Cory Gardner of Colorado.

The Senate bill is intended to support allies of Taiwan and put pressure on countries that cut diplomatic ties with Taiwan.

As reported in Taiwan News:

During the committee meeting, U.S. Senator Cory Gardner said that China constantly threatens Taiwan’s democracy and that the U.S. “should use every tool to support Taiwan’s standing on the international stage.” Gardner described the act as a “whole-of-government approach” to send a clear signal to the world “that there will be consequences for supporting Chinese actions that undermine Taiwan.”

It is gratifying to see the U.S. Congress showing bipartisan support for democracy in Asia, yesterday by unanimously passing the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act out of the respective House and Senate committees, and today passing the TAIPEI Act out of the Senate Foreign Relations committee. We urge Congress to pass these bills out of the entire House and Senate and send them to President Trump for his signature as soon as possible.

Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act Passes House and Senate Committees

In a bit of good news about Hong Kong (for a change), today the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act passed unanimously out of the House Foreign Affairs and Senate Foreign Relations committees.

Bipartisanship is so rare in the U.S. House and Senate in recent years; seeing unanimous support from both Republican and Democratic members of the House and Senate is really gratifying.

But of course, the CCP can’t accept that anyone would hold them accountable for their oppression and fascism:

This weekend there will be rallies all over the world against totalitarianism in support of Hong Kong. September 29th is Global Anti-Totalitarianism Day. The CCP’s opposition to allowing the people of Hong Kong to exercise their natural rights of freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, self-determination, and so on, proves the need for the U.S. to pass the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act and for the world to stand together in solidarity with Hong Kong. We hope that as many people as possible will join in one of the events at the link above. Free Hong Kong!

When Will the HK Police be Held Accountable?

Again, clear video evidence of police brutality by the Hong Kong police:

In the video above, you can clearly see a person being held down by a police officer, fully restrained, while a second office hits the person in the head twice with his baton. There is no reason for that officer to hit him at all, let alone deliberately in the head.

What do you say, Acting Senior Superintendent (Operations) Vasco Williams of the Hong Kong police force? Is this clear enough evidence for you? Is the justified and appropriate use of force? Was this officer so stupid as to assault someone in public?

The Hong Kong police must be held accountable for their brutality. There is absolutely no question that they are out-of-control thugs. An independent investigation into the Hong Kong police must be held, and officers that have brutally attacked protesters must be prosecuted.

More on Hong Kong Police Brutality

The New York Times has produced this video report on the Hong Kong pro-democracy demonstrations and the brutal police tactics being used to oppress them. Please watch. It is extremely important that the world see clearly what is happening. Pressure must be put on the Hong Kong government and police to protect and uphold the rights of the Hong Kong people.

Amnesty International has also documented numerous instances of violations of human rights by Beijing and police brutality in Hong Kong. Human Rights Watch has also urged the Hong Kong police to “exercise restraint.”

Numerous videos, like this one, have also documented without ambiguity, brutal and unwarranted beatings and use of pepper spray by the Hong Kong police:

Earlier today, Hong Kong police beat and arrested a volunteer from the “Protect Our Kids” group – an organization that tries to mediate between the police and protesters. Although, the video isn’t really clear (mostly because HK police shine their flashlights into the camera to hide what they are doing), it is clear that officers surrounded and beat a person in a yellow shirt. Spokespeople for the Protect Our Kids group later said it was a member of their organization.

We are infuriated by this incident of police brutality. Our member did not resist arrest nor in any way attack the police,” said preacher Roy Chan, also a member of the Campaign. “We have contacted our member’s legal representative, and learned that his gums and teeth are bleeding and that he is experiencing dizziness.

Protect Our Kids member Roy Chan, quoted in Hong Kong Free Press

But as usual, the Hong Kong police have denied any wrongdoing, and claimed that the video only showed a “yellow object.”

This is exactly why the pro-democracy demonstrators do not trust the police and insist on an independent investigation.

Time and time again, the Hong Kong police have brutally attacked protesters; it has been clearly documented on video and by eyewitness accounts. But when confronted with the evidence, the police shamelessly lie and claim that the attacks were appropriate use of force and were completely justified. It’s horrifying and maddening. Police are supposed to protect people’s rights, uphold the law, act professionally, and behave with honor and integrity. In most places that claim to uphold human rights, and in most circumstances, they do. But the Hong Kong police, once regarded and respected as one of Asia’s best police forces, have completely lost control and have lost all sense of honor and integrity. How can this police officer, Acting Senior Superintendent (Operations) Vasco Williams, and the many other Hong Kong police officers that have done so, sit in front of journalists and lie with no sense of shame? He asks “would any police officer be so stupid as to assault anybody in public?” Yes, Officer Williams, they absolutely would be so stupid. It’s been documented over and over and over again, and it’s enfuriating.

The world must stand with Hong Kong.

End of the Chinese Communist Party is Near?

The South China Morning Post has published an opinion piece by Minxin Pei arguing the we are seeing the “beginning of the end” of one-party rule in China.

Pei argues that, historically speaking, dictatorships typically last at most from 70 to 75 years. This has been true of dictatorships in Mexico, Taiwan (the KMT ruled autocratically from 1927 to 1949 on the mainland and from 1949 to 2000 in Taiwan), and the Soviet Union. The Kim family has ruled in North Korea for 71 years. Are there counter examples? The article doesn’t cite any, but many of the Chinese imperial dynasties lasted much, much longer than 75 years. Is the CCP more like dictatorships in other countries, or more like a Chinese imperial dynasty?

Pei makes other arguments based on politics, economics, military challenges, diplomacy, and domestic policy. Let’s discuss some of those issues.

Economically, China is facing challenges. The trade war with the U.S. is hurting China’s economy, despite the blustering denials coming from the CCP’s pet media outlets. From a military standpoint, even though China has been enlarging and modernizing its military, it is still far behind the U.S. military’s capabilities. Diplomatically, China’s “belt and road” initiatives and dollar diplomacy have made some headway, but China is still very much distrusted, and has few, if any, friends of consequence in the western Pacific. Japan, Korean, Vietnam, Thailand, the Philippines, and Taiwan all have contentious, if not actually hostile, relationships with China. Russia has a sometimes-friendly, sometimes-not relationship with China. At this moment, China and Russia seem to be cooperating, but that could change at any time, should the relationship sour.

Domestically, the CCP has sold itself by touting the improving standard of living. Millions of Chinese have been lifted out of poverty, there is no doubt about that. But coming from the abject state that the Chinese people lived in prior to the 1980’s, achieving that only required economic policies that weren’t completely disastrous. Much of the miraculous growth in the Chinese economy was achieved through capital investment coming from Western countries, Japan, and Taiwan. That growth has slowed, and capital from developed countries is moving into countries with cheaper labor (and better legal protections, in some cases). If the Chinese economy drops into recession, on what will the CCP base its claim to rule legitimately? It is stoking nationalism as one means, but sustained nationalism requires sustained national achievement and true pride in one’s country. With the CCP so disrespected in the world, it is hard to imagine that the Chinese people can truly believe in its legitimacy over the long term.

Dictatorships and one-party states face inherent internal contradictions. Every government, as an organization run by imperfect people, is imperfect and makes mistakes. Public and world opinion changes, natural disasters occur, new ideas arise, countries go to war, and so on. Things happen.

True democratic societies have a built-in mechanism – periodic elections – to make policy changes in response to changes in society and the world. Sometimes they are slow to respond, but they can respond in a deliberate way that reflects the will of the majority of the people (hopefully, as in the U.S., while respecting the rights of people that disagree). In essence, elections are “mini-revolutions” that allow for political challenges to be addressed through peaceful change.

Dictatorships and one-party states do not have this mechanism, so internal stresses build up that eventually lead to their downfall. They are “brittle.” They often respond to challenges either wildly or not at all. They become corrupt, as their legal systems are not fair and are bound to the policy of the one-party state; thus, they lack legitimacy. State-run economic systems cannot respond quickly to changes in markets, and so are inefficient. Historically in China, the process of a dynasty becoming weak and corrupt, unable to respond effectively to internal and external challenges, is known as “losing the mandate of heaven,” and it has always led to the downfall of the imperial dynasty, and eventual replacement by another. Is the CCP losing the “mandate of heaven?”

The modern, high-tech police state implemented in China, with ubiquitous surveillance, “social credit” scores for every person, and so on, maybe will allow the CCP to maintain its power through more efficient oppression of the Chinese people, but how long can that last? At what point do the Chinese people, with the greater access to information now than in the past, look at the rights that citizens of other countries enjoy, and say, “what about us?” Dictatorships and one-party states, like the Soviet Union, often have collapsed (as the famous quote says) “slowly, then all at once.” Will the CCP collapse in the same way?

Periods between dynasties in China have often been times of horrifying bloodshed and civil war. No one wants that in China. Could the CCP transition peacefully, allowing free elections and truly independent opposition political parties, as happened in Taiwan? That would be the best-case scenario, but it doesn’t seem likely, especially as long as Xi Jinping rules the CCP and mainland China autocratically. Could the pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong spark a pro-democracy movement in the mainland? The CCP clearly is very, very afraid of that happening, but right now, that doesn’t seem likely either. In this writer’s view, the CCP is firmly in power in mainland China and will remain so, despite the challenges it faces. It may be the beginning of the end for the CCP, but sadly, the end is still far in the future.

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