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Posts published in “World/China Relations”

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.

Bring Taiwan into the United Nations

In an article in The Diplomat, Taiwan’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Jaushieh Joseph Wu, argues persuasively that Taiwan should be included in the United Nations. ChinaDailyNews agrees.

Taiwan’s government is freely, fairly, and democratically elected, and thus is a government that legitimately represents the people of Taiwan. The undemocratic, repressive, dictatorial CCP-controlled government of the People’s Republic of China in Beijing does not and never has. By what kind of twisted logic does the United Nations, an international body ostensibly committed to human rights, allow the CCP to claim that it does?

Of course, the United Nations is mostly ineffective and useless, especially the egregious “Human Rights Council,” which spends a substantial part of its time issuing resolutions condemning Israel – the one country in the Middle East that actually respects human rights.

Despite that, allowing Taiwan to participate fully in the United Nations is just and fair. It is deplorable that the UN member nations have allowed Beijing to bully them into blocking Taiwan’s participation in the community of nations as represented there. We urge the U.S. government and the other democratic, freedom-loving nations of the world to resist the CCP’s bullying and restore Taiwan’s membership in the U.N. as the Republic of China.

Hong Kong: How Should the West Respond?

In a post on PJ Media about the recent brutality by Hong Kong police, Michael van der Galien says

Beijing is willing to go much further than beating up some protesters — and there is nothing the West can do about it.

Michael van der Galen in PJ Media

We emphatically disagree.

So, what can the West do about the Hong Kong and Beijing governments’ continual erosion of the rights of the people of Hong Kong, police brutality by the Hong Kong police and/or CCP infiltrators, arrest and jailing of Hong Kong pro-democracy activists and lawmakers, expulsion and disappearing of anti-CCP commenters, authors, and journalists, and all of the other trouble being stirred up by the CCP recently?

Let’s say right up front that war is not a solution anyone with a brain or functioning conscience wants. What else can be done?

Here are some things:

  • No longer issue any student visas for Chinese students to study in the universities of Western countries, and send those currently studying here back to China. The children of many of the Chinese elite study in the U.S. and Europe. In fact, Chinese president Xi Jinping’s daughter, Xi Mingze, graduated from Harvard.
  • Pressure/incentivize companies to no longer do their manufacturing in China and not to sell to China or in China. The rising standard of living in China is what the CCP has been using to sell their rule to the people. If the economy suffers and China’s standard of living suffers with it, the CCP may face internal unrest and dissension. [Update: In fact, doing this is likely to be the most difficult step to achieve. Business people will resist any effort to reduce their access to Chinese markets and cheap manufacturing.]
  • Cut academic, cultural, and business ties and exchanges, and reduce or even eliminate tourist, business, and other visas granted to Chinese citizens.
  • Freeze assets of Chinese government officials held in Western banks.
  • Increase tariffs on Chinese goods even more.
  • Increase military and economic ties with Taiwan, and continue to sell military hardware to Taiwan. At this point, doing this is just prudent. It is not a secret that China wants to “integrate” Taiwan, and has threatened to do so militarily. The U.S. has already taken several steps to improve ties with Taiwan and to strengthen Taiwan’s military.
  • Increase “freedom of navigation” operations in the South China Sea and the Taiwan Strait.
  • Recognize Taiwan diplomatically and cut ties with mainland China.

There are undoubtedly many, many more things that can be done to pressure China short of any kind of military confrontation. Granted, all of these things come with some cost to Western countries, and none of them may force China to back down, but they will make China pay dearly for oppressing Hong Kong.

The leadership in Beijing is dogmatic and totalitarian, but it isn’t stupid. They will do the calculus and decide which is more costly – some freedom for Hong Kong versus loss of face internationally, internal dissension, and loss of business with the West. If Western countries can unite in support for HK, they can exert enormous pressure on Beijing. Hopefully, Beijing will see that freedom for Hong Kong is the better path forward.

This post was adapted from the author’s comment on the PJ Media article.

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.

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.

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.

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