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China Daily News

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.

Hong Kong Police Deny Amnesty International Report

Sadly, but as expected, the Hong Kong police have denied any wrongdoing in their handling of the pro-democracy demonstrations after Amnesty International’s report documenting rampant Hong Kong police brutality.

The evidence leaves little room for doubt—in an apparent thirst for retaliation, Hong Kong’s security forces have engaged in a disturbing pattern of reckless and unlawful tactics against people during the protests.

Amnesty International

The Hong Kong police spokesman’s response is incredibly weak. He basically just says that enforcing the law is really hard. (Yeah, no kidding!) He did not respond at all to Amnesty International’s assertions of rampant police brutality. He also complained that the report did not provide identities of the people that Amnesty interviewed during their investigation nor the time and place of the alleged police misconduct, so that the Hong Kong police couldn’t check the facts. To anyone thinking at all clearly, it is obvious that Amnesty would not provide those details; it would just leave those that were interviewed open to retaliation by the police (who have already shown that they will resort to brutal tactics). So, his complaint is just a flaccid attempt at deflecting Amnesty International’s completely on-point criticism of the Hong Kong police and government.

As we mentioned in our post from yesterday, this report was an opportunity for the Hong Kong government to establish an independent investigation of the Hong Kong police, as the protesters demand. The Amnesty International report says that the Hong Kong police cannot be trusted to investigate themselves and also calls for an independent investigation:

Given the pervasiveness of the abuses we found, it is clear that the Hong Kong Police Force is no longer in a position to investigate itself and remedy the widespread unlawful suppression of protesters. Amnesty International is urgently calling for an independent, impartial investigation aimed at delivering prosecutions, justice and reparation, as there is little trust in existing internal mechanisms such as the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

Amnesty International

The Hong Kong government and police force have completely lost legitimacy. The Hong Kong police spokesman’s response to the Amnesty International report sounds exactly like “news” articles published by the CCP’s lapdog media outlets when the CCP has done something especially egregious (a nearly daily occurrence) and the international community takes them to task for it. It is all the usual minimizing, deflection, “whataboutism,” and outright lying that we typically see from China Daily, Xinhua News, CCTV, etc. It is sad to see a police force that was once respected throughout Asia and the world come to the point of having lost all credibility, merely another puppet organization whose strings are pulled from Beijing.

Amnesty International Report on Hong Kong Police Brutality

At China Daily News, we have written several articles on the brutal tactics used by the Hong Kong police. We believe that the Hong Kong police are no longer being directed by the Hong Kong government; it is likely that they are being managed directly by the CCP, and it is also likely that elements for the CCP’s People’s Armed Police have infiltrated or have been embedded into the civilian Hong Kong police force. That would explain the increasing unprofessionalism and brutality of the Hong Kong police, and their seemingly complete disregard for the rights of the Hong Kong people as guaranteed by the Basic Law.

Now, Amnesty International has released a report on their investigation into the Hong Kong police used of brutal and indiscriminate violence against the Hong Kong people, and it supports what we have said here several times.

This is serious business. The Hong Kong police have denied any wrongdoing in their policing practices during the protests. Now Amnesty International, a well-respected human rights organization, has called them out, accusing them of the very things that the protesters have said all along and has been documented on many, many videos. How will the Hong Kong police and government react to this? Will they accuse Amnesty International of lying or bias?

The CCP’s lapdog media (China Daily, Xinhua News, CCTV, etc.) of course will do just that, and they will accuse Amnesty International of “interfering in China’s internal affairs” per their usual, unoriginal, ridiculous playbook. No one need take any of that seriously. But the reaction of the Hong Kong government is a different matter. They have an opportunity to use this report as a springboard for an independent investigation into the police, as the protesters have demanded. Will they take it? Very, very doubtful. Carrie Lam seems to be utterly tone-deaf and uncreative; it is much more likely that the Hong Kong government will play to Beijing’s unoriginal, uncaring, totalitarian tune.

China’s Hostage Diplomacy

In the long history of imperial China, emperors of China (and other powerful officials) would on occasion keep hostages taken from other countries or rival organizations to ensure peace or allegiance between states or groups or as leverage in negotiations. Sometimes even, an emperor would take hostages from the family of powerful officials or generals to make sure that they stayed loyal to the emperor. Books have even been written about this practice.

In modern China, the practice of taking hostages continues, but in a somewhat different form. China frequently arrests and detains foreign nationals, accusing them of crimes and holding them for “investigation,” at times for months, without contact with lawyers, family, friends, or officials from their home country. This practice of holding people incommunicado is part of the reason that the Hong Kong people want nothing to do with China’s “justice” system. Sometimes, prisoners disappear permanently – killed or dying while in detention in China.

Today, the Wall Street Journal reported that China seized a U.S. citizen, a pilot for FedEx named Todd Hohn, accusing him of “transporting ammunition” on a flight where security had already cleared him. The “ammunition” in question was plastic pellets for a low-powered replica gun. They are common in Hong Kong, where he lives.

Not long ago, President Trump ordered FedEx and other package delivery companies to increase their inspections of packages entering the U.S. from China as part of a crackdown on fentanyl smuggling into the U.S. Recently, enough fentanyl to kill 14 million people was seized in Virginia. It was shipped from a vendor in Shanghai. China has denied has denied that it is the source for fentanyl entering the U.S. Of course, that is just more CCP propaganda.

Along with the fentanyl smuggling problem, trade negotiations between the U.S. and China are starting soon, and the U.S. Congress is pushing the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act through the legislative process, on its way to becoming U.S. law.

So given this background, from China’s point of view, detaining a FedEx pilot – better yet, an American citizen living in Hong Kong – on this phony charge makes perfect sense. China gets some leverage over FedEx in enforcement of shipping regulations, and over the U.S in the trade negotiations, and China can also use it to pressure the U.S. Congress against passage of the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act and to express its anger at U.S. support for the Hong Kong pro-democracy movement. Given China’s long history of using hostages as pawns in diplomacy and negotiations, it isn’t really surprising that they would do this, but it is still despicable.

China at this moment is holding citizens of Australia, Canada, and the United States, and possibly other countries, on politically-based charges. It is unfortunately typical of China to engage in “hostage diplomacy,” and that fact is yet more evidence that the CCP is uncivilized, and not worthy to be a member of the community of nations. We will say it yet again: the Chinese people deserve a much better government than the one they unfortunately have.

Powerful Testimony By Hong Kong Pro-Democracy Activists Before U.S. Congress

Today, Hong Kong pro-democracy activists Denise Ho, Sunny Cheung, and Joshua Wong testified before the U.S. Congress on the Hong Kong protests. The South China Morning Post has an excerpt of their power testimony on YouTube:

The entire hearing (nearly 3 hours long) is here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zQJZTi-XRls

We understand that the Trump administration wants a trade deal with China. President Trump is a businessman, and it is likely that he identifies with U.S. business leaders that want a deal. The U.S./China trade war is affecting the world’s economy, though it hasn’t so far impacted the U.S. economy much. On the other hand, it seems to have affected China’s economy, which was already facing a slowdown for other reasons, including the swine fever epidemic, which has increased pork prices in China. Beijing does not want the trade war to continue, so no doubt is willing to negotiate an end to the tariffs.

But some things are more important than profits – and the plight of the Hong Kong people is one of them. Beijing has broken the treaty that was negotiated with the U.K. establishing Hong Kong’s Basic Law guaranteeing the rights of the Hong Kong people. The Hong Kong police are increasing violent and are cooperating with triad gang enforcers to oppress the pro-democracy movement. The Hong Kong government led by Carrie Lam is incompetent and ignores and denies the movement’s demands and concerns.

The pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong in China can only succeed if it has the backing of powerful allies (just as France backed the Americans in our revolutionary war). The very least that the U.S. can do is pass the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act. President Trump should not let the Chinese hold the Act hostage to passage of a trade deal.

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