It's very easy to buy into narratives such as authoritarianism vs democracy, communism vs capitalism, China vs Britain/West, tight control vs freedom as the reasons for Hong Kong's decline, but that's just short-circuited thinking for the lazy.
The real reason for Hong Kong's decline, is the failure/irresponsibility of Hong Kong's elite ruling class. Maybe to many people's surprise, since its handover to China, Hong Kong has effectively been ruled by the local elites, NOT by Beijing. Sure, Beijing appoints the governor, but the governors are locals, and there was never any direct "order" from Beijing, well, sorta until recently, when Beijing began to see the failure of the local Hong Kong government.
Those elites are composed of mega real estate/business tycoons. Being the elites in the most capitalist city-state in the world gives them tremendous wealth and power, but to the disappointment of Spider-man, with that great power there's no great responsibilities. The ruling class mega riches don't see income inequality as a problem, but a badge of honor for themselves, to show how "they've made it", while all the poors are just not smart/hardworking enough. Any efforts to "appease the poor" are hindered by the ruling business-politician symbiotics, because those efforts get in their way of accumulating more wealth.
The frustration of the youth and the poor stems from the sense of inequality, unfairness and despair as they see no chances of upward mobility. Yet, even the poorest in Hong Kong is a capitalist at heart, so they are poor not because of the rich, and they certainly do work hard, then who's to blame? China, Beijing, the mainlanders, because they are evil, communist, denying tian'anmen square, yada yada...
On the contrary, when the ruling rich saw the rebellion of lower class, without knowing/admitting themselves are to be blamed, they seek help from Beijing. What does Beijing know about governing a country? More control! That's the only thing Beijing knows, and it's been working (kinda) with them. So that's how we get where we are now.
But, all in all, I agree. As I've written in another thread:
The grievances of HK's population are real: a political and business establishment dominated by property tycoons (and increasingly mainland Chinese political factions) keen on maintaining their privileged position; huge economic inequality; a slow erosion of political liberties ("salami tactic").
That all, of course, gave rise to the Umbrella Movement in 2014.
However, given that the Chinese Communist Party is not inclined to weaken its grip on power, and extremely protective of the (perceived) territorial integrity of China, I don't really see how this will end well. :-/ Here's hoping.
For perspective, BTW: In 1997, HK's GDP was about one sixth of China's (even though China has 200x the people), and HK was an important conduit between China and the world: HK's port had more volume than Shanghai and Shenzhen together.
Today, HK's GDP is barely 3% of China's, and the ports of Shanghai and Shenzhen together have 3x the throughput of HK. (Just have a look at these pictures: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2478975/Shanghai-por.... )
HK used to be hugely important for China. Now, it isn't, and with rising Chinese nationalism, HK is being seen more and more like an unruly and spoiled child.
I am really waiting for a NY Times article that has some angle about what China can teach us, not what they should learn from us.
For the last 30 years we have been getting continuous dispatches that Communism with Chinese characteristics will fail into economic collapse, that it's an enormous bubble, that the economy can't grow without democracy, that Hong Kong needs to be a model of democracy for the rest of China, etc. This mainly comes out of the "official narrative" mouth pieces known as the New York Times and the Washington Post. Whenever I see nytimes.com in the sourcee I'm always thinking, ok what's the new angle that everyone's supposed to believe now? It would be better if they just gave the byline to someone at the State Department or the CIA.
Other things, not so much.
And speaking of "democracy" is a two party system really all that much better or different than a one party system?
But, yes, even a two party democracy is better than a one party authoritarian regime.
The current government is IMHO doing a great job. Even on issues that they aren't great on, they are at least trending in the right direction. Why meddle and fix something that isn't broken?
Is that what your unhelpful 'lol' implies?
I really like the Chinese people, but... their gov. is f*king evil mess against them
To be fair, the current Chinese administration (Xi Jinping) identified back in 2012 corruption as one of the greatest threats to the Communist party (rightly so for any government imho) and began an unprecedented campaign to crack down on it.
Right now they are having a hard enough time trying to control their citizens. They won't be a superpower until they topple a few democratically elected governments first.
Prof Lawrence Lessig of Harvard nails it when he calls this type of corruption of democracy as Tweedism.
Here's a quick summary of his thesis (2015):
Here's a longer, more academic, version (2014):
Both talks begin with the Hong Kong student protests of 2014.
They give the example of Venice which had (for the time) relatively inclusive systems, allowing a a middle class to rise and generate wealth for the city. This new elite started to limit political inclusiveness to protect their wealth. This tipped the scale back to extractive systems. By the 1500s Venice was in decline.
This example makes me wonder if we're headed that way. In Hong Kong -- but also e.g. in the US -- it seems there's a class of mega rich that are moving more and more into rent seeking behavior and greater income inequality. If the book's theory is right this will lead to political systems to become less inclusive over time, which will eventually lead to economic decline.
Also, titans of economy should not be given the reins of running the country, no matter how qualified they might be. They already have a lot of power. In poorer countries, political ascendants are shot dead. In the US, you have attack ads, smear campaigns etc.
Frankly with the level which facts and reason have been shown to be utterly useless in the political arena, there's no way we'll avoid this fate unless the 1% themselves come to the conclusion that their lobbying and consolidation of power will ultimately destroy the country. However I'm not holding my breath for this to happen since game theory and Upton Sinclair inform us that's not how human interest generally works.
During the booming 70s-90s, just about all high level government officials were appointed by the British. In addition, most of the upper class were British as well.
Local Hongkongers were often second class citizens.
Likewise, when Singapore, Korea, and Taiwan were booming, they were essentially dictatorships.
Heck, compare South Africa and Zimbabwe during the apartheid era to now.
Chauvinists don't like to admit it but they are at least partly responsible for the ROC and ROK's success too.
> Heck, compare South Africa and Zimbabwe during the apartheid era to now.
What happened a shame but the whites in those country are now sleeping in the bed they made.
The current leader, Abe Shinzo, is actively working on dismantling what little semblance of democracy remains, including silencing the press and passing laws to lock up anyone who "plans to protest" against his government.
I think economic success has more to do with access to American markets, and being a 'strategic partner' in cold war geo-political games, then it did with your form of government.
Of course it is just a data point, but that's may reveal underlying things that totally foreign for European/West way of thinking politics.
Seems like democracy would make this problem worse, since it redistributes power to local informal power elites.
When elderly Chinese who actually experienced the terrible Culture Revolution go to visit Taiwan, many of them had the feeling that Taiwan make them feel young again as they saw the Culture Revolution again in Taiwan.
Endless street politics for every single change to the society, hugely divided society, corruption from both sides, people are forced to pick which side is less terrible rather than which is better, President democratically elected used its official jet to move cash to foreign countries.
Personally, I don't want such toxic Taiwan to be integrated back to China, they can run their own circus on that island so people in the mainland can look at them and learn from their mistakes.
Taiwan is nothing like what you said, and to compare it to Cultural Revolution China is just ridiculous.
I agree all of it until "to redress these imbalances", i.e. letting the local elite rule Hong Kong was a deliberate decision by Beijing. Back then (before/during the hand-over to China), nobody knew how it's gonna work. And as of now, that decision turned out to be a failure. But letting non-elite factions to participate does not guarantee "redress the imbalances". see my comments below
> or do you think, even with universal suffrage, the citizens of Hong Kong are too fractured to come up with solutions? (Similar to the current political climate in the US.)
I do feel there's very fertile soil for political populism (not in a good way) in Hong Kong. What universal suffrage does guarantee is the emergence of a new class of pure/traditional politicians, probably armed with populist rhetorics... Are they gonna "redress the imbalance?", certainly they would say so, but... wait, I'm starting to have a deja-vu...
Well, until it's too late, and the torches and pitchforks come out.
Am I wrong?
The last sentence from 'Animal Farm'?
The Chinese will not allow HK to become a threat to the Chinese way of life as determined by the CCP. They will loot the city of its riches, then bring it into line. The writing was on the wall for HK from day one of their transition back to Chinese rule.
But based on what you say, that sounds exactly like the narrative of authoritarianism vs. democracy. You have a bunch of elites with no responsibility that are tremendously disliked in power. In a democracy, they'd (theoretically) fear losing an election to a populist. Heck, even if they were regular despots, they'd be at least marginally afraid of revolution. But the elites in Hong Kong are installed by China; they have no fear of even a revolution.
The entitlement is a result of technology equalizing the playing field making things egalitarian. To rationalize why a simple job pays thousands of times more than backbreaking or highly technical jobs in poorer areas, this society has to feel superior in some way.
Few people seem to notice that in a perfectky fair world, the highest populations have the greatest advantages.
Another thing often ignored is that there isn't enough to go around. Divided equally the world's wealth is 10k each. Livable only if the world's cost of living is equalized as well. However in the Bay Area I cannot buy the 1 dollar delicious meals in other parts of the world.
When there are only a few immigrant going to a sinecure society, it is friendly. However once resources become strained you get tribes, boundaries, and rationalizations for more pie.
Poor sportsmanship is present in all states no matter the economic system.
The same problems afflicting hong kong is afflicting all modern neoliberal cities - new york, LA, chicago, london, etc.
Where the elite want to increase real estate/asset prices and the younger generation are left behind.
And then caretoomuch sells us a long narrative about the problem really being elitist rulers oppressing the poor.
I really think HK is over, as in it will never return to its peak glorious days. Much of the prosperity of HK came from being a middleman between China and the rest of the world. That position is eroding because China is slowly opening up. For example, of the top 5 container ports, 3 are in mainland China and HK is #5 . HK was the busiest as recently as 2004. Why ship to/from HK when you can ship directly to/from China?
Much of the ruling elites (many of whom are/were businessmen or have business ties) understand this, and realize China has a lot more soft power over HK than what the Basic Law guarantees. The end game is clear, HK will become just another Chinese city, the Establishment is hoping that by pandering to mainland, they can slow down the process and maintain their self-interest. The more positive way to think about it is, if China allows, HK can become the Shanghai of the south instead of a little brother to Shenzhen.
Meanwhile, the poor. I grew up quite poor in HK and a family of 4 shared one studio. The kitchen and bathroom were shared with another 4-5 families. 4 of us slept in ONE bunkbed. Life got much better after I was 7, because we moved to public housing in the suburb. You see, there's always a big divide between the rich and the poor, but all the public subsidies made life bearable.
A big part of HK's government revenue come from land sale . And land is more valuable when it's not used for public housing. That and immigration means the wait to get public housing is getting longer and longer . Immigration is supposed to increase revenue too, but as mentioned because a big part of revenue come from land sale and immigration doesn't increase the amount of developable land, the overall effect is smaller.
Normally one way to deal with this is impose immigration quota, but I looked into this a few years back and apparently for family reunion, HK government does not control the quota and have to accept however many the mainland sends over. For obvious reasons many in HK have family-ties in China so politically having a smaller quota would not be popular either. I don't have numbers to prove this, but there's a general sentiment that infrastructure is not growing fast enough to accommodate population increase.
I don't know what HK can do honestly. Politically it's in an impossible situation.
1. HK was a middleman, it used to connect the mainland China to the world. That worked for HK very well after 1949, but clearly the people living in the mainland do not want to see HK to keep having its cut for the flow of capitals/goods for a very reasonable reason - there are more and more professionals/businesses in mainland China that are eager/qualified/happy to take over what HK was offering.
2. HK failed to develop its industrial base. Let's compare it to Singapore, you see different high tech companies in that city nation, but what HK has developed in the last few decades? You can also compare it to the neighbouring Shenzhen, if Shenzhen can offer companies like Tencent/DJI, why HK can not do the same in a so called free environment? FTA is long available to HK, there are numerous HK based companies doing business in mainland and making good profits, just in the wrong sector - they are all in real estate. Rather than blindly blame Beijing, there are more meaningful reasons to look at.
3. HK's retail sector is no longer comparable to what you can expect from tier-1 Chinese cities (Shanghai, Beijing, Shenzhen). Mobile payment, online shopping, delivery, large and easy to use e-commerce sites, you name it. Sure you can easily argue that HK has a few department stores with pretty good services, but is that enough to support the future of a city with millions of residencies? The consequence is simple - Chinese from the mainland stopped going to HK for shopping, they start to feel its out of date payment systems, 1990s style department stores are getting less and less attractive.
4. HK's Infrastructure is no longer considered as good. I first visited HK 13 years ago when HK's metro was far better than anything you could possibly expect in Shanghai. Today there is high speed rail that can get me anywhere within 200km radius of Shanghai, Shanghai metro's scale is 2-3x times larger. How fast you can get yourself from HK's central to Guangzhou? I can get myself to a nice office building or hotel in Hangzhou from my home in Shanghai door to door in 90 minutes.
5. HK is losing its financial capital status fast. Chinese Yuan will be internationalised eventually, that is probably THE biggest financial event in the next 30 years, but how many people would possibly believe that having HK dollar in HK is a smart move? Let's remember that HKD is never allowed to freely float, its exchange rate is fixed to USD.
All this come to a real question here: is HK declining or just returning to where it suppose to be?
5-10 years ago, hk was still the go-to place for my family if they wanted name brand things, short of coming to the US. Now, they come to the US or even Japan if they don't stay in the country.
Recently I was in Chengdu (which is not tier 1) and the sheer number of luxury brand stores in the IFS building shocked me. That isn't even counting the surrounding shopping center that also carry similar luxury brands. It certainly at least is on par with hk shopping.
Many in the west still view china through the same lens as they did 10 years ago, and that is wildly inaccurate.
I lived in china for 10 years, and yes, it was much better 10 years ago, at least the air was much cleaner then. I don't see what that has to do with the current situation though, and westerners who didn't live in china always thought shopping in china was great because they could always get knockoffs at the silk market.
it is also questionable to believe that there are better selection in HK - the sheer number of affordable consumers and their aggregated purchasing power determine where those tier-1 brands go.
Last time I went to HK a year and a half ago, it was still packed with mainlanders shopping like crazy in the malls.
I live close to the Nanjing Rd west in Shanghai, buy yourself a ticket to visit those shopping malls on that road, then you can continue to lecture me why should people living in tier-1 cities should continue to go to HK to waste time and money.
The nice thing about HK is the diversity of shops. I almost feel like I'm back in the states, I can find things that I'd only find on Taobao in china. Not to mention the lower taxes make it on par with the states for pricing on electronics.
Just the savings on a MBP alone will pay for your plane ticket and a night in a reasonable hotel. I'm really baffled why you think shopping in the mainland is "better" than that when the prices are fixed much higher than HK.
MBP is probably the worst example you can possibly think of - I can order on jd.com and get it delivered in a few days for roughly 105% ($13,888 HKD vs 12,799RMB) of apple.com/hk's listed price. I save a trip to HK and a few hundred $ wasted on flight tickets/hotel stay.
So to sum it up both of you were right.
> 1. HK was a middleman
Agreed. And as you say, that role is quickly fading.
> 2. HK failed to develop its industrial base.
Yes. There's always talk of making it a hub for [medicine/startups/arts/...], but efforts are half-hearted at best (compared to e.g. Singapore), and there's not much to show for it.
On the other hand, with the secular move from agriculture to manufacturing to service industries, this might not be that much of a problem - if HK maintained or developed its excellence in service industries (and the professions).
> 3. HK's retail sector
HK's retail sector lives of mainland tourists and the fact that there is no import taxes/duty and no VAT in HK (thus tons of mainlanders cross over for extended shopping sprees, supporting luxury shops that increasingly drive out shops catering to the local population, and driving up rents). It's huge in HK, but not sure that's necessarily a good thing. And, yeah, the innovation is basically that shopping malls have built-in terminals for buses to the border - wow.
Also, agreed, the chat/mobile payment system in China is very very innovative and impressive, probably way ahead of anywhere in the world.
> 4. HK's Infrastructure is no longer considered as good.
Well, by worldwide standards it's still excellent, it's just that China's infrastructure has caught up tremendously, and even overtaken it.
> 5. HK is losing its financial capital status fast.
Yes. That might not even be a bad thing. Problem is that it was one of the main drivers of HK prosperity, and I'm not sure there's a replacement in sight.
> All this come to a real question here: is HK declining or just returning to where it suppose to be?
Well. Decline seems inevitable, but implying that that's "where it is supposed to be" is a bit harsh. HK is a unique place with a unique history and people and unique achievements - it basically anticipated China's growth by a few decades.
And, of course, your "real question" reflects the Chinese perspective that naturally China sits on the top of the world, and the recent "century of humiliation" was just a temporary aberration.
I don't buy into this sort of historical determinism, and that idea of China's natural supremacy is as silly as US American exceptionalism or Hegel's notion that civilisation found its culmination in 19th century Germany.
But business likes stability. The democracy protests have done nothing for Hong Kong, and now that China's eased access to their market through Shanghai, Hong Kong's entire raison d'être is at risk.
Also, the article is pretty spot on in other ways. Once upon a time, Hong Kong students were guaranteed success by virtue of being born there. Now, they need to compete with mainlanders, which of course is a much larger pool.
And finally, 20 years ago China wanted to build up Hong Kong as a model for it's 2 systems 1 country philosophy. However the democracy protests have all but killed that, so the Chinese will gladly simply build up Shanghai to Hong Kong's detriment, and no amount of democracy or separatism will fix it.
Beijing/Shanghai have yet to demonstrate the level of innovation that comes out of the Hong Kong/Shenzhen connection.
And, parents still send their kids across the border in mainland China to go to school in Hong Kong.
China may have opened up, and is continuing to open up more, but by no means are the gates fully open at Shanghai. Innovation still primarily comes from the south and regions that are farther from the federal government's base.
Secondly, most innovations happen in Beijing, you can count whatever stats you like, such as # of patents filed, high tech start up numbers, VC funds and where they invest their $ etc. You'd be seeing more than half are in Beijing.
To give you a very quick example: Xiaomi, Didi, Mobike and OFO are the 4 unicorns of China's internet industry, all headquartered in Beijing, their R&D are done in Beijing, these four have not gone IPO and the youngest worth $1B.
- Far lower crime and incarceration
- Better education (measured by PISA scores)
- Incomparably better infrastructure (compare beautiful, clean HK subways with laughably pathetic US ones)
- Better health outcomes than the US, 84 year life expectancy vs 79 for the US
- Preserves an incredibly large percentage of its territory for parks (most of HK island is a park)
- No natural resources like the US
- All of this with far far lower taxes than the US (government % of GDP is roughly 14% compared to 38% in US)
To compare a uniquely positioned city like that to the entire US population (which, for example, includes Detroit) is not particularly meaningful.
As Manhattan drags the West into the mire, Hong Kong leads the East's ascent.
USA: 1,773,047 USD/km^2
HONG KONG: 63,633,823 USD/km^2.
Huh. Hong kong has almost 36x the GDP density... With comparable GDP per capita. Is that significant?
In HK, a lot of the taxi drivers are old guys who can barely read, don't speak English or mandarin, and are a real hassle to deal with unless you are a Cantonese speaker. A lot of the taxis have weird fare manipulation lookup tables instead of correct metering. Although the mass-transit oriented stored value card, Octopus, was established decades ago, you still can't use it in taxis. Further, if you want to top it up, you literally can't top it up with anything smaller than HKD50 (USD$9) even if your fare costs less and you only have small denomination local money. There are no electric taxis, but plenty of rich people own Teslas. If you ask 20 odd Hong Kong banks about cross-border RMB payment APIs (HK is supposed to be a financial center, after all) not a single bank can offer you one. In fact, just to open a regular bank account is now so difficult standard waits can exceed 2-3 months (and success is far from guaranteed).
So what does HK still have to offer?
(1) A legal environment under Beijing's auspices but with nominal resistance to mainland corruption and manipulation.
(2) Superior international financial connectivity and services if you can get a bank account.
(3) Liberal visa-free travel policies for people from most countries.
That's about it.
> A lot of the taxis have weird fare manipulation lookup tables instead of correct metering.
The fare table is because the Transport Department raised taxi fares on April 9th and taxis that haven't had their meters adjusted are required to use the fare table. http://www.td.gov.hk/en/publications_and_press_releases/pres...
> You literally can't top it up with anything smaller than HKD50 (USD$9) even if your fare costs less and you only have small denomination local money.
This is the same as Shenzhentong card in Shenzhen which can't be loaded with less than CNY50 at a reload machine. If your fare costs less than HK$50 and you don't have more cash, buy a single trip ticket. If you really want to pay with Octopus, top up your Octopus card with HK$50 and get a refund of the value after your trip.
Those of us that live here in Hong Kong never have to deal with adding value to our Octopus card because we can link it to our Hong Kong-issued credit cards.
> If you ask 20 odd Hong Kong banks about cross-border RMB payment APIs (HK is supposed to be a financial center, after all) not a single bank can offer you one.
Mainland China has capital controls - that is why transacting in RMB cross border is difficult. Banks aren't allowed to offer that service.
> just to open a regular bank account is now so difficult standard waits can exceed 2-3 months (and success is far from guaranteed)
You are right...the difficulty in opening a bank account is a huge problem for business in Hong Kong.
> So what does HK still have to offer?
* civil society
* amazing mountains & beaches
* great food
* excellent sports infrastructure
* public transit that is a pleasure to use
* no capital gains, interest, dividends, import, VAT, or sales taxes.
* territorial taxation (Hong Kong residents are only taxed on income sourced from Hong Kong)
* great people both local and from abroad
* ubiquitous gigabit fiber to home for < US$30/month. 10 gigabit fiber to home available in many locations.
Throughout the world, taxi drivers in international cities know a couple dozen words in multiple languages. Paris, Rome, Berlin, Madrid?
Even if they didn't grow up speaking Mandarin, it sounds like a conscious decision, if they don't understand a request in Mandarin from a rider today.
Of course, this is just one person's set of impressions, too.
I haven't been to Europe but in Asia I don't think it's the case that most taxi drivers know much English. Some of the Japanese ones offer an in car interpretation service over the phone but I've never had occasion to use it.
However, to be fair, in my experience, some people in Europe have hang ups too about different languages. I speak Italian, can pass with a little French, and know no German. In the northern Italian mountains people would start conversations with me in German based on my appearance, and in resort towns there were a number of people who chose not to learn Italian, but English was okay.
Similarly, a friendly lady was trying to help me in a train station in Paris, my French wasn't good enough to understand some detail, her English wasn't any better than my French, and I asked her if she spoke Italian. She curtly answered no, and seemed a little offended.
I imagine I'd have similar stories if I only spoke English and French, English and Spanish, or English and German.
Would people react with occasional distaste if you tried communicating using Cantonese in Beijing?
9 usd will go quickly here.
I agree with the bank account. When I worked in HK, opening a bank account was problematic. But that has been in other countries as well I worked from because I rarely had a permanent job, mostly doing contracts.
Shenzhen was a tiny fishing village in the 1970s, HK was already a metropolis. There are many people from rural areas that flock to cities in mainland China to work, not so much in HK. Shenzhen is less than 40 years old, HK had been a British territory from 1842 to 1997.
Two types of Taxi are Green Taxi for N.T Area, and Red Taxi for Kowloon and Hong Kong Island Area. And the three type of Taxi drivers are separated by the areas mentioned before.
If you arrive in Hong Kong Airport, or take Taxi in Hong Kong Island, you will highly likely meet a taxi drivers who could speak Mandarin, English and Cantonese, some even speak another dialect of Chinese. In Kowloon you may only see this in Tsim Sha Tsui Area where there are lots of tourist.
So if the parent arrived to HK by crossing Mainland border, you will be served by Green Taxi and I wouldnt be surprise if they dont speak anything buy Cantonese.
We did have them, from BYD no less. Unfortunately they kept blowing up. The owners did the only sensible thing, which was to dump them.
That's not their plan anyway. The parallel tracks for dealing with Taiwan are
1) building ever-closer economic dependency, and then punishing Taiwan every time it elects pro-independence leaders, so that Taiwan has no choice but to elect pro-reunification candidates for the sake of economic security and
2) gradually muscling the US out of the region and building naval capabilities so that if 1) doesn't work out, they can take it back by force.
How Taiwan feels about "one country two systems" doesn't really matter to China.
Just yesterday the Senate Armed Services Committee voted for allowing the Navy to dock at Kaohsiung again. It'll be interesting to see how all sides react.
Note that I didn’t say China’s plan was necessarily working, I think that’s an open question and I’m actually bearish on it: I think the upcoming generation of Taiwanese are less interested than ever in the mainland and can see through this plot.
I’m just saying that both countries know “one country, two systems” is a dead letter and so China isn’t worried that the crackdown in Hong Kong is damaging its chances. They know Taiwan wrote it off years ago.
Also, having that island under China's control would be militarily useful in any showdown with the US - it pushes US forces farther from the mainland.
The party really has only two options - the status quo, or the subjugation of the island.
btw, Japan is no longer in the equation.
At the end of the day, what does that matter? There are 1.4 billion who claim taiwan as part of china. Nothing is going to change that. Taiwan can note whatever they want, but at the end of the day, taiwan is going to be a province of china eventually.
A lot of what you wrote is a bit hyperbolic. Taiwan is almost entirely dependent on trade with china. If beijing really wanted to alienate taiwan, they would cut all trade with china and seize all of taiwan's asset in china. That would collapse taiwan overnight.
Also, the chinese don't see taiwan-relations as part of "foreign policy". They see it as a wholy intra-chinese policy.
Chinese money is flooding into Hong Kong and it's all being parked into real estate. This has sent real estate prices skyrocketing and far outside the reach of ordinary citizens. As a secondary effect, Hong Kong elites are now parking all their money into real estate with the expectation that the Chinese capital flight continues to drive up real estate prices. Real estate is the best investment available in Hong Kong right now. Bar none.
With all their capital tied up in real estate, the elites don't invest in startups or R&D. No increases in productivity, no new jobs, no gains for the average citizen in a city that grows more expensive by the day. This is why Hong Kong is in decline. This is why Hong Kongers takes to the streets. It's not a backlash towards conflicting political ideology, they just want the Chinese and their damn money out.
Whether it still is now (prices having doubled since the 2007 bottom) is questionable, and depends hugely on political decisions.
> With all their capital tied up in real estate, the elites don't invest in startups or R&D.
Fully agreed. Not only that, it makes starting a small business extremely expensive.
> It's not a backlash towards conflicting political ideology, they just want the Chinese and their damn money out.
I'd argue the umbrella movement was borne of four related grievances:
* the enormous inequality (coupled with low social mobility)
* the extreme cost of getting your own flat (young workers live with their family for a long time, and have to save money for long time before they can put down a downpayment for a tiny apartment (they come in different sizes: shoebox, matchbox, coffin...))
* the gradual erosion of civil liberties
* and, yes, the desire for more political self-determination, e.g. universal suffrage or even independence.
Pretty sure some do. See the umbrella movement.
> This article takes an economic situation and tries to frame it as a political one
Seems short sighted to say politics and economy are unrelated. Politicians make laws that impact businesses.
The difference really does come down to the fact that the British, although authoritarian, ran a relatively clean ship. Meanwhile Beijing's government has been corrupt, nepotistic, vindictive, and now deadlocked.
It reminds me of the old D&D alignment battle: Lawful evil vs. neutral evil. No one cared that the government was kind of evil back while it was obsessively following the rule of law, even if the law was kind of crooked, but under the Chinese it shifted away from that and became whatever is most immediately expedient to those in power. The vaunted "rule of law" became a mere mask for Beijing party politics games.
Note that it's not because the British never tried to introduce democracy. In fact they were heavily dissuaded from doing so because of ... surprise ... China. Source: http://www.cnn.com/2017/06/18/asia/hong-kong-handover-china-...
Declassified documents from long before handover
negotiations even began show that some British officials
did seek to introduce more democracy in Hong Kong but were
angrily rebuffed by Beijing.
Allowing Hong Kong people to govern themselves would be a
"very unfriendly act," premier Zhou Enlai reportedly told
British officials in 1958. Another Chinese official in 1960
threatened potential invasion if the UK attempted to
introduce greater democracy to the colony.
And that is giving way, slice by slice, to Chinese "guanxi" (i.e., "connections", "who do you know") and authoritarian politics. :-/
This is strictly prohibited in mainland China - a private school recently asked education level of parents on one of its admin forms, that became national news and that school got punished in days. Selling school bonds to effectively bar average families to access equal educational rights would be criminal offence.
If you like, we can continue one public healthcare - whether the residence of Shanghai has better access to public hospital or those in HK? Requiring people to wait months or even years to have surgery in public hospital would probably causing an uprising in China, but apparently that is okay in HK as the rich how makes the law can always go to private hospital.
Your definition of "rule of law" is quite different, that is all.
The school system is suboptimal indeed, and good private schools are very expensive and require some machinations to get in. Nevertheless, HK fairs very well in the international PISA studies (ahead of China, incidentally) .
Public hospitals in HK are good, modern, efficient, and inexpensive. Private hospitals provide an alternative if you want more personalised or faster service.
However, of this pertains to civil liberties and the rule of law (which my post was about).
The notion that access to education and health care is better in China (or more justly distributed, without special favours for the well-connected) is very questionable, as the other post highlighted.
A rich person can buy a BMW with their money, so why shouldn't they also be able to buy expensive education?
(You sound correct, but I don't know how to verify what you're saying).
where else do you get the equivalent of two senate seat for the chamber of commerce, another for manufacturer's sassociation, a third for the construction industry, a fourth for the banks ..... but none elected at large by the populace
even today only half the council is elected at large
The City of London gives companies votes . And until 1948, college graduates in the United Kingdom voted twice .
As a % of people who think it is "essential" to live in a democracy:
Born in 1930s - 75%
millennials - 30%
-Who in the world does not agree that self-determination is good?
-Britain seems to be standing up for Hong only lightly. Will they ever carry a bigger stick?
-What is the difference between Hong Kong/China relationship and the often criticized West Bank/Israel relationship?
-Would the former colonies in Africa and Asia be in better hands if they were still part of their old master countries? Hong Kong is obviously not in a terrible spot, but certainly many former colonies in Africa are.
-I think it's clear that because China-Hong Kong have close economic ties, but China is much larger, that Hong Kong needs China much more than China needs Hong Kong[2,3]. Will this power dynamic further bias decisions in favor of Beijing?
Generally the self-determination of a population is opposed if that population is viewed as the same ethnicity as you. Just look at the concept of the independence or real autonomy some day of Vojvodina or Transylvania. Besides blaming such talk on a Hungarian irredentist plot, Serbs and Romanians from further south are completely aghast that some of their fellow Serbs and Romanians might not want to share the same country with them.
There's a feeling that once an ethnic group has been gathered together into the same nation state, none of them have the right to leave it. Thus in China today, it's no surprise that the Han population in China (or at least its Han-controlled government) would be uncomfortable with the idea of the Han in Hong Kong (or Taiwan) going in a different direction.
"Generally" isn't the right word. "In mainland China" would be a better. In Europe there are separate countries that are more similar than different parts of China. It isn't even true amongst Han countries. Taiwan and Singapore are mostly Han and still want to remain independent countries from China. Also how does this logic apply to the parts of China that were not traditionally Han? China would never have taken them over using this logic.
> There's a feeling that once an ethnic group has been gathered together into the same nation state, none of them have the right to leave it. Thus in China today, it's no surprise that the Han population in China (or at least its Han-controlled government) would be uncomfortable with the idea of the Han in Hong Kong (or Taiwan) going in a different direction.
Hong Kong's destiny is clearly set, but your reference to Taiwan is a bit odd. Taiwan already "left". Taiwan's and mainland China have been independent countries since the end of the civil war (though many people play word games to pretend this isn't the case). So say it what it is. Mainland Chinese want to invade and take over Taiwan.
????? Hong Kong is wealthy, developed, and cosmopolitan and the West Bank/Gaza are not??
Israel and Palestine share the same landmass and China and Britain do not??
Israel is the most powerful nation in the Middle East and Britian is not the most powerful nation in East Asia--in fact it's a nation in Western Europe???
Even when Britain was highly relevant in Asia they were only ever a colonial power while Israel as a nation is inextricably tied to the land that it shares with Palestine?????
I'm really struggling to see where you're going with this one...
My comparison is more that:
-China controls Hong Kong with only limited local say in the government. Israel also controls the West Bank, with limited Palestinian Authority control of certain matters.
-Hong Kong can't have a military or conduct foreign affairs and isn't internationally recognized (same as West Bank)
-Palestinians in the West Bank are separated from Israel, and are required to enter checkpoints to cross over. Hong Kong residents also need to go through (less invasive) checkpoints to go into China.
At first I thought my comparison might be unfounded, but I thought it was interesting none the less. But I'm now struggling to see real political differences in the two situations (although obviously there are many differences in scale of policy differences, and also important historical differences). I'd love to be proven wrong though. Certainly Israeli settlement expansion in the West Bank is a difference. Any other major differences?
Hong Kong residents need a permit to enter/work in China just like West Bank residents need a permit to enter/work in Israel (and something like 50k-100k Palestinian citizens (non-Israelis) have permits to work in Israel).
> If you are a PRC citizen (and most HK people are), you can get a Mainland travel permit, then you can work and settle in Mainland China without restrictions. Getting a Mainland travel permit is a routine matter, and almost everyone in Hong Kong can get one.
This is completely, entirely different from a Palestinian living in the West Bank. It is _not_ a routine matter for them to get a permit to work and settle in Israel proper without restrictions; it is extremely difficult to do so.
It's worth pointing out the unequal nature of the restrictions - with Israel/Palestine, members of the dominant power have the advantage over the weaker power (Palestine). Israeli settlers are able to move into the Palestinian territories much more easily than Palestinians are able to move to Israel (and Israeli settlements and annexation of the Palestinian territories exist, while the opposite is nonexistent for the Palestinians). This is most definitely not the case in China - Mainlanders aren't given preferential treatment over Hong Kong locals.
It's also not correct to think about them as separate entities like Israel and Palestine, since Hong Kong is represented in the National People's Congress. Palestinians do not get representatives in the Israeli Knesset, as HK citizens get in the NPC. The PLA is supposed to protect HK citizens, the IDF is not there to protect Palestinians - in fact, one of the goals of the IDF is to fight against the Palestinians. The goal of the PRC is to integrate HK into the mainland proper, the goal of Israel is to exclude the Palestinians from Israel. The government of HK is a local PRC government, whereas the Palestinian governments are separate entities from the Israeli government. There has been wars fought between Israel and Palestine, and blockades put up - nothing like this has happened between PRC and HK.
This is kind of like saying "I cut my hand cooking the other day; what's the difference between that and surgery." The two situations aren't even remotely similar.
-Political relations are a function of wealth. If Palestine were a wealthy and economically developed nation with a large number of international connections do you think their relationship with Israel would be quite the same?
-Do you think not having a military/international recognition is the same for a faux city-state and for an occupied territory??
-Have you considered how living in a shithole and being denied economic opportunity due to not being able to travel freely might be just a tiny bit different from being mildly inconvenienced when leaving the financial capital of Asia for a developing country (yes, mainland China is very much a developing country) with a fifth of your GDP/capita?
Of course your points about the economic differences are correct. But are you saying that you agree that the current political situations aren't that different, that it's just the economic situation that's different?
And wow, as you mention, the Hong Kong/China GDP Per capita difference is approximately 5x. Israelis have 12x the Palestinian GDP Per capita.
I recently had to pass between Canada and the US and I, too, was forced to enter a checkpoint where I was held by someone carrying a gun, who asked invasive questions about why I wanted to cross into a different territory and I had to satisfy the guard that I was not going to present any threat and that my purpose for travel was legitimate.
Like a fool, I previously believed this was a normal thing done by countries and that these were normal border policing activities at so-called 'border crossings'.
But after reading your post, I now realize I was forced to be subjugated by an evil oppressor.
At least, that is if I accept that an otherwise normal action at territorial separation points can be re-phrased in pejorative terms through re-naming of border crossings as the more sinister sounding 'checkpoints'.
Who said anything about someone pointing a gun?
Governments of countries with secessionist movements. So, the United States, the United Kingdom, Spain, Russia, Ukraine, China, the list goes on.
A few of them fought bloody civil wars over the question of self-determination, both in the distant, and not-so-distant past.
China is extremely protective of its territorial integrity. So, China, for starters.
Like black American slaves fighting for the Confederacy, we see that as wrong.
They are fighting for self determination and to be rolled by themselves, instead of outside undemocratic dictators.
So not much worse off than any major western city then? In terms of education, the entire USA's system could be described as worse than "troubled".
>Hong Kong was once known for the speed and efficiency with which it built huge planned communities with ample public housing every several years. But it has not managed to do so since Britain returned it to Chinese rule on July 1, 1997.
Perhaps a central government tactic. Build up a mass of wealthy entrenched home owners hell-bent on not seeing their guaranteed rent seeking threatened by cheaper public housing.
The Chinese have valid reasons to assimilate that territory.
What is scary is that China is actively promoting expansion by resettling ethnic han chinese.
I don't appreciate being treated as as a mere weapon.
China is what made HK HK... It was china's economic boom that enriched and modernized china.
2) Why should Britain stand up for Hong Kong? They're imperialists while they hold on to it, and then cowards when they give it back to China and say?
3) Almost invariable yes. But then that makes you an imperialist slave driver. Did bad things happen? Absolutely. Terrible, horrible things. But look at how things are now.
I have some bad news for you about the House of Lords.
I guess you are referring to the European Commission that is an executive branch of the EU institutions i.e. a government. Guess what - in most cases people have no control over who becomes a member of the government - in best case they can vote for a person who becomes a leader of the government (say president in US).
In that regard the selection of the members of the EU government is more transparent and demographic and perhaps also less effective.
President of European Commission: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_Commission#Appointmen...
It is sad that many people do not understand how EU institutions work part due to their ignorance but also due to foreign propaganda.
But I do not argue against British (or any) people to have a right to choose their own way (but I am also not sure that this is what they actually wanted).
The difference is that the European Commission can create binding law that preempts national law, in the form of regulations.
> in most cases people have no control over who becomes a member of the government in best case they can vote for a person who becomes a leader of the government
Uh, do you not support democracy? Because how else do you have a democracy except to vote for elected representatives, and you have DIRECT control of doing so through voting?
I'm not really anti-EU. I don't much care, whatever keeps that continent from boiling over in war is probably a good thing, but seriously don't come in here and say that something like the European Commissions is a more democratic institution than voting for your representatives and leaders are. That's intellectually dishonest.
In some countries you vote to a candidate to a position but in many countries that still call them democratic you can not.
For example you could vote for a candidate into the parliament but the actual members of the parliament are selected based on a formula that sets higher preference for the candidates more upward in the voting list.
Another example. You vote for a candidate but this candidate also belongs to the party X and when this party gets majority in the parliament, the leader of this party gets appointed (by president (possibly elected by previous parliament) king/queen) to form a government. Members of such government are commonly not voted by electorate but are selected by the leader of the government or by some other agreements. So you definitely can not have direct control over selection of members into the government.
In most dramatic case the leader of the party can step down and another one out of the blue gets the change to play the lead of the state to advance her agenda.
>I'm not really anti-EU. I don't much care, whatever keeps that continent from boiling over in war
And UK just increased the change to get into the war with continental Europe or part of it.
By that twisted logic, Theresa May was very much unelected. Probably even more so now...
Likewise, I can acknowledge that the British are probably worse-off for leaving the EU, but also support their self-determination.
I'm patiently waiting for the "but muh EU!1!" down votes to come in, even though I'm stating that the British are probably better off in the EU.
Rhodesia was certainly a better international trading partner than Zimbabwe is now, but at least Zimbabwe is unequivocally owned by the Zimbabweans. Other countries don't exist solely for the benefit of their international trade partners.
So I think an updated list would be:
Heaven: German cops, German mechanics, French chefs, Italian lovers, Swiss administrators
Hell: American cops, French mechanics, ??? chefs (Canadian perhaps?), British or American lovers, American administrators
Japanese toilets economy
Chinese labor toilets
Russian energy entertainment
German economy energy
British health care food
French food labor
American entertainment health care
In European/Anglo countries, the ruling elite give back. Check out Grand Central, Rockefeller Center, the large parks and gardens throughout the great countries of the world. The ruling elite in Asia don't care about others.
But as defined in the textbook, communism also requires highly-developed society, where citizens not work for their living, but for their aspiration, and the society provides the consumables for people's living. And many other necessary conditions to be called communism.
Even for private ownership. If I bought a house in US, do I have an ownership? Then why I have to pay property tax and have a risk of been evicted if not do so.
It's 2017 guys. You have a whole internet of information at your fingertips. Use it, please!
I am not an expert.
Well me neither, but I certainly doubt all those Shanghainese are dropping millions on apartments that they don't even own!
And yes, real estate is leasehold, although the difference between auto-renewing leasehold and eminent domain-subject freehold seems to be a matter of semantics. The only country I'm aware of where a private citizen seemingly really can resist the ability of the state to seize their land, and thus actually does appear to genuinely "own" it, is Japan.
No, you don't have ownership. You only rent the land for 70 years, after which it returns to the government. You can 'sell your property' to somone else, at which point the 70-year lease on the land is reset for them to 0.
Strangely enough, people still buy and sell it, and live in it.
Perpetual ownership is not the only valid model of land ownership.
I do not wish to defend the CCP, but Communism is more than just "no private property", and you're wrong on the point on private property, at least coming from the Marxian sense which the Communists mean.
Lol. You're just going to ignore Tencent, founder of QQ, and countless other older, proven-to-be successful tech companies that aren't from anywhere near Beijing?
Suffice it to say, not everyone agrees with your assessment of Beijing as being the leader in innovation 
Being nearer the beauracracy never helps your flexibility. It helps your funding for development of things that are of interest to the state.
National government, sorry.
This is an international environment and the last thing we need is people sniping at each other's nations for either internecine or xenophobic reasons. When feeling activated, we all must take care to remain respectful. (Related: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=14669197.)
We detached this comment from https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=14669031 and marked it off-topic.
I guess I'm not sure how to debate whether one city produces more successful startups than another. I mean, I think it's safe to say that Y Combinator and SF have been more successful than, say, Union Square Ventures and NYC, so I'm not sure where the internecine is in my above comment, but I guess I'll just sidestep this topic altogether for now and think on it. Thanks for letting me know.
The main thing is just to err on the side of being respectful, remembering that other people feel as much love and loyalty for their side as we each do for ours.
Oh, for sure. I try to maintain respect for all nations and their people. Are you certain you weren't targeting another comment?
I guess I could've done without the "Lol" in my comment above, and just cited Tencent without implying the commenter was "ignoring" them.
But there wasn't any internecine or xenophobia there that I could detect, because it was a discussion about Shenzhen vs. Beijing, which are within the same nation! =)
I understand if you can't give examples. Thanks again, I will try to be more respectful down the road.
vitaminbandit, please stop harassing my account.
We understand the temptation, but please don't create accounts to break HN's guidelines with. Doing that will eventually get your main account banned as well.
However, with the way it is worded, you're right it seems to be a direct attack on people.
It is unfortunate that people of a nation get lumped together when discussing bad government policies.
Anyone with half a brain knows that its not the theoretical communism.
Also, how does 'extreme nationalism' manifest in the expat community? Is it just talking passionately about your homeland? Or are these people actually taking physical action? I mean, 'extreme nationalism' is suggestive of more than just talking.
Textbook whataboutism. The US isn't jailing people who talk about government missteps. China does jail people who talk about what happened in 1987.
> Also, how does 'extreme nationalism' manifest in the expat community? Is it just talking passionately about your homeland? Or are these people actually taking physical action? I mean, 'extreme nationalism' is suggestive of more than just talking.
I think he meant "patriotic". The most patriotic thing is to believe your country's form of government is better than others, or at least as good as others. So, I gather that comment was asking how the Chinese can support their government while it embraces capitalism.
Personally, I don't hold the same feeling of incredulity. I think it all exists to support those currently in power and to prevent revolution. China had to adapt after Mao's policy failures, and they did so while keeping the same government in power.
No, that'd potentially be a delusion of patriotism. Or nationalism. Patriotic would be to make your countries government better than others. Not merely believing it is.
I agree. The original argument of this thread was that without free press, doing things like making your country's government better is difficult, if not impossible.
Therefore, it seems contradictory to be patriotic in a system that does not permit its citizens to improve upon that system.
What will actually change in government to prevent Trump 2.0? How will it be improved? That's the saddest thing about this whole debacle, is that nothing will be changed to get rid of a bad president. No mechanisms will be added. Everyone will breathe a sigh of relief when Trump leaves (in whatever way) and then pinky-swear that "we'll never do that again" without changing the mechanisms to actually make it so.
There are a number of active lawsuits against him, most important probably being the emoluments ones. These take time to prepare and put in front of a judge.
I don't know what better solution there is to wannabe dictators than a free press. Trump hates the press that doesn't agree with him. That should be a big sign that they are a thorn in his side.
Life isn't perfect, nor is government. Sometimes you get a lemon and just need to deal with it with as much reason as you can muster.
In a parliamentary system, when the leader loses the backing of their own party, they're no longer leader. And you don't have to wait four years for that to happen.
Nope. I was ridiculing the idea of categorising an entire nation as all being of the one mind.
You need better textbooks.
> The most patriotic thing is to believe your country's form of government is better than others, or at least as good as others.
Nonsense. There are plenty of rabid American patriots who despise their government and want to change it, for example. And there are plenty of people who believe their government is the best form, but aren't particularly patriotic.
> There's 1.3 billion brain-washed citizens
Brain-wash is a strong word. Chines people are not like some another-dimensional like minions. They think and behave reasonably and just like any other one on this planet. Please refrain from using strong word without actual evidence.
> taiwan is a part of china
History shows that Taiwan was forcefully severed from the national Chinese government. Taiwan government also say they belong to the national Chinese government, and thought the mainline CCP is illegal.
> tiannamen square didn't happen
You probably meet some people who happen to believe that. I highly doubt anyone in China now believe that did not happen, let alone those who live in Bay area.
> the CCP is ok
CCP is fine. They managed China in good shape. What's the problems one would have if you have such a government.
> how can they study here for grad school, want to stay for h1-b and get the green card, have extreme nationalism for their officially communist government yet happily participate in the fruits of capitalism and western liberalism.
It's quite shocking.
1. China does not have a socialism or communism economy. You can label it as such, but the truth is they practice a national capitalism. Such belief is not in odds with western values. People do value freedom and all such ubiquitous values, so they move to western countries.
2. "Extreme nationalism for their officially communist government" Just 3 bullet points, then this label got applied onto these people?! Bias aside, the 'extreme' part is rather exaggerating.
Why nationalism is tied with the government? 3 bullet point can translate to pro-communist government? And an extension to tie 'extreme nationalism' to communist? I just cannot see the connection.
3. "happily participate in the fruits of capitalism and western liberalism."
No, people do not have hidden agenda to do anything out of reach. They believe in the value of western nations. The premise of what you said is unfounded, and this contrast does not bear much meaning, IMHO.
Why does the government go to such extreme lengths to suppress the information then? More people than you admit don't believe or admit it happens. The government is playing a long game here, as the younger you are the less likely you are to have had access to the information, and it gets worse over time.
In my opinion it will actually get better in time. The country is not in as precarious a position as it was back then, and with the progression of stabilisation, the need to suppress embarrassing parts of history will hopefully diminish. I certainly doubt something like that could happen again.
And you might know that censorship can take different forms. The CCP has historically taken a heavy-handed approach; other countries are more subtle, but they de-emphasize and bury. I personally think that Japan's systematic memory-hole-ing of its WWII exploits is far worse than the Tiananmen suppression. And what percentage of Americans do you think know about Kent State? Dresden? Hell, dronings?
Not really defending China here, or trying to start a game of whataboutism. I'm just pointing out that they're not North Korea, their citizens are not stupid, governments will always protect themselves, and history is written by the winners everywhere.
Of course, Canada has its own sordid moments in history... Residential schools, Oka & Ipperwash crises, Japanese internment during WW2.
I think the Chinese government may play a role in strategically choosing only the most extreme and nationalistic individuals as eligible emigrants. This will skew the perspective of Americans who don't leave their country. Chinese student-spies on American University campuses is a well documented phenomenon .
Why "Chinese student protesting" is labeled as "spying". Dalai does want to make a part of China become independent. Without going into the debate into the legitimacy of this claim, can a country's citizen express their own emotion through the right channel? What makes them spy?!
Straight out of that article:
Li Fengzhi, a longtime employee of the Chinese Ministry of State Security who came to the United States in 2003 as a graduate student at the University of Denver, said that the Chinese government did not see the group so much as a spying operation, but rather as a propaganda and “information collection organization.” Mr. Li eventually defected and was debriefed by F.B.I. counterintelligence agents about the group’s activities.
I could not find any other sources to cross-reference this information. All the information that I could find about Li Fengzhi (wikileaks, washingtonpost) talks about his link to Ministry of State Security (MSS), and make no mentions of comments made on the student groups. So it would appear that he was talking about MSS when talking about "the group".
Of course I could be wrong and NYT had the first hand information on that, but the entire Li Fengzhi story ended in 2010 so it is not likely that NYT had the information without publishing it before 2017.
No one in America will repress you, punitively or otherwise, for talking openly about, for example, the "Tuskegee Study of Untreated Syphilis in the Negro Male.” This is a horrifying and deeply shameful thing, tears well up in my eyes even to think about it, and here is a government site describing it: https://www.cdc.gov/tuskegee/timeline.htm
Today, in China, Falun Gong practitioners are being imprisoned and having their organs harvested.
The people who comprise the CCP are scary. What is the world gives someone the right to try to lie to a whole nation of billions of people? To define a false reality and insist with strength of law that it's real? The incredible grotesque arrogance of the thing! And what a mind-fk for a nation to do to itself!?
But then I think, what would I do, how far would I go, to prevent another Taiping Rebellion?
CCP does much worse things than you western people even remotely understood. That does not mean that Chinese people are spies/extremist/...
> suppression of knowledge about the "June Fourth Incident" and it really blows my mind.
This is correct and true. And governments around world are learning quickly. That's the part we all should be aware.
> Today, in China, Falun Gong practitioners are being imprisoned and having their organs harvested.
I am not sure where you got this "fact"... This is a well-known fabricated lie of the Falun Gong leaders... Again, I cannot prove that no such thing, just as I cannot proven that there wasn't human organ harvesting in US. I can only say that all the sources to claim the existence of such thing is not true.
> The people who comprise the CCP are scary.
CCP has 80MM members. Please do not randomly exaggerate fact... If 80MM people are skilled practitioner of CCP tricks, China will already be the master of the world before 1987...
> What is the world gives someone the right to try to lie to a whole nation of billions of people?
No one. And no Chinese people or very few of them think CCP has the right either.
> To define a false reality and insist with strength of law that it's real?
Not sure what do you mean by "false reality".
> The incredible grotesque arrogance of the thing!
No clue what "grotesque arrogance" refers to.
> And what a mind-fk for a nation to do to itself!?
Please, do not mix CCP and Chinese people. People do not align themselves 100% at all time with the government or the party.
> But then I think, what would I do, how far would I go, to prevent another Taiping Rebellion?
Interesting. If you read CCP's propaganda, Taiping Rebellion is proclaimed as the righteous movement of the people to overthrow a corrupted government.
While in reality, Taiping Rebellion is more like a group of manic that causes havoc across the nation. It brings no advance to anything, and killed 10MM+ people. And is considered a setback to the overall progress of Chinese society.
I only recently learned about the whole "washing" of the "Incident" and it has really made me think.
I certainly agree with your rebuttal. I do not conflate the CCP with the Chinese people. And I'm aware that there are hundreds of millions of Chinese people who don't even live in China.
I also recognize that most of the members of the CCP are good people, the ones I call "scary" are a small minority. (Even if I don't agree with Communism.)
All things considered, if I'm thinking clearly, the most important thing I can recognize about China and the Chinese people is my own deep ignorance. :)
- - -
In re: the Falun Gong, they have newspapers and occasional demonstrations where I live, and they manage to make a very sober and sobering account of it. If they are lying they are damn good at it.
I don't know the truth of it myself, I hate to believe it.
> > What is the world gives someone the right to try to lie to a whole nation of billions of people?
> No one. And no Chinese people or very few of them think CCP has the right either.
Which is reassuring in one sense but dreadful in another: the concept of the "Mandate of Heaven" is still valid, even if you take it just as a metaphor?
> Not sure what do you mean by "false reality".
I mean the attempt to pretend the Tiananmen Square Massacre didn't happen.
> No clue what "grotesque arrogance" refers to.
I mean that the folks responsible for the decision to try to change history are being arrogant, institutionally if not personally.
> Please, do not mix CCP and Chinese people. People do not align themselves 100% at all time with the government or the party.
I agree. But taken together, as a Nation, that's a lil schizophrenic. Part of the nation knowing about the massacre and part "knowing" that it was merely an "incident" or even a myth, that's very schizophrenic. Even if most of the people see through it, it's still unhealthy I think.
In re: Taiping Rebellion. When I read about it I was horrified. A vast horde hopped up on rebellion and bad religion and overrunning everything they could... And they call it a "righteous movement"..?
Anyhow, sorry for my ignorance.
My statement "I highly doubt anyone in China now believe that did not happen" seems too rush and was from my own experience only, because I learned Tianmen incident in college.
Or I should say most people eventually will be ignorant about what's tianmen incident. They neither believe it happened or not happened, they simply have no such idea, like in an alternative universe.
And on the spectrum of Complete Communism->Complete Capitalism (no country is completely on either end), I'm not so sure China is too far off from some completely western countries. According to the Index of Economic Freedom, China is only slightly lower than Croatia (EU Member), South Africa and Italy.
Try talking to them as another asian or foreigner. You will see their nationalism come out.
If you don't believe me, ask your non-American non-Chinese friends for their anecdotal experiences.
And yes, of course it's not all of them.
I mean, that's some serious cognitive dissonance if they're living in America yet exhibit hyperpatriotic attitudes.
I'm going to present as much evidence as you have - none - but in my experience this is categorically and absurdly untrue. And your claim that others don't see this because they're "obvious American" is the opposite of reality. The only times I have seen Chinese express "love" for their government is when it's criticised by a foreigner. Between themselves they complain non stop. The best the CCP can hope for from the vast majority of its populace is, as far as I can see, a kind of grudging respect.
You really need to learn the difference between extreme pride in your country and in your government, because they are two very different things. Plenty of peoples have the former - including the Chinese and indeed Americans. I struggle to think of any large population of the latter and they certainly do not live in China.
Not sure how do you get that. I suppose you do not have the super power to read mind.
I personally believe Taiwan is a separate country be every objective measure, but the current mess isn't just the PRCs making, past and present Taiwanese politicians deserve some blame here too.
The political views of the mainland soldiers who invaded Taiwan during the 50s and the views of the people of Taiwan who were at their mercy weren't the same, even when dictatorship made it impossible to speak freely. Many had to acquiesce to the system to get by and some did for decades. A prime example would be the first Taiwanese native to succeed in the KMT. After decades of doing the party's bidding, he made it to the very top and destroyed the dictatorship from the inside by allowing opposing parties to form, participate in elections and ultimately win.
That's why a few other members say their anecdotal evidence hasn't seen that much extreme pride - I suspect the people they are talking about have spent 5-10 years here at least, and arrived here in the late 90's-early 2000's when China was still weak and not as rich.
Try talking to new grads and mid-late 20's who are here, who arrived here when China became rich. They are very very prideful. You won't see it if you're an obvious American dude; they will not show their colors.
Obviously you do not encourage westernization by blocking them off. The US strategy is probably to encourage them to be here to gradually acclimate them to western liberalism over time, where they can go back eventually as the ruling elite and gradually shift attitudes in their country.
An example of the first to adopt such ideals, would be Japan.
Let's keep the discussion civil and hopefully we all can get something out of this.