Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
HK's extradition law: Not just HK people have reason to fear Chinese “justice” (jeromecohen.net)
228 points by sexy_seedbox on June 12, 2019 | hide | past | favorite | 102 comments

For all the vaunted talk about how the CCP plans in terms of centuries and how they are so much more far sighted than western politicians, the continual abuse of Hong Kong's special status seems extremely short sighted, because it is going to make peaceful re-unification of Taiwan completely impossible.

CCP planned in term of decades and were more far sighted than western politicians. This changed with the rise of Xi Jing Ping who is a short sighted petty autocrat but unfortunately extremely good at political maneuvering to concentrate power in his hands and undoing what little checks were instituted by Deng Xiaoping.

I had high hopes for China's future back when I lived there but that is no longer the case with the current government.

> This changed with the rise of Xi Jing Ping

To expand, Xi is a leader for life [1]. China is best modelled as a large, wealthy dictatorship which will act to keep its narrow leadership in power. This is very different from the long-term planning which characterised its growth when it was capable of peaceful transitions of power.

Pushing this legislation (or kidnapping bookstore owners publicising corruption amongst Beijing’s elite [2]), for China, is stupid. It stokes a vocal, organised opposition to Beijing. It also makes clean integration in ‘47 less likely. (The fraction of Hong Kong residents identifying as Chinese versus Hong Kongese has plummeted in the last few years [3].) From the perspective or keeping Xi in power, however, the ham-fistedness makes sense.

[1] https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-china-43361276

[2] https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Causeway_Bay_Books_disappear...

[3] https://www.reuters.com/article/us-hongkong-anniversary-idUS...

This strikes me as the quintessential problem with autocracies. Sometimes one gets extremely efficient governments in the short term, when the autocrat is competent and not entirely corrupt, but in the long run whatever short term gains were had are squandered by corruption and greed. Democracy is inefficient in the short term but efficient in the long run.

Well said.

The situation is a lot more complicated than you make it seem. We barely have any idea how inner politics work in China, since little information leaks out unlike in most other nations. I don't think you can make a definitive statement on a leader whose name you haven't spelt correctly.

There might be two things at play, the first described in the article that this is really a ploy to get "countries that have extradition treaties with Hong Kong to either renegotiate them successfully " possibly in favour of China.

Also Hong Kong's status might just be a constant question that if Hong Kong is part of China but has some local autonomy....why can't other parts of China? Especially if there was an economic crisis and Hong Kong faired better...

Easing them in might be secondary to domestic concerns.

These already exist, there are 5 autonomous regions based around minority groups. There's also Macau which has a similar status to Hong Kong even if the system is quite different.

Peaceful reunification with Taiwan under CCP rule is already impossible. Neither side of Taiwanese politics would accept that: the big political divide in Taiwan is between people who consider themselves Taiwanese and support independence (pan-Green), and people who consider themselves Chinese but think the CCP are illegitimate rulers (pan-Blue).

Maybe this analogy is a bit of a stretch, but imagine the pan-Blue as ethnic Cubans in Florida, who despite feeling more Cuban than "Floridian" would never peacefully agree to Miami being reunited with Cuba under Castro regime rule.

The only way China and Taiwan could be reunited peacefully is if the CCP falls, the mainland becomes a capitalist liberal democracy acceptable, the pan-Blue coalition somehow becomes politically dominant in Taiwan despite being in opposition now, and they negotiate an agreement with the new Chinese regime. This is maybe not totally impossible, but still far-fetched.

I expect the CCP understands all of this. Since peaceful reunification with Taiwan is already impossible without the CCP going under anyway, it's not a good reason not to interfere with Hong Kong.

I don't think CCP has put on any pretence about desiring peaceful re-unification.

Oh, I'm pretty sure they'd take it if they could get it. They just don't see any realistic chance that they could ever get it.

Chinese justice just like the justice political prisoners used to received in the USSR.

I asked a Hong Kong lawyer this week about the proposed extradition law. In particular, of the following, who would it apply to:

a) Chinese nationals; b) HK nationals; c) foreign nationals.

He advised it would apply to all three.

Edit: he also said it's not impossible the bill will be withdrawn.

Yes, it is true. It is confirmed by pro-China lawyer in HK local newspaper. The prosecution of Huawei CFO make China targeting foreign nationals in Hong Kong for revenge.

Moreover, the issue is not only about politics, but also economic. The most concern is about how China could use this to threaten any person including foreign nationals in Hong Kong. Have a business disputed with some Chinese business while in Hong Kong? Then, you could be extradited to China any time soon. It is not safe to do business in Hong Kong anymore. If this bill is passed, then it is expected Hong Kong would be completely replaced by Singapore within some time of period for foreign companies in Hong Kong to leave.

The writing is on the wall for Hong Kong even within China, as other cities have caught up economically.

Hong Kong still has a huge advantage compared to mainland cities with respect to its liberties and legal framework, making it often the better place to do business than say Shanghai or Shenzhen. However, the CPC is quickly eroding these advantages.

These help a lot to be sure, but the city has gone from having an economy that was almost a third of the mainland's in 1993, to a fifth at the handover, to less than 3% today.[0] It is still important but no longer crucial to China. In a generation or so, it will be just another city among dozens.

The idea that rights and liberties are absolutely essential is a nice bedtime story we can tell ourselves, but if there weren't multiple paths towards economic development, then China would never have risen to the current level. Even in the West we probably only got those rights because it made economic sense to have them with the way we developed over time.[1]

[0] http://www.ejinsight.com/20170609-hk-versus-china-gdp-a-sobe...

[1] https://www.bbc.com/news/world-39706765

> These help a lot to be sure, but the city has gone from having an economy that was almost a third of the mainland's in 1993, to a fifth at the handover, to less than 3% today.

That is because of China's growth, not Hong Kong's loss. China was just way way behind in 1993.

> The idea that rights and liberties are absolutely essential is a nice bedtime story we can tell ourselves, but if there weren't multiple paths towards economic development, then China would never have risen to the current level.

Frankly, just being able to access gmail without using a flaky VPN is a huge boon to many when doing international business.

Well, China of course can make Hong Kong "a city among dozens" if it tries hard, but today a citizen of Hong Kong has an average income of $46 000, while a Chinese citizen only $8 960 [1]. For comparison, in Korea an average income is $28 000 and in Japan it is $38 000. But I agree that Chinese government definitely is able to lower the income of the citizens to Chinese average within 20 years.

> The idea that rights and liberties are absolutely essential

First, they are absolutely essential for higher quality of life. You cannot measure it with just GDP per capita or income per capita. For example, Middle Asian oil-selling countries might have high income, but life is not very pleasant there, especially if you are a woman, a gay, a journalist or part of any other minority.

Also, it is more difficult to make business in authoritarian countries because of excess control over any activities which creates opportunities for corruption. For example, in China to release a mere smartphone game, the developer first has to approve the scenario and characters in the government (yes, they really have such requirements). Of course, officials have no motivation to hurry because it is you who is losing profits, not them. And you have to repeat the procedure when releasing an update.

Also, in authoritarian countries the government typically tries to gain control over any large enterprise, and after that the profits are going to nobody knows where (but the friends and relatives of officials supervising the enterpsie suddenly become successful eneterpreneurs) and the losses are compensated from the budget.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_GNI_(nomi...

Despite all of these absurd constraints on business, companies are bending over backwards to establish themselves in China, because the market is that huge and profitable.

All of these points are great, but HK became wealthy as an intermediary between Asia and the West. Now it is losing what remains of that role. They will lose their high salaries not primarily because of the mainland's interference (although I'm sure it'll be huge factor) but for the same reason that wages are stagnating or dropping in the West. As time goes by there are fewer and fewer clear reasons why the average HKer will be worth a higher salary than so many other nations.

Nobody is bowing to your tyrannical world view. It stops here.

We've banned this account for repeatedly violating the site guidelines.


I'm not exactly sure what your comment is even supposed to mean, but I'll bite. Maybe my predictions will turn out to be dead wrong, but as it stands it's unlikely that anyone is willing or prepared to stop what China is doing, and it's unlikely that Hong Kong is going to last very long because they have less and less power as time goes by. I personally am a lot more sympathetic to HK's struggle, and I encourage people to take to the streets because it is very likely to be their last stand. They certainly have more balls than I do. But life isn't like a movie and I'm pretty pessimistic about their chances.

If there is tyranny, it's just that it always comes down to power in the end. Freedom and the rule of law work well because they have made it easier for a society to flourish over the long term, but if conditions change so can their effectiveness. I wouldn't be surprised if human rights disappear like a puff of smoke if the 99% lose their bargaining power because of automation.

This is kind of a childish comment. What authority do you have to stop someone from freely expressing their opinion?

Actually, the fake news these days make me re-think the concept of `free speech`.

Firstly, More free speech sometimes means more fake news. Creating and spreading false or biased news are so easy, as the society goes, the problem we deal become more and more complicate, if we cannot get the right info and we do not possess the right mind how come expect us to make a ration decision, we all know what happened to Galileo, can anyone say what they did to Galileo is undemocratic.

Secondly, the common crowd are not that care about the truth, i discussed with a few people lives in HK through the internet, they actually do not know anything about the extradition law, and they still went to the protest. This is why I do not believe in any form of direct democracy.


This is actually against comment guidelines:

"Please don't make insinuations about astroturfing. It degrades discussion and is usually mistaken. If you're worried, email us and we'll look at the data."


Does China still have enough to gain, to make it worthwhile to destroy such an incredibly valuable asset?

I can't really rationalize why China would throw stone on its own feet, but there are two reasons I could think of.

One reason could be president Xi just can't back off because Xi is like Kim Jong-un in China. Xi has killed some of his political enemies and throw many of them to jail. If Xi shows any weakness to his internal enemies, he could not live long because he is playing too tough. It's like how a mafia boss works.

Another reason is taking back some US dollar from HK reserve. China is facing insufficient foreign currency for importing goods for production, or even food in trade war with US. One example is pork production, which China has large export in the world, but it relied on corn imported from US, so facing increased tax harm pork production in China a lot, and added up with African swine fever, the situation is even worse.

So, how would extradition law help? Basically there are some list of merchant in the hand of China who leaves China due to business disputed, bankrupt or any economic related prosecution. In China, they could start the court even with the absence of suspect. So, the court could proceed anytime and enforce any punishment without a lawyer to protect the suspect right. Without extradition law, it doesn't matter if the suspect left China. After the extradition law is passed, China would extradite those wanted list. And those wanted list could pay back some foreign currency in exchange.

Though, it is really just sacrificing long term advantage for short term benefit. Both reasons are really dumb but they can't stop. Chinese using nationalism to justify the party existence, since the party make China a strong country. But if it is not, then the party would start falling apart.

>Basically there are some list of merchant in the hand of China who leaves China due to business disputed, bankrupt or any economic related prosecution

With so much news around this bill, surely they would have fled before this bill was passed?

It was a valuable asset, 20 years ago, but the CPC has developed enough other cities to be large and rich. There are some excellent graphs if you search that show the relative % of the Chinese economy that HK was in 1980 vs now. Now it is a much smaller portion of the total economy. The CPC is now considering that HK might be sacrifice necessary to maintain their authoritarian control over China because they cannot allow the ideas of human rights to spread to the mainland china population.

At least some portion of HKG’s loss will be the mainland’s gain, so there’s that to factor in

> incredibly valuable asset

Is it though?

Whatever we think of the mainland Chinese justice system, and there is indeed a lot to be said about it, the current situation is rather strange.

Indeed, it seems quite extraordinary that someone could not be sent from one territory of the PRC to another one to face trial.

> Whatever we think of the mainland Chinese justice system

Beijing just unilaterally broke the Hong Kong handover agreement. In that agreement, China explicitly agreed that there would be two systems within PRC territory [1]. There is no way to sue the CPC in a Chinese court to enforce Hong Kong’s rights under the treaty.

In Hong Kong (as in Taiwan, Japan, Britain and the U.S.) the government is answerable to the law. In China, it is not. That is the crux of the issue. The way Beijing is cramming down this legislation is, funnily enough, the argument against it.

[1] https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Handover_of_Hong_Kong

It is a feature, not a bug.

Someone has the great insight to foresee what could happen 30 years ago.


Hong Kong rejoined China under specific agreements. Those agreements were in place because the people of Hong Kong did not want to becomes just another piece of China. As such they retained high levels of legal, government and economic autonomy. Colloquially it's known as "one country, two systems."

So, yes, someone probably foresaw this issue and didn't want Hong Kong to become a puppet of China used as a giant fly swatter after re-unification.

You're probably being down voted due to the utter lack of history and context (ie: lack of basic research) you're showing which generally makes intelligent discussions pointless.

edit: A example of similar systems in the west are native reservations which enjoy varying levels of autonomy despite being part of the country they're located in.

1. Which part of the discussion were not mature?

2. The situation is not loophole left by the British. But it was specifically left in place so the one country two system would work for the next ( then ) 50 years. To guarantee the certain freedom of the Hong Kong people which was clearly listed out in the Sino-British Joint Declaration.

3. It is not a Riot. ( I am sorry but that has to be one of the most insulting thing ever said ) No one started a Riot, What was once, one of the most peaceful protest. by 1M people, was fired with Rubber Bullet and Later Metal Bullet to eyes and head shot ( Both in ER ), Along with Tear Gas with NO Prior warning, Against a group of people with bare hands and no weapon.


It is not about disagreeing per se, it is just plain wrong.

2 + 2 will never be 22, doesn't matter how you spin it. ( Edit, Ok may be in Javascript )

He made a statement, about not being able to put trial in the same country, I also made a statement about it is a future not a bug. And the reply I got was discussion were not mature.

Had the first sentence been a question as to why, you cant have the trial inside the own country, I would have replied about one country two system. But since he made a statement, I presume he does understand the topic on a certain level. May be that was my wrong assumption.

( Not to mention the article linked explains the fear of doing so )

> And the reply I got was discussion were not mature.

I believe, and his further comments strengthen my belief, that this wasn't aimed at your comment, but at the fact that he got mass downvoted. That has since changed considerably, as it tends to do when it's highlighted. The counts are not public, but at the time I wrote my comment, his was practically background-colored.

> "I don't agree with this opinion so I will downvote this comment"

If that bothers you, then HN is not the site for you. Downvotes for disagreeing has received the thumb of approval from PG[0]. Upvotes are for agree and downvotes are for disagree. On reddit people like to pretend otherwise (even though it's true in practice there as well), but here on HN there are no bones about it.

[0] one example: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=658683

Thanks, that explains it, I suppose.

I try not to let myself be bothered by hyper-tribalism too much, but it does put the good parts in perspective for me.

Hence the groupthink we see all the time... Not least on such a topic which is 'owned' by extremists who will not tolerate even a shred of non-conformity.

It's hypocrisy when mods say otherwise.

I'm not saying it's a great system that never goes wrong, but with the seal of approval from PG you're swimming against the tide if you're trying to change how people vote on HN.




You're feeding a troll. It would have been better to walk away a few comments ago.

Possible, but I do personally rule that out, as the downvotes are very selective.

>The point is that it makes no sense to have extradition treaties with, say, the US but not with mainland China for a Chinese territory.

It also make no sense for Hong Kong to have its own currency, HKD, pegged to USD. Along with its own laws and system. Even driving is on the "wrong" side of the road as one might say. And it is everything about the One Country Two System which is promised and now trying to be broken. You might have a point if this was happening in 2046.

>The insults and the fact that people now track my comments history to downvote all of them on random topics prove my preceding point about "red guards"... Disgraceful tactics.

HN can downvote comment that is well pass a few hours. You can only upvote pass comments. And since most of your recent comment are about the same topic, may be they just happen to disagree with you.

HK is part of China. How do you send someone from China to China.

One country. Two systems.

The _system_ in Hong Kong is very different.

It isn't uncommon to have such internal differences. The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is likewise a single sovereign entity, often abbreviated as just "the UK" but for example abortion is _a crime_ in Northern Ireland, whereas it's offered as a normal part of the NHS on the mainland. Likewise Scotland has separate laws even though there's no discernible border, no more than a small street sign saying "You are now entering Scotland".

American Samoa is part of the USA, yet they are not citizens. So there are always more details than just "part of" or not.

How this is worse than US extraditions / kidnapping of foreign nationals abroad? Never mind Assange there are plenty of people arrested outside of US and moved to US prison.

For every thing the American judicial system does wrong, China does a hundred things worse. The conviction rate in China is well over 99% (if they want to find you guilty, they will). You can be detained with no access to a lawyer or family indefinitely. There is no separation of powers (the legal system isn't independent of the political system, and the constitution isn't worth anything). Torture and forced confessions are common. Roughly a million people are currently being held in concentration camps without any trial.

I know it's popular to be critical of America, and it's good to shine light on the darkest parts of America, but there is no comparison between it and what goes on in other parts of the world.

This is because China lacks the rule of law and the CPC considers the very notion a threat to their power. They're probably right. The rule of law would diminish the CPC's authoritarian principals.

The only rule in CPC China is whatever the CPC says is the rule, at the time they say it. The consider human rights to be dangerous to the CPC. The fundamental opposition to human rights is spelled out in "Communiqué on the Current State of the Ideological Sphere" in 2013.

It's interesting that Japan also has a conviction rate that exceeds 99%, and Canada has a conviction rate of 97%.

Which countries China has recently invaded and currently wages war against?

I'm addition to Tibet they threaten Taiwan and all countries sharing a sea zone with them currently.



One could argue it is still occupied

Ongoing is as recent as it gets.

Whatever country Uyghurs reside in. So, seemingly... China itself.

the USA ("Western") system has to at least fabricate some charges or destroy the target's reputation.

the PRC doesn't seem to have such 'cumbersome' restrictions.

Tell that to the guys in Gitmo. Though they might be not nice and totally guilty nobody bothered to formally charge them.

Could you please stop using HN primarily for political and ideological battle? It's not what this site is for, and it looks like you've been doing it exclusively. We ban accounts that do that, because HN exists for intellectual curiosity, which is destroyed by this sort of thing.

If you wouldn't mind reviewing https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html and taking the spirit of the site more to heart, we'd be grateful. You might also find these links helpful for getting the intended idea:





This is a very good point, and it's part of the reason that much of the western world abhors the US' practices in Guantanamo Bay, and criticizes them for it. It's a black mark on the USA's reputation.

You probably won't find a large audience here that defends gitmo though (probably). I expect most of us would agree about this.

The guys in Gitmo were captured on the battlefield so the alternative is that they could be dead.

But let's focus on the lack of process in taking them captive instead of just killing then.

There are international treaties about handling prisoners of war. The thing is that US found a loophole not to admit that they are prisoners of war. What US did is similar to what their enemies like Taliban do.

The US didn't "find a loophole." Prisoner of war protections under international treaties only apply to state participants, meaning members of a state army.

Terrorists and other non-sanctioned armed forces are not protected by treaties between states because they are not fighting on behalf of a state. This is a recognized and intended exception to the rules governing POWs.

it is my understanding that those who ended up in gitmo are typically associated with, and placed there under the understanding that they are suspected to be associated with actively violent "terrorist" organizations (the actively violent rogue groups is the point here, not the terrorist label, whatever that means lmao). It's not just people expressing dissenting opinions disappearing. This seems very very very different to me. Look up the communist student group at peking university in china (who are criticizing the capitalist tendencies and corruption of China) who are __currently__ disappearing. Edit: Not excusing gitmo on moral grounds, just pointing out it's pretty different than a country making its own dissenting citizens 'disappear'

They were threated worse than the prisoners of war are exepected to be treated. This is a weak excuse. An army is a violent group too, do the soldiers deserve such treatment when captured?

Who said it was worse? What matters is that it is wrong.

The article doesn't talk about the US or Assange at all. Why are you even bringing it up?

Why moving criminals from one part of China to the other part of China becomes bigger issue than US kidnapping people all over the world?

I don't think people are arguing that this is a bigger issue, but merely that both issues are bad.

Perhaps you should be protesting the detainment of suspected criminals in Gitmo, then, instead of commenting here.

What do you mean? If America is abusing its power for evil purposes then its fine if China does the same?

What is your solution, then? The demonstrators should realize the futility of their position, give up, go home, and allow the situation to deteriorate further?

Engaging in whataboutism just encourages the bad behavior you're highlighting here. It's a logical fallacy that leads to learned helplessness and a nihilistic worldview that actually ends up perpetuating the same vicious cycle I assume you wish to prevent.

Hong Kong is China though it has a formal autonomy. Anyone who thinks differently is heading for a nasty surprise.

Protests with street violence are making nice picture for Western media but will only bring trouble for individual local protesters. Criminal convictions, lost jobs, ruined careers.

This benefits only external actors that coordinate unrest and trying to get leverage on CCP in foreign affairs.

Those committing violence -- the people in uniforms attacking protestors -- are not going to get criminal convictions or lose their jobs. This is China we're talking about.

An anti-China thread isn’t complete without a whataboutism or “and you are lynching negroes” response.

Please don't do this tired trope on HN. The threads are bad enough without it.


I appreciate that you're trying to maintain HN as a place for civil intellectual discourse, but I'd argue that people in these threads constantly implying China to be beyond criticism because "well the US does bad things too" is the actual "tired trope" here, not the people rightly calling out that fallacious logic and labeling it as what it is.

They both are. There's no law of conservation of tired tropes.

Fair enough, but at the very least both should then be called out as such, no?

Sure, but we can't come close to moderating everything, or even seeing everything. I've certainly replied to many such comments on HN. If you see a particularly bad one that didn't get scolded, the likeliest explanation is that we didn't see it.

Whataboutism is relevant here. After all, one of the many reasons the right-wing elements became predominant in Japan in the first half of the 20th century is because Western powers were not willing to recognize it as an empire, even when they had done the same type of land grabs that Japan was trying to do.

edit: to clarify my clumsy statement a bit, I am not saying that criticism of America specifically is relevant here, or that America is just as bad (I agree that this is a ridiculous notion) but that the competing narratives and the past have direct consequences on politics. You can certainly see that on the discussions on climate change.

To be fair, at the times you've mentioning US _was_ "lynching negros".

Here we have situation similar to US extraditing criminals from Puerto Rico. Why this suddenly become an issue?

Because this extradition arrangement is a very clear and specific violation of the agreement that brought HK under Chinese rule.

Meanwhile, there is that Chinese Huawei Executive who is being held hostage in Canada as a trading chip in a trade war, waiting for her extradition to the US on the invented charges of having had traded with Iran (which is completely legal in China).

If anything, I'd say it is a wonder that China has not started taking US Americans and Canadians hostage for the crime of being US American and/or Canadian.

Somewhat tangential: Do you think there are no spies operating in China whom are known to the current government? Why would China choose some random Westerners over known intel assets while knowing full well the case will appear so prominently on the world stage? Tourism makes up 10% of their economy.

Nations tolerate this stuff and are well aware of who is who, it's how it is. Kicking out a known operative means another unknown will replace them. Better the enemy you know and such. There's a recent video from the CIA on the lengths they go to disguise embassy-tasked folk and how they get them out into the _world_.


I thought those were jusr their catspaws and the norm for spying was far more sociopathically aristocratic - the official spies have if not holding diplomatic immunity have some sort of official connection.

Executing them is technically legally perscribed but simply not done in practice - instead being kept for prisoner exchanges.

Their networks of local contacts who do the actual work may not even get the benefit of a third world kangaroo court trial.

The handlers usually do have diplomatic cover. The sources don't, they're local people with access to valuable information. "Catspaws" is not quite right. The people who got rounded up in China were CIA sources.

Do we know what other countries do in such cases? The US has consistently addressed possible terrorists with black sites or drone strikes (executions). So is it beyond the realm of possibility that at least parts of undercover spy networks are dealt with in similar ways? And is there any expectation that a newspaper would be able to exercise the right to free speech and report on this given that a gag order is enough to prevent any such attempts under the threat of prison time (possibly in one of those black sites)?

Countries (especially superpowers) have been known to remove any semblance of due process, freedom, and security in the name of... freedom and security. [0]

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patriot_Act

P.S. I expect downvotes for my comment. I don't expect any will be accompanied by any attempts at a counter-argument. And my comment is not about whatabboutism, just that you can't single out someone unless they are actually singular in their actions.

You may recall the Russian "Illegals." They were exchanged. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Illegals_Program

Also the "Cuban Five", who either served a prison sentence or were exchanged. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cuban_Five

You may be surprised to hear it, but the FBI (who runs internal counterespionage in the US) operates rather differently from China. I suppose the FBI could be organizing hits on American citizens suspected of spying for China, but on the whole it seems like one of the least likely abuses. The CIA gets up to all sorts of things abroad, but running a kidnap/murder program inside the country is not particularly the FBI's style.

All sides use some of the captured spies for exchanges, it's good business. And I'm sure all of them also kill some to send a message, also good business sometimes (in this case 18-20 killed or imprisoned). My point wasn't to single out one agency - FBI, CIA, etc. Is your honest belief that no foreign spies were executed on US soil, or no spy networks were dismantled like this?

"Combatants" (in quotes because the meaning tended to change over time) that take no issues with killing (collateral victims included), torturing, holding people for decades with no due process, or even something as plain and legal as the death penalty for crimes committed by their own citizens, etc. will draw the line at executing a foreign spy that ostensibly deserves it according to most countries' laws and rules of engagement? Why would spies be treated any better than any enemy or even the citizens?

There's no point in singling out one country for something like this unless you're specifically looking to deceive yourself straight up the moral high ground. In this "business" expect things that are lowest of the low on any moral scale. From all sides.

China has a whole gulag archipelago for disappearing and executing dissidents and undesirables. The US doesn't have the infrastructure. The CIA had to spin up a whole set of foreign black sites for its rendition/torture program.

I could see Hoover's FBI doing something like this, but it would probably have come out by now if they had.

Killing your own citizens who spy for foreign countries to send a message doesn't work that well unless you're willing to let it get out that you did it. If nobody knows, then it's not a disincentive! And your adversaries will just recruit more- after all, they're not the ones running the risk, it's your citizens, who don't even know about your new targeted murder program. Quietly disposing of the Rosenbergs instead of putting them on trial might have been easier, but unlike in authoritarian regimes the US wouldn't be able to do anything but keep it a deep dark secret, and the propaganda value and deterrent effect would be wasted.

Killing an entire ring of foreign spies who could be swapped is also stupid, since it means your spies won't be held and maybe swapped, they'll be killed.

Have foreign spies ended up dead on American soil due to US government action, sure maybe, but the FBI or whoever deciding to round up and shoot everyone in a spy ring, nah.

> And your adversaries will just recruit more

That's the whole "game", isn't it? Police catching criminals or soldiers killing soldiers, you can't say "why bother, there will just be more". And they don't have to be "your own citizens", plenty of Chinese nationals (or naturalized) were caught spying in the US. Why do you think sending embassy staff home would ever be considered retaliation? They are the real control center for intelligence efforts and if you can disrupt such a network even temporarily it's a net win.

> The US doesn't have the infrastructure

Not sure if you're being serious about this. A country that manages to maintain a global military presence including permanent bases, anti-missile shields, ability to execute drone strikes, and ability to kidnap suspects [0] and detain them at black sites [1] spread all over the world doesn't have the infrastructure to what? Identify a spy in their own backyard and "eliminate" them?

> the FBI or whoever deciding to round up and shoot everyone in a spy ring, nah.

Of course, compromising a whole network involves some massive failures so it might be a once in a generation thing. So I'm guessing they just have to deal with spies one by one, as they're caught and according to the needs, instead of "rounding up and shooting everyone". And in the case of the spy ring compromised in China you'll notice that all sources mention it as "18-20 killed or imprisoned". Pretty sure we will never find out how many of each. Quite possibly the ones that were not executed will be traded.

I'm sorry to say it but all this sounds willfully ignorant. You don't become and remain a superpower by playing fair and being soft, it can be expected that all of them fight fire with a bigger fire. The bottom line is that singling out China as the only ones with blood on their hands is terribly idealistic. And unrealistic.

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_site

[1] https://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/black-site-in-li...

In all fairness, one of these guys organizes trips to North Korea. It's not like they were making themselves inconspicuous.

> waiting for her extradition to the US

In a court of law, where she will have the chance to plead her case in public. If she is extradited, she will have that chance again in America. The government, in summary, will have to prove its case.

Such a system, the rule of law, doesn’t exist in China. (It does in Hong Kong.) That is why reasonable people are angry about this legislation.

They redone a trial for a canadian and gave him the death penalty, I said that's quite the retaliation for the whole huawei thing.

That Canadian man smuggled 200 kilos(440 pounds) of meth into China. If he did that in Singapore or Japan, he would get death penalty too.

May not be enough. But there are ten of thousands of potential hostage.

Real the statement by American congress majority leader about the case.

Applications are open for YC Winter 2021

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact