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Chinese military entering Shenzen, just across the border with Hong Kong (twitter.com)
394 points by janantala 11 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 391 comments
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This is really bad and definitely triggers memorys of the Tiananmen massacre. I'm very interested how the rest of the world is going to react to these developments considering the position of China only got stronger since the Tinanmen situation. I recognized that the reaction of e.g. Germany was considerably weaker to the HK protests than e.g. the Arab Spring protests, but I guess we just have to wait and see.

Edit: Grammar


> China only got stronger since the Tinanmen situation

It's a rather remarkable difference at this point.

The US economy was 16 times larger than China at the end of 1989. Japan was nine times larger. China was only about 45% larger than South Korea back then.

China's military spending today is equal to at least a third the size of its economy in 1989 inflation adjusted.

There's a reason why there are no major protests occurring in the Middle East re Xinjiang. One would expect an enormous outpouring of anger and protest, boycott, mass demonstrations and burnings of the Chinese flag and Xi's effigy 24/7. They know it won't make any difference and it'll just anger China; they have almost zero influence to affect China's behavior. Most of the world feels that way.


I can understand Middle Eastern and muslim majority governments taking that view. I don't understand the ordinary Muslim believer that is prepared to go out and protest against America or Europe thinking that way. Why should they care? After all the reasons you give for treading carefully against China all apply to the US and the west just as much.

Take Pakistan. It gets billions in military and economic aid from the west and does a lot of trade with the US and Europe, but protests against the west are common. I really don't get what it is about China that, in the eyes of the Muslim man in the street, gives it a free pass to mass intern and re-educate muslims into not being muslims.


> After all the reasons you give for treading carefully against China all apply to the US and the west just as much.

That's not true. The US is susceptible to humiliation and reputation erosion when it comes to human rights. China, largely, is not. The Muslim prisoners - Abu Ghraib - being tortured wearing black bags, the infamous photos that were leaked (and sparked large protests across the Middle East), was an embarrassing scandal for years in the US and globally. It rather painfully tarnished the US when it comes to having authority to speak on human rights. And that's just one of several prominent examples from the past 20 years.

Obama promised to close Guantanamo specifically because of that type of reputation damage. Guantanamo is an issue about 1,000 times smaller in terms of impact, than what's going on in Xinjiang and yet it was a huge human rights scandal for the US that persists in tarnish to this day. It's routinely mentioned even now and the US gets lambasted for it. These things are a big credibility destroyer for a liberal democracy.

Go watch footage, or read polling/surveys, of what Western Europeans said and thought about the US from ~1948 to ~1991. Then compare it to today. That's the reputation hit the US has taken, the moral ground it has ceded. It has a tangible negative impact on the ability of the US to operate as a superpower, when your allies question your moral standing.

The US went to war, in Europe's backyard, to stop a genocide of Muslims with the Kosovo War. The positive reputation gain that you acquire from doing something like that, is largely wiped out when you do something like torture Muslims in those infamous photos at Abu Ghraib.

China does not operate on any reputation basis when it comes to human rights. They do not depend on US-style allies, of which they have almost none. They almost entirely disregard such reputation concerns. Quite the opposite, they defend their authoritarian approach with direct threats to anyone that opposes how their government does things.


"Go watch footage, or read polling/surveys, of what Western Europeans said and thought about the US from ~1948 to ~1991. Then compare it to today. That's the reputation hit the US has taken, the moral ground it has ceded. It has a tangible negative impact on the ability of the US to operate as a superpower, when your allies question your moral standing."

The sort of image the US wanted to project wasn't just for their allies but also for internal consumption. Remember that back then there was a PR war between capitalism and communism, as there was a real fear within the US of communism taking over. This fear was laid to rest when the Soviet Union fell apart and conservative interests won power within the US. As a result US authorities felt free to take the velvet glove off their iron fist.

The brazen exercise of raw power without apology has accelerated under Bush Jr and now Trump. Gitmo was an embarrassment to Obama who vowed to close it, but Trump has signed an executive order to keep it open and has vowed to use more torture.

Where are the consequences?


[flagged]


Somehow I doubt the KLA was on Iran and Saudi's top friends list

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kosovo_Liberation_Army

Not sure what "top friends list" means, but SA isn't represented by all forces born there, anymore than Blackwater mercenaries are always acting as a US proxy.


They (Pak) feel humiliated. It's obvious. It's humiliating that they have to go back to the IMF over $6 billion, rinse and repeat and take alms from Saudi Arabia and UAE (the latter of who just burned them on Kashmir as revenge for Pakistan declining to send troops to Yemen)

People en masse are generally not well-informed and in large part irrational.

The West has had decades of support for Israel (whose existence has been detested by most of the ME since pre-inception) and the decades-long struggle for ME countries to obtain ownership of their oil resources while white guys were in the country getting rich off it created has created a powerful and lasting image embedded into the culture (not least aided by lots of opportunistic ME politicians drumming up anti-West sentiment for decades in the same manner Western ones drum up anti-immigrant sentiment).

China is too new, even if they're actually a more appropriate target for wrongs committed in 2018-2019.


Pakistan believes that China is the only reliable partner when it comes to geopolitics. Due to which the establishment suppresses and doesn't allow any protests against China. In a recent interview when Imran Khan(Pak PM) was asked about mass detention of Muslims in China, he replied by saying that frankly, I don’t know much[1]. I've seen several Pakistanis criticising this stance because Pakistan was formed on the basis of Islam.

1. https://www.thequint.com/news/world/pakistan-pm-imran-khan-o...


I honestly don’t think that China will do anything like that again. Because of how their economy is so intertwined with the rest of the world, they can’t afford another brutal crackdown.

I am sure they will go in, but I’m also sure they have more sophisticated crowd control methods available to them.


Remember Prince Bonesaw? Saudi Arabia is a laughingstock of a country that can't do anything for itself, and yet we didn't do anything about them murdering a reporter with a green card.

Nations that are free today will not be free tomorrow. People today have been too afraid to stand up to dictators, and dictators are encroaching everywhere.

To be honest, the developed world hasn't convinced me it cares enough about human rights to risk its economic relationship with China over them. I'm really not sure how political leaders would react to Tiananmen 2.0.

The self-censorship on the part of the Western heads of state thus far has been a testament of the PRC's clout unto itself.


I think most likely what will happen is that the Chinese govt will refrain from overt confrontation and rather wait out the protestors to get fatigued and slowly dissipate.

> This is really bad and definitely triggers memorys of the Tiananmen massacre.

It certainly looks bad. But let us not forget how the US treats our own "Tank Man", Chelsea Manning.


If you have a better memory, this is how it was:

1. Local police was sent, it either did nothing or deserted

2. Troops from BJ itself were sent in, largely the same happened

3. Liaoning military region troops were called, they fared just a bit better than BJ troops, made few attack attempts, but nevertheless withdrew

4. Finally, as Beijing was getting more and more desperate, Shaanxi military region troops - "the primitives," were called and given a total cart blance. They made a blood bath


Not to detract from your point that it took them a while to find troops willing to actually follow their orders, but you got some details wrong. Neither Liaoning nor Shaanxi were military regions at the time, Liaoning province belonging to the Shenyang Military Region and Shaanxi being part of the Lanzhou Military Region. The troops that were finally called in were part of the Beijing Military Region, mostly from Hebei province (24th, 27th, 38th and 65th armies) and Shanxi (63rd army). (Note that Shaanxi and Shanxi are different provinces.)

Also, even they weren't particularly loyal: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Insubordination_in_the_PLA_dur...


We need to offer the freedom fighters in Hong Kong the opportunity to evacuate and move to a free country. It is an ethical and moral imperative.

And if it turns out (because times have changed) they no longer have enough "primitives" to do their dirty work for them - combined with all the cameras running, these days -

What then?


> And if it turns out (because times have changed) they no longer have enough "primitives" to do their dirty work for them

It has always been the case that the powerful squash uprisings by getting half the poor to kill the other half this has been the case regardless of the country for thousands of years, to think otherwise is naive.

> combined with all the cameras running

They killed protestors in Tiananmen square precisely because it was in front of cameras so the world would know the lengths they would goto in order to maintain power. China has never faced any negative consequences for the massacre because every one got the message.


I think some people in HK are deliberately trying to force the Mainland government to bring in the tanks. Otherwise why would they start beating up Mainlander travelers?

As incomes rise in China people will demand other things from the government than food, shelter and a comfortable middle class life. Hong Kong was ahead of the rest of China since they have been living pretty liberal under UK rule and were more prosperous. Whatever they do in Hong Kong now will not stop from things happening all over China at a given point.

This was the theory during the Clinton administration and, to be blunt, that theory has been wrong.

The Chinese people do not see risking growth disruption as worth what the west considers freedom. The west has fundamentally failed to make that case to them and even now western democracy is on the decline.

Please, please do not take a free China for granted. Do not think that change — that democracy and freedom — is inevitable. It’s not.


"The Chinese people do not see risking growth disruption as worth what the west considers freedom. The west has fundamentally failed to make that case to them and even now western democracy is on the decline."

I wouldn't be so quick to chalk this up to some sort of spontaneous decision originating with the Chinese people.

Remember that any sort of political dissent or organization tends to be quickly and effectively quashed in China by the authorities. Leaders and activists are imprisoned, tortured, disappeared, or "reeducated". The media and education systems are tightly controlled to only show and teach what the authorities want, and as a result the rest of the population (minus the "counterrevolutinary" leaders and activists, who've been weeded out) has been manipulated to think the way the authorities want them to think and say things the authorities want them to say, and if they don't there are very real consequences.

That said, as long as mainland China is prosperous and more and more people are lifted out of poverty, it's unlikely to have a real revolution. HK is in a different position, as they were already prosperous and have faced worsening conditions since they've been under the Chinese yoke.


> The Chinese people do not see risking growth disruption as worth what the west considers freedom.

Joel Garreau once said (IIRC) "To not have the problems of your parents is to not have problems." If you grew up worried about hunger, and now you have enough to eat, life is good. Political freedom? Might be nice, but not a big problem.

For the next generation, though, who grew up with enough food to eat...

> The west has fundamentally failed to make that case to them and even now western democracy is on the decline.

Ouch. But it hurts because it's true. I'm hoping it's only temporary, but yeah, the west at the moment is not exactly a shining advertisement for how great democracy is...


>For the next generation, though, who grew up with enough food to eat...

Which is why it has now been proven wrong, none of those who grew up with enough food ( Very decent food in fact ) cares or even think about it. Look at those who grew up wealthy and are now studying aboard.

Maslow's Theory, is just a theory after all, not a law.


And what makes you state this about the west? Citation or more detailed reason would be nice.

Trump isn't the best advertisement for how well democracy works. Neither is Boris Johnson. (In fact, Trump v Clinton as a choice for leader... shudder.)

The alt-right and antifa battling it out in the streets isn't a great look for democracy and the rule of law, either.

Epstein may have been the world's most successful pimp and blackmailer, and thrived for years among our elite. That's not a great look, either.

Then there's income disparity, the alienation of so many in our society (though it's probably still better than working in a Foxconn factory), debt (especially from medical care and higher education), the rise of opioid addiction, and suicide.

A Chinese could be forgiven for looking at all that and saying "No thanks. Your freedom isn't going to get me where I want to go."


> The Chinese people do not see risking growth disruption as worth what the west considers freedom.

Yes, in the face of a dystopian surveillance apparatus and a Party that will not hesitate to commit mass murder to maintain power, Chinese citizens are understandably reticent to publicly ask for _anything_ besides basic subsistence and stability.


How arrogant.

This is a low-value comment. If you feel the person you replied to is being arrogant, please explain why you feel that way. If you can't do that, please refrain from posting.

As life conditions improve, the change is inevitable. Not liberal democracy, but some radical change.

Chinese middle class may not demand democracy but they are clearly unhappy with the judiciary. Some kinds of checks and balances and independent juridical system is where it may start.

Maybe we should look how some European monarchies gradually transformed over centuries.


The goal of the Chinese leadership seems to be Singapore - a rich, rules-driven, low-corruption dictatorship. That would satisfy at least some of the demands of the Chinese public.

Singapore is not a dictatorship. It's a "flawed democracy", according to The Economist Democracy Index, the same category as the The United States. https://www.prensa.com/politica/democracy-index_LPRFIL201901...

Singapore has working legal system. Chinese are eroding that in HK.

Freedom and democracy aren't inevitable, but occasional revolutions and civil wars are inevitable in China. They've had quite a few and there's a good chance we'll see another one in our lifetimes. The next revolution probably won't produce a liberal democracy.

This sounds like how some regions are “due” for another catastrophic earthquake. Unfortunately, the modern notion of when a place is “due” for a revolution doesn’t take account of the sophisticated totalitarian surveillance technology that China has been building for the past 15 years.

You may not intend to give this impression, but the sense I get from casual observers of China (I count myself in this group) is that if we just let China do its China thing eventually it will implode and some different state will emerge, probably slightly better. As an American, this seems like The Way of Things because we are taught that freedom triumphs, even if it takes a long time, even if it comes in fits and starts.

It seems that this historical bias has created a blind spot for the possibility that things will continue to get very much worse for the Chinese people — who will go their own way entirely, as a group influenced by a completely different cultural background, with entirely different notions of what good government is.


Thing is that China is nearing point where it has to let creative destruction happen to grow more and it is very hard to achieve under current model.

When "creative destruction" is used as a euphemism for change, it encourages us to forget that "destructive destruction" is always a potential outcome.

See: the Great Leap Forward


Could you elaborate more on what this means? What is creative destruction? Why is it necessary for China’s growth, and why is now the point for it?

Citation please

https://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/01/opinion/sunday/friedman-w... and particulary last chapter of Why Nations Fail.

Never underestimate the persuasive power of a regime murdering several thousand people in plain sight. I remember thinking the same thing about the Arab Spring in 2009.

I generally agree with you but it's a lot easier for the west to turn a blind eye to the middle east or Africa (especially post fracking) than it is to turn a blind eye to the far east. By virtue of their standards of living, deep economic ties and stable governments the more developed parts of the far east are basically honorary Europe in the west's mind and that comes with higher expectations of civility.

It's really hard to predict where the "fuck it, you've gone too far, we can't do nothing this time" line is. Remember, basically everyone else in Asia is rooting for the west to cut china off economically so they can fill China's manufacturing role.

I agree that unless the Chinese really butcher people it will be business as usual but the chance of some viral video lighting a fire under the politician's asses is not to be discounted, especially when the current US administration has taken a policy line that means they will play up these kinds of things for negotiating leverage.

Edit: by "honorary Europe" I mean they have similar standards of living, similar strong and stable government institutions and with that comes the expectation that they won't just drive tanks over people at the drop of a hat. Basically, they're rich enough that we expect them to handle the problem in what we consider the "right way".


What do you mean when you say "honorary Europe", because I am certain it does not mean what I expect it to mean: A fundamentally fair and well-functioning society with very few if any governmental killings and high stability within it's borders.

You should read about Spain

It's warm, they like seafood, they used to have a big empire and they're a part of Europe. Is there a specific direction you had in mind for my reading, making this a worthy comment instead of an empty bit of snark?

Yeah, tell me about government killings in Spain, please

> A fundamentally fair and well-functioning society with very few if any governmental killings and high stability within it's borders.

This is what I assumed it meant. I know its difficult to make this work with the US but lots of Asian cities can boast these features.


AFAICT, that’s ironically that’s the main reason why the CCP can paint the protesters in a bad light.

Look at what happened in Libya, Syria, Egypt, etc. Do you want your country to become like that? Do you want to welcome an American intervention, and the joy and prosperity it brought to Iraq? Do you want to invite Western management of capitalism and the success it wrought in Russia in the 90’s?

You can disagree with the CCP’s premise, but US actions in the Middle East, and perceived US meddling in the world has done more to reinforce the CCP’s rule than any other country. And if there’s one thing East Asian cultures really dislike in society, it’s uncleanliness and disharmony. In particular, China’s history is one civil war and famine after another, with a period of peace in between, and the West seems to fundamentally misunderstand how they think over there.

I’d wager that the CCP can open fire with machine guns on the protesters and they might even be cheered on in the mainland. But they probably won’t, perhaps even fearing in the back of their mind what an example that will set in some later time. How would they justify that? That it’s okay to light into American-supported protesters? Who have had it so good for so long in the gilded city of theirs? And make no mistake, there is a tone of anti-mainland on the HK’ers part that can be easily construed as snobbery as well. That would all be a sort of nationalism you can’t walk back on easily.

To that end, you should not suppose that when a revolution in China — as it inevitably will — will be produce a government friendly to your values. It did not happen in Russia, it hasn’t been happening anywhere in the Middle East, even in Iraq where the US poured a trillion into the effort, and Europe is arguably weaker for what has been happening there as well.


China is a behemoth. Even if they storm Hong Kong with soldiers and beat the protesters bloody, many leaders won't stand up to China, mainly because Pooh Bear is a bully and too many countries rely on China financially.

Arab Spring started in late 2010, if I'm not wrong.

Oh weird, you're right. I had the clearest memory of where I was and the blog posts I wrote at the time about it. But actually it was Iran I was thinking of - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2009_Iranian_presidential_elec...

I consider it one of the first major climate crisis shifts, after large record heat year in 2010 and drought in the region. Climate refugees were forced into cities and in closer proximity flaming sectarian and cultural divides. These tensions were easily absconded upon by those who wanted to make something better for their particular in group.

You mean how Saudi Arabia murdering people with the help of US? I agree.

When I read statements like this, I always think of a quote by Noam Chomsky:

"Violence usually works."


History proves this. Only modern democracies don't have the stomach for it.

It's worth reading the entire quite, because (if you buy his argument) your second sentence is not nearly true:

"One is the fact that terrorism works. It doesn’t fail. It works. Violence usually works. That’s world history. Secondly, it’s a very serious analytic error to say, as is commonly done, that terrorism is the weapon of the weak. Like other means of violence, it’s primarily a weapon of the strong, overwhelmingly, in fact. It is held to be a weapon of the weak because the strong also control the doctrinal systems and their terror doesn’t count as terror. Now that’s close to universal. I can’t think of a historical exception, even the worst mass murderers view the world that way. So pick the Nazis. They weren’t carrying out terror in occupied Europe. They were protecting the local population from the terrorisms of the partisans. And like other resistance movements, there was terrorism. The Nazis were carrying out counter terror. Furthermore, the United States essentially agreed with that. After the war, the US army did extensive studies of Nazi counter terror operations in Europe. First I should say that the US picked them up and began carrying them out itself, often against the same targets, the former resistance. But the military also studied the Nazi methods published interesting studies, sometimes critical of them because they were inefficiently carried out, so a critical analysis, you didn’t do this right, you did that right, but those methods with the advice of Wermacht officers who were brought over here became the manuals of counter insurgency, of counter terror, of low intensity conflict, as it is called, and are the manuals, and are the procedures that are being used. So it’s not just that the Nazis did it. It’s that it was regarded as the right thing to do by the leaders of western civilization, that is us, who then proceeded to do it themselves. Terrorism is not the weapon of the weak. It is the weapon of those who are against ‘us’ whoever ‘us’ happens to be. And if you can find a historical exception to that, I’d be interested in seeing it."


Oh! They have but not to their own people.

Eventually the us gave up butchering people in Vietnam.

Did we, though? We've been at war almost continuously since then.

more like gave up getting butchered.

just over 58,000 American dead vs. roughly 2 to 4 million Vietnamese dead (depending on how you count the casualties). I'd say they did a lot more butchering than they received.

yes I agree, but the number of dead Vietnamese was not the reason for the war's unpopularity in the USA.

The history of HK is essentially the rule of the central government (UK or China) and the local overlords (The few families and their lackeys the triads). HK's prosperity was largely the result of Cold War and I'm afraid that is gone forever (unless of course the world goes on that route again).

It's still prosperous today. Across the river is Shenzen, which is a manufacturing powerhouse.

Russia seems to be trying to build crazy dead hand nuclear cruise missiles and America is talking openly about militarizing space. I would say we are back on the entrance ramp to that route.

Maybe we both figure it's a way to get GDP up...


> dead hand

I assume you are referring to "dead man's switch"? If so, we've had the concept of mutually assured destruction for a long time. With our radar capabilities etc. we can see bombs coming long before they hit. Plenty of time to launch our own. Same goes for the Russians.

With respect to militarizing space, the French are doing it too, and I don't hear the same issues being raised. It's better we get there before, say, China or Russia. https://www.ft.com/content/a479bcb6-a628-11e9-984c-fac8325aa...


> America is talking openly about militarizing space

Where can I read about this?


It's still a critical piece of the financial gateway into China.

China is where the USA was in the 1950s; lots of industrial growth but lots of pollutions, a population happy about all the new wealth and not willing to protest.

China has a different culture. One reason that western people having protesting culture because of historically authoritarians are less powerful and less cruel than the eastern ones. Take the 'nine familial exterminations'[0] as an example.

It will most likely become a totally different cyberpunk society, with modern cities and massive surveillance coexist, instead of being another US.


> One reason that western people having protesting culture because of historically authoritarians are less powerful and less cruel than the eastern ones.

I think western people are just more complacent, and so protests are viewed as fundamentally non threatening by authority figures.

In China, however, the people are much less complacent and so authority figures fear more widespread uprising.

In the US, we are taught to view this sort of thing through the lens of authoritarian excess, but to do so requires Saddam-ifying the Chinese government.

A more rational view is to suppose that all governments operate from the same playbook and use whatever tactics are necessary to keep the people at bay.

The American people embody a unique blend of cowardice and complacency that most governments would be quite pleased to foster in their own populations. The image of the "Tank Man" was so compelling in the US because that kind of courage against authoritarian power is utterly foreign to Americans.

In the US, the people with "Tank Man" level courage (Chelsea Manning, Ed Snowden, etc.) are vilified and most Americans follow the lead of authority figures and despise them.


This demonstrates a fundamental misunderstanding of Western culture.

You make progress in the West by winning over your naysayers by memetic warfare, and ideally by grassroots sentiment/political engineering.

In recent decades, there have been issues with the system as a whole that have made it difficult for the system to self-correct. Namely, the obsession with never revisiting laws on the books to simplify the act of legislating, the dismantling of the legislative branch as the ultimate source of law through delegation to the Executive branch and dissolution of vital apparatuses like the Office of Technological Assessment, and overreliance on an overloaded Judiciary as a relief valve for legislation largely driven by donor/special interest organizations.

Resistance in the United States, and the West in general was never intended to be "buy the vote" but rather the end result of pushes to modify public sentiment through bottom up pressure, with laws being passed at the lowest level possible such that each State was free to run itself as it saw fit with minimal undue influence from other State, with a Federal body of jurisdiction to mediate cross-State issues.

At no point was the U.S. Government ever expected or desired to be able to control the populace. That was specifically avoided and straight up poisoned through various Constitutional Amendments, as well as quite elegantly rejected in the Declaration of Independence; which while not a document with legal force, remains an elegant expression that I still believe it safe to say expresses the essence of American culture. The Government is there to serve the populace. Not suppress, dominate, or terrorize them.

Any contest of wills in the States is fundamentally a difference of opinion between people; not a challenge to the superiority of the State. Whether in current times the establishment has started to waiver from the rails is anyone's guess, but currently there is a generational changing of the guard as it were going on.

Hope this is enlightening or at least provides food for thought.


> This demonstrates a fundamental misunderstanding of Western culture.

I appreciate the thoughtful response. I'll try to rebut in case you can help clarify things for me further.

> You make progress in the West by winning over your naysayers by memetic warfare, and ideally by grassroots sentiment/political engineering.

I think this is another way of saying that leaders do not have absolute power and there must be some level of consent of the governed behind what the leaders do.

The word progress entails views that could be described as "politically progressive". While I agree that what you describe (grassroots efforts, awareness, shifts in public opinion) have characterized progressive movements in the US, I think those represent only a subset of the relevant political trends to consider in our analysis, such as right wing movements that have been remarkably retrogressive.

> In recent decades, there have been issues with the system as a whole that have made it difficult for the system to self-correct. Namely, the obsession with never revisiting laws on the books to simplify the act of legislating, the dismantling of the legislative branch as the ultimate source of law through delegation to the Executive branch and dissolution of vital apparatuses like the Office of Technological Assessment, and overreliance on an overloaded Judiciary as a relief valve for legislation largely driven by donor/special interest organizations.

I would characterize the items you mention as (broadly) institutionalized corruption. As powerful interests obtain greater advantage, they allow the system to evolve in ways that protects their power. There has not been any significant public movement to alter the course of this trend.

> Resistance in the United States, and the West in general was never intended to be "buy the vote" but rather the end result of pushes to modify public sentiment through bottom up pressure, with laws being passed at the lowest level possible such that each State was free to run itself as it saw fit with minimal undue influence from other State, with a Federal body of jurisdiction to mediate cross-State issues.

This was indeed the intent at the outset, but we have seen a massive growth in the size and reach of the Federal government, both in terms of size/scope of the government itself and also in terms of the percentage of lobbying dollars spent at the Federal level. For lobbying interests, it's easier/cheaper to focus on one target than 50.

> At no point was the U.S. Government ever expected or desired to be able to control the populace. That was specifically avoided and straight up poisoned through various Constitutional Amendments, as well as quite elegantly rejected in the Declaration of Independence

We have seen in recent decades a substantial weakening of the bill of rights, which is, to your point, the most concrete embodiment of the initial importance of protecting the people from government:

1st amendment: We've seen the past several administrations conduct a war on whistleblowers, as well as prosecute journalists under the espionage act.

2nd amendment: Many Americans support the total repeal of this one.

4th amendment: Immigration oriented laws remove 4th amendment protections against unlawful search and seizure within 100 miles of the US border. 80% of the US population lives within 100 miles of a US border.

5th amendment: Courts have been convicting child pornographers in ways that are troubling for broader 5th amendment protections against self incrimination.

The notable thing here is not that the protections against government have been reduced, it's that they have been reduced and nobody cares.

> The Government is there to serve the populace. Not suppress, dominate, or terrorize them.

What government has in its constitution the idea that it would do anything else?

> Any contest of wills in the States is fundamentally a difference of opinion between people; not a challenge to the superiority of the State.

This is only due to the selective focus on in-fighting between political groups, such as the abortion debate. I'd argue that the state should not have been allowed to get away with the following abuses of authoritarian power (and big budget, state actor scale PR efforts):

- Sloppy accounting of the GSEs that led to the financial crisis in 2008

- Dishonest accounting of social welfare systems and their sustainability (Social Security, Medicare)

- Dishonest leaks of intelligence information (or deliberate leaks of fake info (Hersch)) leading to the costly Iraq war, along with dishonest cost projections.

- Inappropriate classification of information about the Iraq and Afghan wars (Wikileaks)

- The attacks on press freedom mentioned above

- The attacks on urban black populations that occurred during the 1970s (Chicago) and were aided by Federal law enforcement.

- The negligent handling of water pollution (Flint) which is actually happening in many US cities. Lead and contamination tests are often performed improperly, leading people to think their water is clean.

The above are predominantly akin to theft, but some are graft and some are obstruction to prevent accountability. Generally speaking, all would be highly criminal if done by a private firm.

That Americans do not mind these things illustrates that there is total compliance with authoritarian excesses and criminal behavior. The distraction from these issues and focus on partisan tit for tat issues is generally just what it looks like when the population is complacent about its authoritarian overlords.

I'd be curious to read your responses. I think we agree on the conceptual (idealistic) objectives of the US form of government, and we agree that the current instantiation has problems. My take is that we can measure authoritarianism by looking at how much it is challenged by the democratic process... more authoritarian means there will be fewer challenges, which is our status quo in the US.


Oof. Sorry for the wait. Wanted to give a thorough answer.

>I think this is another way of saying that leaders do not have absolute power and there must be some level of consent of the governed behind what the leaders do.

Absolutely spot on.

>The word progress entails views that could be described as "politically progressive". While I agree that what you describe (grassroots efforts, awareness, shifts in public opinion) have characterized progressive movements in the US, I think those represent only a subset of the relevant political trends to consider in our analysis, such as right wing movements that have been remarkably retrogressive

Careful there, you're mixing up senses of the word "progress". I was originally using it to communicate the sense of gaining headway toward facilitating a particular change, without respect to who or what that change is associated with. I.e. we have progressed toward our goal. Any side can and does make progress in winning over the majority mindshare.

In American politics however, there is the label of being a Progressive, which is generally used to describe more centrist voters on the left right spectrum with maybe some more willingness to accept that label in recent times on the Right. That is a totally different sense of the word I tried and failed to avoid.

>I would characterize the items you mention as (broadly) institutionalized corruption. As powerful interests obtain greater advantage, they allow the system to evolve in ways that protects their power. There has not been any significant public movement to alter the course of this trend.

I vehemently agree. The delegation of matters of administrative lawmaking in particular to the Executive branch being one of the most troubling. The far more concerning though, is the usurpation of the process of actually writing legislation by entrenched special interest, combined with playing extraordinarily fast and loose with what gets legislated and passed, without initial review for Constitutionality, combined with reconciling the corner cases of the Common Law system with the Constitution. An unconstitutional law can be passed, enforced, and allowed to stand for many years before the environment is right for an attempt at judicial strike down, and there is little to no stomach for periodically repealing/revisiting legislation to keep the books clean as it were. Many of these failings come from overreliance on lobbyists supplying verbatim bill text, but there is also a lot of misunderstanding in terms of just people writing bills badly, or writing bills on topics they don't understand without getting input by an impartial group beholden to the tax payer. This was made all the more frequent through dissolution of legislative research arms like the OTA, which was killed by ideologues back in the 90's, likely because they were often at odds with entrenched industry interests. It has gotten to the point where legislation is becoming more reliant on party-line towing, or trying to engineer party majorities rather than being based on a best faith effort to doing what is best for the nation as a whole. Which requires concession on both sides, and a willingness to understand there are just some things that will not get through and maybe shouldn't even be attempted at the Federal level.

>This was indeed the intent at the outset, but we have seen a massive growth in the size and reach of the Federal government, both in terms of size/scope of the government itself and also in terms of the percentage of lobbying dollars spent at the Federal level. For lobbying interests, it's easier/cheaper to focus on one target than 50.

Faster information propagation and the rise of the national media has played a hand in that, as well as a change in the apparent philosophy of representation. The classical idea of a representative is an agent who operates as a sort of floating average of the populace. The combination of first-past-the-post voting system, faster feedback loops via the national media/polling, and campaign finance laws have disrupted the way the Congress should work based on views the Founders had in mind. The idea they laid out was to have level headed people making the best calls on their own merit, and worked well given a relatively small base of laws to sift through. Now though, most legislators come in with an agenda, run into the wall of old business still stuck in the legislative cycle, have to react to new business in ways consistent with maintaining polling numbers, and need to filter through or delegate the filtering of frankly ridiculous levels of information. My primary concern is that legislators seem to have become chess pieces for professional social engineers instead of well-versed in the material on which they will be acting. An undesirable course of events if one takes into account the fact that part of the Library of Congress mission is to make available the breadth of knowledge required to allow legislators to effectively legislate. Instead, they are essentially hounded by people who shape their career around getting what their employer wants instead of presenting things in a manner not instantly discernable as biased and cherrypicked.

>W.R.T. The Bill of Rights

Many of the attacks on the Bill of Rights have been enabled by the Common Law system. This is either a bug, or a feature depending on who you ask, and is exacerbated by the fact that the layperson is ill-equipped to understand the mire of complexity that is our adversarial legal framework.

The corpus of precedent, and its constantly shifting nature makes a true reconciliation of the historical output of the legal system difficult because the very meaning of straightforward statements written on paper can be twisted in ways disconnected from plain-English grammars as long as recognizably valid legal reasoning is employed; combine that with a reticence of judges to regularly challenge precedent, and you run into legal drift over time.

The adversarial nature of the institution of the Judiciary also renders it vulnerable to a form of Social Engineering where strategic priming, jury/venue/judge engineering perpetuates various patterns of systemic abuse that do not quite seem to have effective countermeasures.

Working as designed, many would say, but I'm not sure that it's really possible to reconcile the fact that the barrister/solicitor occupation is locked behind significant financial barriers to entry, and there being such a disparity what types of outcomes that are generated given different financial resources to expend; even if that may be a somewhat inevitable outcome of the free market system. What I mean by this disparity is the inability of the justice system to act as a sufficient tempering force for white collar/corporate malfeasance compared to relatively straightforward outcomes in non-corporate/white collar cases.

I don't think there is any willful aspiration on most actors in the system's part, but there is definitely a problem of equal access to quality representation in our system that I think could be remedied by a system whereby private practices are delegated some quota of public defense case load in return for the privilege of practicing.

W.R.T. malfeasance by the government.

The Office of the Inspector General needs teeth, and to be separate from the Executive, but tasked and empowered with full jurisdiction to cut through Executive privilege and national security concerns if need be. The whistleblowers/watchdogs of the Executive branch cannot afford to be beholden to a President directly. Who they should be I am not sure, but clearly, they do not seem to have any oomph in regards to curtailing malfeasant behavior under their current operating model.

Again, sorry for the delay, but I wanted a chance to get in some good thinking on things. It's still not the most carefully thought out bit, but I'd feel remiss putting it off any longer.

I've still got a lot of cogitation to do before I'll be satisfied with my articulation, I'm sure.


While I agree with your cultural differences conclusion, there are many examples of cruel authoritarians with absolute power in the history of almost all nations in at least most of Europe. Shared sentencing was common in feudal times though I do not know if capital punishment was among them. There are many examples in all regions of the world with respect to authoritarian cruelty and they are not solely an Asian thing.

I just found I forgot to attach the link for Nine_familial_exterminations[0] in the original reply.

Shared sentencing was common, but I believe there's nuance between European feudal kingdoms and eastern empires.

In Machiavelli's Price, he compared the French kingdom and the Ottoman empire. The former was based on the traditional feudal model - Nobels are powerful. And the latter was based on province model, there are officers but they don't own things, and can be replaced by the Sultan or the Emporer without any problems.

I found for empires like China, Ottoman, people usually respect authoritarian more. My guess people might fear their local lords because they are cruel, but that's not consistent for every place and every decade in Europe because it's too divided. But for China, this continuously goes on for thousands of years.

PS: I believe the shared sentencing is much more important than other cruel sentencings on this topic. Because it's not because it affects the criminal by his sense of responsibility for families. But instead, it's because other family members will first stop him, if they failed to stop him they will report directly.

When I was a kid every time I tried to say something about politics everyone else's response was "stop that, don't ask for trouble".

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


There's lots of demand for protest in China, protest just happens to be among the few illegal acts successfully suppressed in China.

The two countries are absolutely incomparable on these particular points. Prosperity alone does not quell protests, most protests in the U.S. are decidedly bourgeois.


> most protests in the U.S. are decidedly bourgeois.

Exactly. The US population is a model of complacency, so the US Government does not have to project much authoritarian force domestically.

The narrative that there is a culture of dissent in the US is false and gets more false every day.


The U.S. is a massive country. You tell me: what class are people who can afford to take time off work, and pay to travel to other cities to complain about society?

When did protest start to become common in the states?

Well in 1688 Quakers in America protested against slavery. 1773: Boston Tea Party. Temperance in the 1800's. Women's Vote in 1913.

But they entered the public awareness in 1963 with the March on Washington, and haven't let up since.


It's a bit sad, but I believe "protests" have lost their meaning. All of what you described were meaningful events, but it these days some one is always protesting something. For instance, there are "women's marches" every year turning out tons of people in a society where equal rights are constitutionally enshrined. That probably doesn't merit such an event.

My concern is that if, Heaven forbid, there is ever again something worth protesting to that degree, no one will pay attention. Regular Americans, rather than being swayed, will look on and say, "Oh look honey, the kids are protesting again."


I imagine that to most people living though those protests at the time they were viewed as "someone is always protesting something." Don't underestimate how the narrative telling of history changes your perception of how something went down compared to what your own observations are right now.

Survivorship bias ensures that history only remembers the protests that were meaningful, making it seem like protests were historically more effective and more meaningful.


Are you talking about the US? I though the Equal Rights Amendment was not yet ratified, and that equal rights are thus not actually 'constitutionally enshrined'?

The ERA is not the only way or attempt in the Constitution at enshrining equal rights. The ERA is about sex specifically, which is arguably already covered by the text of the 14th Amendment (some may disagree about the 14th Amendment in practice, but it's hard to argue that the text doesn't cover sex).

> a society where equal rights are constitutionally enshrined

I don't think they are as "enshrined" as you think they are.


Legal equality != true societal equality

> and haven't let up since.

Or one could observe that it has completely let up and now most Americans are cynical about protests and cheer on authoritarian figures from both parties.


Returning GIs from WW2 protested, resulting in the GI bill.

Women protested in the 1910s for the right to votes.

My guess is it’s an industrial revolution side effect, but would be love to learn of earlier roots.


The Bonus Army occupying D.C in 32 probably belongs on any list of significant protests as well.

protests have been going on in the us for a long time, for example the labor movement in early 20th century

but probably what you are referring to is post world war 2, which mostly started in the 1960s caused by the vietnam war and civil rights movements brought about by myriad causes (middle class affluence, mass communications, overextending of the govt overseas (and at home with the draft etc))

wikipedia, but it’s as god a place to start as any[1]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Counterculture_of_the_1960s


China had its own cultural revolution during the same time. It isn’t remembered fondly and is often used as an excuse to nip any protest in the bud.

The Cultural Revolution is IMO something entirely different. To me it's a movement started by a dictator with the aim to consolidate power and purge the system of dissident voices.

I'd love to hear other perspectives.


It is much more complicated than that. It was a protest for change that started it with mao’s consent, but quickly spiraled out of control, beyond even Mao’s control. Even before Mao’s death it was being vigorously disavowed and many of its victims were rehabilitated.

The CR made the party fear chaos above all else. HK actually learned the same lesson under the British during the same timeframe (Maoist protesters almost tore the city apart). Not that it justifies their behavior, it just explains it.


May I know your sources for further study?

Pretty good book (also in describing Cultural Revolution) even if little, little biased.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mao:_The_Unknown_Story


Thanks, sometimes it doesn't hurt to have some more perspective.

People in the Middle East did exactly that, only to lose everything they had before.

Doesn't look like China will fall for this again after the West has gone out of its way setting up examples around the world to convince them it doesn't work.


(I don’t remember where I read this now.) Chinese view of a govt is fundamentally different from the West. They don’t see their govt as apart from them. Govt is like an extended family there. Viewed from his angle it’s not hard to understand why they’d want an authoritarian govt let alone tolerate it.

> Whatever they do in Hong Kong now will not stop from things happening all over China at a given point.

It's interesting how 30 years ago, western economists were trying to sell everybody how moving all our industries to China will eventually turn the latter into a democracy because economic growth and democracy goes hand in hand.

30 years later, the Chinese communist party has never been as powerful as it is today and they are still employing the same barbaric methods to crush any form of rebellion, as seen with how they are dealing with the Uyghur.


It's a fragile kind of power. If Xi croaks tomorrow morning, god knows whether the current power structures will stay intact. There are lots and lots of factions that have very different interests.

if they actually believed “markets” to lead to democracy, that seems to me they conflated democracy (rule of the people) with capitalism (rule of capital)...

my opinion: they are not at all the same thing, and it was naive to think it would happen in china (markets existed a long time before capitalism even existed and democracy was quite the no-show for a long time)


It was just pandering to national pride

Doing that still works ya know


That is why Maslow Theory is a theory and not a law. Because it has now been proven wrong.

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Accusing people of being brainwashed isn’t a strong argument.

I'd say that nothing is white and black and a deeper analysis usually reveals interesting facts.

Cannot agree more.

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It isn't an argument on the topic and it isn't supposed to be. It is a reminder for you to stay rational and avoid ad hominems.

Why does the CIA own all that abstract art again?

I can't help it, my government doesn't allow me to read critical Chinese resources that could convince me that what I learned was actually wrong.

American delusions. I thought that the wide support for Trump's trade war was in part an admission of your politicians that precisely that sort of liberalization of China failed.

> Hong Kong was ahead of the rest of China since they have been living pretty liberal under UK rule and were more prosperous.

No. HK people are not enjoying enough middle-class comfort and prosperity.

Precisely, HK's income inequality is even worse than mainland China (0.537 vs. 0.467). And because HK has historically been more liberal, it's a subject of many rich and powerful, especially the demand from mainland people drives the real estate price even further [3].

HK's violent street protest is because there isn't a strong and significant middle class group. Otherwise, we all know for sure that middle class are never politically radical, nor are they willing to sacrifice their livelihood for the so-called freedom.

[1] https://www.hongkongfp.com/2017/06/09/hong-kong-household-in...

[2] https://www.statista.com/statistics/250400/inequality-of-inc...

[3] https://www.cnbc.com/2018/12/17/correction-not-a-crisis-in-h...


> HK people are not enjoying enough middle-class comfort and prosperity.

> Precisely, HK's income inequality is even worse than mainland China

I'm not claiming you are wrong but inequality may not be tied to prosperity directly.

For example, I have £10,000,000 and all the people on my street only have £1000,000. That's high inequality.

Someone in rural china has RMB 2,000, the rest of the village has RMB 1,000

Much less inequality but I'd prefer the former to the latter.


I was not clear.

Inequity + high commodity price (housing being one of the most important foundation of comfort) translate to majority of the population are suffering.


These are fake news to foment Hong Kong protestors by conflating facts. I hope such fake news do not become part of HN.

You are absolutely right Hong Kong cannot even provide proper shelter or health system or good education to more than 40% of its people, who live in a space smaller than prison cell. All these protests are due to this simmering discontent.

I do not think living in a prison cell size apartment and then being hold hostage to mortgage for life working for 14 rich billionaires of the city is ahead of it's time.

Hong Kong is just paying price of its own reliance on get rich quick through property and closed China. First one destroyed innovation and second one is no longer true. Today Chinese cities are way ahead in innovation and technology, they also have a property bubble but not as severe as Hong Kong. Hope they learn lesson from Hong Kong.

When it suited Hong Kong they asked China to reinterpret basic law for their own benefit against basic human rights separating spouses and kids and they still do it with impunity and all people in Hong Kong are happy with that reinterpretation. You cross line once you cannot go back, this is what Hong Kong asked for and got it. Moreover Hong Kong is a Chinese territory so everything applicable in China apply except few exception as defined in basic law.


If what you say is true, about simmering discontent in HK due to conditions worse than in China. Why don't the HK people just move to China? Are there any rules against that?

If not, why are they staying in HK?


Let me clear one thing people in Hong Kong are in China. Hong Kong is China with few exceptions of basic law.

For your question moving between cities anywhere is hard. Moreover most population in Hong Kong is not that well educated to get better paying jobs as locals have better university education and good English knowledge in tier 1 cities.

People live in Hong Kong as they don't have a choice or skills or resources. Most Hong Kong people with skills or resources are already either in China or other parts of the world.


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The whole comment mentions China. I believe this is another one of those fake news campaign running across Hong Kong as mentioned in news.

HN is not fake news medium but is being made to generate fake news with conflated facts.

Been on HN since it's birth, not fake accounts like yours or people downvoting critical comments with facts. Hopefully some moderator on HN reviews these comments for facts not conflated facts.


I believe that you hold your views in good faith, but the way you've presented them in this thread—calling the views you disagree with "fake news" and accusing others of having "fake accounts"—are against the site guidelines. The provocative rhetoric you've used in places, such as "prison cells" in referring to HK, is also against the site guidelines because it's flamebait. If your posts include provocations like this, they're guaranteed to start a flamewar, and that's just what we're trying to avoid.

https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html

Your account had also been breaking the site guidelines by using HN primarily for political and national arguments. That's against the rules, but I see you've already begun correcting it with https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=20686964, which is good. For more about how we apply this test, see https://hn.algolia.com/?query=by:dang%20primarily%20test&sor... and https://hn.algolia.com/?query=by:dang%20political%20overlap&... if interested.

I appreciate the difficulty you face, and that anyone faces, when presenting a minority view on a highly charged topic. HN's population, though international, is largely Western, and that inevitably determines the majority view on China/Hong Kong. You clearly have a different perspective, which I assume is because your experiences are different from those of HN's mostly Western readers. That means you have real value to add here, as anyone with a diverse experience does. But it also puts you in a tough position, because even a slight provocation is going to trigger an avalanche of frustration from others, leading to a destructive flamewar. People find it exceedingly difficult to receive information that falls, let's say, more than one standard deviation from their perspective. Such outlying information creates discomfort which is difficult to contain. It doesn't matter if it's true; if anything, that makes it harder to contain. Uncontained discomfort boils over into counter-provocation and accusations of bad faith. We all have this problem.

That puts you in a tough position on HN. Your options are: not to comment, to comment in frustration and provoke a flamewar, or to comment neutrally and resist the temptation to lash out at the majority. Only the latter is able to communicate the value of what you have to share, but it's not easy. It takes patience and inner calm.

In practice this means there is a greater burden on one who holds a minority or counterintuitive view. This isn't fair. But it's the way that mass communication seems to work. If the goal is to communicate—to exchange information rather than do battle, which is very much the case on HN—then the one who knows more, who has a truth others don't have, has a greater responsibility. I've written about this principle a number of times over the years because most of us find it counterintuitive.

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=14460989

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=10368209

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=14634368


Thanks for a detail response. My comments were written with good faith.

If you look at twitter messages, timeline. I believe it was an attempt to spread a news that a military build up is happening near Shenzhen for crackdown on Hong Kong to foment protestors. Hence my comments about conflating the facts, I did not say its true or false but conflated (the very definition of fake news). If there is a button on that post to report, I would have done that instead of commenting on the post with details why I feel its a fake news.

Regarding prison cells size apartments I took a leaf from news by a major outlet with reputation I use, The Guardian https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/nov/01/hong-kongs-poo...

Go through my submissions and you won't see political or national posts. I have only commented on already political or national news by others on HN front-pages. If the guideline in HN not to have political or national discussion on it, I believe it will be better to not have any posts in front-pages on it.

My submissions and comments are mostly technology in nature which is my passion.


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Accusations of shillage without evidence—and there is zero evidence here, because someone holding an opposing view is not evidence—are a serious violation of the site guidelines. Nothing comes closer to tearing this place apart. That's not ok.

Please read https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=20687637 and don't do this again.


No one doubt this protest is about losing relevance of Hong Kong resulting in house, education and health problems.

I am the one saying the original title and Twitter is fake news. Indeed it is conflating the facts to foment protest.

If there is a protest in New York and national guards are having something in Philadelphia, anyone can conflate the facts to make it national guards summoned to end violent protest in NY.


The "five demands" of the protest are:

* Withdraw the extradition bill

* Carrie Lam resigns

* Protests are not categorized as riots

* Full independent inquiry into the police

* Release of imprisoned protestors

Nothing to do with housing or any of your other claims.

And it is hard to believe the army being summoned to Shenzhen (just across the HK border) or "leaking" videos of training to use force against people dressed as HK protestors is a random accident.


This is what is visible symptoms. Not the underlying root cause. When solving a bug in technology, it needs a root-cause analysis to fix. The root problem of all these protests in HK are house, education and health issues faced by over 40% of population.

I have been a part in past of peaceful protest in Hong Kong without masks and anti-riot gears. Walked from Victoria park in Causeway bay to central offices. I do understand its difficult to follow fearless strategy like Gandhi's non-violence by most. But I am a believer of non-violence and follower of its principles.

A protest or cause lose its relevance when there is a violence in it, however small. Gandhi never defended violent protest nor asked for release of violent protestor, the demand itself is in contravention of the non-violent protests.


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Please don't break the site guidelines yourself, regardless of how badly other commenters are behaving. It's egregiously against the rules to post like this here. Once users start slinging these wild accusations at each other, HN is dead and we might as well shut it down.

If you're really concerned about this, you should have emailed us at hn@ycombinator.com as the guidelines ask. If you're really concerned about the truth, you could have established it for yourself in a minute. A fake/troll account would not have been posting about haproxy clusters (https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=20407690), distributed version control (https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=11093397), and Go vs. Python (https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=9972355) for years.

What's actually going on with this frenzy of astroturfing allegations is humans finding it hard to tolerate how far apart their views are. It seems the only possibility one can imagine when the other person seems so obviously wrong is that they must be a liar, a spy, or otherwise illegitimate. We all need to stretch beyond this, uncomfortable as that is to do.

https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html


Fair, my apologies. Thank you for the considered reply.

Appreciated!

Based on the question raised without facts it seems a fake. I am mostly interested in technology, but living in HK before 1997 and after it, being a beneficiary of closed China to make my first fortune. Since my family is from Hong Kong it pains me that instead of actual facts people are fighting and protesting over worthless fake news and issues.

Singapore is a great example, it's laws and rules are similar to China with focus on health, education and housing. Laws regarding protest in Singapore are very severe. Still ask any sane Hong Kong person given a choice will they like to live in Singapore which is same as China when it comes to rules and most will want to.


I was suspicious of the same when calling out the parent, although the account is quite old and has posted about other things.

It's possible it has been compromised or was constructed from the beginning to seem legitimate and recently "activated" to pre-empt and soften something horrible that may be about to happen.

My comment is now greyed out even though I tried to be as respectful as possible when asking them about their recent posting habits. However their hostile reaction to my inquiry further adds to their suspicion.


Your comment was downvoted by users who haven't posted in this thread, probably because groundless speculating about whether another account was "compromised or was constructed from the beginning to seem legitimate" is a soft form of the insinuation the site guidelines ask you not to do here: https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html. I very much appreciate the charitability in your first paragraph, but that later part is unfortunately still poison.

Where is your evidence to back up your assertion that the linked Twitter post is "fake news"?

Sigh. Hopefully we won't get a repeat of the Tiananmen square massacre. I've not seen any nations speak out about the HK protests. Unlike, say, when many expressed support for the Arab Spring.

How much money did private enterprise make from the Arab Spring? Hundred billion or so?

To pretend like it was a moral issue is insane. Most people don't care in the slightest in democratic countries. Virtually every country involved in sending troops couldn't point to it on a map nor talk about the region with any sort of knowledge. We walked in and replaced Hussein with ISIS. It will go down as 21st century Vietnam.

China has nukes. Absolutely nothing will happen regardless, just like 30 years ago. Perhaps some more outrage on twitter I guess?


> China has nukes. Absolutely nothing will happen

China has shown (again) in their treatment of Hong Kong that they don't care about past agreements. The least that anyone can do, even in the presence of nukes, is to get their business out of China, and that is already happening to some degree. And of course be welcoming to people who choose to emigrate from Hong Kong.


> China has shown (again) in their treatment of Hong Kong that they don't care about past agreements.

Every nation that feels it is powerful enough reneges on past agreements when it's strategic to do so: Russia[1], Great Britain[2], and even the current US admin which is set on rolling back every agreement that Obama might have been involved with, chief among them the Iran nuclear deal (JCPA).

Realpolitik-wise; any country with a permanent seat on the US security council can do as they please.

1. nuclear agreement with US

2. disavowed multiple agreements with former-colonies, especially under Tony Blair whose government didn't put much weight on being bound by the predecessor conservative government


This strikes to the heart of what my comment mentioned though: the vast majority of people don't care, Western consumer people especially. Not supporting it, simply saying it.

Make them care and things might change, truly. Don't bother with CEO's or governments, we all know who they serve.


How you can make people from one part of the world care for people from another part of the world?

If anythin, most HKers aren't very interested in what's happening around the world either, AFAIK.


China was always going to annex Hong Kong eventually, this is something almost everyone with any interest in this particular situation has known for many years.

Spinning that particular situation in a reason to boycott a country (and replace it with what? India isn't exactly a paragon of virtue and neither is the US, and let us never speak of the stain that is Russia) is a strange mental place to go to.


It wasn't going to "annex Hong Kong eventually", but in 2047. Changing a timeline by decades is exactly the stuff that businesses are allergic to, and it won't help this trend:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/kenrapoza/2019/07/16/europe-joi...

I don't see what's controversial about that. The bigger question is whether this will hurt China at all; time will tell.


> China was always going to annex Hong Kong eventually, this is something almost everyone with any interest in this particular situation has known for many years.

So if I told you you would be maimed in 10 years, does that make the maiming less painful when it happens? I'm not sure what you're getting at by stating that this was preordained to occur.


> China was always going to annex Hong Kong eventually,

You cannot annex your own territory.


HN turned into a website where quoting facts of Wikipedia gets you downvotes. I would have never thought that this site will reach this low.

My guess is that you are quoting it and arguing that statement out of context. And within that context, what you wrote, even though it is a fact in its own right, is wrong according to the original post.

And your post are still visible. Which suggest it is only a minor downvote.


Your timeline is a bit muddled here: the invasion of Iraq (involving a great many Western countries) was in 2003, the Arab Spring (where Western countries by and large steered well clear) was in 2010.

Other than the US and Britain and a token force from Australia, which western countries invaded Iraq?


Estonia, Salvador, Bulgaria, Moldova, Albania, Ukraine, Denmark, Czech Republic, South Korea, Tonga, Azerbaijan, Singapore, Bosnia and Hercegovina, Macedonia, Latvia, Poland, Kazakhstan, Armenia, Mongolia, Georgia, Slovakia, Lithuania, Italy, Spain, Thailand, Philippines, Iceland... and some more

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multi-National_Force_%E2%80%93...


That can't be right : the countries you list might have occupied Iraq at one point in time, but did not partake in the invasion.

It was the US, UK, AU and PL : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2003_invasion_of_Iraq


That link also adds Spain sending 1,300 invasion troops.

Thanks for the correction; didn't realize Mongolia was a western country.

The previous strongmen regimes were rather better for foreign investors than the current regimes and foreign investors would probably rather have seen stable governments gradually improving rights for foreign investors (certainly as an investor in one of those countries at the time through my work, from a purely business perspective I would have preferred a more peaceful path towards democracy). I don't think foreign investors were cheerleading the Arab spring therefore.

There's something absolutely twisted about your argument's implicit acceptance of a state that runs roughshod over its own populace, but treats foreign investors with the Velvet glove while turning a profit through the meat grinder.

If you can't see the good of the balance sheet shouldn't always justify the enablement of despotism... Well... I'm probably not going to make any convincing argument that'll make it past the pragmatism filter.


I think you misunderstood what I was saying - it wasn’t that I supported the strongmen regimes per se (or even that I think foreign investors as a group did) but that I was skeptical of the idea that the revolutions happened because ‘business’ wanted them. My view is that a smoother transition to democracy would have had most support from foreign investors. The revolutions were brutal for investors in those countries and more importantly for many of the people there.

> How much money did private enterprise make from the Arab Spring? Hundred billion or so?

Who and how? Outside of the Iraq/Afghanistan invasions, which were huge excuses to hand over pallets of untraceable bills to US contractors.

Quite a few telecoms etc companies lost money and assets in the strife. Or contracts with the collapsed governments.


Trudeau has spoken a little on the subject:

"We are calling for peace, for order, for dialogue … we certainly call on China to be very careful and very respectful in how it deals with people who have legitimate concerns in Hong Kong," Trudeau told a televised news conference in Toronto.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/trudeau-concerned-hong-kong...


Trudeau has mismanaged a few things, but I’m glad to hear him speaking up here.

The Arab spring is probably a bad example. The west got a bit over-enthusiastic about the Arab Spring which turns out to be more of an Islamist Spring. I don't think many people think it was a good idea to destabilize Libya and Syria in hindsight.

It was a terrible idea. I think Libya was better with the dictator they got rid off with the aid of the airstrikes. Same thing with Syria. The warring parties should have been left to sort it out among themselves. Naive interventions tend to have lots of unintended (harmful) consequences.

Indeed I have the perception that the western reports were biased towards Western democracatic values.

Unlike the governments of the countries in the Arab Spring, China knows the west won't try anything (overtly), so a statement would only look foolish and help their claims that the protests are orchestrated, rather than serving as a warning.

I suspect the real reason is fear of retaliation from China... Example: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/China%E2%80%93Norway_relations...

Sure, both are consequences of the same overall point: the west doesn't have the same power over China that it had over the AS countries.

> Sure, both are consequences of the same overall point: the west doesn't have the same power over China that it had over the AS countries.

China PR (the de facto mainland government) already blames the US for Hong Kong protests. Things will get worse if we do something overt.

https://archive.fo/VHiXL


The UK got in a bit of a row with China about it: https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2019/jul/03/foreign-offi...

I find this quite interesting:

"In the Joint Declaration, the PRC Government stated that it had decided to resume the exercise of sovereignty over Hong Kong (including Hong Kong Island, Kowloon, and the New Territories) with effect from 1 July 1997, and the UK Government declared that it would hand over Hong Kong to the PRC with effect from 1 July 1997. The PRC Government also declared its basic policies regarding Hong Kong in the document.

In accordance with the "one country, two systems" principle agreed between the UK and the PRC, the socialist system of PRC would not be practised in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR), and Hong Kong's previous capitalist system and its way of life would remain unchanged for a period of 50 years until 2047." [1]

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sino-British_Joint_Declaration


It suited both sides for the transition to be gradual.

For the UK there was concern that if the PLA arrived in force in Hong Kong overnight to make it part of China in practice as well as in law many, perhaps millions, would try to defy them and demand sanctuary from the British. The international community, looking on, would certainly prefer the story "This is Britain's responsibility" over "We all need to take some of these people". So then either the UK has to find somewhere to put a LOT of people or it is seen to have failed badly as the Chinese put down the resistance.

For China it was recognition that their notional sovereignty over all of "China" must be temporarily shadowed by the consideration that Hong Kong is not just some nice waterfront property (which they could have seized at any time by military force) it's a people, a culture, lots of successful businesses. If you roll in with tanks overnight that probably goes away and you might not get it back.

But gradual is the thing. "Unchanged for a period of 50 years" is merely the ambition on paper. Nobody in Hong Kong thought they'd wake up in 2046 still under the same democracy they'd had under the British. Things get chipped away, they shade over, decisions are made that might once have been different, this year's protests are about some of the less subtle changes.

Gradual change suited both parties. Not the people of Hong Kong themselves of course, but they weren't signatories.


Support of Arab spring reflected ignorance and naivety, not something we need more of.

I might be misinformed but it looks to me like a lot of protests in Hong Kong are state orchestrated.

The escalation in protests seemed very sharp. The ransacking of parliament appeared to have been allowed. There was no police presence at all. Almost as if they were being purposefully held back.

I might just have my tin foil hat on. I wouldn't be surprised though if Chinese groups have escalated mostly peaceful protests while police have been held back to create a situation which requires full Chinese state involvement.


From what I’ve read (which obviously is removed from the “ground” and has bias) China has inserted agent provocateurs, but haven’t coöpted the movement to that degree. It appears to be mostly grass roots though some of the lighter moderates evaporating leaving the moderates and hard core protesters to fight on which results in heavier tactics.

Assuming that a powerful nation has not deeply owned every large-scale protest is in my experience extremely naive. Either the protest has no teeth or it's penetrated all the way to the top with either government agents or extensive surveillance. This means that action outside of what the government feels like dealing with means arrests (no matter how temporary) and that any action that is taken means that the government does not care or will use it with an ulterior agenda.

It sort of bothers me how conspiracy theorist this sounds, but I know for a fact that this is the case.

dmd 11 days ago [flagged]

If you really know this for a fact, you should contact https://www.nytimes.com/tips

But I'm guessing by 'fact' you mean 'I'm very convinced of my own opinions'.

krageon 10 days ago [flagged]

I don't live in the United States, I do know it for a fact and I will not sabotage my own life or those of the people I care about just because you would love to read some drama in the papers. The net result of that would be that in a month or two nobody would remember it, and lives would still be ruined.

It is almost mystifyingly selfish of you to ask this of me, especially when you souse it with your fairly hostile closing remark.


Assuming a modern protest has anything that can be called 'top' is extremely naive.

There is no hierarchy that can be suborned.


> The ransacking of parliament appeared to have been allowed. There was no police presence at all. Almost as if they were being purposefully held back.

I personally thinks this comes after there were more confrontations before, and there was a lot of public outcry over the use of force. (It being justified or not)

There was initially a large police presence inside the parliament (LegCo), but they all retreated after protestors became increasingly violent, I think it was mostly a tactical decision, it would've been impossible for the police to push back, so all they could do was hold their grounds. If protestors stormed in while the police was still there, it would've been a very difficult and violent confrontations. So I think they decided to fall back, and give protestors space.

And from previous protests, the police has never held back, they've always cracked down once the protests got out of control, don't really see what they would do so now, and just one time.


“HKU poll: Only 3.1% of young Hongkongers identify as Chinese, marking 20 year low“

https://www.hongkongfp.com/2017/06/21/hku-poll-3-1-young-hon...

Nationalism will not be tolerated.


Oh man they absolutely cannot come into Hong Kong, it would be a totally stupid move. Honestly in the grand scheme of things they can afford for Hong Kong to just descend into chaos and completely collapse economically or whatever. The minute they send troops over the whole picture changes and everyone loses

> they absolutely cannot come into Hong Kong, it would be a totally stupid move

Strategically, for China? Yes. Politically, for Xi? Maybe not. Remember that Xi is a dictator. Moves that boost him in the short term at China’s long-term expense are on the board.


Xi is very much a dictator, but he also needs money to maintain his dictatorship. HK for all its faults and bads is still quite important to the Chinese economy.

That's why we haven't become Xinjiang, IMO.


I think hks importance is extremely arguable. Hks gdp is barely 3 percent of china's with a stalling growth rate. I've worked in both Shanghai and Hong Kong and I can say a lot of the large cities are much much nicer in China now. You also have a lot things like hackathons and events where you see lots of young creative people who really want to make things. In Hong Kong the culture is more towards looking good in a suit and networking, a side effect of the dominance of financial industry.

Personally I think that ship has long sailed and it's not particularly anyone's fault.


Hong Kong's importance to China isn't its GDP contribution primarily (although it is special vs China when it comes to per capita performance; Hong Kong packs a lot of economic punch in a small package). It's the special relationship Hong Kong is still granted globally on trade & finance, particularly with the US.

China desperately requires dollars to keep its debt problems floating and to interact with the global economy (relatively little is settled in Yuan outside of China's borders). Without a steady inflow of dollars China cannot function normally; their economy would seize up.

Hong Kong is a critical inflow port for US Dollars into China's economy and is largely spared from the tariff war.

This is why Hong Kong is so important to China right now, and it's also why China has been so careful in suppressing the protests (by their standards). China is afraid of the US changing Hong Kong's special status. People often don't think China can be swayed: the US slapped currency manipulator status on them, and they immediately backed off from letting the Yuan sink, carefully pegging it just inbounds near the 7 line.


The very people who are in charge of the mainland have a lot of money that they want to either park in the west or hedge against the house of cards that they are building. There is currently only one route for this money to go and rolling in the tanks will inconvenience way too many powerful people.

Not everything can be measured by GDP though. For instance, HK can become a buffer point or backup plan should the trade war further escalates.

Not to mention that many CCP members have a lot of investment in Hong Kong, a collapse of the HK economy, should the PLA be deployed, would be quite problematic.

But I generally agree with your observations.


It's not what you're wearing, but how you're wearing it.

Culture is more than the rack (or tailor) you buy your suit from. If you choose to wear one. Things like personal space and not spitting in public and not having to kowtowing to whomever is the current President, are things some hold dear. Others may not. Other still, may look to the past and ask: what started on 15th April, 1989 and ended on 4th June 1989, in Tiananmen Square, and elsewhere in China?


Let’s face it. Hong Kong is effectively a backdoor. It’s a great place for almost anyone rich enough to do money laundering like stuff. For example, when mainland tightened its currency exchange control, people still transfer money via HK in someway. It’s sometimes disgusting

Yes I agree. That's partly why for me, despite living in Hong Kong and having worked in finance I don't really mind if some of these people get washed out in the process.

That's a horrible metaphor...

> Xi is very much a dictator, but he also needs money to maintain his dictatorship.

To maintain dictatorship, you need bullets, not money.

In USSR during Stalin, regular people were pretty much eating grass, but he never doubted his ability to do virtually anything to them without repercussions.

Soviet army of the time had a meal of 3 slices of dried bread and a millet porridge. Even Stalin's personal bodyguards were eating thin gruel, but none of them ever dared to do anything about that.

A tactic of trying to economically starve a dictatorship has no logic. Yes, you can cripple a country, but not the dictatorship itself.


Maybe yes, but Xi is not Kim, at least not yet.

I heard a good phrase for that: "you need to be pretty stupid to appoint yourself a president for life"

In other words, great villains have exit plans, bad ones don't


Well Chinese has been ruling by lifelong kings and dictators like Mao for thousands of years. Democracy doesn’t have a great foundation there and it just need years of cultivation through education or whatever. The culture also somewhat aligned with the “do greater good” and “society should be unionized” ideology which doesn’t make lifelong leaders look like a stupid idea

This is a common argument that Chinese/East-Asian culture makes democracy extremely difficult. The prime counter examples are Taiwan, South Korea, and even Japan. Similar cultural background, but all are able to operate in a liberal democracy in a relatively short amount of time.

Well for one thing the scale is quite different in terms of population and size. They are more like at most two Chinese provinces combined. Another thing is more historical: they are all effectively allies of the US and even with US troops deployed on their land. IMO they are not quite compelling examples.

To pick a single data point, I'd assume that someone who bans all Winnie The Pooh pictures across a country after comparisons are made with themselves, has very probably gone insane and become utterly drunk on power.

Do not expect Xi to do something sane, especially if he feels insulted. I think HK's best hope is for something else big to distract him. Unfortunately, I think it is very likely right now that he will invade HK and kill a lot of people.


> assume that someone who bans all Winnie The Pooh pictures across a country

I'm not sure if this will change your opinion, but this isn't true.

I asked my friends that are in China now to search for Winne The Pooh on Baidu and Bing, and they were able to find pictures of the character.

The are also Winnie the Pooh cartoons and movies and dolls readily available in China. Along with various merchandise for sale.

So no, it is not banned in China. Neither are time travel movies and TV shows, despite the English news reporting as such.


Such things change by the day, you have to understand that. The PRC government does not publish a exhaustive list of what's being banned at the moment.

It wouldn't surprise me either, that the decision was made not by Xi, but by someone who wanted to appease him or the part or whatever.


I’m currently in Mainland China for a few months. Just searched and surely it’s totally fine:

- Winnie the Pooh Baidu search: https://user-images.githubusercontent.com/49120719/62957954-...

- Baidu image search featuring both Winnie and Xi: https://user-images.githubusercontent.com/49120719/62958027-... (Memes are filtered or at least demoted, though.)

My local friends don’t think it was ever banned. (Of course they aren’t bored enough to monitor this every day.)

A lot of stupid claims about China in the Western press are easily debunked with the teeniest amount of Mandarin knowledge, or none at all. If it sounds too crazy, it’s probably false. Doesn’t help when people reaffirm each other’s totally unfounded opinions, and discredit anyone who speaks otherwise.


The ban was a long time ago, in 2017.

https://www.hk01.com/中國/105476/太像習近平-小熊維尼-慘遭-河蟹

Of course you wouldn't have problem about it now.

Yes, there are a lot of stupid claims a out China in the western press, but there are easily equally, if not more, absurd claims about USA in China too.

Same for Europe, the Middle East, Africa, so on and so forth.

BTW, maybe try 8964 八九六四 and see what you get.


The link you provided says the phrase "Winnie the Pooh" couldn't be posted on Weibo/WeChat at that time, with a screenshot not supporting that claim, but rather showing a sticker pack of Winnie the Pooh no long being available. Assuming that was truthful (I wouldn't be so sure because HK news about Mainland China can be as exaggerated as Western news, sometimes more because the stake's higher) that's still pretty far from the "someone who bans all Winnie The Pooh pictures across a country" claim above.

> but there are easily equally, if not more, absurd claims about USA in China too.

I wouldn't be surprised. Naturally this is what happens when you talk about things you have zero experience with.

> BTW, maybe try 8964 八九六四 and see what you get.

I never said nothing is censored. Btw at least every single soul I've talked to about this in China knows exactly what it means, contrary to claims I've seen from certain Western journalists that people typically aren't aware. Censoring something inevitably makes people more interested.


What do you expect then?

A news report within the PRC that "Winnie the Pooh" was banned?

Reports from Hong Kong and Taiwan is the closest thing you can get.


>I'm not sure if this will change your opinion, but this isn't true.

Do you think there was ever a ban?


History is filled with insane leaders who made terrible choices. Sometimes it seems stranger that leaders make rational decisions.

As above, so below.

Not to mention a military takeover of Hong Kong would generate valuable data and experience that could be usefully applied to an invasion of Taiwan.

I'm not sure how applicable it would be. Taiwan does have a military that would resist and Hong Kong doesn't.

HK also doesn't have TSMC, which if destroyed would put semiconductor progress and prices back 5-10 years.

It's too bad TSMC didn't open a second factory in HK.

In another 10 to 20 years that won't matter with Moore's law slowing down. Globally competitive foundaries are one of the CCP's goals, and the same slow down that let TSMC surpase Intel will let some Chinese foundary surpass or equal TSMC. Their competitive edge is going to erode away to commodification (albeit for those who can stomach.the huge capital investment).

TSMC has never been very competitive with Intel. Intel has long been a leader in semiconductor manufacturing, but they almost exclusively used it for making their own chips; they weren't a contract fab. TSMC, on the other hand, has always been a contract manufacturer.

Recently the story has been TSMC is pulling ahead of intel in process nodes and intel has been missing deadlines, but this inversion has only happened in the last few years.

So following that logic Intel's fab has no competitors. : /

Basically, no, it doesn't (unless something has changed a lot since I worked there; I haven't kept up very much since then). Intel designs and makes their own chips, so they don't want or need a contract manufacturer.

This is like saying Ford's factories have no competitors, and that's true too. Ford isn't going to farm out their car manufacturing to some other company. (I mean the final assembly; of course carmakers routinely get various components from suppliers, such as airbags, infotainment computers, seats, etc.)

Chipmaking is a little weird because, unlike carmaking where the automakers all own and operate their own final-assembly factories, or aircraft makers like Boeing which own their own factories, chipmakers are frequently "fabless" these days and do the design work but partner with a fab like TSMC to actually make the chips. Intel is an exception and doesn't do this.


Just because they're vertically integrated doesn't mean they don't have competition, just that it's difficult to judge one half of the business on its own.

Intel's own messaging in this regard refers to the competition.

https://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/foundry/sunit-rikhi-...


Ok, that's about Intel's "custom fab" business, which would indeed compete with TSMC. When I was there, that didn't exist AFAIK, they just made their own chips, so I wasn't aware of this (as I said, I haven't kept up much with that company since I left).

Valuable data about the public and international outcry and response- they already have all the war games simulated out.

Aah, crap, good point. And Trump will probably not do anything in both cases. Putin neither, and the EU can't go in themselves.

Uh, if the EU wanted to, it could absolutely go in. The UK has the most valid reason for intervening since it's their treaty that's being violated by a Chinese invasion. EU countries have 2+ million military personnel combined, hundreds of naval assets, thousands of aircraft, strong mutual defense military alliances, etc.

Europe couldn’t even handle Libya without running out of bombs. They have no capability to do anything of note.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/nato-runs-short-on-some...

> Libya “has not been a very big war. If [the Europeans] would run out of these munitions this early in such a small operation, you have to wonder what kind of war they were planning on fighting,”


Europe has no army or military capacity. You have UK/France with some military capability but rest of Europe has in essence no armed forces, their tiny militaries are mostly only used to help during natural disasters or with humanitarian efforts. Europe can't even handle issues in its own backyard without US.

Except the UK has appointed a child as their PM and is at the moment throwing a "we're not doing any cooperation!" tantrum.

China could just dangle the promise of a post-Brexit trade deal (the Brexiters need anything to look good, they were ready to brag about deals with S. Arabia and Turkey).

As someone has mentioned, imagine if Le Pen wins in France, the UN Security Council would be run by Xi, Putin, Trump, BoJo and Le Pen...


EU wouldn't be rearing to go in either.

We should have applied the same policy of containment to China, that was used against the Soviet Union. But instead we let our greed get in the way, and now we've created an (arguably) evil superpower.

We didn’t because initially we capitalized on the USSR and China’s split and took advantage of it politically. The enemy of my enemy is my friend type deal...

Then at some point we realized China with its large labor pool, low wages and no effective safety legislation was a good place to build all our junk for cheap.


How’s Russia working out for us and for the Russian people these days? Or Belarus, or Poland?

It's working out fine for 'us,' mostly. Putin has exhausted his only card though, the energy card, which was used to give Russia's economy a jump; now there's no follow-up maneuver. The Russian people have of course started to take notice of that fact. Russia is an increasingly inconsequential regional power, with a relatively weak and small economy (now smaller than Canada; about to be smaller than Australia). Generally they pose zero threat to the US and Western Europe in their present form; at least so long as NATO remains intact. Their military is weak and broken, they can't afford to maintain it properly - much less upgrade it - so they've shifted to magic scary super weapon propaganda and PR desperation.

It's Belarus and Ukraine primarily at issue, not Poland.

Poland is doing great overall, they've almost entirely left Russia's orbit in terms of overt influence. Their economic output per capita is beginning to embarrass Russia, it's now 50% higher than Russia's figure (that gap will increase). Poland is starting to push into the upper tier of the middle income nations, with a real shot at leaving that group and moving into the upper economic tier in the next two decades, along with the Baltic states.

Russia can't do much to countries like Poland, the Baltics or eg Romania. They know that of course. They can and will persistently, aggressively mess with Belarus (forced union) and Ukraine (constantly seek to destabilize & split it) however. In Russia's ideal world, they keep those two nations impoverished beneath Russia's economic level, so that Russia can perpetually lord over them; then given enough time figure out a way to de facto annex all or a lot of their territory. The people running Russia - including Putin - believe that is all really Russian territory.


Poland’s economy is highly subsidized by the German, French and Italian taxpayers, the only significant payers to the EU budget.

True. But the growth is real.

The countries you mentioned contribute to the EU budget, not Poland's economy.

Isn't that a matter of semantics.. if a Polish highway being built has a sign next to it that says it is 20% sponsored by the EU, doesn't that mean 1 out of every 5 Zloty the roadbuilder is earning comes from the EU?

And Alabama is heavily subsidized by New York City. So what?

Well, Poland and Alabama both have Putin's malicious attention when it comes to political interference.

Most of the EU budget is subsidies. A substantial amount goes to new EU members.

Half of EU budget is CAP which goes to farmers all over EU.

https://ec.europa.eu/info/food-farming-fisheries/key-policie...


At least they're not getting rolled over by tanks.

did you know russian army drove tanks at people in multiple cities when soviet union fell apart? google january 20th tragedy, warning: its graphic


while thats a different tragedy resulted from incompetence of soviet assigned government, no, I am referring to what they did in 3 different countries. 1-https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_January 2-https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/April_9_tragedy 3-https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/January_Events_(Lithuania)

When this guy says "military", we need some specificity. Is this the People's Liberation Army, or the People's Armed Police? They may look the same on the surface but they are very very different organizations with different uses and implications. Stuff I've already read suggests the PAP is in Shenzhen on standby, not the PLA.

http://www.scmp.com/news/china/diplomacy-defence/article/212...

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2019-08-12/global-times-shows...


Agitators will be sent in to commit acts that justify a military takeover. It's a familiar plot.

West wasn't ready to die for Danzig in 1939 and isn't ready to die for Hong-Kong in 2019.

The result could be similar.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Why_Die_for_Danzig%3F


Claiming

> West wasn't ready to die for Danzig in 1939

by linking a Wikipedia that argues that this slogan was a fringe opinion that was promptly disavowed by political leaders and had _very_ limited political or societal impact in general doesn't really help make a case.


Still the fact is that West appeased Hitler and didn't strike when it had a chance in 1939. The result was long war with millions of victims.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Appeasement

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phoney_War


The West, eternally blamed - by a specific part of the political spectrum - for intervening in foreign matters and for not intervening in foreign matters.

This is a bit far fetched. Hongkong is part of China, it has been part of it for a long time. UK rule was a blip in that and it was a 99 years lease anyways.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_Hong_Kong


Still it makes me a little angry, we have 8 milion nice, young pro-democratic protesters in Hong-Kong facing communist tanks and we aren't even going to drop a single rocket on Beijing?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Appeasement


This is not true. HK total population is less than 8 million. Even you count half of them as young, that’s 4 million. Most of these young people have meaningful things to do, such as school or work. The ones that are on the street are typically not nice at all.

The constitution of Hong Kong known as the "basic law" allows for Beijing's military action. Corresponding mainland Chinese law allows for military action in Hong Kong when things seem unmanageable for the city's government. Defacing state property and paralyzing the airport seem to be Exhibit A and B?

There isn't any framework where this would be seen as illegal or illegitimate.

Even under a foreign power's "national security interests", Hong Kong is pretty much an administrative convenience to asian markets than an outlier, as China knows how to run markets these days and has little qualms about capitalist functions, so it is very unlikely that major market disruptions would happen from even the most extreme scenarios imagined here. As such "rockets on Beijing" let alone any foreign diplomatic recognition of these internal issues would be very counterproductive.

In this case for whats productive, use this analogy: think of it more like a theorist in Ohio wondering if DC is causing a false flag attempt during a period of unrest in a US state or dependent territory. That theorist is never suggesting that a neighboring or powerful country intervene, while still being passionate about the idea that the unrest is being propelled in order to justify state control. Might be true, might not, doesn't matter, but still the only outlet to express discontent than suggesting a third party drop rockets on the capital!


> There isn't any framework where this would be seen as illegal or illegitimate.

Doing it just to effectively end "One China, two systems" would absolutely be breaking a teaty. Which is illegal.


sorry, which treaty?

The Sino-British Joint Declaration resulted in the enactment of the Basic Law, of which entitles China to provide for military support, intervention, and assumption of administrative functions in Hong Kong.

Its not breaking a treaty when you use the provisions of it.

The only stipulation of the treaty, an ideological line in spirit, is that the socialist policies are not enacted. All that means is that markets stay open and there are no strings attached when the state provides for you. That has nothing to do with the military entering.

And finally, articles 158 and 159 of the Basic Law put the "Standing Committee of the National People's Congress" as the final arbiter and interpreter of the whole thing. It has always been this way, and the rationale for not using it is thinner than ever.


HK’s security is fundamentally derived from Chinese military power. Mainland soldiers are regularly stationed in HK. This is part of what One China means.

Yes, but if the populations want ”One China, two systems” enforced and the PLA stops that by force, it’s not really about the security of Hong Kong anymore. It’s using the military to subjugate its population rather than protecting them.

Presumably, you are expecting a similar response when the UK breaks the GFA treaty with Ireland? Bombs, sanctions, yes?

What does my theories about International reactions on Brexit and the Irish border have to do with the legality of China using troops to forcefully break another treaty? Would China’s action become legal depending on what I answer?

Because the current UK government’s Brexit position will cause them to violate the GFA treaty with Ireland.

Its the same behavior.

I presumed you would have been able to make the leap.


I understand that, but it has nothing do with whether or not China be using force to break a legal treaty or not. Unless what you really want is to divert the discussion away from whether or not China would be breaking a treaty to cases of other nations breaking treaties.

How many treaties have Trump violated? Does anyone want to do something about the US?

How many? I only think of one the Paris agreement that the US has withdrawn from. But that is not a legally binding treaty according to the US officials.

"United States officials to regard the Paris Agreement as an executive agreement rather than a legally binding treaty. This removed the requirement for the United States Congress to ratify the agreement.[13] In April 2016, the United States became a signatory to the Paris Agreement, and accepted it by executive order in September 2016"


I am not sure where the 8 millions is from, the number of protesters are much less. Would you want to start a world war over HK?

War no, confrontation yes.

"Drop a single rocket on Beijing" is "war", not just "confrontation".

Pick up your rifle, then, soldier.

Would you kill a billion for the sake of 8 million?

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