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Protests Put Hong Kong on Collision Course with China’s Communist Party (nytimes.com)
168 points by JumpCrisscross 11 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 134 comments

> “How do you think Beijing will think now?” he added. “Do you think they will want to give democracy to people when people are insulting their rule?”

What do you think Beijing thought before? What a good boy you were being?

Beijing doesn’t want to give you democracy regardless of what you are doing. Now they just have to be way more overt about it.

Beijing will slaughter these protesters eventually either in public or secretly. We have an absolute moral imperative to give everyone in Hong Kong the option to evacuate to a free country.

So… a few thoughts. I live in HK (having semi-recently moved here from the Bay Area, right before this all flared up).

First, there's a ton of misinformation out there. Few sources have entirely accurate information, but the best English-language resource I've found on the subject is the local paper South China Morning Post (scmp.com). They have pretty accurate and unbiased live reporting of the protests as it flares up. Twitter and private groups have unfiltered live information.

The movement is still described as "anti extradition bill," but has long stopped being about the extradition bill that triggered it all. At this point, it's simply a revolution against an increasingly worrying shift towards Beijing-controlled authoritarianism.

The mood has intensified and darkened since the beginning of the movement in June. There is a lot more disagreement now about whether the protester's tactics are justified. The protests are losing a lot of general support, but still attract overwhelmingly large crowds. Police has stepped up the aggression, the gov't isn't budging, and dissidents are increasingly angry and willing to resort to violence and guerrilla tactics. There's also the added element of the white shirt counter-protesters (allegedly triads, allegedly China-backed) inciting indiscriminate violence to attempt to scare the public into distancing themselves from the movement.

Nobody has died yet, but the violence is getting worse and some people are getting seriously hurt. Yesterday's flare-up at the airport was in response to anger about a female medic protester being shot point-blank in the face by police and losing an eye. There were some pretty horrific scenes of police shooting tear gas rounds at close range in Kwai Fong MTR station (which is against the rules for how to use tear gas and which endangers both protesters and bystanders and MTR employees alike).

My life here hasn't been affected much, but I do make an effort to avoid the protests area which aren't exactly safe. There have been quite a few of regular transit disruption. I've definitely have had several days of cancelled plans due to transportation issues. I've had friends crash with me because their neighborhood was in the middle of a protest fight. I've had a friend get tear gassed walking home a bit too close to a group of protesters.

Hope this all gets resolved peacefully soon, but let's be real… it won't. I expect this will continue to escalate. I'm watching China's response carefully, because there's a risk they make some pretty unprecedented moves.

For perspective, here's a comment I wrote the day of the first violent protest on June 12th (which I attended): https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=20167292

Happy to answer any questions from the perspective of an expat on the ground.

A few thoughts on my end:

1) Traditionally the Chinese government largely left the affairs of HK to HKers (in reality just the few families), so there is no reason to step in and be the bad guy right now.

2) This protest/riot is far more complicated than it seems, considering the meeting with the US diplomat as well as the involvement of the boss of next digital. Geopolitics plays a hand here.

3) Protesters should target the ruling families (e.g. the realtors) instead, thus would gain the psychological support of mainlanders. Targeting the tourists doesn't help.

4) Hope nothing really bad happens and everything goes as peacefully as possible.

Calling it a riot is a deliberate smear, the situation is very far from a riot.

That's why I put protest/riot. Some protesters apparently goes the violent way.

It is Trump who called it a riot.

A nice summary, may add something if I have time later. Meanwhile, please also try https://www.hongkongfp.com

Edit: As for the triad thing, it's far more than that, the Hong Kong Police Force itself is suspected to be in collusion: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=16CiwPChpr0

What do you think are the chances that the tanks roll in, all protestors are shot or arrested, marshal law is declared for a few months, and eventually Hong Kong becomes just another city in China without its own special governance or laws?

I think we're still pretty far away from that. China has a lot to lose on the international stage if anything like that were to go down. They would much rather have the local police deal with it (since the local police is aligned with Beijing) and keep plausible deniability.

If anything, I think the threats of involving the army are more about (1) deterring supporters and (2) planting the seeds of this idea that this is something they can do, to give themselves the option in the future. I could be wrong, but I certainly hope not.

If the army rolls in, I'll probably seriously reconsider sticking around and might book a one-way out of here, because at that point it might well turn into a war zone.

Having lived in Hong Kong (and China) for a long time, I think you're wrong. I doubt very much that protesters will be shot in the streets or anything so drastic, but the city is very close to having the PLA openly deployed to "back up" the HKPF.

FYI, some alleged that mainland policemen are already operating inside the HKPF.

Personally I think the PLA option is a non-starter at the moment. HK for all its bads is still vitally important to the Chinese economy especially during the current trade war with the USA.

> FYI, some alleged that mainland policemen are already operating inside the HKPF.

This is why I said "openly."

Economically, Hong Kong is increasingly irrelevant to China - it's only like the fifth largest city by GDP, and there are 10 more catching up quickly. HK is far more important as a symbol, and if I were Xi Jinping headed into a turbulent global economy with flagging growth at home I wouldn't want it to look like I couldn't control my people.

That said, it's a delicate balancing act. Too little response and you seem weak; too harsh and you draw international condemnation and confirm the worst fear of everyone who is counting on China to join the world order rather than try and upend it.

PLA is different from PAP though although we may just be disagreeing on a technicality.

BTW, HK while definitely not the economic powerhouse it once was, it still has a pretty special place as a truly international city for the PRC government, which is something intangible and cannot be expressed in pure GDP number.

I'm not sure we can say that the police is "aligned with Beijing".

Whatever one's opinion of what the protesters are demanding they are breaking the law and rioting (as per Hong Kong law that dates back from British rule), and many of their actions are simply not acceptable. They are really not helping themselves.

The police will respond to that anywhere.

Funnily enough tyrants don't usually listen unless forced, this is what a fight for freedom looks like. Some things are more important than convenience and money.

The reaction from a Westerner is ”wow, this is nothing compared to all the crazy shit we had to do to get democracy, and now with the democratic institutions and independent justice systems in place, definitely worth it”.

Pretty high: https://twitter.com/AlexandreKrausz

(This is already another HN post "Chinese military entering Shenzen just across the boarder with HongKong": https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=20683940)

There's a third way; getting "Singapore-d".

In the 1960s Singapore annoyed Malaysia so much they were essentially ejected from the federation against their will.

It was a major shock at the time, but decades later the two countries are still mostly amicable. I sincerely hope China would consider this route.

This will never happen under the current regime, if for no other reason than it would embolden Taiwan to "declare" independence and give the world cover to acknowledge it. Taiwan is far too strategically important to China to allow that.

Agree. Don't count on PRC under the current leadership to think anything remotely like that.

Why would China even consider "ejecting" a part of its territory that they fought over for a long time to finally get back?

Recovery of lost territories and reunification of the country is a core policy of the Chinese government(s) since 1912...

And as noted in the replies, striving for national unity is an ancient theme of Chinese national psyche.

Which I find to be irrational.

Stamford Raffles "took" Singapore from the Malay sultanate in the 1820s. In 1963, we finally got it back, but let them go barely two years later due to ingrained cultural differences that manifested during the meantime.

With the rise of so many capable cities on the mainland, perhaps pursuit of unification is just not worth the trouble anymore.

"ingrained cultural differences" -> read: Malay politicians didn't want to deal with a large Chinese-majority city run by a headstrong union leader (Lee Kuan Yew) who could not be counted on to play ball with UMNO.

This is very different from HK and China.

> With the rise of so many capable cities on the mainland, perhaps pursuit of unification is just not worth the trouble anymore.

Maybe to you? It's clear from China's actions that they think otherwise and they're willing to do whatever it takes to ensure control and unification.

You can’t really have a bastion of free speech and democracy on your doorstep as an authoritarian state.

Unity of China as a concept is far older than 1912.

For some perspective, in 1912 the Communist Party of China wasn't even a thing.

Yes, for Chinese these territorial issues are bigger that the Communist Party. In Western countries they would be called "bi-partisan" or "cross-parties" because there is a national consensus on them.

Am not so sure about this, the current emphasis on "territorial integrity" is IMO as much, if not more of, a result of PRC propaganda as established on any historical basis.

No. 900 years ago, a Chinese general tried to take back land from northern nomads and got killed.[0] And he was honored for 9 centuries in the country, even by Qing emperors who themselves were decendants of the northern nomads. In Hangzhou, there was a temple built for him.

7 and a half centuries before Yue Fei, there were Liu Yu[1]. 100 years before him there was Zu Ti. They both tried to fight northern nomads, and were remembered till this day due to their success.

Unification of the nation IS in the genes of the people. There is no question of that.

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yue_Fei [1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emperor_Wu_of_Liu_Song

>Unification of the nation IS in the genes of the people. There is no question of that.

Citation needed.

Cherry picked facts are not universal truth...

It is not PRC propaganda. It's the other way round: PRC propaganda exploits this national feeling.

How do you qualify what constitutes a part of the country though? A whole lot of land changing hands and being conquered by force happened throughout the world's history.

I wonder how much of that unity sentiment is/was constructed and pushed on by leadership due to the area around current China being littered with competing kingdoms and a lot of internal strife and disarray throughout its history, not just the past 100 years.

In Chinese cinema, or at least some films, the theme of unity and to some extent 'glorious leadership' seems to be prevalent. Just came to mind that even in some Jet Li films (or equivalent) set in more ancient times you could probably be faced with some monologues or statements to that tune and at least I was a bit taken aback by how blatant it felt.

Hong Kong was not the only port grabbed by foreign powers. There was also Macau, Xiamen, Shanghai, Tianjin, Dalian, Qingdao... I might forget others.

It's trying to push a narrative to argue what is part of the country...

The 'narrative' on the international stage often times seems to be might is right. Cute mythological stories hardly change that.

Almost everything we appear to hold so dear and immutable or self evident seems kinda arbitrary depending on how far back you go and whether you consider yourself part of this team or that.

Nationalism or tribalism is a whole lot of make believe, is what I'm saying.


History book.

Which one(s)?

About the only thing you will get unity on from the Chinese people is unity.

Not really. Tibet and Taiwan say hi and something about grass-mud-horse.

There is their whole mythology of "centuries of humiliation" and their warlord period for actual stand together or hang apart sentiment. However the sort of "unity" talked about is really just propagandized expansionism. I see it no different than Putin's foolish revanchism for the former USSR.

Sure, why not. Perhaps at the same time they could organize referenda on independence for Tibet, Taiwan and Xinjiang. Maybe they could open the global Internet to their citizens and abandon the ridiculous censorship programs they run. They could also submit to international adjudication on the South China Sea. They would be reasonable things to do.

As far as I've heard from Singaporeans, they didn't "annoy" Malaysia. Ethnic Chinese politicians got popular (well, especially Li Guangyao) and threatened the stability and harmony of majority Muslim Malay country.

As one Chinese taxi driver in Kedah told me, they were supposed to keep quiet and stay away from politics. At least back then, especially influential Malays feared their absolute power is in danger. Didn't help that Li (who always wanted Malaysia to be a state were every ethnicity has equal rights) openly spoke about how poor Malays are held back both by their religious and lay leaders.

That's not what the research I found I did when considering working out there - basically racism.

It's more likely that the protest causes huge damage to HK economy, and HK people start to get tired of it. At some point people may decide to take economic incentives from Beijing and become another city in China with some superficial autonomy status.

If that's true the anti extradition bill amendment would have gone throught and the 2M people or however many wouldn't have turned out to the street on 16th of June.


What is the value of not being disappeared? I highly doubt they would have any takers.

Why would they do this and not just continue to use riot police and tire the protesters out, as has recently been done with success in France?

That seems to be what they are doing.

University starts again soon and it is expected that the protests will loose steam.

That's a boring story so people don't talk about it.

Do you have any sources for the 'tire out' and 'with succes' in France?

Because from my view, they are still going strong.

Killing people in Hong Kong would put China into very difficult political position in the world. New sanctions would emerge and this is something China doesn't want. I think they will go with martial law & arrests.

The world stood around and did nothing as China put Uighurs into concentration camps. Why would this be any different?

One small nitpick:

Marshal Law = halfway decent comic book

Martial Law = military dictatorship of an area

Can you rely on South China Morning Post (scmp.com) to be unbiased as their current owner is Chinese Alibaba Group ? Apart from mild criticisms, I don't think Alibaba group can afford to publish against Chinese government.

> Can you rely on South China Morning Post (scmp.com) to be unbiased as their current owner is Chinese Alibaba Group ? Apart from mild criticisms, I don't think Alibaba group can afford to publish against Chinese government.

Not sure why your comment was killed, because I think it's a valid question. But since it was, responding here.

Yes, they're owned by Alibaba. I happen to know some SCMP employees which gives me confidence that they're still editorially independent. They of course have a pretty pro-status-quo stance, and I don't recommend on relying on them entirely as your only source of information, but I don't believe China has any editorial influence.

(Also important to note Alibaba isn't necessarily in the CCP's best graces lately.)

Am not following SCMP closely so better not comment on their editorial independence rashly... However, this may give you some additional perspective: https://www.hongkongfp.com/2018/11/13/i-will-no-longer-write...

Yeah Hong Kong Free Press may be the most independent source. You can support them here: https://www.hongkongfp.com/support-hkfp/

You literally just have to open their front page to find them calling military deployments in a stadium near Hong Kong "drills", citing anonymous sources that say "they are not of concern" and quoting liberally from anonymous online-posters on Chinese message boards (sic!) spouting hate.

I found it interesting that another username commented with the exact same message[0] in a related thread, slightly modified but with the exact same sentence structure and quotes.

> You only just have to open the SCMP front page to find them calling military deployments in a stadium near Hong Kong "drills", citing anonymous sources that say "they are not of concern" and quoting liberally from anonymous posters on Chinese message boards spouting hate.

[0] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=20684694

Actually, my comment is earlier. I'm sure dang can confirm though we're totally separate people.

They are literally drills: nobody is getting shot in Shenzhen.

Of course the drills are sabre-rattling, a show of force intended to send a message, and preparation for a future assault if necessary -- but they're still drills, not use of the military in anger.

Every "use of the military in anger" in history involves massing your forces at strategic borders. That is just War 101.

Also promises to the other party that “Don’t worry, this is all just a drill.”

Okay, but given that the army hasn't attacked anyone as of right now, what term would you consider appropriate to describe the "drills"?

There is a term for this: mobilization. It's a bit more dramatic, of course, in wars past, but the concept remains the same:

> Poland partly mobilized its troops on August 24, 1939, and fully mobilized on August 30, 1939, following the increased confrontations with Germany since March 1939. On September 1, 1939 Germany invaded Poland, which prompted both France and Britain to declare war on Germany.

> On 30 August, the Polish Navy sent its destroyer flotilla to Britain, executing the Peking Plan. On the same day, Marshal of Poland Edward Rydz-Śmigły announced the mobilization of Polish troops. However, he was pressured into revoking the order by the French, who apparently still hoped for a diplomatic settlement, failing to realize that the Germans were fully mobilized and concentrated at the Polish border.

I don’t think it was killed, There are no upvotes or downvotes , It is just at bottom of the comment thread. That being said SCMP might still have some people who are editorially independent now. But I don’t think They would want to push their luck too far. Considering Alibaba group can face consequences of same in Mainland

The post was likely dead at the time the GP posted, and later some people vouched for the post to bring it back to life.

Right, it was killed by a software filter and then users vouched for it. I've fixed the software filter and moved kenneth's reply to be a child of the comment it was replying to.

Can @dang confirm it , that it was dead due to downvotes or some bug. I do not see any downvotes or upvotes. You may be right but I Cannot confirm it.

Fyi, you can only ever see upvotes on your own posts.

Your argument is good and well-written. However, SCMP is well-known to be China newspaper even before Alibaba: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/South_China_Morning_Post

I find it very hard to believe that SCMP has both accurate and unbiased reporting after reading the Wikipedia article. This makes your comment read like a China-sponsored chill.

I'm talking about this as someone who is neither if favor of any party. Media is going to be either pro or against. It's very hard to find an unbiased media. An unbiased media needs to earn their reputation with time and a lot of effort. They also must have independent and verifiable funding that does not cross with neither party.

I find SCMP about equivalent to the NYT in the US. Not without its issues, but does quality reporting. When I need to follow the action live in HK to figure out what is happening (where protests are, what is happening in those protests, etc.), I find them to be reliable, fast, and accurate.

I'm not denying that they have a pretty pro-establishment point of view when it comes to their editorial. I'm not convinced that China has a major influence over their reporting, however.

Anyways, others recommend the Hong Kong Free Press as an alternative. Or you could also follow along on Twitter or join the private groups.

In your view they have moved past simply being an anti-extradition bill protest? In other words- if the bill was withdrawn your sentiment is that the protests would continue?

Absolutely, yes. There are now 5 official demands from the movement, one of which is universal suffrage for elections of the Chief Executive (think of it like a Governor) and the legislature. This will never be granted, so the demands will never be met, and the protests will only end when the they're either crushed by violence or by attrition.

Or they win. Though I doubt that will be in the form of their demands being met.

What are the chances of the unrest spreading into China?

One hears of sporadic unrest through China, I take the economy hasn’t yet faltered so people aren’t too disgruntled.

I take it this qualifies as “Interesting Times”

Zero. The Chinese public sentiment is on the government side.

In fact, what I have sensed is that there is certain fraction of the general public wants the government to take more drastic measures, and quickly.

0 to minimal chance. the brainwashing happening in mainland china makes those protesters into terrorists supported by foreign governments. that’s the level where china is at right now.

I think in the mind of the Chinese mainlanders, HK was always supposed to be a part of China proper, just like Taiwan. These riots are seen as childish at best, and at worst, a threat to the LEGITIMATE rule of the central Chinese government. Again, this is their view on things. If that's what you think, then of course you'd be for a harsher response, they're attacking what you think is right and true.

Of course, in the West, we don't admit the CCP as truly rightful rulers of China for many reasons, but mainly because they're not democratically elected. There is no refusing, there is no dissent. The Chinese aren't dumb, they see that too, but they see it as the price you pay for orderliness. And maybe it is? This, coincidentally, is also used to justify censorship: it is the price you pay for running a large society effectively. And maybe it is. We see censorship on our side of the world too, in the name of combatting fake news, child pornography and terrorism.... Exactly how you justify it in China.

The CCP's largest issues all stem from not truly being of the people and thus lacking that pressure valve: unchecked corruption, and an inability to uphold ethical standards. We've seen this with authoritarian regimes time and time again, with the Nazis, with the Soviet, and now with the CCP.

This was a rant about nothing, thanks for reading.

Most people on the mainland are probably unware of what is going on in HK.

The most liberal west-loving people I know in China are claiming that these are terrorist acts being pushed by America.

The chances of mainlanders being inspired by this is zero. Most seem to want to see the protesters disappear, and I don’t mean just going home and giving up.

People seem to love hyping up the idea that the young people in China will “wake up” and want democracy, free speech, etc. It’s going in the opposite direction and fast.

As others said, zero. I check out CCTV reporting about this every couple days, and they deliberately show only scenes where police gets attacked by the protesters (called terrorists). Or sometimes against uninvolved people accidentally ending up in the protests. Also defacement of government symbols helped turn the sentiment against the protesters. Otoh that helps see how most western media is also biased in their reporting (what footage they show) but the Chinese definitely take the cake here.

Low. There are also reports of APCs massing on the China-HK border. Allowing unrest to spread is the one thing China has become extremely good at preventing.

Thanks to the internet censorship, it is hard for either side to get any accurate information from the other, not to mention fewer people do that deliberately.

Greater than zero (never trust the heavily massaged public sentiment - and the VPN usage hints at a "silent but substantial" objecting miniority) but HK and Mainland have a history of negative sentiments that goes back to while the British still held it.

Why would unrest spread to China?

Zero. You can even hear the majority complaining about the protest from time to time.

This is pro-China propaganda at it's best, they'll milk it for years. It's hilarious how naive the West is about these matters.

> What are the chances of the unrest spreading into China?

There are hundreds of small riots happening all around China nearly every month.

I don't think this will make a difference, unless it happens in numbers comparable to number you see in HK.

Paradoxically, Xi's rule saw less riots than during Hu's term, when "something serious" was going on almost monthly.

Those protests are all due to environmental issues and against the local government.

Each time the national government has stepped in and supported the protestors.

not sure why you're being down voted these seem reasonable statements. I do wonder how many agent provocateur's there are on all these forums. We've lost a lot of truth lately I feel.

Carrie Lam, leader of Hong Kong, can’t answer whether she has the power to withdraw the extradition bill: https://twitter.com/TheAPJournalist/status/11611029359228108...

Everybody, this is a dangerous time. APCs are massing in Shenzhen (see other thread).

Now is the time to email your local Chinese embassy. Carrie Lam, the top HK politician. Michael Tien and Ronnie Wong, leading pro-establishment politicians. Let them know dialogue & political solutions are needed, violence is not acceptable, and that PEOPLE ARE WATCHING AND CARE.

Mention any connections to China you have. Your voice can make a difference to the political calculus. But time is very short. Act now.

Mainland China will implode by 2025. Debt + aging population.

You just described the USA also.

I highly recommend following and supporting the Hong Kong Free Press, an independently funded online paper:


> China’s top leader, Xi Jinping, wants to make Hong Kong more like a mainland city, using economic incentives to buy happiness and propaganda to win loyalty. The protesters, who represent a wide swath of Hong Kong, want a government that looks out for their interests, not just Beijing’s, to help resolve problems like astronomical housing prices and low wages.

> The two sides no longer seem to recognize each other’s concerns.

This kind of language is why the NYT is the subject of so many centrism memes. There are no "two sides" that can "recognize each other's concerns" and get along. There are democracy and authoritarianism. I'm kind of flabbergasted that they can't find the courage to take a stand on even such a black-and-white issue. It's always "two sides."

Contrast this language with the HK protestors 5 demands. NYT looks even worse.

- a full withdrawal of a proposed bill that would allow Hong Kong people to be extradited to mainland China - a retraction of any characterization of the movement as a “riot” - a retraction of charges against anti-extradition protesters - an independent committee to investigate the Hong Kong police’s use of force - universal suffrage in elections for the city’s chief executive officer and legislature by 2020


If only the protestors would "recognize the CCPs concerns" and let themselves be completely subjected, and any hope for democracy crushed.

Why can't they just be reasonable?

After all that's what we are really talking about here, and the only thing the CCP will accept long term, period.

There is no "recognizing differences and agreeing to disagree" here, here is a head on collision between fundamentally opposing values.

The idea that readers of the New York Times would need some kind of paternalist guideline on which side to choose in this conflict is quite hilarious. The NY Times is reporting on the issue, and there are two sides to it, the line of the Chinese government and the line of the protesters.

I really don't think there is any doubt among NY Times readers as to which of the two value systems they support, and if there was, it wouldn't be the job of the NY Times to tell them.

Editorials will reflect individual journalist's stance towards the conflict, though. That's why I personally find them boring and rarely read them.

I agree with this comment.

What's strange is Fox News seems to not be reporting at all on the HK protests?

I guess Fox doesn't want to annoy its favourite audience member.

It is up to the reader to form an opinion given the evidence presented to them. The media should try to present both sides as neutrally as possible. If Beijing's side has been watered down so much as to be comically neutral, the reader should be able to pick up on this and understand the lack of positive traits attributable to Beijing's position.

The recent inversion of the norm of the neutrality of the media is bad. You talk as if it is good. Look at an AP or Reuters report directly from their website if you want to read the news with minimal spin. They keep to the facts, and they don't pitch each story as part of a grand moral battle. Any moral stance the media takes should be seen as a demerit, even if it is one you agree with. The exception being the editorials, or their equivalent.

EDIT: I feel like I've done a disservice to my position. I need to mention that neutrality in media is connoted with sticking to the facts. If you want to do a good job as a reporter, fill your articles with accurate, unembellished facts. Make the dang article 90%+ factual information without hystrionics or fluff. I've seen plenty of yellow journalism lately, but the accusation that excessive neutrality is just fluff is silly when you look at this article or at the corpus of NYTimes's articles.

Excel_Wizard, you are conflating neutrality with objective reporting. There is no objectivity. Every line and word written has a bias. Equating two sides when they are starkly different is not neutral and reporting the facts.

< If Beijing's side has been watered down so much as to be comically neutral, the reader should be able to pick up on this and understand the lack of positive traits attributable to Beijing's position.

If you truly believe this is the case, please get outside of whatever bubble you are living in and see how other people think.

I know that bias cannot be eliminated, but it can be minimized. That is the perogative.

Let's say you run a newspaper that has to report on 50 different stories every day. A large fraction of these stories involve the moral plights of two or more aggrieved parties. Any moral stance you take inevitably skews the perception of the story, when the reader has the responsibility for forming an opinion without it being tilted by anything other than the facts. Sticking to the facts of the story is paramount. Taking a moral stance is a shortcut- an easy way to excite your crowd and get them addicted to more high-adrenaline reporting.

>Equating two sides when they are starkly different is not neutral and reporting the facts.

Sticking to the facts is not the same as equating the two sides. Neutrality in reporting is connoted with sticking to the facts.

>If you truly believe this is the case, please get outside of whatever bubble you are living in and see how other people think.

The practices I am recommending are (part of) an antidote to the failure modes of how people think. Yellow journalism is on an uptick because of social media- the most emotional news stories are the most viral ones. There's a reason that they teach best practices for media objectivity in grade school. To hopefully constrain our emotions enough to make good judgements and decisions about the events we read about.

People that make fun of NYTimes's neutrality seem to prefer a world where the Huffington Post, a slew of shared facebook news reports, and the Drudge Report dominate the news outlets. Is this the world you want?

Let's go back into the story to discuss:

>The two sides no longer seem to recognize each other’s concerns.

The GGP highlighted this quote as being ridiculously neutral. I imagine you would call this "equating the two sides". When I read it in the context of violent protest, I took it to mean that they are not communicating through any other means than violence, i.e. there are not currently productive talks between the two sides.

Contrast this with the pinnacle of right-centrism, The Economist, which despite reporting on PRC's perspective too, repeatedly leans pro-HK, e.g. from the latest issue


Note that your link is to one of the leaders, which always explicitly give the opinion of the Economist akin to The Editorial Board in the NY Times.

> This kind of language is why the NYT is the subject of so many centrism memes. There are no "two sides" that can "recognize each other's concerns" and get along. There are democracy and authoritarianism.

They're a newspaper, not a political blog. This isn't an op-ed. They're not meant to be "taking a side."

In some situations there is an underlying truth, and opposing sides (who have both public and private agendas) will gladly lie and spin in order to get their way.

For example, perhaps Ukraine says they've been invaded by Russian troops without insignias; and Russia says it isn't them.

Some would say the ideal in journalism would be not only to report the conflicting statements, but also to determine and report what the underlying truth is.

What underlying truth have they missed here? The only thing I see here is that people are shitting on the NYT for not picking a side.

"It seemed that the mass shooter and the nightclub patrons could no longer recognize each other's concerns."

This is just so apples-to-oranges it's not even appropriate.

China has a legitimate claim to Hong Kong, Hong Kong (arguably) has a right to self-determination.

They're a newspaper. Present both sides, let me make a decision. Don't tell me what to think.

The PRC is a totalitarian dictatorship that suppresses free speech.

The New York Times is a newspaper built on free speech.

There really aren't to sides to be report about.

NYT could have saved lots of words.

"China is bad. Hong Kong should be free."

Removing nuance is fun.

Yeah, the difference is the nightclub shooter killed about 50 million less people.

Thats is the essence of the false equivalency: the idea that if two people disagree with equal passion they must be equally correct. Journalists are supposed to be fact checkers and critical thinkers. Their job isnt to parrot beijings claims that the sky is green, its to stick their heads out the damn window and see for themselves.

> Journalists are supposed to be fact checkers and critical thinkers. Their job isnt to parrot beijings claims that the sky is green

What wrong claim have they made? China has a legitimate claim to the territory, Hong Kong has a legitimate right to self-determination (in my opinion).

Claiming they're wrong or otherwise conveying false information because they haven't picked a side is just wholly wrong.

If you want propaganda that only reports on your side, there are subreddits for that. This is a newspaper.

Do you truly believe that the NYT is post ideology?

They’re not even accurately reporting on what either side wants, though. Even on what they claim to want. It’s like they pulled it out of their ass.

> They’re not even accurately reporting on what either side wants, though. Even on what they claim to want. It’s like they pulled it out of their ass.

Well that's an actual, great complaint!

What important details are they leaving out or, perhaps better, what's a more accurate reporting?

As William Seward said there is a higher law.

I don't understand your objection. Are you claiming there's a hidden third side to the dispute? Or that the controversy is fabricated and there is, in fact, only one side?

It seems clear to me that there are indeed exactly "two sides." It is also clear that their relationship is now more contentious, and less symbiotic. What exactly is your disagreement with those propositions?

The wording is clearly implying there are two valid sides, when there is not. The protestors are the valid side and they do not need to give a shit about the opinion of the CCP about full integration.

Be careful when you assume you know what someone else's words "clearly imply[]."

It seems to be the way for many outlets these days.

If someone says it is bright & sunny, and someone else says there is a huge dark angry thunder storm in the same location, the BBC will present both view points instead of looking out of the window to check if one seems more accurate than the other.

NYT is a propaganda tool, like most mainstream media outlets. Expecting them to have "courage" is a non-sequitur.

I agree. Just see how other commercial enterprises cave when it comes to China. The NYT is just the same.

The title calls one side Communists (as it should). That word has an effect on the reader.

Unfortunately, the effect is not what it should be for many readers in the modern West.

Could you explain what you mean by that?

Communism isn't a dirty word for millennials like it was for people growing up in the atmosphere of the Cold War.

It's quite ironic you say that, because all across the formerly "democratic" world, a kind of facade or sham self-governance is washing over societies and governments everywhere, which constantly and consistently infringes upon and chips away at actual self-governance and actual democracy as leftist authoritarians impose their will and trying to corral and suppress and contain freedom and liberty and self-governance.

I am not even certain though that most cases they actually realize what they are doing if their paternalistic language ... of imposing their will on others for our/my/your own good ... can be taken as an honest indication. It's very much the same kind of authoritarians/abusive mindset and action that is common among western "liberals"/leftists and the CCP. Ironically too is that as most here are left leaning, if not largely leftists (whether they realize it or not), they also don't realize that this situation with HK is only a petri dish of what is to come due to leftist/liberal/globalist delusions of world wide kumbaya and hand holding amidst global world peace and tranquility. On the contrary actually, the liberal/leftist/globalist actions and values are a black swan that struts around right before us, but none are permitted to see, and even the supposed smartest people around dismiss off hand out of idle narcissism.

When Chine sends military to solve this “concern”, surely NYT will call both sides to “stop the circle of violence”.

Another Tiananmen Square massacre on the horizon...

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