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China’s assault on Cathay Pacific (economist.com)
240 points by hker 57 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 191 comments


> The Taiwan News claimed that Cathay Pacific CEO Rupert Hogg's decision to resign last week came after he refused to name names to the Chinese government when he was asked to provide a list of employees who were involved in the Hong Kong protests.

> China's Civil Aviation Administration ordered Cathay to provide a list of employees who were involved in a recent protest. He was also ordered to suspend the employees. According to the Taiwan News, Hogg provided the list—but it included only one name: his own.

> His resignation was first announced by CCTV, China's state-run television station, 30 minutes before Cathay Pacific announced Hogg had stepped down.


Trying to bury every single thought that doesn't perfectly conform with the common narrative is unscalable and will only serve to amplify the counter-narrative.

I see this happening everywhere in relation to the unrest in HK. Ideally, ideas should be discussed on their merit and in the light of day. When faced with what is perceived as dissent, strong counter arguments should be made instead of shutting down discourse.

In my opinion, this censorious attitude will be damaging to the pro-democracy movement’s cause in the long term.

EDIT: response to jeremysalwen’s comment below since it seems my comments are either being rate limited or filtered.

> If the 50 cent army ever came to HN, it would look like the above two comments.

Thank you.

I could not have asked for a better example of what I meant than your comment. I've seen variants of this type of comment repeated everywhere on HN and Reddit to shut down legitimate discourse. I have only made extremely neutral comments, and yet here I am feeling like I’m being surrounded by a suspicious lynch mob. If you think turning every exchange of ideas into the Spanish Inquisition is the best way to support the plight of the protestors then I’d disagree, but that’s your prerogative.

Also, if an echo chamber is what people want HN to be, I can live with that. I just think it’d be a pity because I enjoy reading discussions with a diversity of opinion - more specifically, I enjoy reading high quality responses to actual dissenters, not unsubstantiated witch-hunting or low effort dismissals to every ‘threat’ real or imagined.

silexia 56 days ago [flagged]

We need to evacuate Hong Kong and find other ways to fight against China's totalitarian government.

HN also needs to very carefully assess potential shill accounts.

Please don't insinuate astroturfing or shillage without evidence. This breaks the site guidelines, for reasons that I have tried to explain at great length for years; https://hn.algolia.com/?query=by:dang%20astroturf&sort=byDat....

Someone else posting an opposing view does not count as evidence. Commenters are overwhelmingly too quick to jump to conclusions about that, and end up poisoning the threads worse because of it.

We need... And what exactly is the chance that we will?

I mean, Europe needed to settle 2 million refugees from Syria and how exactly did that turn out for everyone?

Other the European racism what was the problem? The US could use a few million people who work hard and believe in democracy.

Mexicans you mean? People from Syria can not be simply compared to people from Mexico, there is nothing racist about Europe's hesitance to accept more Islamic immigrants. To start with a significant part of them most definitely does not believe in the sort of democracy we maintain.

We can cut off illegal immigration by fixing the problem at the source. Illegal immigrants in many cases are fleeing oppressive regimes and evil dictatorships. We have the largest military on Earth. Let’s use it to help overthrow evil dictatorships in countries like Venezuela and combat drug gangs in Columbia. Let’s give these people free governments. Then they will have no reason to flee and try to emigrate illegally to the United States.

If you could defeat a drug gang with military power, then Mexico would have done it by now.


Please don't do this here. It breaks the site guidelines and makes the threads significantly worse.


With the regularity things get flagged off the front page, it's been here for ages.

For my neighbour comment: https://www.reddit.com/r/HongKong/comments/cutlyk/who_is_mor...

As for the stuff that gets flagged off the front page, here's just random things I noticed, some were slightly penalized, some were sunk like a brick very quickly:

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=17756823 From laboratory in far west, China’s surveillance state spreads quietly

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=18564433 Tracking China's Muslim Gulag

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=18674885 China harvested organs from political prisoners, says tribunal

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19286107 Database Leak Gives Us a Window into China’s Digital Surveillance State

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19665495 China Spying on Undersea Internet Cables

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19714401 China is working to silence critics of its prisonlike re-education camps

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19712564 China Bans the Word 'Leica' on Social Media

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=20278943 China Warns World Leaders: Don't Talk About the Hong Kong Protests

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=20304526 I Felt the Fear of Abduction by China in Hong Kong. Appeasing Bejing Has to Stop

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=20318279 China pressured London police to arrest Tiananmen protester, says watchdog

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=20315905 They Come for Us at Night: China's Vanishing Muslims

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=20336543 China's Vanishing Muslims: Undercover in World's Most Dystopian Place

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=20466312 China Is Drafting Urgent Plan to Resolve Hong Kong Chaos, SCMP Says

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=20578900 China's capital orders Arabic, Muslim symbols taken down

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=20702738 Medium suspends account that investigates Chinese concentration camps

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=20719470 Hong Kong protest: What is mainland China hearing?

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=20712762 A Walk in Hong Kong

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=20740626 Removing Coordinated Inauthentic Behavior from China

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=20748615 China’s Soft-Power Fail: Condemning Hong Kong’s Protests

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=20777236 Why China’s assault on Cathay Pacific should scare all foreign firms

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=20780772 Google refused to call out China over disinformation about Hong Kong

While all that is swept under the rug by user flags, that's not enough, some even complain that even the most fluffy criticism of China that manages to get discussed for a bit is some sign of some terrible bias. Goes with the territory, too: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4IingQPPEh0

I'm a simple man: Never again means never again, no ifs and buts, no negotiations.


What is wrong with my comment above?

Do you have a problem with my opinion that the CEO resigned due to brand damage and potential loss of business in the market?

Or do you have a problem with actual facts, such as the letter the board of directors wrote, the arrest of a pilot for rioting, etc?


hktruth 56 days ago [flagged]

You fail to address my points. It is you who are baiting.

(Some say this version of events is an untrue rumor.)

Yeah, I'd love to see some independent verification of this story. It's lovely, ben trovato, but I have seen it only sourced to some dodgy WhatsApp groups or Facebook posts or so. It is certainly not inconceivable, and frankly, if it's true, the fact that Hogg doesn't go around and flaunt it makes me think even more highly of him. But I just don't know whether it's true.

I'd think that he'd say something if it was false.

Good point. I'd have responded that it has never been reported "properly", but then, Newsweek, one should hope, is pretty proper. Let's see.

It's definitely something that many wish was true, which is why it's being spread so widely.

There's also no credible denial.

No incentive for Hogg to deny it, makes him look good.

How about your Civil Aviation Administration making an official statement that it didn't ask Hogg for this list as a starter?

Even if they didn't, they might welcome the chilling effect that comes with the unconfirmed belief that they might have.

Who is "some"?

The first hit on Google for "Rupert Hogg" gives a HK journalist claiming the story is a canard.

Jack Ma's and SCMP's neutrality is a bit up in the air at the moment, I feel. Last time I looked at that story it was just trying to sow doubt, without any evidence to the contrary. I'm sure you'd inform us in great detail if that had changed.

I literally said "some say". Chill out. I totally agree the SCMP is biased.

Jack Ma is a party member SCMP is a mainland propaganda organ.

People loyal to the CCP.

>Chinese inspectors have started screening the phones of Cathay crew for anti-Beijing material.

If that doesn't persuade ordinary Hong Kongers to love and trust the mainland authorities, I don't know what will.

If you’re a Hong Kong resident, what are your options? Can you flee the country with a visa to a first world country with rights less under pressure from a totalitarian state?

Edit: I genuinely appreciate all of the replies to this comment as this humanitarian crisis unfolds.

In the early 90s many countries started opening up pathways for HK citizens fearing this - there was a lot of talk of "Brain Drain" in HK.

Canada in particular did a great job of encouraging emigration.

These days it's a little harder. The classic "HK passport" is the BNO - British Nationality Overseas which doesn't give you right of abode in the UK because racism.

Asylum is also extremely difficult to achieve - you'd have to have been already targeted and by that point there's already a risk of being disappeared extra-judicially.

45% of Vancouver is of Asian descent, and 30% of Vancouver is Chinese, many of whom are HK expats. 500,000 folks of HK descent live in Canada (1.5% of Canada). There's another 300,000 Canadian passport holders living in HK. It'll be very interesting to see what happens over the next couple of years.

I will need to fact check on this, I knew a lot of HK people went to Vancouver in pre 97, and that number you posted is quite staggering.

Sorry, I should have posted the reference material.

- 500K Canadian Citizens in HK [1]

- 300K of Hong Kong descent in Canada [2]

(I may have reversed this in one of the two posts).

- Ethnic breakdown of Vancouver [3] although I used the 2011 census data not the 2016 data reflected there, which explains the slight drift.

[1] https://nationalpost.com/news/canada/unrest-in-hong-kong-fue...

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hong_Kong_Canadians

[3] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_Metro_Vancouve...

Canada encouraged emigration to the point of completely fucking over Vancouver and Toronto housing markets.

Money laundering is the problem, not Hong Kong emigrants. Mainland China does not allow dual citizenship, this is why many Chinese living in Canada do not apply for Canadian citizenship, but instead stay as permanent resident or visa student to launder money.



Can confirm this from my friends in Vancouver and growing up there. Most Hong Kong people assimilate quite well, it’s new wave from mainland China that doesn’t. You can feel it in the atmosphere. Driving Ferrari’s everywhere and showing off. It’s not a good look for anyone.

The tax from luxury cars they bought is the best thing they could do for Canada.

Canadian govt (or BC) are not smart cats. Unfortunately.

I'd personally make tons of policies to extract as much money possible from these type of immigrants tbh.

luxury vehicle tax, empty property tax, the governments are starting to catch on

HK allows dual citizenship and there are around 300,000 Canadians living in HK right now[1]. Not sure about other nationalities. And I think HK passport can go to many countries visa free or visa on arrival[2]. So in a sense many protesters do have a plan b if needed.

1. https://nationalpost.com/news/canada/unrest-in-hong-kong-fue...

2. https://www.immd.gov.hk/eng/service/travel_document/visa_fre...

The protesters are more working class than the richer HKers with multiple passports. Sure, they can leave, but it is much harder for them to establish themselves in a new country. They can buy a plane ticket, but then what?

I'm not saying it's easy, but it's better than not having the option right? Many HKers have done this during the 90s when HK became part of China.

The richer ones did as a hedge, the poorer ones not really. There were more than a few economic immigrants from HK in the 60s, 70s and even 80s, but the jobs they could get were the ones we typically associate with economic immigrants (think Bruce Lee washing dishes at a restaurant, and the old China town feel). I’m not sure if that is very viable today.

They can do what the Chinese have done since the 19th century: move and adapt. It's what my family did. Easier said than done, but I feel it's pretty ingrained now when you can even find Chinese families in places like Africa.

The pathway for foreigners to come into most countries is through a visa process, which are capital investment, work or asylum based.

For example, in the US an investment of $500k (will be $900k later this year) in certain businesses will land foreign individuals a green card. Otherwise, they'll need to come in through a family or work visa, latter of which can take years and has high barriers to entry, like requiring sponsorship or a specialized degree.

Those without means are going to have a hard time leaving the country legally.

Then don't do it legally. My family came to the US as illegals.

Southern Chinese, especially of fujian descent, do this, which is why they’ve spread so far in SE Asia, Taiwan, Africa, NYC, etc...

Cantonese are also known for emigrating.

It’s still hard, and it sucks to leave home because you can’t get a good deal there any longer.

> It’s still hard, and it sucks to leave home because you can’t get a good deal there any longer.

"good" deals in the past are a fantasy.



It was always hard. The only thing that changes is the nature of the obstacles.

It was much easier to move somewhere in the 19th century if you had the money.

Its essentially impossible to move to another 1st world country without years (or decades) of process + usually a highly valued university degree these days

Doesn't matter. imo Chinese people can still adapt. It's part of the culture. My family came to the US as illegal aliens with no money and poor education (their degrees weren't of much use). We still made it work. I know it's anecdotal, but there are a lot of anecdotes throughout Asia, Europe, the Americas, Africa, and even in the Middle East (it was surreal when I met a Chinese guy from Saudi Arabia who was looking for a potential 7th wife).

EDIT: it wasn't easy immigrating the US in the 19th century


Don't understand why GP is downvoted. Of course Chinese people (like many others) can adapt, but how are you going into a country and stay there legally? For most people, asylum is hardly an option (though Germany has granted asylum to several leaders of the HK protests). If you don't go via asylum, you have to go via normal immigration routes, and they are normally either investment or skills based these days - you need lots of money or excellent education. You cannot just go and live in any country you want anymore (for most people).

> but how are you going into a country and stay there legally?

The same way startups figure out how to survive and eventually profit: by continuously adapting and continuously looking for opportunity. In our case, some of my relatives saved up enough "under the counter" money to pay a citizen to marry them until they were able to get a green card; after which they divorced. Others just married citizens. Others got enough education to get a work visa (I don't remember the details). You get the picture. It's a waste of time and energy, dwelling on what you don't have vs how to accomplish what you need to happen. I'm not saying that you should be ignorant of obstacles and challenges (you need to know what they are), but you need to focus on the openings & opportunities to get through. This is a generalization, but I feel that most if not all Asian cultures have this same spirit.

Here's a modern example.


I didn't downvote anyone on this thread

Ok, that's really funny. It would never in a million years occur to me to pay someone to marry me so I could live in some country. And, yes, some recent startups have skirted or crossed the line to illegality.

My point remains - nowadays (unlike a century ago, if I'm not mistaken), the majority of people can not choose in which country to live (legally, at any rate).

The past is often romanticized, but the reality is that it was never easy.


I didn't say that your point was invalid. I'm just pointing out that when you're desperate enough to escape an authoritarian regime or other dangers, legality isn't as important of a consideration. There's plenty of grey areas to work in. ie if there's a will, there's a way

It wasn't exactly easier to have the money in the 19th century?

Most people in Hong Kong that are protesting don’t have a second passport. That’s why they are fighting. As for those with passports, most are still dormant even though they do support the protest.

There are ~85,000 Americans living in HK.

Many Hong Kong residents already fled for Canada years, and even decades ago before the official handover to China.

This whole situation has been a long time in the making.

As a European citizen I would really like to provide the people of Hong Kong a passport of their choosing. Our Western colonial mistakes are responsible for setting up China with this situation in HK. The best is to acknowledge our mistakes and welcome anybody that feels compromised by a Chinese annexation.

In the past the Netherlands has made a promise to the people of South Maluku a republic and independent status from Indonesia in a similar situation which in the end could not be upheld. This enfolded in to a very traumatic event where people out of desperation high jacked a train in the Netherlands to come to a solution. Some of these people where killed.

China has a righteous claim on HK and the West should not be in denial of the inevitable. Giving China the chance of restoring their geographical region while facilitating a frictionless migration for those in need would prevent in worse case scenario a war.

Asian people assimilate very well in Western societies and we can always use more people with an average IQ of 108.


> China has a righteous claim on HK

Why exactly? Modern China itself was formed from wars of imperial conquest. That these conquests by force happened long ago doesn't make them any “more righteous” than the British conquest of HK over 100 years ago.

By your logic, Germany had a “righteous claim” on Austria, Hungary, and at least parts of Poland in the late 1930s.

I kinda wish that China would switch from attempting to assimilate HK, to just seeing HKers as foreign devils that need to be kicked out of China. Because that would inevitably lead to only one thing: other countries granting refugee status to the entire HK population.

(In fact, I wonder if particular sovereign nations are already attempting psy-ops with an inculcation of this attitude in the Chinese government as their goal. It's really the only way that the population of HK "gets out" from under China's rule in one piece. Minus a city, of course...)

(Though, if we're talking "things on the CIA's to-do list", giving the CNP another chance to take China from the CCP is probably pretty high up there. Hong Kong would be perfectly content with "assimilation" under a democratic Taiwan-led China.)

Visa free travel to the US. The situation isn't that desparate yet. But I fully expect this President will toss them back into the jaws of tyranny.

HKers enjoy visa free (or VOA) travel to many countries, but entering obviously is only the very first part of the process; staying legally is the crux of the matter.

Yeah, the US is cracking down hard on asylum rights. There's been a lot of people in dire conditions--fleeing human trafficking or government oppression--turned away from the southern border and sent home in danger of their lives, because they don't check all the boxes on the extremely narrow definition that ICE is using now.

Or, you know, locked up indefinitely in a cell.

The USA is explicitly anti immigration right now, asylum or no. We can't even get people in on working visas to our SF office that have worked here before. They get arbitrarily denied.

I'm curious who's downvoting this. I didn't say anything that's not factual.

China is applying a lot of pressure on Hong Kongers right now, including searching devices at the border for any signs of protest photos. The Hong Kong police have requested Octopus card records (the mass transit card that is linked to individual user IDs) and CCTV footage of the airport protests last week. There is evidence of information sharing between Hong Kong police and mainland authorities.

The implied threat is that anyone who participates in protests risks their livelihood and prospects of future education, and that major companies in Hong Kong will not be allowed to remain apolitical, but must choose sides.

These pressure tactics are intended to break the Hong Kong protests, and while taken very seriously by Hong Kongers, have so far failed to achieve that aim.

It's the Cultural Revolution-era "us-versus-them" tactic. You either fall in line, or you are the enemy of the people.


I don’t think border searches like this are out of the norm even by Western standards.

The likelihood of a US border search that turns up protest materials costing you your degree or your next 5 job prospects is essentially 0.

I agree that border searches by Western standards have worsen recently, e.g., the US customs may ask for social media handles.

But the Chinese border searches have gone even further: they install additional tracking apps on travelers’ phones [1], and they make a copy of the phone data for later analysis (in Cantonese [2]).

[1]: https://www.asiatimes.com/2019/08/article/visitors-to-china-...

[2]: https://lih.kg/1384861

Samsung magically fell to zero market share in China in the span of 2 to 3 years, that's a warning to any company doing business in China, now they are targeting Fedex over the alleged intentional diversion to the US of some Huawei packages, when China is angry at Korea, Lotte and Samsung became sacrificial lambs to the pent-up ire, Fedex and maybe some other American campanies may be the new ones (Amazon narrowly escaped the witchhunt of anti-China items since they exited China themself just months ago).

Yep, any western company that thinks the Chinese government is going to allow them to have a large market share in China long term is straight up delusional (or thinking so short term they don't care at all)

Company after company has been raided for IP and forced out of China, stop falling for the siren song.

Apple still has a large market share in China. Maybe Samsung just sucks and couldn’t compete against Huawei? Only reason Huawei hasn’t beat out Samsung in the US is because of anti-Huawei sentiment in the US.

That’s not true...Huawei stole from Nortel and it’s just that tech initially. Samsung was doing great before the forced anti Samsung protests (Huawei was already 1 at the time).

i'm a former nortel employee. so sad to see people lose their houses and pensions due to chinese theft. The hacking wasn't even publicized as a warning that other companies could heed - get your security in order, be careful with your IP, or you will go from 140,000 employees to a small cadre of lawyers and accountants managing the pittance that is left over. But at least none of the management at Nortel was embarrassed by the bad publicity of getting owned by the chinese and their inability to do anything about it.

Isn't the cause of Samsung's decline in China due to boycotts related to THAAD deployment in SK?

Yes. THAAD was the reason.

Samsung is making a killing on selling OLED screens to both Huawei and Apple - I guess they figured it's easier and more profitable this way than to try re-conquer a saturated market.

If only we had some sort of mechanism to force China to fall in line. Something that would have leveraged all of the economies of the pacific together against their tendencies... some sort of partnership. A trans-pacific partnership, if you will. Surely Trump wouldn't have backed out of such an agreement on his first day of office.

Did you remember Galaxy Note 7? That's the magic sauce.

Indeed, Samsung decided they wouldn't bother recalling exploding phones in China.

don't you think that Fedex is suspicious for diversion to the US of some Huawei packages when US government is targeting Huawei for "national security"?

what if a Chinese courier company operating in US diverts some Cisco packages to China when China is "blacklisting" Cisco? what do you think US government would do?

Why don't we form a new WTO, without China or other dictatorships, and only allow in democracies that are liberal or liberalizing? There's no point in opening our arms to China if they aren't moving on the right track anymore towards becoming a free and fair society.

Potentially because people have different understanding of what a free and fair society is.

> Potentially because people have different understanding of what a free and fair society is.


Give people a choice which society they're allowed to live in. China currently does not do that.

Totally agree. My question is which country does do that? I have voted once by moving. But I still don't have the choice to live in a society that I think is free and fair.

I wish I can live in a society where inequality is minimal, where people work and innovate not because of money, but because they enjoy their work and enjoy innovation. I wish I and my fellow citizens can have universal health and dental care, free higher education. I wish a political system without bribing disguised as lobbying, without innovation-killing monopoly. I wish we have similar chance of being happy irrelevant of how rich our parents are. A place where mental illness people are treated, instead of being free to be on the street. Where I can freely roam the city at any hour without the fear of being robbed or raped. Where the urban/transit design makes people free from using cars if they feel not like to. Where I don't have to work as a housing slave.

Now, if my view of a free and fair society is a majority view, why there's isn't one that I can go? If my view is a minority one, then I still don't have the choice in a democracy isn't it?

> Give people a choice which society they're allowed to live in.

By this metric, this would be a prohibitively small WTO.

For an elaboration of that idea, see Nozick's Anarchy, State, and Utopia. (I used to find it quite convincing, but not anymore :-)

We have to meet them halfway, too. Trumpism and its ilk isn't helping at all.

Because US Chamber of commerce is still holding on to the beautiful dream of selling one bottle of Coke to each of 1.3 billion people. Even though after all these years they should understand it isn't going to work like that.

(i.e it's a massive market).

Because the big money making opportunities are not in the liberal democracies. With Europe and USA on a path of the decline - none of the powers that come online care about liberal values. They learned the lesson that it is important how you manage the economy, not the social values.

And today, Cathay Dragon sacked the head of the flight attendant's union.


The head of the flight attendant’s union was fired by Cathay Dragon, and according to her press conference regarding the termination [1], the case was based on her friends-only stories on Facebook ([1], 48:10 in Cantonese) which showed some post-it notes saying Happy Birthday to her colleagues ([1], 48:45 in English)—post-it notes are common in Hong Kong’s Lennon Wall—but it remains to be seen if there is enough grounds for termination.

[1]: https://www.facebook.com/standnewshk/videos/646850612491620/

These articles are useless without knowing what the actual content of the post was.

It sounds like a colleague turned over a post that was on her facebook and the company responded to that. They didn't go seek out the posting to remove her. That's like complaining about being fired because a coworker reported you for sexually harassing them in text messages at home.

Not defending China or Cathay; more than likely they have negative and self-interested political motive. I'm just saying, we can't judge either side without all the details.

It's sad to see a company suffer the cost of nationalism. This is what happens when nationalism trumps human to human connections.

Protest in Hong Kong has descended into nationalism and sovereignty issue for 1.4 billion people. Majority wins even though there is some protection guaranteed in most nation and there are plenty of examples in recent days where majority wins. In social media it's majority wins, minority is always relegated to corner.

I hope it resolves amicably.

I don't know if this is a coincidence but Cathay Pacific is symbolic of colonial times.

The founders were not Chinese, the main shareholder has always been British, the CEO until a week ago was British. It's always been a western (anglosphere) company operating in China/Asia, not a Chinese company and perhaps the Chinese authorities want to make clear that it is now a Chinese company.

There are theories floating around that China is using the current unrest as an opportunity to "cleanse Hong Kong of colonialism", so to speak. Ironic to say the least.

China didn't use to have any notable aviation industry. Jetliners were predominantly manufactured in Europe, North America, Russia, and Brazil. China has only entered manufacturing in the last decade. Many aviation companies worldwide have Western expats and pilots among their staff. So, not sure that this carries special political significance.

Air China owns 30%.

Yes, that's quite recent (10 years or so iirc) and that in itself means something.

The largest shareholder is still Swire (British HQ'd in London), and I believe that the departing CEO came from there.

bhhaskin 56 days ago [flagged]

Not sure if this is a coincidence, but your account is less than 65 days old and seem to mainly to post comments that are pro-Beijing. It's entirely possible that you have a bit of a bias in regards to Cathay Pacific.

This crosses into personal attack. Users aren't allowed to bully other users like that here, regardless of how strongly they disagree. Would you please review the site guidelines?

I'm sure your intention was a fine one, to protect the integrity of the community, but this kind of comment rapidly devolves into mob behavior, and we're seeing a lot of that right now.


Wow... Why the gratuitous personal attack? Am I guilty of a thought crime?

And how are most of my comments "pro-beijing"? The world is complex and trying to have a measured approach and to understand the different points of view is not being pro or anti anything.

HN promotes intellectual curiosity, not narrow-mindedness.

This is a fascinating stanford prison experiment level social experiment spearheaded into the mainstream by twitter, facebook, youtube. I guess religious wars takes away the burden of petty intellectualism we've been trying so hard to get rid of.

It seems like the most dangerous threat to Cathay is the following line from the article:

> China’s airline regulator declared it unsafe

Based on other sources it means that Cathay would be forbidden to enter China's airspace. It entails much more than not being able to land in China: since the airspace of Hong Kong is surrounded by that of China, it is virtually impossible not to enter China's airspace when using the only international airport in Hong Kong. Being forbidden to enter China's airspace means not being able to fly to and from Hong Kong, a death spell for Cathay.

If China is using "safety" as a political weapon, I think other countries need to respond with sanction. The idea of safety is not some abstract concept. Safety is an objective measures with international norm, standards and processes.

Can anyone recommend a good book on China, or modern geopolitics?

I read The Tiananmen Papers circa 2003. It's dry but it's primary material, allowing you to make your own judgments about how Chinese politics works. I think it's served me well, and I don't think I've missed out on any insights offered by packaged, scholarly narratives. Precisely because it was primary material it's aged well, even with the huge changes in Chinese society and government since then.

OTOH, I had studied International Politics in undergraduate, and took several classes on SE Asian history and politics. And I also had done some semi-professional research regarding exports controls on supercomputing technology--a big issue back when Linux Beowulf clusters were hot. So I had some background knowledge going in.

Still, there's much to be said for primary material. I know there's some debate about the selection of what went into The Tiananmen Papers, but doing a deep dive on a narrow issue is more useful to understanding the broader society than you'd think, even if the material selection is skewed. For similar reasons, I feel like I learned a tremendous amount about Chilean political history and culture, more than all other sources combined (except perhaps contemporary Chilean newsprint) reading "Cybernetic Revolutionaries: Technology and Politics in Allende's Chile". There are fundamental truths about a culture that are revealed by the fine details of how historical events unfold, independent of the larger context (i.e. Allende's soft socialist revolution, or brutally paranoid Chinese state repression).

The Hundred Year Marathon is probably the best of the bunch. https://www.amazon.com/Hundred-Year-Marathon-Strategy-Replac...

Richard McGregor's work on the CCP is also very good and worth reading.

Orville Schell's Wealth And Power is also quite good for politics/history.

The China Dream: Great Power Thinking and Strategic Posture in the Post-American Era


On China by Henry Kissinger:


Destined for War - Graham Allison:


Lee Kuan Yew: The Grand Master's Insights on China, the United States, and the World:


See China with your own eyes!

I also recommend traveling to China. I found this to be very eye opening, and to be honest, despite all of our great problems it made me so thankful to live in a free country.

The book I'd recommend most would be Age of Ambition for an understanding of China from the inside. How China Escaped the Poverty Trap has a lot of good bits on what the tin says but also how bureaucratic promotion and governance within China works.

For geopolitics I thought Asia's Reckoning: China, Japan, and the Fate of U.S. Power in the Pacific Century, * Everything Under the Heavens: How the Past Helps Shape China’s Push for Global Power, and The Rise of Eurasia* both had some value but I didn't find them as enlightening as the previous two.

EDIT: Oh, and China Airborne had some great insight into where China's technological abilities are as good as anything in the world and where it still has catching up to do. Or at least the state of play as of 2012.

Lee Kuan Yew: The Grand Master's Insights on China, the United States, and the World

From the point of view of the former Singaporean leader whose governance has inspired China in the first place (3rd world to first in a few decades), and who is fairly objective being a mixture of eastern and western cultures.

On China, by Kissinger. Slightly outdated but still contextualizes china w/i its history.

Li Kai Fu - AI Superpowers: China, Silicon Valley, and the New World Order


Despite unclear connection from the title, it's actually a good contextual background on industry in general.

Martin Jacques's TED talk: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=imhUmLtlZpw

Everything Under the Heavens

The China Mirage

How Asia Works

Not trolling, just read 1984 or animal farm. It’s just the same story

Thanks, I've read those and they're great, but I'm looking for something that's less of an analogy. Something that puts China in the context of modern geopolitics. Preferably helping me understand their development in the last century.

For pure Geopolitics - Peter Zeihan has been more right than the made for tv muppet boy Ian Bremmer.

Peter Zeihan is good. Geopolitical Futures is good but they have some duds in their prediction but good deeper level analysis. Stratfor has kind of become shallow but still good.

edit: On YouTube Caspian Report is probably a better production about Geopolitics.

In that case I'd recommend

The Hundred-Year Marathon: China's Secret Strategy to Replace America as the Global Superpower [0] by Hudson Institute's China expert.


Unrestricted Warfare: China's Master Plan to Destroy America [1]

These are rather hawkish but unfortunately also nailing the truth.

[0] https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20696000-the-hundred-yea...

[1] https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/855077.Unrestricted_Warf...

Any emergent superpower will want to replace the existing one. China hawks seem to rule Washington but Chinas prosperity has been beneficial for the rest of the world by decreasing the costs of electronics and manufactured goods. It goes without question though that the largest and most populous countries on earth will rapidly grow (barring geopolitical events that completely break the system) and eventually attain the status of coequal powers, if they manage to not start more wars.

FWIW, the book seems misnamed: hundred years is hardly a marathon from the Chinese perspective. Maybe not quite a sprint, but a medium distance hike. Their historical perspective encompasses millennia.

How does outline work? how do they get around the login feature

If they told you that, the target sites would find a way to block it. Obscurity is just another weapon in this advertising-and-bloat-blocking arms race.

Actually it's hard to block them, since they just need to cache every new article once, and you can't block a user just coz he accessed every new article.

Off-topic: On Safari (both iOS and macOS), outline never works for me. Has anyone observed this? (on iOS, pressing the button does nothing - the front-page with the box to enter the URL remains there. On macOS, it says "Something went wrong. We're sorry. This page failed to Outline.")

Is it because I use private browsing by default?

EDIT: Private browsing is not the culprit. Geo-restrictions maybe? Or because I use a VPN?

The assault is real enough not just executives are gone and some employees are resigned (or fired?) due to their support of hk protestor. Not sure anyone has been fired if they post support of the police. But a related firm dragon air has top Union lady fired after confirming her holding a Facebook account.

The power of china given its economic power and land mass and no of people should wake up people. Unless there is a way to constrain it, if should be contained one way or the other.

This should be a notification for all companies, it is time to think about more than profits. This sort of behavior must not be enabled by continued business with the Chinese state.

Almost certainly yes. But more importantly, they are probably never going to say anything about it publicly, so that they don't face backlash.

Just found out that HN is no longer accessible in China, and now you have to pass reCAPTCHA to log in.


This is getting ridiculous. There’s too many paywalled articles posted on HN and the web link is no longer a reliable work around. Bad user experience is just going to drive people away. Please think about reworking your algorithm otherwise comments are just going to be based in the title since few people can actually read it. Yes, I realize this is going to get downvoted because of posting policy but I’m willing to take the karma damage to try to improve the community before it’s too late.

The practical solution (which is what i do) is to flag a submission if the article cannot be read. The result will be that the article will be flagged (unless enough HNers pay for that website's subscription so it is ok for it to be shared)

I think this comment is actually spot on. The web is, quickly, devolving into an unusable mess because of all these F paywalls everywhere.

I would wholly support a policy of no paywalled articles on HN.


China has been doing this sort of thing well before the Trump administration. People are just now noticing the trend.

Honestly, this shouldn't surprise anyone.

As opposed to Trump's or Thiel's assault on Google?

China does bad things.

Trump does bad things.

Stop whataboutism.

Thiel is just trying to find out if Alphabet's life sciences division has made any advances in eyebrow regrowth.

He’s probably just mad he couldn’t sell surveillance tools to China like Google does.

They should make a backup of the phone and then reset it to factory defaults then restore the backup once out of the country.

Does the chinese gov have backdoor access to gmail/gdrive?

There is still the possibility that border agents could implant devices with a persistent backdoor. Especially if the devices are taken out of your sight during the checks

Well the nsa has been doing that on intercepted cisco devices for literally three decades.

Basically you need to assume no privacy whatsoever but at the same time, still stand the fuck up for free speech.

Fu k all authoritarians.

Recall when jetpack (reddit founders) were trying to sell sentiment manipulation to the government?

Where the fuck is palantir these days?

Twitter is the shithole of the internet.

Reddit is now compromat by tencent

Voat.co is compromised

8chan is gone

4chan is also uselessly trustworthy (although i admit i have been impressed over the years as to some of the things they have accomplished) ((my secret conspiracy on that is there are many intels on 4chan that know how to post true-anon and reveal shit))

I personally feel really bad for all my interest in the cyberpunk future i thought we were heading for - but instead we built digital 1984.

This can work for travellers, but seems impractical for crew going back and forth many times each day.

I have said it before but all of this is pretty classic fascist behavior where loyalty to the corporate state is demanded without question. This is for all serving purposes a monster that the West created. I just worry about what this looks like going forward, where we have this huge massive superpower which acts this way and can't be questioned.

China created China. The west is an influencer but to say it drives the direction of that country is misplaced and not accounting for how much power china has domestically.

China is perhaps the only other country in the world as impervious to foreign influence as the U.S.; and with citizens as oblivious to the outside world.

Of course, neither are completely impervious. And the citizens aren't completely oblivious. But from everything I've read about China and the Chinese, including little things like how Chinese tourists and visitors behave in foreign countries, the similarities are striking. And of course they have an obvious common source--both countries don't really need to care much about the outside world because of their size and power, and culturally they were historically inward looking even before they rose to global powers.

Thr CCP owes a lot to Americans, especially Roosevelt. Misguided optimism really.

No disagreements with your base assessment, but how did the west create this situation?

China has a longer continuous timeline than the western powers by far. Are the current political moires there not another node on that chain?

1911 was not that long ago, not was 1638. Going beyond that is dubious. It's like if Italy claimed to be 2,839 years old because of Rome or the modern Turkish state claiming continuity with Byzantium.

This type of argument always kind of bothers me as well, be nice to state it as "helped create" or something but then there is a lot to say for the old saying "If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem".

Without the West's various investments and opening of trade partnerships and eventually ushering China into the WTO, China would be in nowhere near the position that it is in today.

No argument on that. I just don't quite believe that the "west created it", I guess it's possible that it was willful and meant to prove the communist utopian ideal...

Valuing trade with China over human rights. Trade that enabled China’s superpower status. Taming the monster will be...tricky.

You either have enough leverage that Beijing backs down (China is in a very precarious economic condition at the moment, don’t let it go to waste; prevent further rise in power long enough for their demographic transition to complete), or you support internal revolutionaries (which the US has done enough previously in its history I don’t need to detail here). Anything else will be outright world war (probably starting near HK, perhaps with the destruction of the bridge connecting it to the mainland to stave off a ground invasion).

I won't say "the west" because I think it's really "capitalism", but

Global capitalism created this situation by deepening trade relationships with China to the point that we're all dependent on them to the point that there's very little leverage over their international behaviour.

Look at how the PRC is behaving against Canada right now. Illegal torture-like detention of two of innocent Canadian citizens in China, in retaliation for the very mild house arrest (for extradition) of a Huawei executive, something Canada _had_ to do (treaty) on US request.

How they behave domestically (against Hong Kong citizens for example), yes, that's another question.

I think there was some hope that capitalism would bring about democracy. It hasn't quite worked out (yet?).

Why would you think that an economic system based on minority control over (often formerly public) resources would bring about a political system based on majority entitlement?

That is absolute bullshit. If Western countries had refused to trade with China for human-rights reasons, we'd be hearing accusations of economic imperialism! Now we're responsible for their ultra-nationalist authoritarian capitalism because we don't impose our imperial authority on them?

See anyone saying anything against Western countries for not trading with Iran, Venezuela, or North Korea?

It is a rather popular position among the American left, especially the one represented by Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and AOC.

As noted below, the political Left worldwide has decried the sanctions on Iran, Venezuela, North Korea (and Syria too!) as imperialism aimed at advancing American companies' economic interests.

We're responsible in large part for withdrawing from the TPP, yes

Arguing against unmade statements is bigger bullshit.

Actually it was Japan's invaaion of China that depleated the Guomindang national government aka Republic of China (now only rules Taiwan) resulting in their defeat in the civil war war with the CCP (Mao). Also why there is a serious hate on for each other and why Taiwan is cheering on the HK protests.

> When the Chinese aviation authority, absurdly, accused the airline of imperilling safety because its employees had joined the protests, Cathay dumped its chief executive.

Question: Is there even remotely a legitimate security concern here? Let's say in a hypothetical scenario, the unrest spirals out of control into a state of complete desperation. The HK government and the CCP refuse to compromise on any of the five demands, and the protestors refuse to stand down.

Let's say politically polarized HK pilots and cabin crew are flying a plane full of mainlanders.

Would you be 100% comfortable being a passenger on that plane as a mainlander?

If this is the case, seeing that there are lots of people around the world who are sympathizing with Hong Kong protesters, shouldn't the security directive also apply to every airline worldwide that have mainland Chinese among their passengers?

Yeah that could be one possible solution. Not allowing Cathay flights over mainland China could be considered another.

No, that's not a remotely legitimate security concern. The pilot is not politicized just because some people employed by her company are protesting. Even if she were politicized, what's she going to do, crash the plane?

It could be disinformation, but I've read that some Cathay pilots and cabin crew were reprimanded for participating in the protests.

Also, I don't necessarily mean a terrorist incident. Any kerfuffle at 35,000ft would be enough grounds to turn an airplane around and land it at the nearest runway as per standard safety practices.

With HK-mainland tensions at an all time high, I don't think this can be completely ruled out.

What kind of incident are you imagining happening on a plane, and is participation in the protest a reliable indicator for the likelihood of it?

Imagine knowing that your people are fighting for freedom from CPC rule and mainlanders flooding into HK, taking your jobs and housing and driving up prices for essential goods. Then you get a group of obnoxious and oblivious mainlanders heading to HK on a luxury spending holiday demanding this and that from the flight hostesses.

Now imagine being an HK Cathay cabin crew member making not so great pay and living in the most expensive city in the world by far. This could be a tinder box for incidents like verbal assaults, jostling and shoving and if enough passengers get involved, it could transform into a real flight risk.

> is participation in the protest a reliable indicator for the likelihood of it

Humans are capable of many things right or wrong when they are desperate to get their message across. Doubly true when they believe their fight is for justice.

You seem to be asking about an unlikely hypothetical for the sole purpose of legitimizing the actions taken, making the risk seem plausible.

Do you think the above scenario is completely implausible? If so, why?

Please don't make assumptions about my motives.

Whether or not it is your intention, all you're doing is sowing doubt and suspicion. You are NOT creating meaningful discourse.

I was a bit surprised the economist used the word absurdly actually. There are several incidents happened before China's aviation authority made the demand:


This pilots announcement happened before July 26.

The pilot talking about protestors at the airport he's landing, and supporting them did not imperil the safety of passengers. Claiming that is indeed absurd.

>did not imperil the safety of passengers.

This should be a claim reserved to the experts. If everyone can make those kind of claims why we need FAA? China's aviation authority's claim might not be reasonable, but I'm in no position to judge. And I don't think the Economist can judge either. It not only judged, but grossed over the few incidents with just one word, absurdly.

Now you are a pilot yourself, I'm sure you have encountered many aviation rules that seem redundant or even borderline unreasonable. But we would assume there are reasons behind them right? Again not saying China's aviation authority's demand is reasonable. Sometimes even FAA fucked up (737-max). But when it comes to aviation, non expert opinions are really irrelevant.

Speaking over the intercom about protestors is not a safety issue. You don't need the obviously politically motivated CCP "experts" to judge that. This has nothing to do with aviation safety and everything to do with (lack of) freedom of speech.

You have some anonymous user in this thread fantasizing about crazy scenarios that didn't happen, and you're propping them up with your own judgement, and then you're telling me to hold my judgement and trust the alleged "experts" that happen to agree with you.

No thanks, I'll take as much freedom in judgement as you afforded yourself.

>and you're propping them up with your own judgement.

What judgement has I made? I said I'm surprised the Economist used the word absurdly. Is surprised a judgement?

>alleged "experts" that happen to agree with you.

What's my position in this matter? Did I say it's a safety concern in any comment? Again is surprised == I agree with the demand? Or please remind me if I said something else that made you think I agree with China's aviation authority?

Your apparent judgement is that the pilots taking part in protests and talking about protests to passengers are a safety issue. Otherwise, nothing you said makes sense.

This is the Economist sentence that you're commenting on:

> When the Chinese aviation authority, absurdly, accused the airline of imperilling safety because its employees had joined the protests

If you didn't believe that pilot protests / speech is a safety concern, you wouldn't disagree at the use of "absurdly" in that sentence, and then wouldn't double down on that by giving an example of an incident which you think imperiled safety.

Otherwise, if you didn't agree with those fake safety concerns, there is nothing surprising about the usage of "absurd" by the Economist.

I said in the later comment that the Economist is in no position to judge. Can I be surprised that they made the judgement? Or my surprise has to be only about whether the safety concern is real or not?

Let me make it crystal clear: I didn't necessarily believe that pilot protests / speech is a safety concern but I disagree at the use of "absurdly" in that sentence, because personally I think the Economist has no expertise to judge.


My original links' parent's parent:

>The pilot is not politicized just because some people employed by her company are protesting.

My original links' parent:

>It could be disinformation, but I've read that some Cathay pilots and cabin crew were reprimanded for participating in the protests.

I was providing some fact from a relatively reliable and pro-HK reference to those commenters of which they are not aware, and has been grossed over by the Economist article.

To other HN readers, I'm sorry to drag you into this information sparse comment that concerns only my intention. I'm just not into being accused of something I didn't do.

To raquo, there's a guideline to avoid name calling[1]. Or maybe you think I don't deserve that kind of dignity? Anyway your personal attack is effective. I'll stop replying to you. Have a nice weekend.

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

exactly, "absurdly", what journalism

eximius 56 days ago [flagged]

If you buy into the mainlands propaganda, no, you probably won't be comfortable.

But the protests have been nothing but peaceful, so there really isn't any reason to have fear.

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