Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
Eyewitnesses describe brutal beatings by HK police (latimes.com)
322 points by baylearn 37 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 162 comments



What can you do about this? Pretty much nothing. China is the second largest economy in the world, and has the second most powerful military. In addition, what they view as the integrity of China is one of their biggest priorities. In addition, they have always viewed British control of Hong Kong as a national humiliation and are bent on erasing all traces of that memory.

The way it stands right now, China can inflict a lot more pain, and is likely willing to endure more pain that the rest of the world is likely willing to inflict on China because of their behavior in Hong Kong.

Basically, the fate of Hong Kong was decided in 1985 with the Sino-British Joint Declaration which ceded Hong Kong back to China in 1997. If Great Britain, and the rest of the world did not have the will to resist China taking control of Hong Kong in 1985 and 1997 when China was a lot less powerful, a lot less developed, and a lot more susceptible to pressure from the rest of the world, there is no hope for now.


Well even though my minority position on this issue will downvote my comment I will still write it. As most on this thread are not willing to talk the real culprit behind this protest which is economic inequality and no hope for future development.

As I mentioned in my earlier posts, these protests are manifestation of inherent economic inequality in Hong Kong society.

The youth in Hong Kong cannot afford a house. The whole economy is standing on a giant real estate bubble under the control of 14 rich billionaires.

This protests can already be foreseen when property was becoming unaffordable without an increase in salary, it was just a matter of time.

Britain is as much to blame for this situation, they never had intention to grant autonomy to Hong Kong and didn't do it for 150 years, they were very clever, as they did in every colony, to let the subsequent administration take the blame in this case Chinese which indeed granted more autonomy than British to Hong Kong.

Britain can cry crocodile tears now as much as they like trying to align with protestors. But they are the one to blame. Hopefully they can correct the mistake by granting full citizenship to Hong Kong permanent residents who wants it, otherwise whatever they say is a farce. Same goes for USA, if they want solidarity with Hong Kong protestors grant them unconditional asylum or permanent residence, rest all talks are worthless.


Thank you for pointing this out.

Many outside of Hong Kong are unaware of the outrageous level of income and wealth inequality and poverty. While the extradition bill was certainly the proximate cause of the protest movement, the underlying dissatisfaction with declining quality of life and lack of opportunity for the majority of the population amplified the reaction dramatically and helps keep them going.

To better understand the socio-economic situation in Hong Kong, I highly recommend reading the summary of the Oxfam Hong Kong Inequality Report:

https://www.oxfam.org.hk/en/f/news_and_publication/16372/Oxf...

A few stats:

- One-fifth (20.1%) of the population is destitute and living below the poverty line (defined as ~USD 500/month). Post recurrent government intervention, that number comes down to 14.7%.

- Median wage is ~USD 2k / month, minimum wage is USD4.80/hr

- The average cost of renting a 400 square foot flat is ~USD 2k / month.

- An estimated 209,000 people (3% of the population) live in what are colloquially referred to as cage and coffin homes. These are individual rooms illegally subdivided by vertical wiremesh fences (cage home) and sometimes further subdivided verticaly (coffin home).

- 57% of 18-30 year old residents indicated they would like to emigrate if given the opportunity.

https://www.censtatd.gov.hk/hkstat/sub/so461.jsp

https://www.hongkongfp.com/2018/01/19/209700-people-live-sub...

https://www.hongkongfp.com/2018/10/06/hong-kongs-wealth-gap-...


>> Hopefully they can correct the mistake by granting full citizenship to Hong Kong permanent residents who wants it, otherwise whatever they say is a farce. Same goes for USA, if they want solidarity with Hong Kong protestors grant them unconditional asylum or permanent residence, rest all talks are worthless.

This is something we should all be advocating for.


How do we start?


Good question. Given that the concept of asylum has been demonized by the current administration in the US, seems like the first step is electing the opposition party and demanding that they express their sympathies for HK protestors with legislation instead of words, thoughts and prayers.


We need to help evacuate Hong Kong and offer asylum and citizenships in the USA, Japan, Canada, etc to anyone who wants to flee totalitarianism.


Britain wanted to give HK democracy in the 1960s, but China said they would invade.

Britain democratized and/or gave independence to basically every other colony at that time.

https://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/28/world/asia/china-began-pu...


I already commented on this issue on another post so won't repeat again.

Britain never had intention to give democracy to Hong Kong which will require it to make economic contributions to a colony. Their first priority has always been to safeguard their own economic interests. [1]

[1] https://www.scmp.com/comment/insight-opinion/article/1419999...


Did you read the article I linked? It talked about the 1960s and china warning britain it would invade if democracy were attempted.

Your article is about the 1997 handover and how britain had limited room for maneuver. It absolutely does nit say what you say it says.


You mean to say Britain was so scared by China in 1960 that from 1960 to 1997 it could not grant autonomy, economic and political freedoms to Hong Kong. I am not sure what stopped them to democratically elect a Hong Kong CEO, which is an appointed head without any people involvement until Chris Patten in 1997.

Even during cultural revolution when China was going through famine, Britain could not do anything.

The declassified papers if you read whole, you will find that Britain did not fight for Hong Kong democracy because it will require economic contribution to Hong Kong and will impact Britain's economy.

Britain has never wanted democracy for India too the largest colonial example. It was its people who declared in 1921, quit India movement, they left because one can't govern person who doesn't want at any cost.

Indeed before leaving Britain did make sure India remains a divided country so that it does not challenge the Britain in future. India and the resulting Pakistan and Bangladesh still suffer the consequences.


>You mean to say Britain was so scared by China in 1960 that from 1960 to 1997 it could not grant autonomy, economic and political freedoms to Hong Kong.

Yes? China had beaten off the US in the Korean war and was a massive land power in the region.

Britain had just suffered a humiliating setback in the Suez crisis if 1956 and basically abandoned all imperial ambition.

More specifically related to HK, Britain withdraw almost all military forces "Easy of Suez". They were powerless in the east and both they and China knew it.

You yourself mention "fighting" for HK democracy, implying it wasn't their choice to make, really.

You're mixing timeframes by referring to India. They gained independence in 1948. My argument was the by the 1960s Britain was democratizing as colonies, having given up the empire. It's not unusual that Britain didn't give Hong Kong democracy in 1920. It is unusual that they didn't give it democracy in 1960 or 1970.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/East_of_Suez


As I said in my earlier comments please read through the declassified documents completely. Britain has no interest in giving democracy at the expense of its economic interests.

Even from 1960-1997, Hong Kong has been a cash cow, profit generating colony for Britain. So those interests were also very important.

> You're mixing timeframes by referring to India.

India is just an example of what does Britain meant by giving democracy to its colonies and for safeguarding its own interests. There is nothing noble about it, and what is happening in Hong Kong is just the repercussions of Britain's selfish economic interests. In history 22 years cannot be compared with 150 years, and it very well shows how Britain looked after the interests of Hong Kong and filled its own coffers.

I will agree with your one point that people of Hong Kong should have asked for autonomy and political freedom since 1960 or even earlier like other British colony with mass movements, they didn't.

But at least today Britain can come out and show a gesture to Hong Kong permanent residents from whom it profited for 150 years, by really granting them unconditional permanent residence in Britain.


Be careful of the pro-china anti UK comments on social media.

The facts are MUCH clearer, the Britain has a demonstrated history of moving former colonies to democracy. China does not.

Not sure why this makes the issue Britain's.


Your comment doesn't explain why the British wouldn't have democratized Hong Kong when they did for all their other colonies at that time. And the SCMP is not a reliable source when it comes to British rule of Hong Kong.


Was it a democracy when it was a colony?


No. As the article says, communist China threatened to invade if Britain made any moves in that direction in the 1960s.

Since people have downvoted this, here's text straight from article:

"The documents, part of a batch of typewritten diplomatic dispatches requested by reporters from two Hong Kong newspapers, reveal that Chinese leaders were so opposed to the prospect of a democratic Hong Kong that they threatened to invade should London attempt to change the status quo."


So why haven't the protesters said this is one of their main issues?


Universal suffrage is a great way to get a lot of this changed. If your only choices for CEO are billionaires or their friends, there isn’t much you can do (if you can vote at all).


Economic issue should have been raised in protest and could have converted to mass movement to reject a house of car park size or make it illegal for developer to build such home. Force government through peaceful protest to take measures like Singapore for house, health and education.

Universal suffrage is not a panacea, indeed in many democracies money decides who become the head of state. In two largest democracy USA and India its not possible to win elections without the support of billionaire or being a billionaire.

Funny part in Hong Kong Uber is illegal and Taxi license is traded at astronomical prices and govt can't do anything due to powerful taxi union lobby (consisting mostly of taxi owners), they also involve in HK CEO election. In universal suffrage it will still be similar large number of bodies with vested interests.

So a structural change won't happen unless it's really part of the protest.

Recently read one another view on democracy quite interesting, although do not agree with it. [1]

[1] https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2019/09/08/shawn-ros...


Are you familiar with Hong Kong's public housing system? [1]

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


I am pretty familiar with it and how it failed the Hong Kong people, when government worked in the interest of billionaire real estate developers. The house ownership ratio will itself reveal the reality.

Singapore learned from Hong Kong but did it much better and today one of the best example of public housing (they call it Housing Development Board - HDB). I will not go into details but its a topic of its own to discuss issues of Hong Kong real estate and get rich quick ideas based on it.


if you can vote at all

You cannot, when it comes to the executive branch. The Chief Executive is "elected" by a ~1200 person election committee, which is heavily stacked in the interest of business and Beijing.

The candidates must be nominated by the same committee, and must be supportive of the central government (China).

In reality, the central government liaison office does whatever is necessary to ensure their preferred candidate is elected.


True but does not come close to addressing why this isn't even talked about - yeah it's not great in HK but let's not pretend that the Chinese are some sort of saviours.


Same reason why the rich-controlled media manage to get the 99% in the US to be too busy calling each other bigots and nazis instead of fighting for their common economic cause.


Nonsense diatribe with little substance and totally fails to explain anything. Why even bother?

dirtyid 37 days ago [flagged]

The same reason young, social media savvy altrighters in the west dog-whistle. There's parallels in HK nativism behind these protests similar to your familiar altright talking points. A bunch of mainland immigrants "locusts" to HK to buy up real estate and perverting civilized colonial values. At the end of the day, it's a bunch of ignorant kids stewing over lost economic and social privileges and reminiscing about an era they never experienced and realities that never existed. They dress up the root of dissatisfaction as a noble pursuit for suffrage because they are naive students who got radicalized on semester of liberal studies informed by western textbooks without understanding greater economic / geopolitical ground truths.

40 years ago, while mainland was still agrarian, HK had an industrial base and competitive advantage that supported a working class. Then Detroit happened to HK, and the only socially and economically "valuable" people left are tycoons and bankers. Now you have a generation of kids trying to subsist in one of the most inequitable cities in the world, too stubborn to pursue all the opportunities afforded to them in exploding mainland sectors where their English proficiency and western cultural connections will give them huge advantages. Instead they live with their parents in tiny apartments with nothing better to do but protest destructively while utilizing their valuable English skills and cultural competencies to brigade western social media in a counterproductive effort to hold off the increasing irrelevance of their city state like living in a world class / Chinese tier1 city is a birthright.


I'd rather apply occam's razor to the situation. As a result, I believe the student's own articulated reasons for their dissatisfaction.

Also, they're putting their lives and bodies on the line for this, the least we can do is extend them good faith.

If you're going to use the analogy of the west's alt-right movement, you need to explain what and who the eastern equivalent entrenched political and financial interests who would benefit from stoking protest/populism amongst the students. Without those components, you're comparing apples to badgers.


> The same reason young, social media savvy altrighters in the west dog-whistle. There's parallels in HK nativism behind these protests similar to your familiar altright talking points.

Yeah I stopped reading after this. The only person talking like an alt-right is you.

The fact that you think Hk people think mainlander are “locust” reflects a lot about your perspective and upbringing.

In fact, I have only heard mainlanders on the streets calling these protesters “cockroaches”. Not the other way around. I am neither pro or against these protestors.

I hope you seek the help you need. Mental health is no joke.


[flagged]


[flagged]

dirtyid 37 days ago [flagged]

I made an unbiased analysis with not at all controversial facts for any China watcher familiar with the subject. Nowhere did I say 8million HKers hate China, I'm merely acknowledging elements of nativism in HK and conditions that parallel alt-right disenchantment which isn't typically brought up in western filter bubbles. You, reading comprehension fail, claim only mainlanders are xenophobic, reee about how I'm hateful and mentally ill ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.


Or you know, they could be protesting HK law being totally subverted with the new extradition bill.

This comment is extremely pro-China.


The people running Britain then are mostly dead. Are you saying that subsequent generations of individuals and leaders can’t have new opinions and that they wouldn’t do things differently today?


> Britain is as much to blame for this situation,

Anybody who doesn't think that modern Britain is the world's ultimate supervillain has a dramatically-warped view of history. But the blood on British hands and Britain's current denial/abdication of responsibility is the geopolitical backdrop of pretty much the entire non-Western world, and it's unfortunately pretty much immaterial to the situation on the ground.


It's a backdrop to a lot of the Western and Latin American world as well.


I'd say the protest is motivated by both, the economic issues (inequality, housing costs), and the political issues (gradual decline of civil liberties, encroaching Chinese influence).

The notion that Britain is to blame for the situation is interesting. Sir John James Cowperthwaite [1] introduced very laissez-faire economic policies in the 1960's (he famously refused to collect economics statistics (such as GDP numbers), as he argued that they'd just encourage technocratic government officials to meddle with the economy).

First, this tells us that libertarian ideas have their limits. They arguably made HK rich back then (but note that many other economies were growing rapidly in the 1960s and 1970s, with far more left-leaning policies; the USA had a marginal tax rate of 70% for the highest earners in those decades and grew just fine).

Second, it is well known that Britain tried to grant Hong Kong more autonomy and democracy way back then, but was thwarted by China in that. Furthermore, the democratic reforms Britain instituted before the handover were promptly revoked by China.

Thirdly, Hong Kong has been a Chinese SAR (special administrative region) for over 20 years by now. To blame Britain for the current conundrum is a bit far-fetched.

Note by the way that several Hong Kong protest leaders have been granted asylum in Germany.

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

or see the recent book about him:

https://www.amazon.com/Architect-Prosperity-John-Cowperthwai...


I feel like you list conflicting reasons. I imagine as in most situations there is more than one root cause and this is a multi-factor problem.

Economic inequality may be one of the contributing economic factors.

Regarding your statement "Britain is as much to blame for this situation, they never had intention to grant autonomy". This statement does not touch on economic inequality but autonomy of the state. From what I can tell Hong Kong diverged from China on a cultural level where by many would idenify as being from Hong Kong over China which has a more homogeneous culture. You go on to say "they were very clever, as they did in every colony, to let the subsequent administration take the blame" which makes it sound as if a key objective of the transistion was to ensure subsequent administrations were to blame which is far fetched. This statement is followed by: "But they are the one to blame" where you put 100% of the blame on Britain.


I couldn't disagree with you more. Economic inequality and no hope for future triggers world wars and revolutions. This bears same signs.

If you see China as a single homogeneous place then there is no point to even argue. Even two individuals are not same painting 1.4 billion people with single brush, I can't even fathom.

Hong Kong is similar in culture to few parts of China not all of China. As China is also diverse in it's own way.

Hong Kong does differ in administration, judiciary and education which is still same in Hong Kong as granted under basic law. Today most of Hong Kong people are with Chinese Nationality i.e. Hong Kong passport with Chinese Nationality and all accepted on their own accord not by force.

I do put 100% blame on British for current situation, when they reaped profits and economic benefit for 150 years, they left without significant economic or political reforms in Hong Kong on the contrary worked to safeguard their own economic interests. They didn't put a fight, because it will cost them economically.

Did not offer British citizenship to all the Hong Kong people who wanted to choose British Nationality in 1997, which indicates they just considered Hong Kong as a colony for profit and economic exploitation only. That's the reason my point if Britain has any remorse and sympathy should grant British Nationality to all Hong Kong permanent residents, whether they take it or not is another issue.

Indeed British should pay reparations to Hong Kong like they owe it to other colonies. [1]

[1] https://www.scmp.com/week-asia/opinion/article/2050394/does-...


> If you see China as a single homogeneous place then there is no point to even argue.

I said "more homogeneous". Please re-read my statement.

EDIT - You make it sound like I completely disagree with you regarding the implicatications of economic inequality. I do not. I said it may be a contributing factor to a complicated issue. Clearly there are cultural differences between HK and China.

I am not sure you have a firm grasp of English.

>Indeed British should pay reparations to Hong Kong like they owe it to other colonies

Hong Kong has a higher GDP per capita (46k USD source: World Bank) than either the UK (40k USD) or China (9k USD). So Hong Kong has been independent of the UK for 22 years and is richer than both the UK and China. Yet the current situation is 100% the fault of the British!? This screams victimhood.

From what I can tell, the people of Hong Kong are industrious, intelligent and hard working. The fact that inequality is so high is that the rich are richer than ever before. Are you telling me that the people of Hong Kong and China in the 22 years since independence had no say in the governing and running of the country?! That they made no choices in how the country was run? That they share no responsbility?

Often when things go wrong in former colonies, the people, rather than take responsbility and move forward in a constructive manner, they blame all their problems on the imperialists. Of course, the successes are of their own making but the mistakes and misfortune are laid at the feet of imperialists who have and will cause their country to suffer for forever more no matter what they do.

This is not a binary issues so I'm not saying countries like Britain are not at fault. The answer is far more nuanced and not black and white like you painted. In order for people to to make a change to their lives they need to take responsbility for their own actions.

As an example, Ireland has suffered under British rule for ~700 years but is now a successful, thriving, independent country.


>> Ireland

Is it? You can find a straight-face porn studio next to a LinkedIn office and an embassy in Dublin.

Guess who’s paying taxes?


On a relative basis, I would say Ireland has done well. There are hundreds of countries which are worst off. It's easy to be critical. Name any major top 10 country and I could give you a litany of faults...


This is some elaborate whataboutism that lets China (which has had control over Hong Kong for 22 years) entirely off the hook, or even praises the just-as-imperialist Chinese government.

You're not even wrong about Britain, which is why this kind of whataboutism is so effective.

Bravo. It's awesome that what will soon be the most powerful country in the world will be able to imperialize with impunity since they can always point to the past crimes of the West.

rwmj 37 days ago [flagged]

Can you really blame the British who left HK 22 years ago? I mean China claims to be an actual Communist country and Communism is at least to some degree incompatible with "[t]he whole economy [...] under the control of 14 rich billionaires." Even though there's the Basic Law providing a degree of separation, could the Chinese not have at least influenced the direction of inequality over 22 years?


I am quite surprised that the Chinese have allowed the crony capitalism that the Hong Kong Government system is based on to continue unabated.

The continually rising levels of inequality that it has generated have been an obvious risk to social stability for a long time, which presumably the CCP are very keen to maintain.

The government and press regularly celebrate achieving the title of "Freest economy on earth" (top place for the last 25 years). What is less frequently mentioned is that Hong Kong tops the Economist's Crony Capitalist Index, ahead of Russia in second place. [2]

With respect to the British, the structure of the government (functional constituencies etc.) can certainly be traced back to them. And as highlighted this SCMP article that examines the cozy business/government relationship in light of the protests [3]:

The roots of Hong Kong’s entangled ties between business and politics can be traced to the city’s colonial history, when hometown business elites were also local community leaders, endorsed and endowed by administrators with influence and leadership roles.

In the city’s first post-colonial administration after 1997, businessmen made up eight of the 11 non-official members of Tung Chee-hwa’s cabinet. The ratio was little changed at 70 per cent under Tung’s successor Donald Tsang Yam-kuen, falling to half during Leung Chun-ying’s term from 2012 to 2017.

[1] https://www.info.gov.hk/gia/general/201901/25/P2019012500772...

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crony-capitalism_index#2016

[3] https://www.scmp.com/business/article/3025260/developers-cos...


> I am quite surprised that the Chinese have allowed the crony capitalism that the Hong Kong Government system is based on to continue unabated.

Eh? You have a similar crony capitalist system in mainland China, don't you.

And the understanding in HK is that there is sort of tacit "gentlemen's agreement" between Beijing and the HK elites:

Beijing doesn't interfere too much with the rich and powerful in HK and their (continued) ability to rake in money, while those rich and powerful refrain from supporting or advocating for more democracy etc. In other words, both sides are pretty interested in the continuation of the status quo.


You do indeed, but the the power distribution is far from even, as many a Chinese tycoon has discovered when they've come out on the wrong side of Beijing and found themselves in prison. There are always laws that can be selectively brought to bear when required.

My point is that the rich and powerful in HK are unlikely to do anything that irks Beijing. They don't need to be bribed into cooperating and will do as they are told regardless.

The risk to social stability of the status quo and the liklihood of it putting a significant portion of the population on the streets protesting seems a much greater risk.

mnm1 37 days ago [flagged]

So called communist societies are the most unequal in the world. Let's not pretend that communism is anything but an authoritarian state ran by a few people for their own profit and power. A few people own everything and everyone else owns nothing. That's been communism in every single instance it has ever manifested itself in the world. Reducing inequality is the last thing in the world communists want to do. Come to think of it, it's not that much different from the extreme capitalism practiced in the US and other places in that way but that's a different point.


This situation we're in is making me really uneasy. WW2 was preceded by tariffs and a freezing of global trade, which messed up the German economy too much, pushed it into an inflationary debt crisis and eventually created Nazism. Nazism was a response to a perceived foreign threat that "did a lot of damage to our people, and it's time for us to be the best".

Say the trade war ends up badly and the Chinese debt bubble pops. How easily can the mainlanders be convinced that it's "the West", in particular America, fucking with them, as they already believe is the case in Hong Kong protests. Then collectively mobilize into a military response, starting a process that will take tens of millions of lives.

We're all people, please never forget that. The single thing all of us want is not to be drafted into the military and give our lives in a service of some dogma, bleeding out to death on a street in some remote corner of the world.


> We're all people, please never forget that. The single thing all of us want is not to be drafted into the military and give our lives in a service of some dogma, bleeding out to death on a street in some remote corner of the world.

That’s cool, but I think the people in HK want to live too. If the fear of upsetting someone always prevented us from acting when warranted we wouldn’t get anywhere.


Let's not forget that the hyperinflation of the Weimar Republic was, in large part, intentional. They printed money to pay the Versailles reparations, and to inflate them away. Obviously it escalated out of control, but they weren't mere innocent victims of external events.


Serious debt crises are always eventually handled by printing money. Or, more precisely, the crises keep on going till the authorities decide to print money. It is only a question of "when". This can happen in a variety of ways, for example in the Great Depression it was handled by devaluing the dollar against the gold (Executive Order 6102 and the follow ups), in 2008 it was handled by QE.

There is such a thing as excessive money printing, though.

See Ray Dalio's book "Principles for navigating big debt crises" which analyzes 48 debt crises across the world, a few of them in great detail and establishes a general framework of the way those play out.


In a sense all hyperinflations are voluntary because a key part of the dynamic is governments creating truly vast amount of new money.

That being said, the Treaty of Versailles was said to be a pretty obviously punitive treaty. Famously quoted as a "Carthaginian peace" [0]. The Germans needed a party that would stand up and say they weren't going to try and honour the treaty.

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


Certainly. It was the French, particularly Foch who insisted on punitive, and later claimed it was too lenient. Keynes wrote a famous book "On the Consequences of Peace" roundly criticising the settlement. Essentially Versailles set in train the events that led to WW2, Nazi party notwithstanding.

Ironically toward the end of WW2, the Americans promoted the Morgenthau Plan that would have barred Germany from nearly all industry, putting them back to an agrarian age and made Versailles look relatively trivial. It almost certainly extended the war. Thankfully once it became widely known it was replaced with the Marshall Plan.


The German series "Babylon Berlin" [1] is a fictive series about the Weimar Republic before the Nazis got to power.

Berlin Alexanderplatz is apparently also about Berlin the 1920s. It is from 1980, by famous director Rainer Werner Fassbinder. The entire miniseries is ~15,5 hours long. I have yet to see it before my death...

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

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Berlin_Alexanderplatz_(miniser...


Berlin Alexanderplatz is definitely worth the investment of time if you have any interest in modern German history and culture. Less time than "Breaking Bad" or "The Walking Dead."


And Babylon Berlin is also well worth it - great mise-en-scène, recreation of the time and place (I think... wasn't there :-) and a captivating police/thriller/extortion/revolution story.

And it introduces a bit of the political background (the rise of both the communists and the fascists and their assault on the republic), but not annoyingly so.


Germany lost WWI and as part of the peace treaty Germany got the sole blame for it via Treaty of Versailles [1].

I learned at elementary school, if two have a fight, there's two to blame. Never one party. Though the reasoning might not be obvious; it could very well be obfuscated.

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


Luckily the WW2 fallout was handled more gracefully by both sides (no huge penalties imposed by the Allies, a full acknowledgement of the responsibility for the crimes by the Germans). And the world prospered.


Weren't reparations specified in Gold marks to specifically address concerns of inflating away the debt?


They were specified in gold value, but payment was accepted in gold, cash, commodities, stock and bonds, and even manufactured goods I think. I think cash was only restricted fairly late on in the reparation payments - mid 1920s at a guess, i.e. after the hyperinflation.


>Let's not forget that the hyperinflation of the Weimar Republic was, in large part, intentional. They printed money to pay the Versailles reparations, and to inflate them away.

Interestingly there's been a lot of talk of central banks in EU and US encouraging people to anticipate negative interest rates soon (actually these already happen in the EU even in strong economies like Germany).

Also, back then you had the punitive Versailles treaty making Germans mad. Though perhaps a uniquely US phenomenon the same sort of bankers have been saddling large swaths of the Millennial generation with six-figure student loan debt that can't be forgiven. Don't get me wrong, my own debt just barely hits 5 figures and I do well for my family, we are saving for a house so I don't want inflation to eat our savings away, but I feel today's society caters to the sort of people that have six figure student loan debt (the emotional support animal generation) and so some type of mass loan forgiveness or massive inflation is inevitable.

Coincidentally the social revolutions today are very similar to social innovations going on in the lead up to the rise of the NSDAP. However, I think the state has a lot more surveillance technology to crush any sort of resistance on that front.


Nobody is waging war against China over HK. There may be blood shed but that'll be the HK locals', not any foreign nation. I don't see how this could anyhow escalate beyond HK.

China can hate the USA as much as they want but from all I can see they have no intentions on waging war with the US over something as minor as HK is for them.


> pushed it into an inflationary debt crisis and eventually created Nazism

The hyperinflation of the early 20s has a lot of sticking power in the mind, but it was the severe deflationary crisis of 1929-32 that immediately preceded the rise of Nazism.


The hyperinflation helped create the chaos and sense of social disorder that made the Nazis' appeals to tradition so powerful for a certain segment of society. I don't think they would have been able to gain such broad tacit support without that chaos and the fear it created. That support was already in place when the financial pendulum swung the other way.


>We're all people, please never forget that. The single thing all of us want is not to be drafted into the military and give our lives in a service of some dogma, bleeding out to death on a street in some remote corner of the world.

There's a hell of a lot of people out there that would risk their lives for other people's freedom. You might not personally know any (they don't tend to come from the kinds of socioeconomic backgrounds that most of HN comes from) but they're there.


> If Great Britain, and the rest of the world did not have the will to resist China taking control of Hong Kong in 1985 and 1997 when China was a lot less powerful, a lot less developed, and a lot more susceptible to pressure from the rest of the world, there is no hope for now.

I didn't pay a huge amount of attention to the Hong Kong situation back then but the impression I got was that it was more about Britain repatriating Hong Kong voluntarily to China as a gesture of contrition for annexing it in the first place, rather than them being forced to return it under duress.


> (1982) During talks with Thatcher, China planned to invade and seize Hong Kong if the negotiations set off unrest in the colony. Thatcher later said that Deng told her bluntly that China could easily take Hong Kong by force, stating that "I could walk in and take the whole lot this afternoon", to which she replied that "there is nothing I could do to stop you, but the eyes of the world would now know what China is like"

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Handover_of_Hong_Kong#Before_t...


>What can you do about this? Pretty much nothing.

One thing you can definitely do is stop buying a lot of cheap made-in-China shovelware you don't need. It is more expensive and more difficult to purchase items with origins in countries with environmental and labor protection, but not impossible.


You don't need to go all the way to "origins in countries with environmental and labor protection" in order to not buy from china. There's plenty of countries with equally lax environmental and labor protections that are far less oppressive and authoritarian while offering goods at close to the same cost.


You could also recognize those protections were put in for a reason and thus support the economies of countries willing to put up with the economical handicap of enacting them in order to better the overall lives of its people.


I'm just skimming and here's some interesting parts (no summary is currently available)

> “(2) instructing the United States Consulate in Hong Kong to maintain an active list of individuals whom are known to have been detained, arrested, or otherwise targeted by the Government of Hong Kong or of China, or intermediaries of such governments, as a result of their participation in the 2014 protests, to facilitate the cross-checking of visa applications for Hong Kong residents;

> “(4) instructing personnel at the United States Consulate in Hong Kong to engage with relevant individuals in the Hong Kong community to proactively inform them that they will not face discrimination when applying for a visa to the United States due to any adverse action taken against them by the authorities as a result of their participation in the 2014 protests or other peaceful pro-democracy or human rights demonstrations.

There's also a lot of talk about the social credit system, China becoming a tech hub (they even mention that HK is being used to export stuff into China that shouldn't be), forced confessions, sanctions, and lots about human rights.

It's also bipartisan.


>What can you do about this?

The congress is doing something potentially quite powerful:

https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-bill/3289


If Great Britain, and the rest of the world did not have the will to resist China taking control of Hong Kong in 1985 and 1997 when China was a lot less powerful, a lot less developed

Take a look at a map and you will see the impossibility of defending Hong Kong from China. Even given the technological disparity in the 1980s, the equivalent of the Falklands Task Force couldn’t have done it and the gap was narrowing by the 1990s.


> What can you do about this? Pretty much nothing. China is the second largest economy in the world, and has the second most powerful military.

While there were certainly issues with TPP[0], it would have given us some options in regards to China which we no longer have. AFAIK, that was a large part of the point of TPP.

We could have had Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, Vietnam, and the United States in one trading block. This would have given all of these countries immense leverage when dealing with China.

IMO, cancelling TPP has to be the greatest strategic blunder the USA has made in this century.

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trans-Pacific_Partnership


If China doesn't follow WTO and any international laws that go against their benefits, why do you expect this TPP would have any effect on them?


The TPP provides an incentive for all of the countries mentioned - especially the developing ones - not to fall under China’s influence. It’s a soft power bulwark against China, and also a modern trade agreement that respected environment, workers rights and intellectual property to a greater degree than many prior agreements.


China was not included in the TPP as the entire point of the TPP was to strengthen Asian economies other than China.


That's because the TPP contains clauses gifting an override of sovereignty and the political will of the people agaisnt Corporations. Any country attempting to regulate a modern asbestos would find themselves under massive financial penalties.

You need look no further than Philip Morris v. Uruguay to understand the fundamental absolute danger of investor-state dispute settlement to the people of a country.

As such, it was rightly opposed as it had been poisoned by greed against the people. The TPP was profit over people as a result. They could've opposed china with it, but some western oligarchs would've eventually weaponized it against the people.

Disclaimer: I'm aware tobacco interests were explicitly carved out of the TPP. That doesn't save us from anything else in the future, it just shows the root problem of profit over people remained in the TPP.


Well it would have helped if the TPP didn't give the Copyright Cartel everything it wanted.


I've been reading a lot of these comments lately and I will be upfront that I'm highly skeptical of any china arguments on the internet.

But I can't help comment on what seems like a large increase in what reads from my perspective as threats e.g. you can't do anything don't fuck with it/us.

'what can you do about this'? I think a lot can be done (and personally more should be done) especially by my government and rebuilding the traditional coalitions Trump has discarded, up to including taking a much harder stand and possibly armed confrontation as a last resort, which seems to be the not so veiled thread of online HK/China discussions over the last few weeks e.g. 'China inflict a lot more pain'


> possibly armed confrontation as a last resort

Please don't even think about starting a global armed war. We're all people here. I want to live.


Everybody wants to live, but some people don’t currently get to.

Do you think they will ignore this option just so you can keep living your comfortable life?


But what can we do? Invade China for what they're doing in their own city?


Exert much harder economic pressure and rebuild coalitions Trump ignored, even at expense of our own economy in the short term. I've read on HN that CCP themselves has a report showing they need strong growth % to continue or face uprising from within, though I can't find a source so I don't know the truth to that #, though to me it feels like the correct step to take given what I feel are complete fundamental threats to Democracy and human rights world wide - yes in spit of problems we have in our own backyard.


I dont want one either, my point is that seems to be the threat; it reads like a bully to me. Im going to keep picking on this kid you better mind your own business or face a beating


> What can you do about this? Pretty much nothing.

A lot. And what you can do depends who you are.

Hongkongers can keep doing what they are doing. I'm sorry, but killing everyone in HK is not an option for China. Not only would it start a global war, as genocides tend to do, it would create unrest in the mainland, and frankly people are a resource. You can't govern the dead. I frequently hear the arguments from Americans "well you can't fight the military". Except that's been done for centuries, caused many countries to come into existence (including, ironically, America), and caused many countries to have large economic pains (cough Britain fighting America cough, Vietnam, Iraq, etc). That idea just doesn't match history, because of one simple thing "you can't govern the dead". People are a resource that governments need. You have to ask yourself "why hasn't China brought the military in already?" They are flexing, but there's good reasons they haven't brought in their military.

In fact, they want you to believe nothing can be done. They want you to give up. (I'm not just talking to hongkongers here)

From the Western side there's also a lot we can do. There's a huge amount of economic pressure we can put on China (for now, the still need us more that we need them). We can grant asylum to refugees. There's a lot of political pressure that can happen. There's also a lot of military pressure that can happen behind the scenes (I wouldn't be surprised if this already exists in some way, because China certainly does it to us), be that propoganda, cyber, or training.

There's even more that can be done. But I find this notion of nothing can be done as ridiculous and backwards. It is giving up hope and ignoring both history and reality.


If China decides to solve HK with force, there's nothing any other country will do militarily. As much as liberal Western democracies want to protect civil rights across the world, nothing militarily will be done. China is too strong, HK is too far away, and the West has let its military strength atrophy too far. Do you think Germany will ignore Bismarck's dictum?

"...not worth the bones of a single Pomeranian grenadier."


Can is a weird word here. Especially since stuff is being done.


> China can inflict a lot more pain, and is likely willing to endure more pain that the rest of the world is likely willing to inflict on China because of their behavior in Hong Kong.

That assumes that the rest of the world would be using Chinese aggression on Hong Kong (and Tibet, and the Uighur peoples, and...) as the sum total of their motive for any reaction.

If, instead, these actions are just seen as a moral justification behind a very different motive (e.g. destroying the CCP and giving control of the Chinese mainland back to the Taiwanese CNP, where foreign powers would have already made deals with the CNP from a position of strength that would give great economic advantages; or even an imperialist land-grab that sees China parted up as colonies of these foreign powers) then the “trigger event” doesn’t have to weigh very heavily on the scales at all. WWI was started under similar pretences.

> If Great Britain, and the rest of the world did not have the will to resist China taking control of Hong Kong in 1985 and 1997 when China was a lot less powerful, a lot less developed, and a lot more susceptible to pressure from the rest of the world, there is no hope for now.

Another way to think about this, though, is that multilateral cooperation gets easier as external pressure increases. It’s hard to get a coalition of countries together to fight a China that isn’t a threat; and without that coalition, you’ll be considered an invader (like Russia in the Ukraine, or the US in Vietnam) rather than a rescuer (like the US in some other countries.) This means that, even in a situation where every country individually would like to put a stop to what China is doing, the Nash equilibrium on a global-political level is for each country to do nothing until China (or whoever) gets really bad, and only then, suddenly, will everyone cooperate to fight them.

(Though, also, on a more cynical note, a more developed—but not yet fully urbanized—country, is a more valuable country to annex. One could view this period where China was allowed to develop as a farmer allowing a crop to “ripen.”)


That seems overly abstract. Protesters formed into large mobs and repeatedly, even continually, challenged police. That police would eventually increase the pressure in response was pretty much inevitable and doesn't really have anything to do with these larger abstractions.

Seeing this as being about managing situations and violence also opens up potential alternatives. Being completely peaceful and not challenging police authority with mobs could potentially have a different result.


It is curious that this response is getting negative feedback but there is no line of reasoning associated. This whole situation is more about complex social dynamics than the straightforward moral and power based framing admits.

The Chinese Communist Party sought to control the situation by identifying and eliminating leaders and ended up contending with a leaderless opposition. Hong Kong Police did not initially use violence which indicates that the situation changed over time. The Chinese Communist Party and their influence were present from the start so it is not rational to assert that violence from the Hong Kong police could be caused primarily by such external factors.

If any of this is mistaken then please advance a rational argument as these are important issues and not simply a popularity contest to see who can most empathize with the situation in Hong Kong.


Why don’t they include some videos from the scene? People today don’t read and they only include one photo of a guy with his head in his hands...

I’m glad they talk about it but I wonder how much impact this article actually has...


During yellow vest protests, we've seen thing as violent, and France is not China...


I realized my post was not clear. I 100% support HK protester! I 100% condemn HK police and authorities.

Just wanted to point that despite the fact most of us live in democracy, police can act super violently against protestors, and we don't necessarily realize it before it happens. We need to support HK protestor, and also keep fighting for democracy where we live


In a democracy you have recourse when abused by the police. In a dictatorship, police is just a tool of the ruler to control the population.


In France you officially have recourse, but there are many ways to make it ineffective most of the time... Very few policemen end up in a court, and they (quite) never goes to jail even if they had a protestor eye out. And decision makers are never bothered...


In a democracy we should have a recourse other then creating a new party and becoming the government. With a strong esprit de corps between police and the judiciary this unfortunately isnt the case in a lot of democracies.


In any government you might have recourse against the police. There have been benevolent rulers through all time. In a democracy, the police are still the tool for the rich and powerful, and whether you're in Putin's democracy or the US's democracy, the police have to keep up appearances.



You made me realized I have not been clear, and my post could seems to minimize what happen in HK, which was not my intention. I just wanted to point we also need to defend democracy elsewhere, even in "democratic" countries like France.


I see - it came across as Whataboutism in a thread that is already somewhat brigaded by pro-China agents. Apologies if this was not the intention.


Once the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) consolidates control, this is what HK protesters have to look forward to:

https://chinatribunal.com/final-judgement-report/


How can people in Europe and US help?


Amplify HK voices and focus on the issues they are unhappy about rather than the polities involved, which easily degenerates into nationalistic tribalism. Being supportive of protesters' demand for civil rights, self-determination, and rejection of authoritarian policing doesn't necessarily mean being against Chinese people; resist attempts by people to reshape the discussion on such terms.

I suggest not working through conventional political channels involving state actors, where the marginal utility of your participation is negligible and you are empowering state institutions which ultimately disempowers individuals and communities.

Study up on direct action techniques; if you're in the right area, protest things like companies who supply riot equipment to police; disrupt, get attention, and use that as a platform to express solidarity with HK. Direct action is effective, politically empowering, and equips you to fight against political repression yourself if there is any risk that you could find yourself or your community subject to it in the future.


Accept more asylum and immigration petitions from Hong Kong residents that want to get out. Help them bring their money with them. Publish and broadcast Cantonese-language information encouraging skilled and educated people to leave Hong Kong.

Hong Kong is China. No one disputes it. These protests cannot be seen as anything other than a rearguard action to cover the retreat of those who don't want to be ruled by Beijing. So give them a place to go other than Vancouver.

If it had the political will, and were less racist, the US could absorb 750k people to Houston, New Orleans, Mobile, and Tampa, which represents 10% of Hong Kong, and 10% the metro populations of those cities. The coast of the US facing the Gulf of Mexico is superficially similar to the Chinese coast facing the South China Sea, and there must be at least some businesses that could be transplanted without too many operational changes.


The US can't easily absorb so many people unless they're dirt poor and willing to live 20 to an apartment. That many middle-class people will make the traffic situation far worse, because the US absolutely refuses to build more densely and build more public transit to make cities walkable. It's not a good place to live at all.


We can stop repressing domestic protestors, so that we won't be the pot calling the kettle black.

Or, if we aren't interested in doing that, contemplate this may be none of our business, just like police brutality at home is none of China's business.

Or, consider it a third way - we as a society are incapable, or unwilling in reigning in police brutality against domestic protestors. What makes you think we are at all capable of bringing such a change to another country, when we can't even do it to our own?


To be honest there's really not much anyone is willing to do for HK. Particularly the European nations are doing everything to avoid provoking China anyhow.

Look at how almost no one is willing to even acknowledge Taiwan's independence in fear of Chinese reaction. Unfortunately, HK's case is much more hopeless than Taiwan's.


By being more concerned about police brutality in US, which will give totalitarian states less excuse to behave similarly.


I have yet to hear the Chinese government explain their actions in Hong Kong with regards to American police procedure.


The wumao bring it up periodically. Whataboutism is like their favorite pastime.


letting you elected representatives know that you care is the easiest thing we can do.


Something more direct.


Pick a spot on the spectrum between "plane ticket, wear black, brave tear gas and beatings" and "thoughts and prayers"


Stop buying imported goods?


Don't, freezing the global trade is dangerous. It was one of the causes of the German debt crisis and the rise of Hitler.

Trade tools are incredibly effective in foreign policy and therefore seem very appealing to people in power but also too often ended up badly for the world when deployed. Know the history.


Stop 'United States–Hong Kong Policy Act' will definitely hurt the HK gov and CCP.


[flagged]


> That kind of interference could lead to war.

Or a crappy election cycle.


They do; I thought that this was common knowledge.

A quick example from a few years ago http://content.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,135999,...

See also last election.


By staying out of it. Hongkong belongs to China just as Catalonia belongs to Spain, or California to the US. Imagine China interfering with that.


Just because Hong Kong “belongs” to China doesn’t mean the west should ignore the wishes of what seems like the majority of the population that lives there. Especially when they’re protesting against an anti-democratic authoritarian government, and all they’re asking for is a reduction of police brutality and the right to a democratically elected government.


Though what could we do about it?


Shine light on the brutality and inhumanity of the Communist Party of China to the rest of the world. The CPC tries to keep secret its cruelty, tries to keep secret its concentration camps, tries to silents their people's discussion about the true nature of the CPC, and tries to keep secret its leader's lust to be a new Mao.

Sunshine on the CPC's true nature is the best disinfectant.


Not sure what all that sunshine has done so far about those concentration camps in Xinjiang and possibly elsewhere too. I'd say just about nothing. The communist party seems rather immune to criticism.

Franky, HK's struggle looks hopeless to me.


It is an unpopular opinion, but actually this is right answer. Look at Syria and other examples. We should stop pretending, we are supporting people by posting,liking stuff online. They will be all alone when things gets serious. So, let's stop giving these people false sense of hope for help from anywhere else.


I'm probably a bigger fan of self-determination than you: if the people of HK, Catalonia or California wish to follow their own road, I support them, but they need to work that out on their own. When those movements are even partly the product of foreign intervention and are given uncritical coverage in the western press, that is a giant warning sign. We've been there before many times yet we never learn.


>When those movements are even partly the product of foreign intervention

Do you think that is the case in HK?


Yes, I think that that is the case, based on the following elements.

1. Contacts between US consular staff and HK opposition leaders.

2. Funding by the US 'National Endowment for Democracy' of several Hong Kong groups.

3. My observations of the western media coverage of the events in the province of Xianjiang.

4. My observations of the similarities between the events in Hong Kong and other 'colour revolutions' that have the fingerprints of Washington all over them.


Would any contact with locals or funding of any organization of any kind that might be sympathetic to the protesters cause be "foreign intervention"?

It seems like this is such a low bar that it would mean that nobody else could associate with people in HK without it declared "foreign intervention".

Let alone that you could declare just about anything "foreign intervention".


I agree partially. The limits of 'acceptable' foreign intervention are not black and white. My feeling, based on what I observe, is that western intelligence services are all over this. Foreign intervention in Syria and Lybia started quietly enough alright through unofficial meetings with opposition groups. It's obvious that many Hongkongese are legitimately concerned about their political and economic future. Foreign money and promises at just the right moment can be wielded to manipulate people that are more or less well intentioned initially.


It's strange the differences in perspective here as with Syria and Libya ... IIRC there was little in the way of any mystery as far as who sided with who and their involvement, yet some folks portray those events as some sort of semi secret war.

Those events have also become the poster child for some regimes to use to warn people about opposing them.


A semi-secret war? Surely a very mysterious war, at least to me because conventional reasoning does not allow me to understand why western governments encouraged putches that destroyed stable governments (imperfect but far, far superior to the alternative) and subsequently armed 'moderate' groups whose morbid ideology differed little from the ideology that we're all supposed to combat ('...right?').

Unfortunately, our press doesn't ask the hard questions. No one is held accountable for the death and destruction that these policies have created. So western governments go on and try to apply the magic formula again. I believe that they are doing the same in HK.


> When those movements are even partly the product of foreign intervention

I feel this is a cop out. We live in a global economy and so all these things are highly connected. Your statement implies that our reporting of these events is intervention. May be influence, but I'm not sure that would be intervention.


To clarify.

A free press writes what it likes and the act of writing a newspaper article of any sort is not an act of 'foreign intervention'. We probably agree on that.

I have a problem with the fairly homogeneous discourse that I observe in the western press about certain subjects that prepare the domestic public opinion for political and armed intervention in other countries. I know that it's happening because I remember the day when I could read a lot more opposing opions in the newspapers of my language.

But preparing the domestic public opinion for intervention is not intervention itself. I am resolutely opposed to the intervention that is desired by the powers that be.


The difference is, of course, that the people of Catalonia and California get to vote on who represents them.


The people of Catalonia and California have the rule of law and actual representation. China, as a whole, does not due to the CPC. As the CPC does not have the rule of law in China, they stand against Basic Law. CPC deliberately stands against law and human rights.

Spain and California have human rights and the rule of law, but CPC ruled China does not. The CPC is the difference and forms a fundamental difference in the examples you list.


Just like Kosovo belongs to Serbia?


Is easy to imagine. People go all over the place and people love interfering. History would be dramatically different otherwise. And probably a lot shorter.


More brutal than in France?

Funny how everyone just moved on about French protests.


Because you were rioting over a fuel price increase and destroyed a city. That's embarrassing. I wouldn't hijacked a thread to compare yourself to HK people fighting the CCP for the right to vote.


[flagged]


I'm going to support above poster on this one because it's true. Every opinion here that offers an opinion not in support of the protestors seems to be disregarded as a Chinese agent and gets down voted


Yeah, it's crazy to witness solidarity amongst people supporting democratic ideals in the age of the troll farm.


Ahh yes. Which is why the members of Hacker News were so into solidarity with the Yellow vesters. Ohh, wait its only when Chinese citizens protest that its good.


That's interesting. I haven't read any of the yellow vest comment threads on HN.

Are there people posting in this thread who were active in the Yellow vest threads?


World has no balls


Why did this story get flagged? I found it interesting and learned a bit more about the topic.


I flagged it. It is political news and has no place on HN. It's a slippery slope to even more stories about politics and current events, that have nothing to do with the site's raison d'être.

(BTW I'm just a regular user, not an admin or speaking for any admin)


HN is not only technical news. It is all news which is of interest to the community at large including economics, politics, philosophy and so on. HN is not slashdot.


Slashdot still exists?

Anyway, yes, HN isn't just tech news, but it does seem to have a strong aversion to highly political topics because they always, always devolve into angry arguments and HN values "civility" over all else. So the parent is right IMO: this really doesn't seem to be a good place to discuss this.


It doesn't seem to usually devolve into arguments (heated exchanges), but it does tend to include debates. Just because not everyone agrees with you (or even each other) doesn't mean the topic isn't worth discussing, or that the comments are uncivil.


>Just because not everyone agrees with you (or even each other) doesn't mean the topic isn't worth discussing, or that the comments are uncivil.

Maybe you haven't been paying attention, but these discussions usually do tend to devolve to incivility. Whether the topic is worth discussing is another matter; this site doesn't like uncivil discussion and tends to quickly ban people when this happens, so it makes sense that it would simply avoid these discussions altogether. These days, if you want civil political discussion, you either need to keep out people with very different opinions (so more like-minded people can discuss finer policy points instead of constantly arguing over extremely fundamental differences of worldview), or you need to have an extremely involved and active full-time moderation team to keep things civil.


> These days, if you want civil political discussion, you either need to keep out people with very different opinions

That's called an echo chamber. That isn't discussion, it's just playing with yourself.

> these discussions usually do tend to devolve to incivility

This the internet, anyone is free to comment, and some amount of those comments will be in-civil. Don't reply to them, flag/report/downvote as appropriate. However - if a comment is one you disagree with, and you think it's uncivil, it's probably best to just take a step back because human bias (whether it's me, or you, or any other random HNer) is strong.

> you need to have an extremely involved and active full-time moderation team to keep things civil

In my experience, while a moderation team can do a lot of good, they can also simply turn a given community into an echo chamber of the moderation staff's views. See /r/politics on reddit for an example of this.

Next time you find yourself headed down the path of what seems like a disagreement turning into a real argument, take a moment to restate the points of your opponent you agree with. I usually use something like "So here are the points I think we agree on..."

Then, I usually like to highlight what seems to be the fundamental difference between the two statements, "It seems like we're in disagreement over X".

Don't assign value statements or qualifiers here. Your goal isn't to help or hinder any side of the argument when you do this, it's just to re-align the participants.

Often when people get upset in a discussion, it's because they feel like they're not being heard. They're making a case, and you're arguing something else, which causes frustration and anger. Taking a moment to re-align indicates you are listening to your discussion partner (or if you aren't being a good listener, will help find where you went off track).


It's not an "echo chamber" if you just don't want to talk to people with polar-opposite views. You're not going to have a productive discussion between, for instance, anyone on the left and a group of neo-Nazis. Excluding neo-Nazis from a discussion doesn't make it an "echo chamber".

As for being heard, maybe the problem is no one wants to waste their time and breath dealing with people with such different views. When literal decades have gone by and those people still cling to same views, there really isn't much point in trying to change their minds now.


I'm split on whether I agree or disagree with you flagging this.

On one hand, I do think that good hackers would generally find HK/China conflict interesting, as these are nations on the forefront of tech. On the other hand, it isn't exactly an "intellectual curiosity", but it definitely is political.

From the guidelines:

> What to Submit > On-Topic: Anything that good hackers would find interesting. That includes more than hacking and startups. If you had to reduce it to a sentence, the answer might be: anything that gratifies one's intellectual curiosity.

> Off-Topic: Most stories about politics, or crime, or sports, unless they're evidence of some interesting new phenomenon. Videos of pratfalls or disasters, or cute animal pictures. If they'd cover it on TV news, it's probably off-topic.


Hope you're also flagging the tons of other non-technical articles that show up hourly on the front page.


Check this thread, you'll know why this topic get flagged.

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=17763426


HN is influenced by CCP. Paul Graham is doing business in China. Any bad words about CCP will get censored.

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=17763426


Every part of that is untrue.


I'll expose my censored comments on twitter, thanks, HN!


I'm left wondering the same thing, and increasingly frustrated that these kind of questions about HN's transparency never get answered


Stories that show up as '[flagged]' are flagged by members. There's no mystery or conspiracy here. Given the number of China and HK stories that appear on HN and the tendency for the comments to generate a lot of heat (as opposed to constructive light) and tread the same ground, I think it's likely that there are enough members to flag this story to get it tagged '[flagged]'.


[flagged]


R/Sino, please, a massive dump of ccp workers and sympathetics.


China is too big and needs to be broken up!




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

Search: