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China Detains Former U.S. Air Force Pilot Flying for FedEx (wsj.com)
201 points by smaili 27 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 181 comments

And at a minimum they knew he is former military thanks to that huge OPM hack several years ago. As he would have shown up on the list along with having a security clearance.

That or maybe some of this other evidence about him easily findable on Google https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=97WBHOXOSZU https://www.altus.af.mil/News/Article-Display/Article/619843...

Very likely. They needed a pawn for the economic war against the US and took the first opportunity; the arrest for carrying airsoft pellets seems the only pretext they could find.

A billion people is a lot. Does literally every action taken by anybody in China have to be part of a government plot? Do you honestly think that this tiny, random event is going to have any bearing on trade negotiations, or are you just looking to ascribe any sinister motive you can?

Yes it is calculated. Arbitrary arrests of foreign nationals in China usually ramp up in direct proportion to escalations in political disputes between China and their country of nationality.

Do you have actual statistics on that, or is this another one of those claims supported entirely by one-off cherry picked examples? Have you considered that it is instead the reporting of detentions, thousands of which occur worldwide daily, that is skewed to match current tensions?

Just to be clear, I'm not an US citizen, I've never been in the US nor plan to go there anytime soon and have no reasons to defend their government interests. So why do I think that arrest was part of a plot to gain a pawn to be used in exchange of something wrt the economic war between US and China? Because the weapon motivation is utter ridiculous! I can buy knives, steel balls, nunchakus, shurikens and swords any day from Chinese eShops, but apparently a bag of plastic balls (airsoft pellets are nothing more than small plastic balls) represents some national security issue for them. Seriously folks, am I supposed to believe that the same people who identified, followed and arrested a former US military pilot are so dumb to think a bag of plastic balls represent a national security issue? I'm not either defending the US nor bashing China here, just pointing the obvious as this happens everywhere: powers make the laws then bend them according to their needs. It's common people who is getting screwed, everywhere and everytime. That's just how power works: the Chinese govt will leverage that capture to gain something from Trump, Trump will lower the tariffs to get the poor ex pilot back home and that's it; corporations which outsourced to China will cheer Trump for helping their business and people will do the same for bringing back the hero home. Seen a million times.

>motivation is utter ridiculous!

Chinese retaliatory arrests are typically calculated, i.e. the two Canadians detained in response to Huawei were arrested by the Ministry of State Security and fit all the profile of being spies (ex government employee working for NGOs & North Korean connection). The Canadian drug smuggler expedited for death sentence after he repealed was convicted in Canada prior for smuggling as well and basically trolling Canadians who thought China was lax on drugs and rule of law. There's also a Canadian coup detained under espionage years prior. During Senkaku incident, a few Japanese employees at Fujita was serendipitously arrested for taking pictures of a military base which the company confessed to as an accident. Then you the drama behind exit VISAs which basically sums up to corruption, espionage, dissidents. The common thread behind these arrests is that the motivations are typically non trivial or ridiculous.

Shortly after the Huawei arrests, the hysterical Canadian media was blowing up routine / administrative arrests: a political dissident who got held up at the airport for a few hours during a flight transit and a Canadian teacher whose VISA expired. After it was noted that detainment levels has not elevated and in the teacher's case, govern officials had to go out of their way to clarify that the arrest had nothing to do with Huawei.

This pilot arrest is interesting though, the excuse is... extremely weak, yet there's political motivations because China is pissed at Fedex for diverting the Huawei package a while ago. Still it's very strange they went out of the way to arrest him in Hong Kong, if they have to nab a Fedex employee on flimsy grounds, why not just do it on the mainland. Also why do it so close to 70th anniversary - it's just very... not smart timing.

> So why do I think that arrest was part of a plot to gain a pawn to be used in exchange of something wrt the economic war between US and China? Because the weapon motivation is utter ridiculous!

You are a new hire at the US-Mexico border control. One day a suspicious looking guy passes through, and you find a ton of white powder in his suitcase. You look him up in a database and find he has previously been charged with drug possession. You have been warned by your higher-ups that many people have recently trying to get through precisely your station smuggling drugs. So you detain him out of caution, but it turns out, for some weird reason, he just wanted to ship a suitcase full of baking soda to the US!

So since baking soda is totally harmless, this obviously means that your action must have been part of a plot on the US's part to put pressure on Mexico to fund the wall, right? What other explanation could there possibly be?

I have, of course, just gone through the article paragraph by paragraph and changed the subject to America. (Also, I am a US citizen.) No doubt, events like this happen constantly, and nobody cares, because mistakes happen. Only when the subject is China is everything a grand conspiracy.

> That's just how power works: the Chinese govt will leverage that capture to gain something from Trump

It doesn't actually work like this. Detentions happen constantly on all sides. One detention does not do anything to affect policy. I would bet that after a week this guy will be back home, to absolutely no consequence in the trade war, and you'll never hear about it in the news because it doesn't cause enough fear.

Ascribing the most sinister possible motives to everything a foreigner does is something that feels sophisticated and intellectual. But it's not. It's the oldest cognitive bias that exists. It is from the stone age and it will take us back.

Baking soda:Cocaine::plastic pellets:???

Liquid or solid explosive. (Very unlikely but possible.)

It's of course totally dumb. Might as well arrest anyone carrying rice in their pockets.

How do you know it's random? Just because you're Chinese doesn't mean you have to side with china's govt.

Imagine that random, unremarkable things involving people from Arkansas occasionally got blasted across every newspaper and forum in the US. And everywhere you went, you saw people saying that this must be a plot from Arkansas' governor to take over the US, and everybody from Arkansas is a government spy, that Arkansas' culture of deception meant that you could never trust anybody from it, and that true patriots spent every day fuming in hatred at Arkansas and its people.

If you were born in Arkansas, this would be all be clearly crazy, because you would know that your family in Arkansas are ordinary human beings, not heartless government spies. And it would be rather alarming, even if you had moved out of Arkansas, and hated its current government, because you would be next on the chopping block.

It would be even more disappointing if, when you tried to argue otherwise, you were dismissed without a thought by the same Arkansas paranoia. That's how witch hunts work.

Well, if I were to have moved out of Arkansas, and hated its current govt, I wouldn't be defending its govt when it detained people without any solid reasoning.

Well, I just told you why I wrote the comments I did. I mean, are you part of any groups that get constantly bashed in the popular press, or on the internet at large? Any groups that are the subject of paranoia, witch hunts, and general moral panic?

If you really aren't, you're extraordinarily lucky. If you are, you know where I'm coming from.

Moreover, I'm not defending any governments. I'm just pointing out in this thread that an act that is stupid in retrospect might have just been that -- one person's stupid mistake. There's no need to talk about it in such conspiratorial tones.

True. That said, U.S. military service is generally a matter of public record, e.g.:


And failing that linkedIn.

> thanks to that huge OPM hack several years ago

You don't need that. Just search names in Google and Facebook and spend 15mins for it. Works for 90% of military personals. People share what they do, eat, and where they go these days.

Just so we're clear, HN users find a story about China temporarily detaining a US pilot to be top-of-front-page relevant, but the story about the US bombing 30 innocent farmers in Afghanistan gets flagged to death.

Because there are many HN users that work in China or do business in China. This might be a good warning to US citizens to stay out of China.

Most such stories fall apart after a little prodding. Almost always, detentions are either dumb mistakes, quickly reversed, or the result of actual lawbreaking. Often you read a little further and it's like, "well yes, the drugs I was selling were technically against Chinese law, but..."

However, that is not as fun a conclusion as joining in on bashing the outgroup.

This may be that, and is most likely that for most other countries, but the PRC has a history of disappearances and detainment under false charges, along with elements of the whole Stalin theater. This is why many are immediately more concerned when something like this happens in China than in say, Switzerland.

If they are already there, they either get paid order of magnitude better(yes I’m not kidding some can’t even find job in US) or China brings tons of profit to their business (cheap labor and lower cost ecosystem) such that they accepted the risk.

Unfortunately one is news because it doesn't happen often, and the other is not news because it does

Queue the 100th tech ipo article to make the front page

In those cases the interest is presumably in the specific company, not its index in the IPO sequence.

By "nonmetallic pellets used in low-power replica air guns" are they referring to airsoft BB's?

Yeah that is absolutely what it sounds like to me, these are toys that many people played with as children or would be willing to give to children to play with. Pretty harmless unless it catches you in the eye. They are specifically designed to not be dangerous. I've never heard of any other type of air-fired plastic pellets at least. Pretty enraging and hopefully Mr. Hohn is able to make it back to American soil very soon

I'm pretty sure lot's of countries have laws against "imitation firearms", especially airlines, so I'm not to sympathetic to this guy.

I can totally understand some repercussions if he had been attempting to fly with an airsoft gun, but small plastic balls? This is just absurd.

He was transporting the IN to Hong Kong, I can understand that being a sensitive topic right now

Hong Kong has entire streets dedicated to selling replica guns and other Airsoft equipment. Airsoft (known locally as "wargames") is hugely popular in Hong Kong and completely legal.

The what now?

Accroding to Chinese law, airsoft BB is illegal, that might sound absurd, but it is the law. And it is selectively enforced. There are stories that people get penalty just for selling toy guns, http://news.sina.com.cn/pl/2016-12-31/doc-ifxzczfc6640913.sh... in Chinese). It cause some discussion and debate on the internet and within the law realm, but by 2018 the supreme court gave some guidance for such case. https://www.spp.gov.cn/xwfbh/wsfbt/201803/t20180328_372604.s... Personally I don't think it is a leverage for the trade war, the laws in China is not so mature as in US, and tend to be more tough when it involves guns. edited for spelling error.


The article specifically mentions airsoft near the end,

> China has strict gun control laws, and it is potentially a criminal offense there to possess airsoft guns, similar to BB pellet guns, which are sometimes sold by online retailers as toys. It is unclear that carrying airsoft pellets alone would be considered a violation.

Yeah, it seems like it. ️

That's honestly what it sounds like.

This is definitely politically motivated. I was with a (Chinese citizen) friend when airport security found a few rounds of ammunition in her baggage, and the guards just shrugged and confiscated it. No further issues.

This is what you can do when you have all the background investigations for the US government. You don't need any evidence of wrongdoing. You have prima facia evidence the person could be a military operative. Military on foreign soil is big deal and US may find themselves with little recourse other than routine diplomatic channels.

As a Canadian I can't really justify vacationing in the PRC at the moment, given I'd like to avoid mining minerals for the rest of my life. I mean, I'm sure I'd look great when (if?) I got out.

Seriously between this and the other exit bans, it's not looking great.

Why would anyone vacation in China? There are so many better options in Asia.

There's a long cultural history to China. Great Wall, Tiananmen Square, Terra Cotta Army, Hutongs, Yangtze River, Three Gorges, authentic Chinese cuisine that will probably make you sick to your stomach, Guilin, Pearl River, Hong Kong, and many other places.

I'm really glad I went back in 2006 before national governments started getting snippy with each other and their citizens. I wouldn't go now because I don't really like the idea of being imprisoned without trial, but if you ignore the politics there's a lot to experience in China.

Among the developed country tourist spots China has always been down on the list. The top spots are Japan, Thailand, South Korea, and Taiwan.

But probably the biggest hurdle to China tourism is that you have to apply for a Visa whereas all those places offer Visa-waivers to most developed countries.

Speak for yourself some of the landscape in China is truly one of a kind

I believe chrischen was referring to actual visitor counts, not personal opinions: https://www.forbes.com/sites/ericrosen/2019/09/04/the-worlds...

By definition all landscapes are one of a kind

If I were speaking for myself then I would be talking about how I've visited China more than all those other countries I've listed combined ;). But having been to all those countries, China is still the one place where a foreigner still gets ogled at whereas in those other countries no one bats an eye.

This is exactly my experience too. I lived and worked there back in 2005-2006 when it was the wild west (east?), but given the state of things now, I would not go back. I just hope the rest of the world wisens up and works to contain the PRC and its influence beyond its own borders.

>There's a long cultural history to China. Great Wall, Tiananmen Square,

Congrats, mentioning that last bit got you arrested and the consulate can't help since you technically broke PRC law.

Tiananmen Square is a major tourist destination in China. It’s on the subway signs. No one is pretending the square doesn’t exist.

>Tiananmen Square is a major tourist destination in China. It’s on the subway signs. No one is pretending the square doesn’t exist.

Parent mentioned the "cultural history" of the square, which is edging to the no go zone.

FWIW, the massacre isn't referred to as "Tiananmen Square" within China, it's called the "6-4 incident" (after June 4th, the day it occurred). I remember this always surprising us when working on google.cn (from the U.S. offices): [tiananmen square] is not blocked within China because no Chinese person ever searches for that (it's an English phrase anyway), but random numbers that contain "6" and "4" are, including Javascript code.

What do you mean? Tiananmen Square is a place in Beijing, right next to the Forbidden City. You can visit it all you want, there are so many tourists there.

You can get arrested if you want, shouting about the massacre, but there are much easier ways to do that.

China is such a vast place and there are a lot of places worth visiting. Don't let internet mentality stop you from exploring the world, no one is after you.

Sucks that China's govt is such an authoritarian hell but it's mostly transparent to you as a tourist.

I am extremely critical of their government but China has beautiful nature and culture. I would love to visit if it wasn't so Orwellian.

It is a shame. I've done China, Cambodia and Vietnam. Highly recommend Vietnam, especially trekking in Sapa.

The Chinese government loves offering students here in Australia free brainwashing trips, all expenses paid. It's was actually a good trip minus the sermons about why Huawei should have built the national broadband network.

> The Chinese government loves offering students here in Australia free brainwashing trips

I'm curious about this. Can you elaborate a little? How does this work?

Are you serious about the Huawei talks?


I've been. Sure, its Orwellian, I'm in their "system" now. But it was absolutely fascinating, I'd say go while you still can.

I would not go in their current state. It's only one rung above visiting N. Korea in my opinion.

I'm sorry, but that second sentence is just ridiculous. Conflating NK and PRC does no one any good. Sure, the space for civil society has tightened a lot since 2011, you've got the trade war and a ton of other simmering conflicts, but on the whole (with the exception of Xinjiang) it's fine.

Is XJ really that bad now? When I visited in 2006, it was pretty tame with the exception of the area immediately near the border. It doesn’t even require a travel permit/full time tour guide like Tibet does.

Afaik it is now well on its way towards a full-on techno-police state dystopia aimed at the uyghurs (ai, big data, facial recognition, ideological reeducation camps, politically reliable Han Chinese as forced live-ins in uyghur families tempting them to drink alcohol and reporting on them, forced installation of surveillance apps....)

I don't mean that as a matter of fact but a matter of personal opinion. I am as likely to go there as N. Korea.

If only! No, China hasn’t been like that since the early/mid 90s (and even that was a regression from the late 80s). Nope, if you want to see a heavy level of oppression, you’ll have to book a trip to Pyongyang. China will feel chaotic in comparison (and for many things even more free than the west).

I actually have friends who have visited the DPRK to get a feel for how China used to be.

That is reverse propaganda if you believe it. And you probably have no idea about both countries mentioned here.

I'm a Chinese citizen now living in Shanghai,China. It is interesting to see some of the threads, and there are so many expats now living in china, althrouth these is the good, the bad, and the ugly. And lots of expats have described this on youtube, books and podcast, etc. Anyway, the best way to know is to come here yourself, you might experience something different. Cause it's so huge with so many people, before you go , get an paid VPN.

It's not the people's fault the government sucks. And the Chinese culture is very interesting.

China has done a very good job of destroying its own culture since the cultural revolution. Hong Kong and Taiwan have preserved more of the traditional culture while continuing to move forward.

I vacationed in China! I was so curious to see the country whose GPD will overtake the USA. Also I was politically curious. The food is amazing and the culture is very different. It was a great - and mind opening trip. That said it made me very proud to be an American!

> GDP will overtake


by ppp, have.

Ppp measures are incredibly inaccurate, especially if you want to compare similar lifestyles. Having a western-leave middle class lifestyle is just as expensive (for many things more so) than many places in the west.

Really? I was able to eat lunch in Shanghai for $1.44 and a dinner for 3 with enough to fill us to the brim for $24. Can you do that in San Francisco?

You can easily do that in Shanghai if you want. Yes, the low end is lower, especially if you don’t mind gutter oil, but menu items start ranging from 50-80 kuai in middle class restaurants (probably more in SH), and it only goes up from there.

Eating is cheaper overall I. China (50 kuai isn’t that much for an entree), but other things like cars and computers are more expensive, as can rent or housing prices. A pair of Levi’s jeans costs 800RMB, which is why many Chinese come to the states to shop.

my Nike Shirt was 80 RMB, though I'm not sure its real :; feels real.

Your example shows that you fail to understand how it's inaccurate to compare.

PPP for comparing standards of living

Nominal GDP for comparing global economic influence

Use the right tool for the right job

$16,800 for China and $59,000 for the US. Not by a country mile. Even Hong Kong is in the high 50s. It’s only Macau in with a clear win at $112,000 thanks to the high number of casinos per capita.

It may well overtake in the future but it has yet to.

You are talking about per capita. Yes, it will take a long time. But if the Chinese are half as productive as you and I their economy will be double our size.

Remember there are at least 4 Chinese people per 1 person in the USA. That changes the math a lot.

It’s right up there with Russia and authoritarian destinations in the Middle East for me in terms of places I’m not gonna go to to vacation.

Just go to Taiwan: it’s Chinese culture without the Chinese government (or the air pollution, or the visa process, etc.)

I thought about spending 1-3 months studying Bajiquan (a kinda-rare martial art) near Beijing.[1] It would be a great immersive Chinese cultural experience.

When all the Huawei stuff kicked into high gear, and they ramped up detaining Canadians and Americans for BS reasons, I completely canx'd the idea. And I'm an ex-military officer, too? Easy to paint me as a spy. Not worth the risk.


China is a huge country with lots to see. Not just old stuff, but natural scenery as well. It is also quite affordable.

Japan, Korea, Indonesia, Thailand, Nepal...all have their own appeal, but even together don’t cover completely what you can do in China. (They all have better internet, however)

There's tons of gorgeous places on the mainland, and Hainan, and the Hong Kong and Macau SARs (although they've gotta do some more leg-work to exfil you from one of the latter two).

I've been to about 20 national parks each in US and China. I'd say on the whole China has better natural scenes. The problem with China is the crowd. Every where you go, there's huge crowd, which ruin the experience.

Taiwan seems pretty good though, probably the best alternative right now

Probably even better if one is looking for history: more traditional language, no cultural revolution, excellent foods brought in from all over mainland China too during the exodus of the KMT.

Actually, many of China's national treasures are in the National Taiwan Museum...carted over during the great escape of 1949.

For those who want to see them or just like Nodejs. National Palace Museum(NPM) is the place to find them.

I just traveled to China, and my Airbnb tour guide told me tourists from the US and North America are "way down this year".

As a Canadian, you're currently detaining Meng Wanzhou, Huawei's ex-CFO, at the USA's behest, for allegedly violating the USA's unilateral Trump-tweet sanctions against Iran. The Chinese are furious about it. You can be sure their media is portraying that case with just as much outrage as Mr Bag-full-of-airsoft here.

I don't mean to start a round of whataboutism - just to point out that none of this is happening in a vacuum. I do agree that as a Canadian - probably not the best time. Mining minerals is a bit of an exaggeration though. He'll be detained for a couple of weeks, then deported with a 10-year ban. This is countries playing power games, nothing more.

No, Canada is a rule-of-law country. Canada is detaining Meng Wanzhou on the suspicion of committing fraud, not because of Iranian sanctions. Violating US sanctions is not a crime in Canada and therefore nobody can be held in Canada for doing so, even at the behest of the US authorities. You can only be extradited from Canada for committing an act that would be a crime both in Canada and in the country requesting extradition.

Meng is free to move about Vancouver and is under "house arrest" at her two houses there totaling $16M CAD [1]. If the judge finds there's no reasonable likelihood of her having committed fraud, she will be free to go, end of story. There's also a short, defined clock for them to do so.

They've sentenced at least one Canadian to death in retaliation [2] and prevented others from leaving the country indefinitely.

Don't make excuses here, don't equivocate, there's no whataboutism to play. One is under legitimate investigation for committing a crime in a jurisdiction that operates autonomously of the body politic and will be free to go if not guilty -- and in the interrim free to move about almost twenty million dollars of property and one of the most livable cities in the world. The other is being executed in retaliation.

[1] https://www.scmp.com/news/world/united-states-canada/article...

[2] https://www.businessinsider.com/china-confirms-canadian-deat...

Wow, did I strike a nerve? I'm not making excuses or equivocating. I'm simply pointing out that this is not some random tantrum on the Chinese side. The USA, and Canada, knew exactly what they were doing when they decided to "make an example of" Ms. Meng, and the Chinese are retaliating by making an example of some westerners - who, by the way, are all charged with crimes as well, unless you are claiming they were framed?

Meng's charges are 100% about the Iran sanctions. This "fraud" was allegedly misrepresenting the destination of funds - allegedly to conceal a relationship with a company previously accused of trading with Iran. Meng was explicitly arrested by request from the USA.

I invite you to put aside your outrage, step back, and think about how the other side might view things. This "law" that Meng has broken - in her home country - is viewed as an illegitimate attempt by the USA to impose its will on the rest of the world. Illegitimate law, illegitimate investigation - and if you think enforcement of this kind of law isn't arbitrary, think again. The US knew what it was doing, and China's decision to start strictly enforcing one or two of its own laws is the absolutely predictable outcome.

One more thing. I'm not "making excuses". I'm no great fan of China and I'd never live there. But I'm tired of the narrative of "my own righteous, virtuous country can do no wrong" vs "the evil, scheming little brainwashed totalitarians". It's simply ignorant to think so. There are a great deal of intelligent, reasonable Chinese, and when they do things, they do them for a reason. Look for those reasons. If all you can come up with is "because they're evil" - go back to the drawing board.

Not at all I'm just saying that you're not fairly representing this.

> ...the Chinese are retaliating by making an example of some westerners - who, by the way, are all charged with crimes as well, unless you are claiming they were framed?

It's hard to say with the PRC of course, only 1,039 of more than 1.2 million people [brought to trial] were found not guilty in court in the PRC in 2014 (three 9's of conviction rate) [1]. Either they've got some super-sleuths on staff at all the police stations or something's a little funky.

> This "fraud" was allegedly misrepresenting the destination of funds - allegedly to conceal a relationship with a company previously accused of trading with Iran.

Again, no, they're being charged with fraud. They'd have had to commit fraud to be extradited. Not sanctions avoidance. What the fraud was in connection to is kind of irrelevant. The reason they committed fraud is irrelevant, fraud is fraud. You can't misstate the destination of funds whether you're in America or Canada which is why the case is being made. If they'd written Destination: IRAN we wouldn't be having this conversation. And further, the judge is taking to account the political nature of the situation. Of course why they're looking into it now is political.

Hyperbolic example but if they'd ordered someone killed to conceal the destination of funds would you be air quoting "murder"? Probably not.

> One more thing. I'm not "making excuses".

>> I do agree that as a Canadian - probably not the best time. Mining minerals is a bit of an exaggeration though. He'll be detained for a couple of weeks, then deported with a 10-year ban.

My point is you're making a bad-faith argument or at least a false equivalency. You hand-waved this away as though they're going to spend some vacation time on the mainland, but in reality, they could just as face execution. Not for anything they did, but for political reasons. It's not an exaggeration, if anything, it was an understatement of risk.

> But I'm tired of the narrative of "my own righteous, virtuous country can do no wrong" vs "the evil, scheming little brainwashed totalitarians".

I'm not saying anything of the sort. I'm criticizing the false equivalency you made of taking someone through a rule-of-law process and treating them fairly in adjudicating whether a crime was committed, vs. execution in political retaliation. Just because there's a reason they're killing Canadians doesn't mean that it's okay or should be ignored, or that there's no risk. I have a lot of respect for the government of the PRC, but that hardly means I'm fine with this.

For the record, I'm by no means a fan of the recent developments with Iran, I think going back on the Iran nuclear deal is a huge blunder.

[1] https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/china/121932...

> I'm criticizing the false equivalency you made of taking someone through a rule-of-law process and treating them fairly in adjudicating whether a crime was committed, vs. execution in political retaliation

Dude if you can't see that the Meng process was 100% political chess moves then I am not sure what more I can say. Yes it's "rule of law" - "laws" passed specifically to facilitate this chess game. By the USA. You keep on accusing me of all sorts of apologetics and false equivalency and bad faith but that is just not true. I guess I can only give my personal word on that. I am a dispassionate outside observer for all of this shit and have no dog in this race.

Your point about the high conviction rate in China is naive. This is an asian thing. Police in China (and elsewhere in Asia) talk out cases before making an arrest, trying to solve problems extrajudicially. It's not comparable to the West. When they do charge someone, it's because they are absolutely certain - Japan's is also 99%. That does not mean the system is corrupt. It is a different approach.

> they could just as face execution

Let us make a bet, you and I, as to whether Mr Airsoft is executed. $1000 says no. You in?

> Dude if you can't see that the Meng process was 100% political chess moves then I am not sure what more I can say.

I already said the process was initiated for political reasons.

> Yes it's "rule of law" - "laws" passed specifically to facilitate this chess game. By the USA.

Incorrect, it's Canadian law passed by Canada. It's a bilateral extradition treaty, of which they have 30 with countries including Cuba, but of course it's an open conversation [1]. The rules are simple. Countries can request extradition on the grounds that a crime was committed, so long as it is a crime in both countries. Canada won't extradite you to America for marijuana possession, for instance, because it's not a crime in Canada. Meng could have been high off her face and the Americans wouldn't have been able to extradite her on those grounds, even if the US had evidence of marijuana possession within the US. They couldn't extradite her for sanctions violations either. Fraud is a crime in both countries, so they can -- but only if they convince a Canadian judge that there's reasonable evidence to suggest it happened and that they're doing so honestly, and within a short period of time.

> Your point about the high conviction rate in China is naive. This is an asian thing. Police in China (and elsewhere in Asia) talk out cases before making an arrest, trying to solve problems extrajudicially.

They may do that but China is not a rule of law country (as indicated by your comment on extrajudicial punishments). People are detained and charged with crimes for political reasons not matters of fact. Even the NPC admitted the system isn't particularly fair or functional [2]. If you think all 99.93% of people convicted by Chinese courts were guilty I've got a bridge to sell you. Naturally the US State Department concurs, but of course, they would.

"Such problems were on full display in 2011 when a Henan Province farmer named Zhao Zuohai was released from prison after serving 11 years because the woman he was convicted of murdering was actually very much alive and living at home."

Sounds like the conversation went well! But of course anecdotes don't mean much, I just thought it was funny and relevant.

[1] https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/extradition-act-review-diab...

[2] https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2014/03/1...

> I already said the process was initiated for political reasons.

That is absolutely not the tone of your first response to me. You are moving the goalposts. My whole point was that all these actions - Canada's, China's - were part of a game, a game that in this case America started! You then carry on for 200 lines about the virtues of Canada's independent, unimpeachable judiciary - before admitting that yeah, in this case it was deployed in aid of america's sabre-rattling. I think we kind of agree?

> They may do that but China is not a rule of law country

Look man. China is big, and it is different. I would agree it is less bound by the rule of law than somewhere like Canada but that doesn't make it anarchy. Yes, Police in China have a lot more discretion and they try to solve problems before they hit the courts. There is no "sue your neighbour" - they will drag everyone down to the station and force them to talk it out and come up with a solution. It's just different.

Yes there is corruption. Yes certain "golden people" will never get in trouble. It's worse than in the west but only by degree. You honestly think rich people in Canada get sent to jail at the same rate as others? Rich, connected people are always treated differently. Can you deny this?

Once again I hate to come across like I'm defending China. I hate China! But can you just zoom out and be fucking fair and impartial across these countries you're judging.

Japan/South Korea would be your choice, though expensive.

This is the kind of stuff better foreign relations would smooth out nicely. You'd never see a news headline. There'd be zero drama.

How do you have better foreign relations? Better compatibility between legal systems would be a start. What sense is their putting a westerner up against a socialist legal system? They're not citizens. I can only imagine how much this man is being traumatized by this.

Reading material on China's criminal justice system (pdf): https://academicworks.cuny.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1...

China has different types of detainment. It doesn't specify if he's in the administrative kind or the one facing much more serious repercussions.

This is just one area where China's incompatibility is going to end up costing it. You don't see the intellectual property stolen / royalties, and people who would potential bring wealth to China if they weren't so stubbornly insistent on maintaining an oligarchy.

Who is China's gov really working for? Nobody knows, it's so opaque. But if their system - which they subject their own citizens and foreigners alike to - was so humane and just, why not show the innards of it to demonstrate the virtuosity and benevolence of it?

When I was in China back in the day, a friend bought a realistic-looking bb pistol and probably a few hundred rounds from a crap market. We probably could have robbed a store with it. I'm rather skeptical that this stuff is actually illegal.

It depends. For example in Beijing (and probably in other big cities) you can't carry a knife, but in a small town you can.

The laws are a jungle everywhere :/

The detainment is the worrying part here.

what percentage of FedEx pilots are ex-military?

I don't know if it's a majority, it may be, but it's at least a large minority.

Airlines (both passenger and freight) don't want to pay to train their own pilots, so their staffing pipelines rely heavily on ex-military pilots.

Many military and passenger aircraft share a basic airframe, for example the KC-135 is a 707 configured as a tanker for aerial refueling. Even the instances that are not - it would be relatively straightforward to transition from, say, a C-17 to a 767 or something like that.

So pilots tend to retire from the USAF and fly the friendly skies with civilian airliners.

"HONG KONG—Chinese authorities have detained a FedEx Corp. pilot in the southern city of Guangzhou, elevating pressure on the express shipping giant that is already in Beijing’s crosshairs amid a U.S.-China trade war.

The pilot, a former U.S. Air Force colonel named Todd A. Hohn, was detained a week ago while waiting for a commercial flight to his home in Hong Kong after flying deliveries throughout Asia from the FedEx regional hub in Guangzhou, people familiar with the matter said.

A lawyer for the Hohn family in Niceville, Fla., confirmed that Mr. Hohn had been detained in China. He was a wing commander at the Altus Air Force Base in Oklahoma until 2017.

Reached briefly at his hotel room Thursday, Mr. Hohn identified himself to a reporter and then referred all questions to a family lawyer and discontinued the phone call. He is married and a father, the people familiar with the matter said.

When he was detained, Mr. Hohn was carrying nonmetallic pellets used in low-power replica air guns in a checked bag, the people said. Chinese authorities have alleged that Mr. Hohn was illegally transporting ammunition and have begun a criminal investigation, the people said."

So they detained him and then found a reason: plastic BBs in a checked bag. Less dangerous than the plastic knives they serve with food in the cabin.

China strictly controls ammunition inside China. There is no way plastic BBs are considered ammunition.

... But if China does they better stop the illegal export of BBs and airsoft guns to the USA. Taiwan will happily increase production.

> There is no way plastic BBs are considered ammunition.

"Under Chinese law, one should be given a criminal penalty if he or she illegally owns more than 20 military bullets, 1,000 pellets for air guns or 200 non-military bullets." -- https://www.shine.cn/news/metro/1903040562/

For more on how strict Chinese gun laws are see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Legal_issues_in_airsoft#China

> But if China does they better stop the illegal export of BBs and airsoft guns to the USA[...]

Manufacturing with an export license isn't the same as private ownership. You may be interested to know that the US exports a lot of arms you're not allowed to buy privately.


"In People's Republic of China, despite the common belief that airsoft is outright banned, the official stance on airsoft is that it is technically just "tightly controlled".[13] However, the control standards are so strict and the punishments are so heavy-handed, that involvement in the sport (regarded as "wargame" or "live action CS") is considered too impractical for common individuals in Mainland China."

"Law enforcement is also highly arbitrary, and many of the merchandises confiscated are actually either non-functional props or well below the replica limit"

> Law enforcement is also highly arbitrary

Sounds like Chinese law in a nutshell. Laws matter, when the CCP cares, sometimes, for some people.

I'm curious as to why this is being downvoted; do people think it's untrue? Seems like it's very useful contextual information

I think there's a debate to be had around whether or not the plastic BBs are considered pellets for air guns.

I have a feeling the law is referring to the metal air rifle pellets, but I don't know that for a fact.

Typically, pellets for air rifles are made of metal: https://www.pyramydair.com/images/PY-P-1144_JSB-Diabolo-Exac...

"Airsoft" pellets are plastic beads: https://sc01.alicdn.com/kf/HTB1AVsePVXXXXaQXpXX760XFXXXN/Air...

> 1,000 pellets for air guns

Airgun pellets are not BBs. BBs are small lightweight plastic spheres. Airgun pellets are ammunition for airguns, they are usually moulded lead or a lead free alloy. Some pellets may be metal ball bearings, but usually that are shaped with a round or bullet like head and a flange at the back.

Search AliExpress.com. There are loads of sellers of plastic BBs. I doubt they are licensed. But there is notably no airgun pellets for sale!

BBs are metallic. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BB_gun

Airsoft is plastic. The goal is to shoot your friends with it. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Airsoft

Regardless of BBs vs airsoft, the article's tagline specifically states that whatever he was carrying is nonmetallic.

Yes I was talking within the context of the article and the parent I was replying to. Google airsoft BBs, and search aliexpress. The term BB is frequently used by manufacturers to refer to plastic BBs, at least within China and Taiwan.

Source: a friend is a major importer into the USA.

If only they cared that much about the illicit fentanyl production in their country. Oh wait, it isn't illicit, it is state-sanctioned.

They DO care about the fentanyl production (or feeder chemical production) in their country -- that's why there's so much of it.

IMO I think it's both payback for the opium epidemic of the 1800s, as well as a deliberate effort by the PRC government to "kneecap" their #1 Strategic competitor in the 21st century via societal decay.

I reckon it's the same reason they bought Reddit. Poisoning the body and the mind.

They didn't "bough Reddit". Tencent has a non controlling stake.

The USA had nothing, AFAIK, to do with the opium epidemic. That was all on the UK.

Most of Teddy Roosevelt's wealth (the Delano fortune) came from Opium. So did the Coolidge (Thomas Jefferson's family), Sturgis, Low, Green, Forbes (John Kerry's family), & Russell family fortunes.


The trading roster for opium dealing in China is a who's who of who founded this country and funded ivy league schools.

I stand corrected.

Fuck fentanyl. It is a huge problem in America. I’m sick of hearing about people overdosing from this drug.

>Fuck fentanyl

the perspective that somehow it's the drugs fault is both damaging to the recovery effort, the effort to reduce harm to the general public, and damaging to those of us with chronic pain that find fentanyl to be a solution to their woes.

Point the blame where it belongs.

Fuck under-regulation, over-prescription, greedy doctors, broken medical systems, for-profit care, and systematic government abuse.

I think he was referencing specifically clandestine Chinese labs that make illicit fentanyl, not those who need it for chronic pain as it's prescribed.

Fentanyl is unusually deadly due to extreme concentration and ease of manufacture and transport. Other than exact dosage it’s very similar to other opioids.

Some interesting data: https://www.kff.org/other/state-indicator/opioid-overdose-de...

As another person said, I wasn't really referring to people who need it for pain and are taking it with legal prescriptions.

I'm mad about all the people overdosing because their drugs were laced with Fentanyl without their knowledge - Mac Miller OD'd on fake oxycodone that contained Fentanyl[1]. Tom Petty and Prince also both died from fentanyl intoxication.

[1]: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/04/us/mac-miller-death-arres...

Add lack of treatment, lack of criminal sanctions for companies pushing it, even after they learn of abuse.

Well said. Fentanyl is the government's new cheerleader for the war on drugs.

China itself doesn't have fentanyl issue to start with. Nor other Asian countries.

Why is US singled out here? Can't US just ban it?

The US has a porous border. You can't stop drugs from crossing if you can't stop people from crossing.

Can't be any more porous than borders in Asia.


China is right next to a major drug smuggling region. The jungles and mountains southwest of the country aren't exactly easy places to build border fences.

That line of thinking is also used to argue against gun control. “Don’t blame the guns”

But whether or not you subscribe to that thinking, most people can agree that it would be great if China stepped in to do something to control the illicit export of Fentanyl (keyword: illicit, as in not fentanyl used for legitimate medical purposes).

Why isn't there a Fentanyl problem in China, Europe, Africa ?

Are you SURE China has the ability to save america from under-regulation, expensive healthcare, for profit doctors etc ?

I’m not sure what you’re implying.

No, China controlling their fentanyl output won’t solve the problem in America. Making health insurance less expensive won’t solve the problem. Regulating more won’t solve the problem. Eliminating profit doctors won’t solve the problem.

But all of them would -help- contribute toward improving the situation.

China rescheduled fentanyl in response to Trump on May 1st. One month later: "Most fentanyl is now trafficked across US-Mexico border, not from China". Because Mexico is importing fentanyl precursors from China and taking over distribution like everyone predicted. Then a few days ago Virginia took down a multi-state drug ring and attributed 30kg of the fentanyl from Shanghai.

The cynic will think China is using this as a bargaining chip, but fentanyl is simply too easy to smuggle. US is failing to detect imports, think how much harder it is for China, the worlds biggest exporter to manage on the export end. Import and manufacturing control is a dead end when it comes to opiates, the chemistry is too basic and the logistics too easy.

Look at all the places where fentanyl isn't a problem for solutions. IMO, export control is the "‘No Way To Prevent This,’ Says Only Nation Where This Regularly Happens" (apart from Vancouver) tier thinking.

on the other hand, it was just the ticket when i had all four wisdom teeth pulled last year!

Sheesh. That seems like a strong drug to give someone who is getting teeth pulled. I had all four wisdom teeth pulled at the same time, and while I'm not sure what they gave me during the operation, I don't even remember taking hydrocodone at home afterwards. I think they just gave me some kind of lidocaine numbing solution and told me to take OTC pain meds.

i opted for the “conscious sedition” approach. IV meds and those 45 minutes went by reeeeal fast.

It’s more common to go with the novacaine local approach, and general anesthesia is very rare — normally when you have severely impacted or abcessed teeth and they need to cut into your jawbone and the like.

You must be confused. Fentanyl is only given for long-term pain control (spanning months and years), never for temporary pain, and never given to anyone who is opiod naive.

I’m not confused. I still have the consent paperwork somewhere that lists the drugs; it’s part of the “conscious sedation” cocktail in some places, including at my oral surgeon’s office.


postoperative pain management consisted of tylenol and codiene, and I didn’t bother taking it anyway.

anyway, my point is merely that fentanyl has legitimate medical uses and that you can indeed have it administered in a medical setting without descending into opioid madness or overdose.

Not true. Fentanyl is given for acute pain relief to mothers in labor. "No fentanyl" was in our birth plan, and we had our OB look at it before delivering, and her comment was "Realistically, you're not going to get addicted from the doses given in labor, and it gives the attending physician another option if needed, but if you really feel strongly about it..."

I was thinking about the outpatient setting (tooth extraction). Sure, in the hospital you can get fentanyl, Dilaudid, or practically anything.

I read somewhere that fentanyl export from China is a long-term revenge plot in response to the flooding of their lands with opium. . . wish I could recall the source, probably a comment thread somewhere.

I mean, not that China deserves to be defended on anything, but on that particular issue with the west, there's a bit of history there. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_Opium_War

The USA never exported opium to China.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt's family fortune was built from his grandfather Warren Delano Jr's opium smuggling business.


>"Western traders, including those from the United States, had long sought a variety of Chinese products (including furniture, silk and tea), but found there were few products that China wanted from the West. American trade with China began as early as 1784, relying on North American exports such as furs, sandalwood, and ginseng, but American interest in Chinese products soon outstripped the Chinese appetite for these American exports. The British had already discovered a great market in southern China for smuggled opium, and American traders soon also turned to opium to supplement their exports to China. Beyond the health problems related to opium addiction, the increasing opium trade with the Western powers meant that for the first time, China imported more goods than it exported."


The US promoted the "Open Door" policy towards Chine, i.e. whatever traders of other nations could do, the US traders could also do.

They should do that once the West pays reparations for the opium war.

"the West"

They could have found “anything” in his bag. No reason to believe he was carrying anything at all.

Sounds like air-soft pellets. I imagine most are made in China.

Do you know for a fact that plastic BBs are not considered ammunition in China? That seems silly to me but I'm ready to believe it.

There really isn’t rule of law in China, so this question is really moot. The officials will make whatever modification to the law on the fly to suit their current political needs.

I read somewhere that the Chinese have laws that prohibit projectiles that can deliver certain levels of energy. I mean that not quite right as the gun fires the projectile, but it's possible they do consider this ammunition.

> authorities have alleged that Mr. Hohn was illegally transporting ammunition

Is this all they managed to come up with? The bar for saber rattling is low these days.

Yeah, and to add to that, it appears that while airsoft guns are technically very restricted to the point of being non-practical in China, there is no reason to believe that the pellets themselves would be restricted: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Legal_issues_in_airsoft#China

From that link, the law seems to be fuzzy enough that they can selectively enforce whatever they want.

Right. Thousands of people get detained for dumb reasons every day, in countries around the world. It’s only when China is involved that this somehow becomes the sinister, cynically strategic, premeditated work of a hive mind.

Those are called Airsoft BB’s. They’re sold in the toy section at walmart.

Are paintballguns and paintballs illegal there too?


Tyrants eat meals, therefore people who eat meals are tyrants?

I've always wondered how good the second amendment is against tanks.

I've watched this debate from the sidelines so many times I can repeat the arguments...

The answer is: tanks need to refuel somewhere, or trucks need to bring them more fuel. Also, the people inside the tanks need to get out to eat. And worse... again, just repeating the usual argument here... if it was against a truly dictatorial regime, let's say, to give the benefit of the doubt... the people inside the tank have friends and family that are not with them inside the tank.

But I assume if it got to the point that hundreds of tanks and hundreds of aircraft were being used against US citizens, the humans in the military would probably not be okay with that and this scenario would never happen.

All of these arguments apply in guerilla warzones (eg. Vietnam, Iraq, Somalia) and while insurgents there have certainly been capable of inflicting casualties and denying the U.S. its strategic objectives, they also couldn't stop millions of their countrymen (and usually themselves) from being killed. Winning is cold comfort when everybody is dead.

Except the Vietnamese were not living among the Americans in the same cities. That would've complicated matters a lot. Would we have carpet bombed Chicago? Napalmed people hiding out in Yosemite?

> the humans in the military would probably not be okay with that and this scenario would never happen.

Yes, but in this scenario they would be shooting back. All you need is to label them something starting with T and ending with 'rists' and the rules of engagement change.

In this day and age, the best bet for democratic societies is to try to keep democracy while they still have it. After that is lost, all bets are off. The government controls the legislative, the executive and the judiciary. It controls intelligence gathering. It can make your group illegal, it can then persecute your group, it can throw law enforcement at it before it is even properly organized.

If the military even gets involved, it means that whoever is in charge dropped the ball.

Small arms mean nothing if you have well organized law enforcement. If you add the military to the picture... well, they are trained for exactly this sort of thing, aren't they?

It's all delusions of grandeur from people living in a romanticized fantasy world that does not exist.

This presumes a minority suppressing a majority. The situation in China is a majority suppressing a minority. What would that look like in the US? I would assume it’d involve popular and congressional consent to use SLBM decapitation strikes against “rebel” leaders. No need to advance into contested territories.

This pretty much already happens but the police are used instead. They just shoot a few protestors and the media frames it as "they were resisting".

Look at how fast "good guys with guns fighting the government" got shut down when the BPP started carrying.

A government can't use tanks, artillery, missiles, bombs, etc. in its own territory without wrecking civilian infrastructure and eroding goodwill from neutral or (initially) pro-government civilians.

The goal of conquering an area (unless it's purely a natural resource grab) is to put its infrastructure and people to work to boost your economic tax base. That's not so easy to do when you're blowing stuff up and hurting innocent bystanders and scaring everyone.

Whenever you look at advanced countries fighting against guerrillas, no matter how many guerrillas die for each government soldier, the war never really seems to get won, and the government bleeds money: it has to feed the war machine (direct capital losses), and it suffers productivity (tax base, GDP) losses when infrastructure is destroyed and productivity declines.

Petrol bombs are more effective, though small arms can restrict vision and mobility.


There are reasons IEDs have been the preferred mechanism in recent decades. Now drones.

Pretty good. Tanks unsupported by infantry have a really bad success rate.

The afghani’s are doing just fine with Lee Enfields and a bit of DIY homebrew.

So pretty darn well!

Guns are not match for tanks, and whoever has tanks would definitely control the Mojave desert.

You can buy Airsoft equipment in pretty much any shopping mall in Hong Kong and we have an entire street (Kwong Wah Street) which is lined with Airsoft shops.

They also don't have mass shootings, actually nobody has mass shootings like the US, not even other countries with lots of guns.

> nobody has mass shootings like the US, not even other countries with lots of guns

This is a good argument against gun control as a solution to that problem.

I'm aware ;)

They prefer when protesters can be slaughtered.

ITT: People got angry over a passenger got detained in a third-world country for bullshit reasons

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