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Protester shot in chest by live police round during Hong Kong protests (reddit.com)
628 points by nodea2345 on Oct 1, 2019 | hide | past | favorite | 913 comments

Sure, the kid was swinging at the officer, and I suppose that warrants the officer acting in self-defense. But another question is, what are the protesters supposed to do? The government has all the power, and can simply snuff out any resistence. If you just stand in the streets, they really don't care, they are going to take your freedom. Imagine if the US suddenly had a dictator that just decided they were going to take all property rights and freedoms like that -- I think taking to the streets, and even resorting to violence might be necessary (otherwise the powers-that-be have no reason to listen to a bunch of people standing in a street hundreds of miles away).

I’m from the mainland and totally with HK’s cause. But I do think the violence is at least unnecessary if not detrimental to the movement. If tanks roll in, there’s no point using violence as they’ll be crushed. If they don’t, it seems to me there’s enough space for peaceful protests, which can be even more effectual in many ways. And the people of Hong Kong have shown an incredible amount of creativity in non-violent protests. The kid is so young he shouldn’t be involved in such violence. I hope he will make a full recovery.

> the violence is at least unnecessary if not detrimental to the movement

Judgement is complicated by documented evidence of undercover Hong Kong police dressing up as protesters and acting like belligerent idiots [1].

[1] https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/22/world/hong-kong-police-pr...

Sure, but not in this particular case. The protestor that was shot was caught on the same video chasing down a police officer and beating him before getting shot.


This always happens. It's the most effective way to create the illusion of legitimacy for using violence to kill peaceful protest. The French police have been doing it for ages.

Yes, but in this case the kid was engaging directly in violence so unless he himself was an agent provocateur, this particular shooting can’t be blamed on undercover cops.

Not to mention that the protests were initially peaceful, then they were repeatedly attacked by gangs at the behest of the local authorities.

I agree with you. I think the (relatively) success of the movement so far is due to the sheer creative energy of the protester population.

That said I am fine with measured civil disobedience and symbolic destruction of government / quasi-government / tax-payer funded infrastructure when appropriate.

> If tanks roll in, there’s no point using violence as they’ll be crushed

There are many impromptu homemade devices that can be used to deter tanks

Against modern tanks, there really aren't. Even military grade explosive mines don't stop a modern tank (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Counter-IED_equipment#Mine_Res...) - not to mention things that go in the frontline in urban areas like armored bulldozers (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Armored_bulldozer)

What about the IEDs used in the middle east? How hard is it to put one of those together?

Tanks are quite vulnerable in urban combat. As the Russians learned at the start of the battle of Grozny: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Grozny_(1994–95)

Obviously this is very complicated. Protesters have rights but so do police officers —we hope both operate within the bounds of the law and then that politicians would do the work for a compromise.

But, it becomes really complicated rather fast when rights get eroded.

When the Russians were caught unprepared for war, it wasn’t “right” to send their young conscripts to war with antiquated arms against a modernized force. But what was the alternative to certain carnage? Supplicant carnage? I don’t condone what the Soviets did to their own, but at the same time they had little alternative, though it was due to negligence at the highest office at the time.

Surrender? People criticize the French and others prior to WW2, but would it really have been better to fight unprepared and let a few tens or hundreds of thousands die right off the bat? Sometimes the strategic decision is not the emotional one.

"A strange game. The only winning move is not to play." -Wargames

Are you implying Russia should have surrendered?

The UK would have likely been forced out of the war before the U.S ever got involved. And then you'd give Germany all the resources of Europe to work with for their next war.

Truly, what are you saying.

GP is clearly talking about France, not Russia.

> Surrender?

Well, as a person of Russian descent I can say fk you with such offers. The Nazis had pretty clear goals for Slavic people. Hitler gave pretty clear picture in Mein Kampf what he planned for East territories, and there were no plans for anybody but Germans.

Here what Nazis did on occupied territories with people who "surrendered"


Yeah, I don't favor violence against anyone. But also have to question the ethics of someone who would join the police force to take the rights of HK citizenry by force.

But we need compassion for those officers too, likely they didn't have many options, and dropping party loyalty because you're getting squeemish is a recipe for disappearing or at least a life of poverty and suffering (I'm guessing).

And those people have families too. People are willing to give up a lot to take care of their families. How many of us would do the right thing knowing what might happen to our families? I bet not many.

The full video shows a officer on the ground being beaten with sticks. So it wasn’t just a kid swinging at the officer.

...and the extended version of that video shows how the protesters chased down that officer first, tackled him, and beat him on the ground (including the exact protester that was shot).

Full video: https://twitter.com/bbcchinese/status/1179082367337713666

Could you imagine what would happen in America if an officer was on the ground being beaten?

Let's not use the American police systems as a measuring stick.

At least a full clip.

This kind of discussion seems to constantly confuse "good" as in "moral", or at least "morally justified" and "good" as in "effective to achieve one's goal".

I believe that while protester's violence may very well be morally justified (I don't have enough data to judge, but I can easily imagine this case), I don't think that it can be effective to achieve protester's political goals. Violent protest is only effective when the violence reaches it's logical conclusion and opposing force simply withdraws or surrenders. As was the case in Ukraine in 2014, or in USSR in 1991, it doesn't even need to be a LOT of violence - just enough for the opposite side to get completely demoralized. But China's police and military are not only numerous, well-trained and well-funded - they're also very highly motivated and believe (I think, mistakenly, but truth of their belief is irrelevant) in their cause.

So, the only way for protesters to succeed is to make China look bad: and generally, peaceful protesters are much more effective at creating positive sentiment than armed ones.

There is another angle that shows the cop charging in with a gun drawn before the shot. https://mobile.twitter.com/antielabhk/status/117897105163343...

Also, further muddying things, it shows a moltov cocktail nearly miss a cop right afterwards, and a cop tackle and arrest someone who is on the ground trying to attend to the protestor who was shot. It looks like total chaos on both sides and is way more complicated than someone swinging at someone else.

Here is a more complete video showing the exact protestor who got shot (with the blue shield) chasing down an officer and then beating him on the ground before attacking the rescuing officer and getting shot.


What happened before that one-and-a-half minute video to cause the protesters to chase down the officer?

I don't know - but is your question meant for us to prove the innocence of the victim here?

> but is your question meant for us to prove the innocence of the victim here?

You argued that an incomplete video may convey a different story than what has been presented, but the best you could do to support your claim was presenting your own incomplete video.

If you care for the truth instead of forcing an agenda them the problems caused by selective editing don't cease to exist if you're the one doing the selective editing.

Do you know about Gandhi's nonviolence and civil disobedience movement ? Not saying this is what's required right now. But ultimately it was that that turned the British public opinion and the Crown was forced to withdraw from the colonies.

Civil disobedience worked because it became unprofitable for Britain to stay in the short to medium term, for China it's a territorial claim and they're happy to wait out any lost profits.

Gandhi's first stint at civil disobedience also landed him in jail for 6 years and there was a lot of violence that also played it's role in Indian independence.

Even with an Afghanistan style insurrection it's hard to see China bleeding enough money to give in, so I'm not sure violent means are much of an answer either.

The public opinion completely turned on the British because of Gandhi and that movement. Colonization was seen for what it was...slavery. Having a whole other continent to supply and feed your country was never unprofitable.

I understand what you’re saying but the irony here is not lost on me.

This would work, if they had a leader representing this movement.

When we are judging individuals, it's important to judge with individual circumstances.

Was THIS protestor being violent? Was THIS police officer justified in firing?

In this case, there is one video that isn't getting much viewership which very clearly shows the protestor who was shot, chasing down and beating a police officer on the ground. The officer that fired was coming to the rescue when the protestor attacked him with a pipe and was shot.

Here is that video from BBC Chinese: https://twitter.com/bbcchinese/status/1179082367337713666

The video shows that the police officer had his handgun drawn before he was hit with the pipe.

Furthermore, the same officer was actually carrying a rubber bullet gun on him at the time.

Why didn't he deploy rubber bullets at a distance, but instead charged in with his handgun drawn?

This reminds me of the question: "well, can't the officer just shoot the gun out of his hand or something?"

>Sure, the kid was swinging at the officer, and I suppose that warrants the officer acting in self-defense. But another question is, what are the protesters supposed to do?

That's not how it works in several western countries. People can swing, throw rocks, even molotov cocktails at the SWAT teams, and they still don't shoot live rounds back - and it would be a huge political issue if they did...

It was a few cornered officers, one of whom was having his head stamped on. Not even remotely the same thing

It's not proportionate to shoot someone for fighting you with their fists.

> Imagine if the US suddenly had a dictator that just decided they were going to take all property rights and freedoms like that

He wouldn't be in power long because the economy would shut down and the US cities are extremely dependent upon a functioning economy.

And say California and Texas don't go along--now what? That's more than 50% of your military.

This is similar to Syria. Sure, Assad is still in power, but what's left of the country?

How many American military personnel would just be OK with being told by the President to take property rights and freedoms like that? Do you think they're mind-controlled idiots? It doesn't just suddenly happen, we don't have a totalitarian mindset, it would have to be very gradual and against people who are demonized as immoral or as a scourge on society, like Mexicans or Jews or liberals or Christians. Even then it's so easy to spread news and there's so many people with guns and easy accessibility that it's just going to happen unless we become a more complacent fascist country.

> How many American military personnel would just be OK with being told by the President to take property rights and freedoms like that?

We actually have some data about that. See this[1] comment for excerpts from a survey of "300 US Marine Corps soldiers". Short version of the results: 61.66% would not fire on US citizens if given the (illegal) order "I would fire upon U.S. citizens who refuse or resist confiscation of firearms banned by the U.S. government.", with 16% of respondents using very heavy pencil marks or writing comments in the margin for that answer.

[1] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=10753894

To add anecdote to the data in a sibling comment, I was in the infantry for many years, deployed many times, saw lots of combat. The US government would have a big problem on its hands if any part of it ordered the US military to take property and/or shoot American citizens: Almost no one I ever met would follow those orders. It is a not-uncommon topic of conversation in the grand tradition of military "what if" games. But this is sort of to be expected: Civil wars are extraordinarily messy and complicated, and history bears out that no state goes into this kind of conflict with its military intact. In fact many times it's the kind of thing which triggers the civil war or coups d'etat: The army gets wind of some "unconscionable actions" by the government's ruling party, and some populist general rounds up a few of his most trustworthy subordinates, and seizes power. This is the story of human state failure.


Imagine for a minute what would happen to protesters in America if they acted like those in Hong Kong. Any amount of guns would have been met with overwhelming force and put down with absolute prejudice.

We even have laws in more than a handful of states that allows people to run over protesters with their cars and enjoy legal protection.

Keep kidding yourself.

When people are celebrating the 2nd in this thread, they are talking about if white middle America was the main composition of the protesters . I guarantee you that none of these 2nd amendment lovers would ever support Ferguson protesters arming themselves, much less deploying lethal force against the police.


What's even sadder is that he cites an instance of the government murdering nonviolent protestors as a reason citizens should not have guns.


Yes, because what idiot would want to reduce America's world-beating 40,000 gun deaths per year?

HK's homicide rate is almost 20 times lower than the USA's. To catch up with the US murder rate, adjusted for population, the HK police will need to kill about another 350 protestors for this year.

> Imagine if the US suddenly had a dictator that just decided they were going to take all property rights and freedoms like that

Do you know anything about China and Hong Kong? What exactly do you think China has done in Hong Kong?

EDIT: Down-voters, can you answer the question? Or are you just going to try to bury it with down-votes?

I DO know something about China and Hong Kong, having lived/worked/studied in them, and having half of my family there. And of course, as in any of these things, nuance is the first thing that goes out the window.

First, although Hongkong has been peaceful in the last decades, it has had some pretty severe rioting before, in the 60s and at various other times. But what we see now is a drawn out result of the 1997 hand-over. There are many factors. One is that China (and the colluding business interests) have moved step by step in opposite direction of democracy. Another is more about psychology - Hongkong used to be a star in the region, but it's now in Chinas shadow and more and more dependent on the mainland, even "overrun" in certain ways. So there is a built up frustration in Hongkong around both of these things.

China has not yet brought down the hammer on Hongkong, and they have not removed property rights and the overall freedom. Sadly, these protests are more likely to bring the dictatorship closer. But all revolutions are like that. Almost inevitably they turn violent (on both sides). The government feel the need to push back harder to quell the fire. In any conflict, both sides lose. And yes, almost inevitably

Now, that's the nuance. Then you have the simple fact that China is not a democracy, it's an oppressive surveillance one-party state. All of the democratic world has a certain moral obligation to either attempt to transform or to oppose China. Unfortunately, most have gotten in too deep and have too much to lose on criticising China. Therefore the global response is weak, and large corporations tend to follow the money rather than the principle. This is very sad.

> China has not yet brought down the hammer on Hongkong, and they have not removed property rights and the overall freedom.

Thank you!

> Sadly, these protests are more likely to bring the dictatorship closer.

That's my fear as well. I'm all for peaceful protests, but I'm afraid the violent protesters are signing the death wish of freedom in Hong Kong.

> Then you have the simple fact that China is not a democracy, it's an oppressive surveillance one-party state.

(I'll ignore the "oppressive surveillance" you snuck in there, as that's not an exclusive to China, and many democracies are much further along in that regard.)

And that makes China automatically bad...how? China has on balance done less evil and more good than most of the democracies of the world. Can we be honest with ourselves and keep an open mind?

> All of the democratic world has a certain moral obligation to either attempt to transform or to oppose China.

China certainly should be kept in check by fellow world powers. But let's not get carried away with mindless ideology and dogma.

> Imagine if the US suddenly had a dictator

Not so hard to imagine these days.

You said yourself that the government has all the power, and can simply snuff out any resistence. If that's the case, doesn't that make the protesters assault a senseless assault? What were they trying to accomplish when they were beating the officer?

> warrants the officer acting in self-defense

I question the appropriateness of using a firearm with conventional lethal ammunition.

A rubber bullet in lower body would have had enough stopping power. What happened looks like a blatant violation of any reasonable protocol law enforcement would be supposed to behave in accordance with under the circumstances.

> A rubber bullet in lower body would have had enough stopping power.

No, it wouldn't. I've sustained worse injuries than a rubber bullet and remained fighting.

A bat to the head is a lethal assault. Using a firearm against such an assailant is completely justified.

This has nothing to do with pro / anti CCP feelings. As far as I'm concerned the CCP should be eliminated.

Your assertion is devoid of any reality.

Shooting to kill a 16yr old instead of getting beaten up is justified??

Not where I'm from


The only way to end such confrontation is simplistically to love your enemy; or at least stop being quite so mean ;)

Edit: I've never been shot or faced those injuries, but I've certainly been in worse situations than that police officer. So just on that basis that I'm judging his actions

> instead if getting beaten up

To be fair, the comment you’re responding to is implying worse outcome than getting beaten up, claiming that the kid & his weapon posed lethal danger to an officer who was defenseless on the ground at the moment.

I do agree with the sentiment though

It takes one blow from a bat to the head to die. Yours is asking someone to risk death death, not a beating.

Were it simple fists I’d wonder what lack of training these officers have. Weapons are another matter.

Thanks @goblin89, you are right

Sorry @mieseratte, what you say is true. I exaggerated. Looking at the videos now though the boy was armed with a swimming float as a shield and a relatively thin white (plastic??) pole. It's true that that could still cause a lot of damage

But I wasn't there, and if someone is facing a baseball bat (and others in the crowd had hammers) to the head then you are right, that is a different ball game to what I was hoping for

What about aiming not in the chest at least? Would a bullet in a foot have enough stopping power, without being so short of lethal outcome?

> Would a bullet in a foot have enough stopping power, without being so short of lethal outcome?

Not reliably, which is why every organization that carries and trains with guns trains center of mass shots except for specialized marksmen training for specialized circumstances, who tend to train harder but even more lethal shots.

When you are using a gun, the choices for reliable stopping are nearly identical to those for maximum fatality. If you aren't justified in killing someone, you have no business firing a gun at them, and if you are justified in firing a gun at someone, aiming anywhere in the limbs doesn't make it nonlethal, it just raises the risk to yourself and bystanders by making the outcome less certain.

> remained fighting

Without interruption? Then I stand corrected.

I imagine the point would be to confound, give the time to extract the officer from immediate danger, not to immobilize the attacker entirely with a rubber bullet.

(And you’re right, I should not have phrased that as an assertion not being an expert in the field.)

The situation of HK and the rights of the residents have not fundamentally changed since it was ceded to the British in 1842. In fact they have more democratic representation now than during most of their history.

It's far from perfect but it's infinitely better than on the mainland.

Nothing justifies "resorting to violence" in HK today. The violent actions along with anti-Chinese displays are in fact counterproductive because they push the central government to tighten the screw and unite the mainland's public opinion against them.

Many of these protesters have no democratic culture themselves. Anyone who disagrees with them is wrong and an enemy that must be fought by any means.

> Nothing justifies "resorting to violence" in HK today

If they're basically going to be steamrolled by a rather unsubtle up-and-coming superpower, perhaps they have no choice. In fact IF violence is all you're left with (and that does seem to be the case as legal recourse is blocked) then violence is necessary.

The CCP is not backing down until it has borged HK.

What are the specific "actions of the CCP" that have actually occurred to date that supposedly justify violence from the protesters?

Any time there's an article about China and Hong Kong, people who know nothing about either, besides that China is ruled by the communist party, come out of the woodwork to take a dump on China.

People look down on Trump and ridicule him endlessly when he spews bullshit about things he knows nothing about. But if you spew bullshit about China, you get lots of upvotes.

And if you dare to speak the truth and the nuances about the situation in Hong Kong, you get downvoted to oblivion.

EDIT: Case in point, downvoters! Go ahead, show me you know something about China and Hong Kong.

The bias you're talking about is real, in my observation, but you can't counteract it by ranting and breaking the site guidelines, let alone baiting others into downvoting you. It's a direct consequence of HN's demographics, which are overwhelmingly Western, and there's no way to change it other than slowly and patiently, by adding good information.

Of course it's frustrating to encounter inflammatory comments that are based in ignorance. But if you respond like this, you feed those comments and give them greater credibility, while discrediting the very side you're trying to defend.

If you know more, then a better way is to share some of what you know so that others can learn. In any case, if you post here, please stick to the site rules regardless of how wrong or ignorant other commenters are or you feel they are.


I was baiting for good information, not downvotes.

My apologies if it came out wrong.

Ah. The way to get good information is to post some yourself, and to do it in a way that communicates neutrality and openness to other points of view.

If you post in the flamewar style, everyone's going to just go rigid and fire on all cylinders. This mechanism works the same way regardless of what the topic is, and regardless of whose position is right or wrong.

It's the worst part of the Internet: there is really no real listening to the other side. Everybody gets an opinion and the most important thing for him on something not really in his field(s) is, get his opinion out!

I think the HN's algorithm also contribute to the problem: the fastest and most upvoted response leads the discussion, and normally not the most valuable.

I'm getting used to it so I ceased to comment on the main post whatever. People can believe in what they believe in and it's fine for me. You probably should do the same, too.

Yup, I've given up ages ago. When confirmation bias has hit supercritical level like it has here, there's nothing anyone can say anymore that will change the minds of those holding the consensus opinion.


We've banned this account for trolling. Doing this will get your main account banned as well, so please don't.


Truth be told, I'm having too much fun calling out bullshit.

You should try to enjoy it too. It gets lonely sometimes :)

> But another question is, what are the protesters supposed to do?

But another question is, what people in Beijing supposed to do?

Think of that. To many, it's very clear that men in black will not be content even if given suffrage. Then they will want places in legislature, own foreign policy, armed forces, and ultimately sovereignty.

The popular sentiment that it's "poor HK kids" coming out at large out of desperation for their material situation can't hold water. Most of activists are children of very well off people, well educated, with a lot of life experience overseas, who had their future well being secured by their parents. No way they will be appeased with just a carrot.

The Party is well aware of that. There for long been a sentiment that Hongkong is a "trojan horse" the West gave to China, and the current crisis only reinforces this opinion among people in Beijing, and down to junior-mid-level cadres. There is no way the Party will back down.

This mess will take years to settle down in any scenario.

Ah yes, democratic representation and sovereignty. Entirely unthinkable.

Imagine yourself a party bureaucrat. Would you do a 100% career ending move?

That's why I point to the crisis being irresolvable. No way out of this for both sides.

The king of Botswana did it to himself. (and was then democratically elected as the president)

The General in Nigeria who overthrew the President in a Coup then handed power over to a new democratically elected President a year later.

Yes. Good, honest upstanding men (and women) will destroy their own position and power when it's the right thing to to.

The hard part is finding the Good and honest ones, and I suspect they are very few are far between in the Chinese leadership.

I'm not even talking about leaders on the level politburo, there is no chance they will move. People who reach this level are pretty much robots after 40+ year careers in the party.

People on level municipalities, and provinces may show some rare signs of common sense from time to time, but them moment any of them (yes, even a provincial governor) will rise a hand, they will instantly be politically terminated.

And you have a system where tops are incapable of integrating any input for plainly neurological-biological reasons, and anybody with a shade of influence on them is super duper afraid of getting politically railroaded by both higher ups, and peers contending for promotion.

This is modern China for you.

Such is the distinction between what is good in a utilitarian sense and what is good in an ethical sense.

Blind and dogmatic utilitarianism says "it's in the politician's best interest to suppress the citizenry". Ethics says "it's in the people's interest for the politician to be nice to them".

> Most of activists are children of very well off people

Do you have data or reference to back them? Surely there could be rich kids among the protestors, but is that a majority of them?

HK is just across the river from me, and I lived enough on both sides to know how the social architecture of both countries works

The best proof of what I said is that all convenience stores and seven elevens are fully staffed, and running. Janitors, taxi drivers continue to work like nothing happened.

HK Poly is more or less preserving minimal functioning, but HK University is effectively defunct now. All kinds of banks, business services companies work in severely reduced capacity.

All of well of Hongkoners I know myself either: 1.) ran away to Mainland, 2.) ran away to Vancouver, 3.) are on the streets right now

What I heard is that they only protest on weekends? Are they doing it everyday now?

> All of well of Hongkoners I know myself either: 1.) ran away to Mainland, 2.) ran away to Vancouver, 3.) are on the streets right now

So, among them, what kind runs away, and what kind goes to the street?

The first question. No way to attest that for me, do your guess from other news.

The super rich of HK are surely out, they do so every time when there is trouble. Hongkongers who bought foreign property or passports in past years are certainly moved out by now too.

So, that leaves your typical petit bourgeois behind. Clerks, government workers, part of white collar workforce

The very notion that people want free government and self-determination is a bad thing is why you're being downvoted on an American forum. There is not a lot of support for oppressive governments that commit genocide against religious minorities and put people in prison for political dissidence.

You may be playing devil's advocate for the "party" but it comes too close to sounding like you're defending them.

> There is not a lot of support for oppressive governments that commit genocide against religious minorities and put people in prison for political dissidence.

That's funny, I thought Saudi Arabia was America's close ally. Yuuuge deals on military hardware, great against defenseless Yemeni citizens. Free bone saw with every 10th missile!

The irony is of course to downvote to hell any dissenting comment in a debate about democratic values and censorship in China...

> The irony is of course to downvote to hell any dissenting comment in a debate about democratic values and censorship in China...

Please don't confuse PR posts conducted by China's 50 cent army lauding absurdities such as the virtues of a totalitarian regime as "dissenting comment".

Please stop assuming that any comment that does not share your opinion on China is fake.

A dissenting comment that is wrong is a bad comment and deserves downvoting for being wrong.

I'm not saying it is wrong, but expecting that democracy means all opinions are valid is a very basic misunderstanding. Very basic.

At the very least it does mean not suppressing opinions that you consider 'wrong'.

This is not a discussion on a technical or scientific topic. This is not black and white.

In fact, and since someone mentioned the American nationality of HN, the lack of subtlety and the need to see everything in black and white, right or wrong, is a common 'criticisim', so to speak, about Americans.

> At the very least it does mean not suppressing opinions that you consider 'wrong'.


> This is not black and white.

Potentially true, but I feel you're fogging the issue (something that happens a surprising amount of time in these discussions involving china).

I distinguished between dissenting comments and bad comments. While that's not utterly B/W it's actually pretty clear.

> In fact, and since someone mentioned the American nationality of HN, the lack of subtlety and the need to see everything in black and white, right or wrong, is a common 'criticisim', so to speak, about Americans.

Ah good old racism! And it is racism BTW. Americans are crude, stupid and gunslinging morons. Well, I've met a very few like that, very few indeed.

Can I make some obnoxious and unfair generalisations about the chinese? You're OK with that I take it?

I'm a brit BTW.

The downside of freedom of speech is what one has to read, sometimes..

That insinuation that I'm uneducated addresses none of my points. So how about replying to the given issues.

There is no irony. I am not calling the authorities to have you and your family beaten and arrested.

This is not the first time the HKPF has used overt force on a protester, just the first time it has done so publicly. Several protesters have already been "disappeared", and there are many stories coming out of brutal torture against activists. If Beijing authorities have learned one thing from Tiananmen Square, it's that in the internet age violent suppression must happen in private places, where it cannot be recorded by someone's cellphone and shared instantly with the world. Public acts of violence is a PR nightmare and only fans the flames of dissent.

This event will only harden HKers more. In the short term it might prevent mainstream protesters from taking to the streets out of fear of violence. But it will make the average HKer more resentful of Beijing's long arm and empower radical factions. And there are many ways to weaken a government's control outside of public protest.

EDIT: Protester is in critical condition. He was not killed.

> Several protesters have already been "disappeared", and there are many stories coming out of brutal torture against activists.

Are these backed by evidence, or just rumours? Of course the protestors will blame the police, and the police may blame the protestors too.

Rumours mostly. See below for an example.


As of this writing the protester in question was injured, not killed.

Fixed. Thanks.

Not to defend what the police have been doing overall during this protest, but in this specific incident you can see the protestors beating a police officer on the ground, and the protestor who got shot was swinging a metal pipe at the police officer that shot him.

I've been fairly critical of protestors before, but in this instance, you can see the police going in for a fight, already heavily outnumbered. I'm not sure what they expected to happen, but the officer drew his gun almost instantly and shot a high school kid at point blank range.

There's been other instances today where police was just looking to fight protestors, and as soon as they realized protestors weren't having any of it, they drew their guns and shot in the air. There's a difference between an officers' life being in danger, and the officer stupidly putting his life in danger.

> There's been other instances today where police was just looking to fight protestors

And protestors obviously looking to fight police. They swarmed the other officers partner who was being beaten on the ground and he was next.

I find it shocking so many people were expecting him to just take it the beating or 'run away' and leave his partner there.

There's a very good argument for having police on the streets when there's protestors running around throwing petrol bombs and swinging metal pipes. This is basic civil society 101 stuff. I'm not convinced the solution to China's totalitarianism is random street violence and property destruction by teenagers.

The protests started out peacefully and stayed peaceful for months, even in the face of state-sponsored gang violence (Yuen Long Station), false arrests, and police brutality. All of these things have rightfully angered the citizens of HK. They have every right to protest their government, especially the CCP, one of the most egregious violators of human rights in the modern era.

They are not just teenagers engaging in random street violence and property destruction. There are people from 12-80 on the street. Professionals, part-timers, students, retirees, everyone. Over a million people turned out last August in one of the largest protest marches in human history.

All the escalation is the result of CCP/HK not providing a political solution. They just send riot police to peaceful protests every weekend, and more violence occurs.

Admittedly it's hard to stay on top of all this stuff. The CCP's propaganda machine is working overtime and here in the West we're not doing a great job sounding the alarm in the press (in fairness, we have our own problems). But it's a serious protest movement fighting as honorably as it can for democracy and human rights, with global, fundamental consequences. We should be backing them 100%.

> I find it shocking so many people were expecting him to just take it the beating or 'run away' and leave his partner there.

When you're a public servant, this should be expected of you. Especially when the crime you're trying to brutalize members of the public for is "exercising freedom of expression"

This is a case of self defense

> And protestors obviously looking to fight police. They swarmed the other officers partner who was being beaten on the ground and he was next.

While true, protestors can't just resort to drawing their guns and firing warning shots. Police have a civil duty to uphold the law and be professional, not to go out fighting protestors and then flash their guns to scare them away when they're losing.

> I find it shocking so many people were expecting him to just take it the beating or 'run away' and leave his partner there.

That's what the protesters are expected to do.

Attacking the police was definitely a bad idea, especially for strategic reasons--this illustrates why Ghandi and King preached 100% passive resistance. Protesters can allow themselves to be brutalized for months, and the moment a few of them hit back, the narrative starts to shift to "violent thugs."

If you want to retain the moral high ground in the face of organized propaganda, you're not allowed to physically defend yourself even once.

https://www.liveleak.com/view?t=kVZq_1569989463 They run to save one of their own being beaten to death with pipes and hammers.

Today is China's National Day. That probably heat up the conflict.

Context is everything.

The police are allowed to shoot someone in the leg. Lethal force is not the only option with a firearm.

Citation needed.

Which police force trains their officers to shoot people in the leg?

My understanding is that, if you need to shoot someone, there’s an immediate threat. You shoot for the largest target, so you won’t miss and so you do the most damage.

If you aim for the leg, you’re likely to miss. Even if you hit the leg, there’s a femoral artery in there. If you hit that person will bleed out in just a few minutes.

The Swedish police. They are allowed to shoot to kill, but in some circumstances (likely not a riot, but it's a case by case judgement) are instructed to aim for the legs.

This is strange to me. Firstly, because hitting a target with a pistol under high stress can be extremely difficult and legs are smaller than torso, and secondly, because "aiming for the legs" doesn't guarantee that it won't be lethal. If you take a shot to the femoral artery your chances of surviving aren't great. In fact, they're probably worse than taking a shot to the torso.

There was a video going around a few years ago where a policeman shot a robber in the thigh. The round hit his femoral artery and he was dead within five minutes.

It is kind of strange, but nevertheless, that's how it is. They are supposed to use the maim option with discretion. And it has caused death several times.

The police used to have smaller caliber pistols, and IIRC they put 14 rounds in someone leg, which didn't stop him from approaching the policemen doing the shooting. He still died though! This incident was one reason why they were later equipped with the more powerful SigSauer for more stopping power.

Jeez that's crazy. 14 rounds in a leg...how was that thing even still attached?

Do the police there have tasers? That could be a good tool for this type of thing.

Small caliber rounds. Tasers may come in the future. But back when that incident happened, tasers were not a thing.

Edit: I am torn on tasers. It’s a viable tool. I am just very pessimistic. I fully expect them to used VERY liberally in all sorts of situations where we got along very fine without them. It’s yet another way of dehumanising an encounter

Yeah, they do seem like they get used a lot here in the US. That said, I'd much rather be dehumanized with a taser than with a gun.

Of course!

It's just that I think you will be attacked with a taser instead of being asked to lie still on the ground until they can handcuff you. Suspect neutralized. Or tased in the cruiser for being unruly. Except they were just angry with you. And so on. Unless tasing comes with the kind of paperwork that comes with discharging a firearm, I think it will be misused a lot.

Any use of a firearm is potentially lethal and should be treated as such. The precision necessary for the scenario you are proposing is not physiologically possible during an active conflict.

Curious if there's any place where this is common. I assumed everyone trains center mass. Also, there's a femoral artery in your leg... you'll be just as dead if that gets hit.

Different police units are trained for different rules. Somewhere it is a verbal warning, warning shot, shot in the leg, shot to kill. Sometimes it is just a verbal warning and a shot to kill. Not defending the police in this specific case (I do not know the details), but blaming an officer for following the sequence he has been trained for is misplacing the blame. My 2c.

I highly doubt any officers anywhere are trained to fire a warning shot, much less a precise disabling shot in the leg. When you fire your weapon, it is with the intent to kill.

In defensive shootings the objective is to stop the immediate threat which is best accomplished by shooting center mass and damaging the vital organs. Shooting to maim will give the attacker the opportunity to disable you or take the weapon from you which will likely result in your death.

At that scenario you might shoot right through someone's brain.

There's significant high chance to shoot through arteries at leg shots.

Full context is police officers often beat protests during arresting. Sometimes they just fight each other. Anyway, I think the officer have better choices than attempting to kill the kid(shot in chest is obvious willing to kill).

I think anytime you shoot a gun at one someone you are shooting to kill, shoot to maim feels like it would be practically impossible outside of movies.

But I might be wrong, I've never shot a gun.

I'm not taking a side on this specific situation, but shooting at a limb in a high stress, crowded situation would not be a wise shot. You would likely miss--and hitting someone that was not your target would not be good.

Another comment mentions training for center of mass, and I would assume that's what they do.

Let's say 80% of your shots constitute a "tight grouping", 20% being somewhere other than where you were aiming. Aiming for the middle of the body would likely mean you have a very high success rate of hitting your target individual. Aiming for the shoulder/leg/arm (each one harder than the last to hit) you are looking at a very low success rate of hitting your target. If you choose to use your weapon, I would hope you are confident you will hit your target and only your target.

This concept you can shoot to maim is silly. Hitting a man is hard if you practice shooting. In a chaotic situation with adrenaline its even harder.

Shooting to hit is all you can do.

The police in Sweden is trained to shoot to maim, but only in somewhat controlled situations, such as someone wielding a knife approaching officers from a distance. First warn verbally, then fire a warning shot, then fire at the legs.

When there is no margin left, fire to stop. (Which means in practice, often death.)


The distance has to be very great - 21 feet is often quoted as the minimum distance where a gun wins over a knife. And many barrooms are less than that.

So in theory its a kind idea. But hardly ever significant in practice?

> 21 feet is often quoted as the minimum distance where a gun wins over a knife

Against an already drawn gun and a trained as well as attentive officer? Do you have a source for that? I have a hard time believing that. Or is this the case after factoring into the US mentality of "there may not ever be any residual risk for a cop"?

I would argue a sawed off double barrel 12 gauge with double / triple aught buck would reduce that down to a few feet.

Problem would be how you train people to hold their cool

That cavalier attitude is what gets officers killed in bar fights. It takes a couple seconds to cross 21 feet. About what it takes to recognize the danger and raise the weapon.

The shoot first attitude is what gets unarmed citizens and other cops killed in bar fights


THis might be a stupid question, but where are Warning shots fired?

Are they fired close to the target, but far enough away to miss? Can this only be done if there is no one behind the target, are they shot into the sky? If so is their no danger of bullets hitting people falling back down? Or do they lose enough speed on the downward arc to be safe? Or is the chance of a warning shot hitting someone innocent so staggering low that it isn't worth worrying about?

I live in the USA, and the only place I've ever seen warning shots being recommended was by the military in Iraq when civilian vehicles would drive too close to a convoy. If a gun is used, it's because you feel that your life or someone elses is in imminent danger. Warning shots can ricochet and kill someone, and bullets can still come down with lethal force if a warning shot is fired into the air. Shooting to maim is possible if the situation allows for it, but warning shots can end up killing someone besides the intended target.

I was skeptical in the beginning that "bullets can still come down with lethal force if a warning shot is fired into the air" but I guess you are correct. Mythbusters were testing this in one episode and [1]"Because of this potentiality, firing a gun into the air is illegal in most states, and even in the states that it is legal, it is not recommended by the police. Also the MythBusters were able to identify two people who had been injured by falling bullets, one of them fatally injured"

[1] https://mythresults.com/episode50

The only way this sort of training would work IMO would be with sociopaths or psychopaths who dont have the huge adrenaline jump from emotional attachment to other humans.

I don't understand this notion. The training is exactly to make people just respond with how they were trained, automatically. This is also how the military works. Since you just do it, you aren't as likely to ponder what will happen to the human in the cross hairs. These thoughts come afterwards.

Never had a person in your cross hairs i take it ?

And yet somehow Slovenian police manages to do just that (shoot to maim, usually leg), on very rare occasions when it has to use a gun and warning shot didn't suffice.


shows cop ran into the crowd and had a clear exit path (not necessary to shoot to remain safe)

It looks to me like he ran in to try and protect the police officer that was surrounded on the ground, and didn't fire until he was attacked. I don't know the context around this specific event, but it doesn't look like the "police officer runs in and shoots child protestor" narrative that is being pushed on reddit.

Closeup video of the shooting: https://streamable.com/2hei6

Longer video of the shooting: https://streamable.com/qtyii

Just like the Yuen Long attack by white shirt triads sparked the current cycle of violence, this will further escalate a dangerous situation. There is a clear difference between fighting with sticks and stones to guns. It is now only a matter of time before somebody shoots a police officer in retaliation and when that happens, violence will spiral out of control.

I prefer not to get major news from Reddit. The New York Times is covering this in great detail: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/30/world/asia/china-national...

Obviously China is evil etc etc.

But isn't it pretty obvious these people are physically attacking armed officers as they are retreating? And they are beating up and kicking another downed officer in the head?

Whilst I might have sympathy for their cause the kid struck an armed officer with a weapon whilst he wielded a gun as his friends beat another armed officer. I have very little sympathy for anyone who makes such poor decisions in a group delerium of impunity.

Edit: If anyone downvoting would care to offer another option, that would be appreciated

> Obviously China is evil

Good grief. Would you please review the site guidelines and take care to edit such flamebait out of your posts to HN?


Apologies, but I was clearly making humorous reference to the hyperbolic knee jerk condemnation of China in the thread irrelevant to the situation. Not actually making an ideological statement.

Oh, I see. Unfortunately, many readers won't read a comment like that any more closely than I did. It's best not to go there when the topic is inflammatory.

Perhaps my British isles sensibilities don't translate to American very well. I'll be more deliberate in future

There are two things to unpack here.

One is, what it the police officer right there and then supposed to do? Police forces across the world have faced similarly violent protests, and even riots while managing not to shoot anybody. It's part of their job. Police in the UK in riot situations aren't even armed with firearms. Pretty much the only situations in which UK police ever get issued firearms is when facing similarly armed criminals. If they are getting themselves in situations, against protesters not armed with guns, where they feel the need to shoot their way out, they have badly screwed up.

Secondly, HK police routinely assault and very severely beat even non-violent protesters. They have frequently provoked and incited violence. This isn't an isolated example of defensive violence by peace keeping law officers. This is a further escalation to potentially lethal violence by a hostile force that has repeatedly upped the scale of violence in HK.

I'm afraid that's not even close to an accurate comparison. Indeed I find it entirely disingenuous. There are plenty of armed officers in the UK for a start, I see them most days. Riot police in the UK are supported by authorized firearms officers in most cases.

Secondly most world police forces have weapons, and the citizenry in those countries are aware of that. At the end of the day, a small group of officers were being attacked by a larger group of people. An officer is on the ground being kicked as violently and as brutally as possible. Another officer is being attacked despite warning use of his weapon and I'm afraid seems well within his rights to protect himself here, with unfortunate outcomes.

You cannot excuse the role of the protesters in provoking this action.

Police officers on diplomatic protection, airport security, etc are usually armed, and there may well be armed officers available in riot situations, but they are backup not front line.

I said myself it’s not the same elsewhere, many other police services are armed but even so using live ammunition against protesters is unacceptable anywhere.

I agree the protesters know what they are doing, but just as I cannot deny their role, equally can you really deny the role the HK police have played in deliberately provoking and escalating the violence? Do you think that is acceptable?

> Do you think that is acceptable?

I think it irrelevant. You don't hit a guy with a gun pointed at you with a pipe and expect not to be shot. The wider situation is not relevant unless the chap wanted to be shot.

> but they are backup not front line.

Also incorrect. I see armed patrols every day

Having a gun and pointing it at people does not give anyone the right to shoot them.

That last comment was referring specifically to police in riot situation.

i think i saw yesterday though that the Government there is infiltrating the protest groups with agent provocateurs so i dont know what to believe anymore

Entirely irrelevant as there is a video of the kid hitting a police officer with his gun drawn. This is entirely self inflicted.

There is no strategic advantage to physically attacking a police officer in this context. It didn't further a cause in any conflict. If you go and hit someone with a gun pointed at you it is undeniable that the person acted in self defence.

I hate to be defending these things, but the hypocrisy and hyperbole are unhelpful in understanding the truth

The video. Pretty clear he's swinging something that looks like a pipe or a wooden stick. Not the full context, and I imagine the police have things to answer for. But swinging a stick/pipe at an armed person isn't wise.


While I would expect repercussions when swinging at police, I think being physically present in confrontation shows a level of commitment that a weaker protest movement might not show. Sure, if you die you aren't going to be protesting any longer, but that doesn't mean it has no strategic value as perhaps the only option a protester might see is violent escalation.

That's the point.

You "think" you saw? That's not very convincing.

Remember the Boston Massacre:

> The Boston Massacre is considered one of the most significant events that turned colonial sentiment against King George III and British Parliamentary authority. John Adams wrote that the "foundation of American independence was laid" on March 5, 1770, and Samuel Adams and other Patriots used annual commemorations (Massacre Day) to encourage public sentiment toward independence. Christopher Monk was the boy who was wounded in the attack and died in 1780, and his memory was honored as a reminder of British hostility.


Ah yes, if Chinese police did it, its barbaric. US cops do far worse on a daily basis and are worshiped as heroes and literally get away with murder without so much as a charge.

This is a topic of fierce controversy in america, where police shootings often result in protests

This is an example of the same disconnect you describe in the comment

I expect this cop won't be meaningfully punished either

Saw some of the videos and reports, it is awful. One thing I don't understand - these cops are also from HK, correct? The protestors are fighting for the cops rights too, correct? If that is true, what is going on in the mind of a cop who is beating an unarmed protestor?

Or are these cops from mainland China?

cops are trained to view their own population as hostile everywhere

This is bad, but the US should not intervene. Never have I ever seen an "intervention" help. If you can name one I'd love to hear it.

Vice News was doing, IMO, some of the best coverage of the situation in Hong Kong. Sadly, it seems the new AT&T leadership at HBO decided to make their mark and didn’t renew their contract.

I respect the bravery of the protesters but in certain cases the violence is getting out of hand. An example from today: https://twitter.com/FxLowe/status/1179019436923056128

You can't mob the guys with guns. Not in HK, not in the West, not anywhere.

There's a complete breakdown of trust on both sides so likely a long time before this defuses.

Serious question: Why aren't more from the police protesting as well, and supporting their citizens? I expect it is from fear of the government? What would they do to police unwilling to perform their duty? I wonder, because you have to assume some percentage of the police is in agreement with the protestors. Or maybe it is because right now, no matter what their opinion is, the need for order and police is greater than ever.

No idea what their pay structure is like, but if they're getting paid overtime they're creating a direct cost for the government and making a profit at the same time. Their protest can be as simple as turning up and doing a half-assed job.

What is the protestors' end game here? Hasn't the extradition bill been killed? What do they need to end the protests and return to normal? I am genuinely curious.

The five demands:

1. Withdraw the bill - which finally did happen, after much stalling.

2. Independent investigation of the police intervention.

3. Not classifying the mostly peaceful protests as riots.

4. Release of the many arrested protesters. (Who could face very long prison sentences because of previous point.)

5. Democratic elections of the HK government - which seems wildly optimistic but is apparently in the HK constitution.

Thank you

Here is the full video from BBC for context https://youtu.be/Q0AiW_qMTt8

This might sound alarmist, but do you think China is the biggest upcoming global problem after climate change? For two reasons:

1. China has a totalitarian ruling system. They intend to realize George Orwell's 1984.

2. Present-day China essentially has no ethics. Take the US in comparison. No matter how perverse the people in power become and even if they do messed up things, the US has some founding morals and principles they do not forget. China, in comparison, systematically rooted out these values since the Great Leap Forward. The happenings at Hong Kong and Xinjiang epitomize that.

I do think China's expansionist policy bodes poorly for all of humanity.

Please don't take HN threads into nationalistic flamewar. This is not at all what this site is for.


> Present-day China essentially has no ethics

Source? I lived in China and didn't ever feel like I was in a place without ethics. Different ethics, sure, but it really looks to me like you simply don't know or understand China.

The Great Leap Forward had nothing to do with routing out values, it was about hyper-fast industrialization, and it failed.

There are real problems with modern China, and, separately, with the CCP, for example a lack of separation of powers and a lack of rule of law. But your statements look much more like fear of the other and demonization of what you don't understand that well reasoned arguments.

If you live in China, you'll experience some things that are much better than they are in western countries. I'm not saying there's any comparison really, but the fact is that the reality is far more complex than you're making it out to be.

That’s interesting to hear. Not trying to troll, but I’d love to hear about what you have found to be better about it.

I would say the biggest thing is the emphasis on public works. Wherever I went I was awed by the extent of things that were built just for the public. In the city where I lived there they built a new fancy bridge[0], and a massive park with an island and an art center[1], all for public use, and the city hosts massive public celebrations in these kinds of parks with extensive art installations, music performances etc.

The quality of the high speed rail system barely needs mention, and while the hospital system has some pretty glaring faults the cost of care was low and it was easy and affordable to get medical care. Think of this: when I got an X-ray in China I payed upfront and the radiologist _gave me the x-ray_ so I could bring it to more than one doctor if I wanted a second opinion. The transparency there was refreshing.

Again, there are plenty of brutal negatives, but I just want to show that there are some good things that don't get press.

[0] https://www.treehugger.com/infrastructure/lucky-knot-bridge-...

[1] https://www.dezeen.com/2019/05/03/zaha-hadid-architects-chan...

> The quality of the high speed rail system barely needs mention

China is not famous for the quality of it's high speed tail system. China is famous for two things:

1) throwing huge amounts of money/resources to build their high-speed railway network

2) stealing intelectual property from manufacturers of high-speed railway rolling stock, whether through industrial espionage or hijacking production processes after enticing European companies with contracts to build European rolling stock designs in China.

Also, China's high-speed railway is also infamous for their accidents, particularly by the inhumane way that chinese officials decided to cover them up (i.e., burry wreckage next to crash sites without recovering dead bodies)

> the radiologist _gave me the x-ray_ so I could bring it to more than one doctor if I wanted a second opinion.

In the US you can always get your medical records just by asking for them and you can always get a second opinion.

1) Infrastructure in general is new there - look at a picture of Shanghai even 25 years ago.

2) Getting a second opinion in the US is generally easy - I would guess China has cheaper healthcare however

Topic is about "ethics".

I mean, people can believe in what they believe in, right? And there are plenty of articles from the media.

If you kill political dissidents and harvest their organs as part of an active genocide campaign, you lose any claim at behaving ethically. Ethics are measured by the actions you take that you'd rather not advertise.

Part of my point is that this is being done by the CCP. If you want to say the CCP doesn't have ethics that's a different argument than "China doesn't have ethics", and I don't think that's too pedantic too point out.

I think that distinction is already sufficiently implied.

China/<Country's name> == The government of China/<The government of Country>


The Chinese == The inhabitants of China

> I think that distinction is already sufficiently implied.

No, it's not.

> China/<Country's name> == The government of China/<The government of Country>

> and

> The Chinese == The inhabitants of China

I've had some rather deep political conversations with a few Chinese people, and it's my understanding that education there doesn't stress the distinction between the Chinese nation and the Chinese government. So, using the word "China" to condemn the government can will often be interpreted as condemning the nation and does encourages ordinary Chinese to stand by their government, right or wrong. Don't do that.

If you want to condemn the Chinese government, name the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) in your condemnations, for clarity's sake.

Do the people going to the clinics for life-saving organ transplants know that the organs are coming from prisoners who do not give them up voluntarily?

Where did the CCP get all the doctors and nurses who carry out the vivisections and transplantations?

I don't want to engage in what I call the "calculus of evil".

I wonder how many Americans would fly to China to get organs to save their lives knowing where the organs come from.

When he refers to "China" he is talking about the government, AKA the CCP.

Same as when you water-board people.

Nanking was ethical because Manzanar.

Unit 731 was ethical because Tuskegee.

The Opium Wars were ethical because the CCP does nothing to stop the flow of fentanyl overseas.

All of these are as ridiculous as what your comment implies, they're also equally relevant.

Is it whataboutism to mention toddlers in cages here? It seems both governments have their gas chamber moments...

No it's not. This isn't Reddit where any average Joe thinks whataboutism is the answer to any evidence they don't agree with.

Yes it is, the treatment of children at the border is also horrendous, it also has literally nothing to do with china and ethics.

You claim the organ harvesting means the whole government can't claim to have ethics, I think that's just stupid absolutism (the world doesn't work with Boolean logic), and my counter-example is to ask if the US government can claim to be ethical given that we know they've put toddlers in cages.

I can probably give out examples of "unethical" behavior for every government on this planet, and then no one will be ethical any more. What then?

And here you see first-hand the decline in the quality of discourse in HN

Yes I absolutely do. It’s especially frustrating that politicians speak endlessly about Russia when China is clearly the larger threat to US dominance. Even stories like “senator’s driver of 20 years is Chinese spy”[1] are basically ignored.

1. https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/weekly-standard/the-spy-w...

> They intend to realize George Orwell's 1984.

With advancements in technology (particularly machine learning), I'd say more like a cross between 1984 and Minority Report. E.g. https://mashable.com/2017/07/24/china-ai-crime-minority-repo...

It doesn't get much worse than thought-pre-crime.

After climate change? I have always feared totalitarian governments more than climate change. The death tolls are a hundred million higher.

The six mass extinction event that humanity is currently causing is going to affect billions of people for centuries to come. If we have systemic ecosystem collapses and 90% of species go extinct, there will be a profound effects. When crops fail and fresh, potable water is extremely constrained, authoritarianism will sweep the world at an even more accelerated pace and regional and world wars are likely. It will be interesting to see how mutually assured destruction holds up and prevents nuclear war when climate change will have already guaranteed many levels of destruction and created a very desperate populace.

If humanity is causing extinctions, it's due to habitat destruction and local pollution. Climate change (+0.38C from 1980-2010) is not the cause.

I know why you got downvoted, but i actually think you're overestimating the impact climate change would have on animals.

Earth has known far more extreme climate in the past than even the +4 degrees that we could reach because of human CO2 emissions. Some species may disappear from some parts of the globe, but for sure new ones would emerge thanks to increased temperatures in colder places.

However, never has a single specie had such a huge direct mechanical impact on the habitat of all the other species all around the world.

We live in an ever-changing planet. The sea level has been rising since 20,000 years ago, during the last deep ice age. We're still technically in an ice age, we're just in a temporary warming period called an interglacial. The state of various species is always in flux.

CO2 is fertilizing plant life on the earth. And satellite data confirms this: https://www.nasa.gov/feature/goddard/2016/carbon-dioxide-fer...

Since plant life is thriving, so too will overall animal life. Although extinction will continue to occur just as it always has throughout the history of the planet.

It peeves me to no end to you just brought out the whole climate change skeptics handbook so surreptitiously, why didn't you make your opinions known in your earlier comments?

Which fact have I mentioned that you think is incorrect?

It's not as simple as more CO2 = better plant growth. In fact it is likely the opposite for C3 plants. [0] Things like Corn, which uses C4 photosynthesis will hardly be affected by more CO2 in the atmosphere. I could go on and on, but this thread is the wrong place for this discussion.




It looks like doubling CO2 causes increase in carbs and a decrease in proteins but the difference is only 1.5-14% depending on the plant species, with soy beans being the least affected. Still, a doubling of CO2 can cause certain tree species overall mass to increase by 138%.

If the yields and plant mass overall increase by more than 14%, then perhaps the trade-off is worth it. And this is perhaps why commercial greenhouse growers pump CO2 into them up to 1200PPM.

At any rate it does seem like an interesting question. What sort of species will thrive in a high CO2 environment? I do have faith in plants and their ability to adapt to such conditions, as it was the conditions they thrived under in the Mesozoic and beyond.

At any rate, thank you for the interesting studies.



The sea level has been rising since the last glacial period, but it slowed down considerably 6000 years ago. Of course we're in an ice age, we haven't melted our poles yet and they usually last millions of years. You comment about the interglacial doesn't mean anything except giving us more runway to burn oil until we can't back out.


> The state of various species is always in flux.

You asked for instances of climate change causing an extinction, this is your response to me fulfilling your request?

And don't forget in your other conversation about CO2 and plants about the increased temperatures predicted under climate change: "the diverse impacts of higher temperatures on other metabolic processes are likely to feed back on carbon metabolism in ways that we do not currently appreciate."


How did you come to this conclusion?

Am worried about China imploding(relatively soon) due to their totalitarian system deleting feedback loops and accelerating negative ones.

I'd rather worry about EU as there is already a large gap there...

What policies does China have which are expansionist?

The belt and road initiative is fascinating, including their cultivation of Africa. The scheme where they lend poor nations money to build ports and then when the port authority fails to fulfill the repayments, they simply take over the port and basically establish a Chinese base is rather diabolical. From a business perspective it is brilliant but it does seem rather obviously predatory. I consider that expansionist. Did America do the same with Panama, did UK do the same with Gibraltar? There are some parallels.

100%. This is a standard item from the imperial-power playbook. The author of "Confessions of an Economic Hit Man" documented it pretty well.

The basic rundown is that a country sets up international financing institutions, then loans money for infrastructure projects to less developed countries. This is supposed to be spent to hire engineering and construction companies from the lending country, with the promise that your companies will help up-skill the host countries favored companies, which may or may not happen.

The effect of this is that you basically use someone else's money to build up companies and build expertise that you can continue to sell around the world.

Its an obviously great business practice, but very prone to corruption, and ineffective at creating real economic growth in the host country (which is go-to cover story for why its not imperial aggression). The Belt and Road Initiative is basically just this exact strategy writ large.

Yanis Varoufakis has an interesting take on Chinese economic imperialism. According to him, the Chinese are a benevolent imprealist, trying to achieve the same dominance but with loans rather than guns.

It's interesting to consider it benevolent from his perspective, since he called German financial institutions malevolent when it played out very similar in Greece. Except geopolitical influence expansion was not a main goal.

Maybe he said something like "it looks like benevolent, because they use finance instead of guns" or that compared to using military force it's relatively benevolent, but after watching some of his talks, I highly doubt he'd call it a generous ethical policy.

Is Varoufakis someone that should generally be taken that seriously? The last time I heard about him was during the election for the European Parliament, where he was pushing DiEM25, which seemes like a rather idealistic (in the unrealistic sense) movement full of attention-hungry personalities.

Varoufakis' comment on China isn't about China per se but rather an extension of his economic criticism of financial capitalism. He views China as patient investors looking for long term returns from infrastructure projects instead of short term returns from financial speculation, and he believes the former is "far more humanistic" than the latter. He even gave an example when he was the finance minister: He renegotiated a better deal for the port with China, but the deal was blocked by the Troika. It's not a comparison between finance vs guns, as we all learned after 2008 that finance can be as destructive as guns.

>According to him, the Chinese are a benevolent imprealist,

Yellow man's burden?

At least China didn't send troops to other countries to arrest the president...if you call that parallel, well, that's a really skewed parallel.

Wanting to take over Taiwan, and trying to take over the South China Sea by building artificial islands and using them as military bases, for starters.

To add to that:

Wars of aggression against two neighboring countries (Vietnam and India) in the past 50 years, active territorial disputes with basically every other significant country nearby. The creation of client states like which are then used to undermine stability (North Korea), or to undermine international organizations (Cambodia and ASEAN).

> Wanting to take over Taiwan,

This is as expansionist as the American Civil War... I.e. it's not expansionist but really a 'domestic' matter.

There is big amount of propaganda from Western media on this topic as well: If Taiwan had been in a position to fight the communists to retake the mainland the US would have supplied help and call this 'liberation' of the mainland. But of course any plan of the communists to complete the takeover of the country by getting their hands on Taiwan is labelled 'expansionist' and 'a threat to security and stability'.

Same old games...

The difference being one side is evil and the other isn't so much.

The Chinese government, the CCP and everything they stand for regarding liberty and freedom of thought and expression is against the fundamental values of the West. The ideas are not equal in value. China is wrong. Oppression of thought is wrong. Incarceration without trial is wrong.

The US and other countries don't get it right all the time, but at least our citizens have the expectation of rights the Chinese can only dream of.

Every time people have to argue to counter the hard reality, which I described in my previous comment, they try to clutch at straws by trying to convince themselves that China is "evil" or "wrong"... This is a feeble argument.

Moreover, even if we accept that China is evil and wrong, some of the best 'friends' of the West are at least as evil and wrong, if not more, as China, which should really finish off this line of argumentation.

This is self-interest among states, standard geopolitics, there is not right or wrong, including when it comes to determining the US' foreign policy.

China's new silk road comes to mind.

> the US has some founding morals and principles they do not forget.

It took the US around 200 years to fully live up to those founding morals and principles.

The PRC is a relatively young country. Only 70 years as of today. Give them a hundred more years and perhaps it’ll change drastically.

I think the point is that the PRC wasn't actually founded on those same morals, but rather on ones of "we know what's best for the proletariat and anyone who disagrees must cease to exist". With a handful of exceptions (most notably: McCarthyism), the US has always had a very different attitude when it comes to political dissent.

Case in point: the freedom to openly criticize or even outright mock/ridicule a politician is demonstrably far stronger in the US - and historically has always been - than it is or has ever been in the PRC.

It may be helpful to differentiate Chinese people and society from its government.

I view Chinese people individually, and on the whole, as very humanistic. The real question is what would China look like if its system represented the sentiment of its people?

I think they like private property, inheritance not being taxed, and in general focusing on their own lives without interruption.

Like anywhere else, many Chinese people enjoy civil engagement.

If China broke up into multiple countries and had a union to reduce redundancy/inefficiencies in common areas, that'd be a huge improvement.

This also preserves Chinese culture/customs on a more granular basis.

> It may be helpful to differentiate Chinese people and society from its government.

Not to mention some 50M+ Chinese that don't live in China.

> Overseas Chinese (traditional Chinese: 海外華人/海外中國人; simplified Chinese: 海外华人/海外中国人; pinyin: Hǎiwài Huárén/Hǎiwài Zhōngguórén) are people of ethnic Chinese birth or descent who reside outside the territories of Mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan. Although a vast majority are Han Chinese, the group represents virtually all ethnic groups in China.


Chinese culture is much bigger, older, and grander than the CCP.

China is what you get when you have a one party system. The country lives and dies for the party. Individual freedom is suppressed. Everyone must tow the party line. China is most certainly a concern for those of us that love freedom.

> US has some founding morals and principles they do not forget.

Excuse my french, but what the fuck are you talking about?

How about imprisoning and torturing US citizens without due process in the name of a nebulous war that only gets worse the more we fight it?

What about all the puppet governments we've set up so that our corporate overlords can make a quick buck at the expense of some country who's resources we want to plunder?

The US is an empire. Not based on governmental control, but based on financial control. The difference between surveillance in the US and surveillance in China is that we've managed to keep our surveillance largely in the private sector; but that doesn't mean 1984 doesn't already exist here! In fact, you carry 1984 with you in your pocket everywhere you go!

I'm not saying I'd rather live in China than the US, but putting the US on some high moral pedestal is extremely ignorant of all the terrible things we've done as a country.

Please don't take HN threads further into nationalistic flamewar. This is not at all what this site is for.


> The US is an empire. Not based on governmental control, but based on financial control.

But people in the US can remove legislatures and the top executive(the President). Do people in China have that option?

The people who fund the political parties control what happens. Elected officials do their bidding. The public front of "democracy" is just there to keep everyone else from realizing that.

This sinister & pervasive line of thought terrifies me. Too many Americans under 40 share similar thoughts: my vote doesn't count, some mysterious corporate/billionaire $$ controls everything so why bother, antipathy etc.

It's scary that many actually believe this and thus self-fulfill their prophecy because they don't get involved and don't vote.

To further amplify this detrimental affect, there are state-sponsored trolls/propagandists actively driving this wedge and these narratives online to attack our Democracy from within.

Don't mistake my seeing things for how they are as apathy. That's a false equivalence. I absolutely support getting out and participating in the political process, but it's important to understand just how much of what happens is completely out of our control because how else do we fix that? The act of noticing and speaking of this is not the same as the act of giving up.

Also, my responses were a reality check in the face of the propaganda you're speaking of. The "the US is the most free and moral country!" folks are getting a much bigger dose of force-fed freedom than anybody else.

Lying to yourself for the greater good?

I've been involved. Will continue to be. It's still the truth.

Ask yourself, how come when America's chief global rival does bad things, it's cause for condemnation, but America must be protected from criticism?

Nobody cares about Yemen but everyone is very sure Hezbollah are bad guys?

Our system of control is so much more effective than state censorship. And the trains don't even run on time.

A majority of the people didn't even vote for the president.

Can they, though? We've got the test case in front of our face right now. Want to place some bets on anybody elected being removed before 2020?

How much you want to bet that in 2020, for the umpteenth time in a row, we get a choice between two billion-dollar-funded candidates who are absolutely not going to buck their sponsors, ever? Taste the freedom.

We had one with Nixon. He resigned, remember? Now just because we don’t get it again, does not mean there’s no basis for OP’s notion that we can remove legislators all the way up to the executive branch.

Fish don't know they're in water. https://sivers.org/fish

The fact that we have the illusion of choice between candidates who will all do mostly the same things, and won't affect the bureaucracy that much anyways, doesn't make us meaningfully more free.

"But my candidate had a great take on the bathroom bill controversy!", as we continue bombing weddings in afghanistan, imprisoning more people than China (!!!), etc..

The key here is that the executive branch of the US government doesn't get to do these things in a vacuum - both Congress and the Supreme Court temper its power, and though elections in the US are far from perfect they are still free.

Elections are free, but the influence money has on our government after elections is where the problem lies. And even the "free elections" portion is being eroded since Citizens United.

I'm not saying China is better, but the fraction of control the average US citizen can exercise over the government in the defined political process is much, much smaller than `1 / 330,000,000`...

Federal elections are not the only things that matter - state and local decisions have an impact. Obviously not perfect - even with the money affecting government we have the ABILITY to change that over some time period, and lobbying in some places can help. I am unsure about what exactly you are complaining about.


> I am unsure about what exactly you are complaining about.

I wasn't. I was refuting common propaganda about the wonders of the United States. How can we fix any of our problems if we don't admit to ourselves that they exist?

Fair enough - perhaps I should've simply said that in my opinion, reducing American ability to affect government down to % of population each individual represents isn't the best way to approach our problems

I'm sure your assertion of checks and balances is very helpful for the folks living out their lives in Gitmo with the force feedings and the indefinite detention without due process thanks to a technicality in regards to jurisdiction, as was the parent posts' assertion.

With that in mind, on the balance of it, America is overwhelmingly a rule of law jurisdiction, and the PRC is not. There's definitely magnitudes here.

My point is neither side is all good or all bad, and looking at it that way is harmful to the discourse.

China is the world's #1 carbon emitter, the top emitter per GDP, and has over 200gw of new coal still planned. (For scale, California consumes about 50gw on a hot day.) So they are not even unrelated problems.

China is also the top source of plastic in the ocean.

Tangent but: the way China turned out has IMHO been the major factor in the collapse of the post cold war neoliberal narrative in the West. The idea was that freedom and prosperity are a reinforcing cycle has been disproven. China shows that at least the business parts of capitalism work just fine without human rights and that therefore prosperity and totalitarianism are compatible.

The collapse of that narrative has in turn unleashed a revival of hard right fascist and hard left socialist ideology in the West.

That carbon emitted is largely from the manufacturing of cheap products that you consumed. Western countries have offshored both manufacturing and the associated pollution to a country more concerned about pulling its people out of poverty than about its environment. The ocean plastic is partly from these industrial processes and partly because western countries have exported most of their plastic waste to China for more than a decade.

Also, according to this, China's per capita emissions are half that of the US. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_carbon_di...

I think per capita emissions are not the right measure to describe the worst polluters. You are right, prices paid for "cheap products" we consume don't include the costs associated with CO2 emissions, but if they did they wouldn't have much to do with a producer's population. A better measure is emissions per dollar GDP, where emissions (a cost) is relative to what gets produced (the benefit).

Per capita emissions is not the right metric. It seems like it should be, but if you compare by that metric you're really measuring poverty below a certain threshold. A poor nation might have low CO2 per capita just because it's poor, but what production they do have could be fantastically inefficient (and often is due to old technology). As they climb out of poverty, as all seem to be doing, they'll become huge emitters.

Emissions per GDP is probably the best we have as GDP is a decent proxy for productivity, making it a real measure of efficiency. If the goal is to actually reduce emissions the goal must be to reduce CO2 emitted per unit of productivity, so you want to emulate the wealthier nations that have low CO2/GDP scores. That means emulating policies like renewable energy, efficiency standards, well designed cities, etc.

China is (last I looked) the least efficient large economy in terms of pollution per GDP. The USA is toward the middle of the pack.

I agree that it's quite clear that environmental externalities per dollar GDP (and per dollar of exports) are massive. At the same time consider that as median incomes increase, marginal utility of clean(ish) environment vs income increases, public pressure mounts, and countries do tackle environmental externalities.

That's the story of every country's industrial development since the British industrial revolution. Bread comes first, clean water and air come second. For rich western countries to forget that and demand that China and India put environment ahead of pulling people out of poverty is myopic at best and, realistically, highly hypocritical.

A market for a product does not justify the GHG produced. They choose their method of manufacture. Additionally, wasn't China supposed to be recycling the plastics that were shipped to them?

Before your tangent, I agreed with you.

I agree with everything, including the tangent. China is living proof of how horrible the capitalist "dream" can be in reality, when what flimsy veil of democracy that still existed is stripped away.

I would argue that failure of Neoliberalism has nothing to do with China and has everything to do with flawed economics which assumes that our planet has indefinite resources and wealth can grow infinitely. Authoritarianism is the natural outcome of unchecked capitalism and Marx predicted that a century ago.

> The collapse of that narrative has in turn unleashed a revival of hard right fascist and hard left socialist ideology in the West.

I disagree with that point.

No not alarmist. I'm with you and I strongly believe US should undo Trump so we can rebuild an international coalition of 'Democracy' to confront China, unified together, with much stronger action (backstopped with force if needed).


> biggest upcoming global problem after climate change?

maybe, but climate change is around number 20 in that list for me.

You're lucky you get to die soon enough for that to be appropriate.

Not sure what you are trying to say here.

He's saying you don't have to worry because by the time it gets really bad, it will be someone else's problem. Which is exactly how we got into this mess in the first place.

The reticence of politicians to address climate change is strongly correlated with their age.

Of course there are outliers but it seems clear that "I'm not going to be alive when the shit hits the fan" does a lot to assuage existential anxieties related to climate change.

Blaming the elderly here seems misguided to me.

I suspect the lifestyle of an average 20-year-old today puts much more burden on the environment/climate than the lifestyle of their parents in their twenties.

ADD: The amount of time each spends _talking_ about climate change is a different matter of course.

At least with regard to Americans, your suspicion is incorrect.

American CO2 emissions per capita reached their highest level in the 1970s and declined later:


Comparing the behavior of people now to people 20-40 years ago seems dishonest. Many new technologies have prevailed since then, and cultures around consumption have rapidly shifted.

We should consider instead the current consumption habits of both cohorts for an appropriate comparison.

I don't think the climate cares much about our technologies and cohorts. A ton of CO2 is a ton of CO2. Since you claimed I was arguing dishonestly, I withdraw from the discussion.

Different technologies emit CO2 at different rates. Different technologies are prevalent in society at different times. That's my only point.

Didn't mean to make it sound so harsh, "dishonest" wasn't meant to be a reflection of your intention. I chose the wrong word.

What are the 19 first?

- what I have for dinner (ok, sorry, it said global problems), so maybe:

- collapse of bird, insect, reptile populations over all the developed world due to pesticide use, habitat loss, etc.

- decline of natural environment, waters, forests, etc.

- loss of linguistic/cultural diversity around the world

- decline of institutions and social cohesion in my immediate neighborhood

- society-wide addictive tendencies

- the commercialization of more and more aspects of human life

- ...

Among the many effects of climate change, 700 million people live in areas that will become almost uninhabitable due to rising sea level and flooding at current emission rates. Do you seriously think that people adapting by speaking a different language is as bad as that?

Yes, on my list the latter is a more serious problem than the first, it is more certain to be happening, and its effects are more permanent.

> more certain

Do you doubt that climate change will displace 100s of millions and destroy many large and distinct cultures (e.g. island states) at current emission rates?

That could certainly happen (although the island states I have heard mentioned in this context have populations more in the 10s of thousands), but in terms of culture/language loss this would be a small event compared to the loss in the past/current decades/century, already happening without climate change.

Point #2 actually follows from Point #1. Hayek makes this argument very thoroughly in The Road to Serfdom:

Advancement within a totalitarian group or party depends largely on a willingness to do immoral things. The principle that the end justifies the means, which in individualist ethics is regarded as the denial of all morals, in collectivist ethics becomes necessarily the supreme rule. There is literally nothing which the consistent collectivist must not be prepared to do if it serves ‘the good of the whole’, because that is to him the only criterion of what ought to be done.

This quote is from the condensed edition, because my paper copy is at home: https://fee.org/resources/the-road-to-serfdom-condensed-edit...

During the depths of the Cultural Revolution there were incidents of cannibalism committed not out of hunger but out of a desire to prove unquestionable loyalty to the cadre.

No, the biggest global problem is the same one that is causing inaction about climate change.

It is domestic enemies of the public. People with money and power, who are happy to push the rest of us under the proverbial bus, in order to acquire more money, and more power.

They have, historically, caused incalculable misery the world over, democracies have, historically, not had a great track record in dealing with them, and they have, and will continue to have a lot more impact over my life than China ever will.

Unsurprisingly, it is in their interest to point fingers at foreign boogiemen.

If you disagree, please consider enumerating the ways in which China has been a threat to your, or your fellow citizens' prosperity, life, or limb. Then consider enumerating the actual threats to prosperity, life, and limb that you and your neighbours have to deal with in your lives - or have had to deal with in the recent past.

I'm usually not a huge fan of the US rolling in and stomping out governments (and installing their own, of course), but this is one faux-dictatorship where it sorely needs to happen. Some actual democracy would be amazing for these people.

With the recent "trade war" and whatnot the stage has been set pretty well for a US intervention.

> I'm usually not a huge fan of the US rolling in and stomping out governments (and installing their own, of course), but this is one faux-dictatorship where it sorely needs to happen.

It's not a faux dictatorship, it's the real deal.

But, the idea of the US “stomping out” the PRC (or even somehow “just” rejecting it from Hong Kong) and installing its own preferred government is downright insane.

It's not insane, but it would be a horrible and bloody hot war, the likes of which we haven't seen since WWII, and it would probably eclipse WWII in total deaths.

But it's not "insane", because we have precedent for it: it's exactly what happened in WWII: the world's largest economies and industrial powers going into an all-out war, culminating in nuclear attack, and resulting in the deaths of tens of millions. It's happened before, and so it could certainly happen again.

> It's not insane, but it would be a horrible and bloody hot war, the likes of which we haven't seen since WWII

Uh, no.

The US overt, initial war aim would be an existential threat to the Chinese regime, and China is a nuclear power with intercontinental delivery capability. It would see multiple times more total casualties than WWII, and that's just be on the first day that China was convinced that the US was serious about the effort.

Nuclear states don't attack other nuclear states for a reason.

NYC, LA, DC, Atlanta, Chicago, Huston, Dallas are all potential targets if the US declares war. Most of the US army would be going to war with no home to go back to.

If China did a nuclear attack, the US Army wouldn't be involved at all in any war. They'd sit back while the US Air Force and Navy completely nuked China. There wouldn't be an invasion because there'd be nothing left to invade at that point, so no army would be needed.

Remember, the US's nuclear arsenal is far, far larger than China's. Such a conflict would be devastating to the US (and to many other places due to fallout), but China would cease to exist.

>>>> But, the idea of the US “stomping out” the PRC (or even somehow “just” rejecting it from Hong Kong) and installing its own preferred government is downright insane.

> Remember, the US's nuclear arsenal is far, far larger than China's. Such a conflict would be devastating to the US (and to many other places due to fallout), but China would cease to exist.

And if the US's war aim was to liberate the Chinese people from dictatorship, it would have failed miserably in that case, having destroyed them instead.

> If China did a nuclear attack, the US Army wouldn't be involved at all in any war.

The proposal was that the US would attempt to invade, decapitate, and replace the Chinese regime; the idea of Chinese nuclear action was as a response to that.

So the Army would already be involved, and US nuclear annihilation of China would be nuking our own army.

Wow what a horribe viewpoint! I can not disagree with you more here. Can you even begin to imagine the massive scale of casulty and human suffering that would occur in this scenario?

Lets break it down - tens or possibly hundreds of millions of people would die - there would be almost a 100% chance of a hot ww3 but this time with hydrogen bombs, there is a good chance if this happens all life will be wiped off the face of the Earth - starvation on a massive scale, modern society with its on demand supply chains would suffer greatly in a new world war - automated drones targeting people

Even if you could defeat the conventional forces, the ensuing insurgency/guerrilla warfare in mainland china would make Afghanistan casualties look like a teaparty.

You can't force democracy upon people that don't want it and aren't ready for it - it ends disastrously. The US tried to do that in the middle east and failed miserably.

The only success story seems to be South Korea, but I would argue they wanted democracy and fought alongside the US for it.

> The US tried to do that in the middle east and failed miserably.

The problem was less with democracy and more with trying to impose a common state on a set of opposed communities that had previously only been “united” in the sense that the one the US was least friendly toward was effectively oppressing the others, and even that might have been successful has the US had needed its own past occupation experience and preserved and reformed state security institutions rather than disbanding them with no transition plan, leading to an internal war before the US even got started with establishing democracy.

Not, to be sure, that that makes the idea of the US trying to impose democracy in all or any part of the territory of the PRC even remotely sane.

I'd count Germany as a success story, too! First country where democracy stuck after the Americans installed it.

Uh, Weimar republic?

>middle east

I'm not super knowledgeable on the topic, but although the new governments didn't really work out, didn't the mass murders and other atrocities stop with the removal of the old dictator? Those countries may not be "stable" (yet), but is the situation really worse that it was?

> but is the situation really worse that it was?

Was Saddam torturing a limited amount of dissidents and his sons raping and murdering people as they pleased better or worse than ISIS ruling significant parts of the middle east? Was Gaddafi better or worse than Libya in civil war, slave markets being revived etc? Was life under Assad better or worse than civil war in Syria?

Even with bloodthirsty dictators, there's usually a way to make it worse, and NATO/US is pretty good at finding it.

The US had very little to do with democratization in South Korea and were perfectly happy to prop up authoritarian regimes for 30 years before mass protests finally led to free elections. The Korean War was fought to stop communism, not spread democracy.

How should we intervene?

Not that I'm necessarily advocating this, but US intelligence has historically proven extremely adept at destabilizing regimes.

I'd imagine that mostly look like sowing internal discord within the CCP. The party already has a lot of corruption, so most likely many senior officials could be blackmailed and manipulated. The long-term goal would be to weaken the resolve and coherence of the CCP to the point that a non-violent democratic revolution could take place.

This is a quite short-sighted point of view. The real challenge is to establish a stable new regime after toppling the old one. In the case of mainland China that has no prior experience at all as a democratic society, it would have a difficult time adapting (PRC before WWII doesn't count since it was unstable and higly corrupt). Also, a weak goverment is in danger of neglecting to address the internal challenges China faces (tensions with minorities, poverty in rural regions, environmental destruction).

My guess is that US intelligence has several "shadow" arms that have morphed into their own creatures and are no longer the same patriotic beast it was during the cold war. I'm doubtful whether destabilizing China is a real possibility, in the "CIA in Latin America" sense.

Are you usually a partial fan of stomping out governments? So much hubris. So little understanding.

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