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An update on YC China (ycombinator.com)
402 points by archibaldJ 61 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 372 comments



Strange optics not to mention the elephant in the room.

I could see them hitting some roadblocks and wanting to try again to get into China, but that would be a reasonable thing to come out and say.

It also would be reasonable to come out and say they've changed their minds due to political climate or some other risks.

Instead its... the new guy is busy?


I had to dig up one of my old comments about YC China, because I specifically recall this one. I think the issue isn't one elephant in the room, it is elephants.

My comment from August 15, 2018:

"I would like to see a statement that YC China will not discriminate based on ethnicity, gender, religion, or sexual orientation and more importantly will not support startups which create technology which make doing so easier."

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=17765394

* and this is not meant to exonerate US startups or hold them to another standard


The idea that this kind of equality is going to be a thing in China is putting the cart about 200 miles ahead of the horse.


Then don't do business with them? Not enforcing basic human rights is not a good look.


China, as most other communist countries, implemented gender workplace equality much earlier than the West. Furthermore, China has probably the most aggressive affirmative action programs in the world. Yes, China is bad on human rights in some aspects, but these blatant misrepresentations need to stop. They only serve the massive propaganda campaign the US started in recent years.


it’s not just about gender equality. The west is significantly ahead in supporting LGBTQ both culturally and structurally. sure we have a long way to go but hell “trans positive” is now a selling point even Amazon fulfillment is touting and marriage is legal in many western countries. The same can’t be said about China or Chinese companies

Oh and don’t get me started about race


Affirmative action programs like rounding up Uighur Muslims and making them more Han Chinese?

You’re right about China (and other communist countries) being first on gender equality at least in some respects, but... so what? In the West it’s good enough at a macro scale.

Saying China is bad on human rights in some respects is a gross understatement.


It's totally possible to allow a counter terrorism program to run rampant with abuses while also having strong affirmative action programs.

The US definitely does it...


Those are strong, and unlikely assertions. Do you have any sources for your claims?


They're right from the gender standpoint, according to the UN which ranks China as having better gender equality than the US: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gender_Inequality_Index


>> ethnicity, gender, religion, or sexual orientation

Eh, one out of four ain't bad, I guess.


Native Chinese here. Some Minorities get automatic extra points and special admission category at college entrance examination. You don’t know how big a deal it is to normal Chineses


> gender workplace equality

The workplace isn't the only area where someone can leverage technology to discriminate against a characteristic...


Beyond delusional, ink on books has no bearing on the real world


Gotta start somewhere. There wouldn't be as strong a push for equality in the workspace nowadays if it wasn't for (amongst others) YC backed companies pushing for it.


Agreed. Not insuring basic human rights is a non starter.


They probably have a significant investment from Chinese LPs. It could put those investors in a very awkward situation if YC was more explicit with their statement -- we've all seen how childishly defensive the Chinese government can get.


That money isn't that important. History isn't going to look back and think that YCombinator should have done more to look out for the wealth Chinese investors.


with how much love VCs get here, i'm pretty sure that's an accurate sentiment.


but dude, think of the shareholder value

/s


I interpreted OP to be referring to a different elephant, in another, oddly-shaped, room.

..but your feat of childish defensiveness applies either way.


So what’s the worst thing that can happen? They pull their money out?

I’d have thought YC, given their history, wouldn’t have any trouble raising money.


You mean as childish as the ordinary YC investors? You are right about that then


afaik YC doesn't have any LPs


YC has LPs. As far as I know they're all in the US. (Edit: yup, except one in the UK.)


ah my bad!


It’s understandable it’s a touchy subject. Why piss off China if you don’t have to? Only something to lose and nothing to gain.

Also this story of a Chinese Stanford professor/investor’s “suicide” last year is quite the story. There’s a potential safety issue here too. https://www.forbes.com/sites/arthurherman/2018/12/13/a-death...


> It’s understandable it’s a touchy subject. Why piss off China if you don’t have to? Only something to lose and nothing to gain.

Because that's pushing the line further and further of what the CCP can make people accept.


Business won't be the one to push the change on this attitude. It has to be people, or at best government. Most companies are morally agnostic, they only follow the money, you can judge them for it either way, but it's the truth.


> It has to be people

> Most companies are morally agnostic

What do you think makes companies do what they do? Companies consist of people. There are still people making these decisions. Many companies have taken ethical stances wrt China. Many more have not. Companies don't just get let of the hook because they're companies.


It has to be people pushing companies to do it. Which is why it is exactly counter-productive to post "Of course companies won't do anything" when a person is demanding a company do better.


In a sense, yes, but someone, somewhere had to be the one to say "we could be courageous, but let's softpedal this and come up with a lame excuse". They also (perhaps with others) had to build a culture where people know they can't speak up on it.

Of course, there's a question of causality. Are businesses "morally agnostic" because they choose to be, or because the ones that aren't don't survive? Companies that say "we don't do business with places that harvest organs from prisoners" will struggle against ones that say "we were able to cut the price of our phone 50% by doing business with (said regime)"

This would actually be a good reason to impose import duties on those places - to make goods from ethical regimes more competitive.


I'd say "only following the money" isn't moral agnostiscism, but very much a moral choice. It's a choice made by people collectively, and either way it doesn't exist outside of morality, or consequences.


May be we should then question the model that Businesses should be morally agnostic.


Many states have 'benefit corporations'.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benefit_corporation


So if things are bad, do nothing? We in the west have the responsibilty to take a hard stance on what's acceptable.


> It’s understandable it’s a touchy subject. Why piss off China if you don’t have to? Only something to lose and nothing to gain.

I know right? I mean, it's not my liver that's being harvested...


You act like that doesn’t happen here...I just read a story in the LA times on how organs are being harvested from the recently deceased before a proper investigation can take place


The organs of members of marginalized groups detained in Chinese prison camps are being forcefully harvested — sometimes when patients are still alive, an international tribunal sitting in London has concluded.

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/china-forcefully-harvests...


Your comment is an instance of whataboutism https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whataboutism

Coming from Poland some of the the post-war socialism Whataboutism is a meme here (check the polish variant https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/And_you_are_lynching_Negroes#V... )


they execute people solely to harvest their organs systematically, just because situations where organ harvesting happening before a proper death investigation takes place in the USA have occurred (and are likely illegal and irregular), does not in any way make them comparable.


What tells you there is nothing to gain? I was probably the only one to consider Google a degree above other GAFA companies because for a long time it resisted Chinese censorship and refused to give away access to the gmail account of Chinese activists.

In a world where so many companies' valuation is tied to the number of users willing to give you their personal data, reputation is a precious thing.

hirundo 61 days ago [flagged]

If a leader in the field were to say something like "we are withdrawing due to our revulsion at the atrocities commited by the PRC against the Uyghur people" it at least has the potential to start a preference cascade and a mass movement.


You first.


Mass incarceration and the destruction of Uighur culture is inhuman.

The people of Hong Kong, and their right to live with self-determination, matter.


something to gain: the respect of the community you actually intent to serve


> It’s understandable it’s a touchy subject. Why piss off China if you don’t have to? Only something to lose and nothing to gain.

Same sentiment for Saudi investors? Same for Israeli?

People have different lines and I'm sure soon founders will be doing a great more DD in this new age of outwardly conscious capitalism.

I'm patiently waiting for the tweet thread/medium article of a successful founder pointing out all the dirty cash they didn't take. Unfortunately, as of yet it is still a great deal of money that builds companies. Not unwaivering morals... One day.


> Same sentiment for Saudi investors? Same for Israeli?

"Yes" & "Possibly, but being open to investor' individual behaviour to supersede their country's"

See: it's not that difficult. One man's slippery slope is another's perfect hill for early morning skiing.


> Strange optics not to mention the elephant in the room.

Not so strange to me. Don't companies usually come up with inoffensive BS for public statements like this?

> Instead its... the new guy is busy?

Maybe he wanted to spend more time with his family, too.


Wouldn't it be an abandonment of their duty of care to portfolio companies for them to poke the bear, though?

I get that if PG tweeted something like, "We're pulling out of China because they're violently repressing pro-democracy protestors in Hong Kong and they run a re-education gulag archipelago for millions of Uighurs and they murder political prisoners so they can sell their organs through their state-administered transplant market", it would be satisfying to read -- but I'm not a YC alum. I don't run a company that could get screwed if YC lands on Beijing's shit list. Sure, that's probably a small slice of the portfolio, but this is still the right call from a business perspective.

Actions speak louder than words, and this decision was pretty clear.


>I don't run a company that could get screwed if YC lands on Beijing's shit list

The fact that not being on an oppressive country's "shit list" is at all a priority is exactly the problem here. If your company relies on making money from these places, you deserve to fail.


> Actions speak louder than words.

Umm, your entire comment was pointing out how embarrassingly loud words can be, and therefore how it was better just to take a quiet action.


fair point, but I still think they did right by their portfolio companies here


Also they had staff in China. So saying something like that could put that staff at risk.


It’s most likely due to the changing climate for companies (especially American and Canadian) operating in China. Check out this article: “how to survive an increasing difficult China”

https://www.chinalawblog.com/2019/11/how-to-survive-an-incre...

Btw if you have a smb or an European company that doesn’t think it applies to you, you are signing your company’s death sentence


Why do you think it's political climate that changed YC's mind? With or without political climate being an issue, doing business in China is different and relies on of relationship building that takes a long time to nurture. It might just be hard!


> doing business in China is different and relies on of relationship building that takes a long time to nurture

That's a strange way of saying they require a Chinese national to be part owner, and if it grows enough the party will seize it all.


Maybe GP actually referred to business cultural practices, which are indeed different in China. Have you considered this? Not everything related to China is black/white as you seem to portray it. There's more to it than a reductionist approach of thinking "they're mean communists and everything follows from that".

* I dislike the tendency of some people to prohibits others from looking at things in a nuanced manner.


Cultural differences might make business in China difficult for internationals; political differences are what make it both ethically and strategically untenable. There's no comparison.


I didn't say otherwise. But not everyone's reason for leaving the market is going to be because of evil governance. Always simplifying interactions with China and the people and businesses there to a black/white scenario is counterproductive and intellectually disingenuous.


I don't think there are ownership restrictions in this economic sector, and the Chinese government hasn't seized Alibaba, Tencent or Huawei. It sounds like you're talking more out of preconceived biases than actual knowledge of how business works in China.


> and the Chinese government hasn't seized Alibaba, Tencent or Huawei.

Funny, your examples include a company famous for the CCP removing their CEO (Ali) and the company being an arm of military intelligence (Huawei).

I don't feel the need to continue.


> a company famous for the CCP removing their CEO (Ali)

[citation needed]

> the company being an arm of military intelligence (Huawei)

[citation needed]


Google and a mind not already up is all you need, good luck.


Not already made up*


They haven't seized them outright maybe, but they are owned by Chinese citizens and carefully managed by the government,

The CEO and founder of Huawei is a member of the communist party, the government also requires a large staff of military intelligence workers.

Do not assume the strong distinction in the west between private entities and the government exists in China.

In China if you are of any real size whatsoever as a company, the government is either taking a role in things directly, or you are going to be forced out.


Of course they're owned by Chinese citizens. That's why I chose them as examples, rather than other big companies with a large presence in China, such as Volkswagen or Apple.

> carefully managed by the government

That's not true. They make business decisions based on the profit motive.

> The CEO and founder of Huawei is a member of the communist party

That's not very meaningful. There are a lot of people who are members of the party.

> Do not assume the strong distinction in the west between private entities and the government exists in China.

I think that a lot of people in this forum (and other fora in the West) do not understand the basic economic reforms that China has gone through. There is a huge difference between how a private company like Tencent operates and how a state-owned enterprise operates. It has been government policy over the past few decades to allow the private economy to grow, and to allow it to operate according to profit considerations.

Companies and people in China do not have the same sorts of protections should the government decide to go after them, but it's not as if the government controls the decision-making of private companies.

> In China if you are of any real size whatsoever as a company, the government is either taking a role in things directly, or you are going to be forced out.

This simply isn't true. The Chinese government does not run Alibaba, and doing so would actually go against the direction of Chinese economic reforms over the past few decades.


I never stated that these types of "private" enterprise aren't different than traditional Chinese state owned enterprise, they absolutely beyond a shadow of a doubt are.

The Chinese government does not operate them directly, but it has a direct hand in how they are run in a way that simply does not have a parallel in the west.

An analogy might be an American company appointing high ranking government people (who are still active in government) to their board of directors, accepting special government run departments, and working closely with the government on goals and policy.

That sort of thing is entirely unheard of, outside of perhaps defense contractors in the USA, but even there, there is clear division between private and public interests.


> An analogy might be an American company appointing high ranking government people (who are still active in government)

It's not at all uncommon for high-ranking government and military officials in the US to sit on corporate boards right after they leave government. There's a well known revolving door.

American companies are also subject to very significant pressure from the government. See, for example, how the US government informally (and successfully) pressured all the major payment processors to cut off WikiLeaks in 2010, or how social media companies are now under significant pressure to censor content.

This sort of pressure, which exists to varying degrees in every country, is not the same as the government directly running a company or dictating its business plans. That is not, by and large, how things operate in China either in the private sector. I see the claim made all the time (for example in the first post I responded to) that all businesses in China are basically run by the government. I think the people making those comments don't know what they are talking about, and are basically advancing a paranoia about China which has become ever more intense in the US over the past few months.


However the key difference is the amount of coercion, you aren't going to be shut out of the country, or business if you refuse to appoint government people in the USA, or do the government other favors.

The US government and private interests do indeed co-opt each other a lot, but its nowhere near the (implicit) threat of being run out of business (or worse) that it is in china.


There's the threat of significant regulation. I think there's a reason why Zuckerberg feel the need to go in front of Congress, rather than telling them to go bark up a tree. It's also quite amazing how quickly all the payment processors shut off WikiLeaks, based on pressure from US senators.

Companies can, however, be banned from the US for overtly political reasons. See Huawei and ZTE.

I agree that Chinese CEOs walk on thinner ice personally, and that they can be thrown in prison or worse much more easily. That's a general problem in China. However, the easy way in which Americans claim Chinese companies are run by the government is not true. It's also true that large US companies are thoroughly embedded in the government and vice versa (the massive defense sector, parts of the tech sector).


Trade War/Tech export control.

Also recent developments of TikTok's business in US is also a red alert. If indeed the regulation extends to capital markets, then YC's US investors will put themselves against greater uncertainty of guarding their investments.

If the Corp US are smart and watching, they need to reduce/spin off/get rid of their Chinese ties as soon as possible, because they might have to endure long term consequences if the conflict in between two countries get worse.


lets just say its convenient timing for a "strategy changed back"


> It also would be reasonable to come out and say they've changed their minds due to political climate or some other risks.

This is no different then when HR calls you in before you're terminated. Anything you say can, and will, be used against you so no point in saying anything.

If (when?) they decide to take another crack at things it'd be helpful to not be on the record about anything.


What elephant? Can you be more specific about what's controversial about this? Expansion into China would at least be a coherent basis for this stuff; then, sure, you'd want to know what compromises YC might be forced to make to stay in the good graces of their new host. This is YC withdrawing from China.


Totalitarian actions of the regime primarily against Muslim minorities (Uighurs), including concentration camps with >1M people.


Beyond the merits of "don't do business with anyone in China because of the actions of its government", I think that YC has not been known to take such strong ethical stands in the past.

The simpler explanation is probably that the business climate is super risky if you're the foreign partner in any sort of JV with China, and they thought they could work through it through ... charisma and sweat and tears. And it turns out that in fact it is hard even if you're some techy VC or w/e.

I think few question what the gov't is doing, but the question is more whether YC in particular was affected by actions in the past year that caused them to reverse course.


That would be like a company withdrawing from the US because of its killing of a million people in Iraq, global kidnapping and torture program, or instigation of coups in Latin America. It's not a likely reason.


[flagged]


Your account has been using HN primarily for nationalistic and political battle. That's not allowed here, because it destroys the curiosity this site is supposed to be for. We ban accounts that keep doing this, so please don't keep doing this.

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

https://hn.algolia.com/?query=by:dang%20primarily%20test&sor...


There was a post that sat on the front page for a very long time that was anti-china pro-us nationalistic political battle. It was some programmer's blog post. This post being allowed on the front page /was/ political battle which i was responding to. This thread less so but someone commented on Uyghurs so i responded. There has been an uptick in demonization of China by the Western press and that has been reflected on HN. Westerners did not show anti-china sentiment until recently. The people here do not seem curious about truly understanding China, i am just trying to spark some curiousity. If i post specific examples of why they are wrong is that a problem? The Uyghurs in Xinjiang do overwhelmingly support peaceful deradicalization so i don't understand how that is a problem, that is just information.

Why is it a problem what i "primarily" do? The only posts that really spur me to comment are these nationalistic one-sided pro-us anti-anyone-other posts and comments. The rest of the (computer) posts on HN I just read and study. There is nothing in the guidelines about what you "primarily" do.

Isn't ideological battle good for the curious? I'm confused. Are we allowed to be curious except when it comes to questioning liberal democracy? This seems like censorship of people who question liberal democracy, and i thought we were supposed to be curious here.


I think i can probably see some things in my posts that could be much better and offer more supporting information, but i think if you are going to act on what people 'primarily' do it should be based on their reading activity as well, as i am rarely driven to comment on posts that are not political.

radmuzom 60 days ago [flagged]

Strange hypocrisy from a moderator. You do not seem to have a problem with American nationalist dogs.


That's sample bias. We moderate comments that are nationalistically aggressive regardless of what nation the commenter has a problem with.

https://hn.algolia.com/?dateRange=all&page=0&prefix=true&que...

https://hn.algolia.com/?dateRange=all&page=0&prefix=true&que...

As for "dogs"...please be better than that here.

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


¥300 were deposited in your account for this post.


This breaks the site guidelines. Please review them and stick to the rules when posting here, no matter how wrong or activating another comment is.

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

tomc1985 61 days ago [flagged]

Fighting the good fight to maintain your social credit score, eh?


This breaks the site guidelines. Please review them and stick to the rules when posting here, no matter how wrong or activating another comment is.

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


There is so much misinformation regarding China. China helps all sorts of countries against western aggression. I support socialist projects like China and do not support a straight "free market" capitalist system. I like that they have state owned enterprises. I do not support the Hong Kong terrorists and really no one in the international left does.


.


Please don't make a bad thread worse.


Yeah, no, I've read a newspaper in the last year. What exactly does that have to do with YC? They're withdrawing from China.


They made a mistake of going into China. The abhorrent behavior of the Chinese government was highlighted in recent events, so YC decided to pull the plug. Perhaps change in leadership also played a role in this. There is definitely an up-tick in public outrange in the West vis-a-vis China.


He's saying its weird they are withdrawing without saying why, when the human rights atrocities are likely a big factor.


If they overtly offend China this would negatively impact YC current portfolio companies, discourage current/future LP, and other make their business more difficult. So they went with an intermediate approach.


>If they overtly offend China this would negatively impact YC current portfolio companies

Don't you see that this mentality is exactly the problem? Some of these comments are really surprising.


I agree with you. It's a tragedy of the commons, no one want to be "the one" who offends China if all their competitors do not. It's the same thing that drove the mad rush for Chinese market share.

However, despite realizing this problem, it is not clear what to do about it. Clearly, YC did not choose to become leaders on the issue.


>Yeah, no, I've read a newspaper in the last year.

Did you read one prior to Summer 2018? Because when YC decided to go into China, there were people in internment camps then too. This stuff didn't start last year:

https://chinatribunal.com/


Again: this is YC leaving China, not expanding further into it.


The Chinese statement reads more like it is being renamed.


I think you might be misinterpreting the parent. Nothing is controversial about the move itself, the elephant in the room is why they're doing it. They mention a change of strategy, but don't really spell out why.

It's pretty obvious why; everyone would be in China in a huge way if it wasn't for their trade abuse and/or human rights abuses.


Man just roll with the PR

Its a half truth divided by two, with the other two fourth’s being convenience of Qi’s own transition, we all know what we were expected to read and didnt which is the final quarter

Just have a little chuckle at what they chose to say and get out of a hairy situation


I think it's reasonable to stick with what YC knows best: Startups in the US. Perhaps this will be an opportunity to use the capital that would've been directed to China for American startups.

I am also encouraged they are still funding Chinese companies and have a nuanced approach to China in this highly politically charged environment that reminds me of McCarthyism.


Can you explain how opposition to China's human rights violations are comparable to McCarthyism?


Oppositions to China's human rights violations does not equal to a blanket opposition to cooperation or involvement with all things Chinese. Doing so only highlights a biased view that is highly prevalent in our government today that is precisely reminiscent of McCarthyism.

Indeed one does not need to look far for such sentiments:

"The Chinese aren’t smarter than we are. They don’t work harder than we do.

They CHEAT." -Lindsey Graham

https://twitter.com/LindseyGrahamSC/status/11664531583082086...

"At one point during the dinner, Trump noted of an unnamed country that the attendee said was clearly China, “almost every student that comes over to this country is a spy.” " -Donald Trump

"FBI Is 'Harassing' Some Chinese Citizens Says Academic Group" https://www.wvxu.org/post/fbi-harassing-some-chinese-citizen...


I think that those who oppose companies doing business with China do not do so because they believe that the Chinese people themselves or Chinese culture (by which I mean their history, language, religion, art, etc. as divorced from the government) are bad.

Instead I think that they believe that doing business in China implicitly supports the Chinese government by failing to make a statement and by making the government more successful economically. That is basically the same idea behind a government implementing economic sanctions.

There is also the issue that in some cases doing business in China means actively supporting the actions of the Chinese government; e.g. by engaging in censorship.

Finally, I think that there is a perception that Chinese industry "cheats". This could include stealing intellectual property, requiring foreign corporations to partner with Chinese corporations, and asymmetry in the ability for foreigners to integrate into and be accepted by the culture. In the same way that working as a scab at a company with unfair labor practices could be good for the scab but bad for workers as a whole, a corporation doing business in China despite these issues could be viewed as prioritizing individual profit over the common good.

I'm not necessarily saying that I agree with all of these points in all situations. I'm just trying to show that people do have legitimate points that don't boil down to McCarthyism.


You appear to be deeply misinformed about what the term McCarthyism means.


Mc·Car·thy·ism: "A campaign or practice that endorses the use of unfair allegations and investigations."

No, he's not deeply misinformed. Perfect example is the ridiculous spying bullshit that SuperMicro was accused of earlier this year.


That’s not a great definition of Mccarthythism. Here’s one off the top of my head:

”A political movement reaches great enough support that it can paint its minority opposition as persona non grata. Then they make even mere association with opposition into a crime against the State and force employers, housing authorities, and other institutions to block such ”sympathizers” access to their work, homes, and assets.”

But I am not a historian.


> Perfect example is the ridiculous spying bullshit that SuperMicro was accused of earlier this year.

Everyone, from the general public, to corporate America, to the FBI and Department of Homeland Security, raked Bloomberg over the coals for that story. If anything, I think that's a sign that McCarthyism is hardly in play here.


You appear to have copy-pasted this definition from a blog article, and then added bullet points between the syllables to make it look more official. Yikes!

A real dictionary will show you that McCarthy-esque allegations are specifically treasonous.


> You appear to have copy-pasted

Wikipedia pretty much defines it the same way: "McCarthyism is the practice of making accusations of subversion or treason without proper regard for evidence."

> specifically treasonous

Treason is one small dimension, use as a rhetorical device to make the real villain stand out - accusations without evidence.


No, Wikipedia defines it as accusations of treason or subversion, as you’ve specifically quoted.


get back to beijing with the report, let us know what new marching orders are.


> Instead its... the new guy is busy?

Where do you see this statement? I see, "change in leadership" and "now is not the right time".

I translate that to, new leadership (and likely those who put him there) think now is not the right time. That could be for any reason internal or external.


What exactly is the elephant in the room?

U.S. tariffs?

Honk Kong unrest?

IP violations?


The ~1 million Uighurs the Chinese government has in concentration camps.

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/11/16/world/asia/ch...


The international community barely cares about what India is similarly doing in Kashmir, despite India being a democracy. In effect the most fundamental right in a democracy, the right to habeas corpus is suspended there.

There is much politically informed anti-China coverage in the MSM, so it is hard to take reports on China from them without much skepticism. Even in Hong Kong it is on display that the police are largely acting with restraint similar to what a western police force might behave, it is the protesters who have been violent.


The international community as HNers know is just part of whole international community, all western countries. There is another part ignored by English media audience. I would speculate that most HNers see the other part as naive , bribed by China , or evil while Western countries are the owner of final truth and stand on the high moral ground. Totally exclude other possibilities.

My speculation about YC is that there are always something beyond our understanding so they choose not to make judgement for time being. If that's the case I applaud their altitude. Modern human have serious cognitive defects in my view.

ref: https://thediplomat.com/2019/07/which-countries-are-for-or-a...

Quote "... Those that signed the first letter, criticizing China, include: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the UK.

Signing the second letter, in defense of China’s policies, were: Algeria, Angola, Bahrain, Belarus, Bolivia, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Comoros, Congo, Cuba, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Egypt, Eritrea, Gabon, Kuwait, Laos, Myanmar, Nigeria, North Korea, Oman, Pakistan, Philippines, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, Tajikistan, Togo, Turkmenistan, United Arab Emirates, Venezuela, and Zimbabwe.

..."


What the point of the quote?

It's Western capitalism + allies vs Eastern communism + allies?


Is India running concentration camps as well?


> India is similarly doing in Kashmir.

That line just proves how much of an echo chamber this place really is when it comes to international affairs.

I live in India. I just had lunch with my colleague who is a Kashmiri native. His parents recently arrived from that state, and his father has returned back to run his medical shop. Though the situation is not ideal, it is a far cry away from being a breach of democracy or humanitarian concerns. The government has evoked constitutional law to maintain peace and order, largely as preventive measures against extremist operations and organisation. This has certainly affected the lives of daily citizens, no doubt, but the way western media blows it out of proportion one can just wonder whether it is genuinely clueless journalism or ideologically motivated smear campaign.


How is that different from the US having fuck knows how many migrants (and children) in concentration camps, or "terrorists" in concentration camps, or slaves in overcrowded prisons, etc etc etc.

I mean not specifically you, but why are people in these comments all moral policing a country halfway across the world while their own is just as bad?


The migrants, while in a terrible plight, are technically coming into a foreign country without following the proper process. They're suffering a (deeply problematic) government response to that action, essentially a poorly done catch and deport process.

China is systematically doing this to its own citizens, and intentionally harvesting body parts from them.

Those are, in fact, quite different.

China is


It's not even close to the same.

> fuck knows how many

~38,000 [1]

> migrants (and children) in concentration camps

People who violated immigration law. (Also, many are free to leave, via voluntary departure.)

> "terrorists" in concentration camps

People who violated international law.

> slaves in overcrowded prisons

People who violated federal or state law.

---

In particular, those laws do not prohibit religious faith or speech.

I'd suggest a closer analogy to the Muslim re-education centers would be Japanese internment facilities in the U.S during the 1940s.

--

[1] https://bipartisanpolicy.org/blog/immigration-detention-in-t...


NYT is not exactly a reliable source of news in China, actually none of US MSM are.


What about the Hong Kong government's own public broadcaster? https://gbcode.rthk.hk/TuniS/www.rthk.hk/tv/dtt31/programme/...


I know my comment will be downvoted for sure because it isn't a popular idea, but I'm still gonna comment on this.

Reading news about any foreign country, including China, only from US MSM, is inherently biased (sampling bias). Maybe consider reading news from Chinese outlets in this case?

I know people will start arguing that Chinese outlets are mainly propagandas because they are controlled by governments and they are not independent...

But, but are we sure that Deutsche Welle or Japan Times are unbiased?

For example, Deutsche Welle is funded by German government. [1], and the editors of the Japan Times were appointed by their government [2].

Yes, German and Japanese governments are more trustworthy than the Chinese government, but every country has its own foreign policy and political agenda. Are we sure that we are not being "brainwashed" by those media outlets?

This is happening within the US as well. Think conservative news outlets vs liberal outlets.

Citations: [1] https://www.dw.com/en/what-kind-of-company-is-deutsche-welle... [2] https://web.archive.org/web/20110716064544/http://www.fccj.o...


Basically the entire world except for China including independent non profits is reporting on the internment camps. At this point you have to be actively trying to excuse them to believe they are fictional.


Here is BBC (UK): https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-china-48825090, https://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-china-blog-48700786, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-47157111

Here is Deutsche Welle (Germany): https://www.dw.com/en/how-china-intimidates-uighurs-abroad-b...

Here is Japan Times (Japan): https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2019/08/08/national/social...

I could get more internationally sourced coverage if you really need. More or less the only MSM not covering the Uighur concentration camps are the Chinese MSM.


As compared to whom?


Supposedly ethnic Han Chinese men are also being assigned by the government to sleep with the wives of detained Uyghur men.

https://www.rfa.org/english/news/uyghur/cosleeping-103120191...


Sadly the tabloid-style coverage of this horrific Chinese government policy is causing people to discount the broader issue.

The Chinese government sent government workers to take time off their normals jobs and live in the homes of Uighur Muslims suspected of disloyalty to the Chinese government. More than a million Uighur households had monitors sleeping in their rooms and watching their lives for troublesome signs like the children not using patriotic greetings or the parents wanting to keep Muslim dietary guidelines.

In this article "relatives" refers to Han Chinese government monitors and "little brothers" and "little sisters" refers to the Muslims they watched.

> The relatives were given written guidelines on how to conduct themselves. Based on reports from Uighur contacts in Urumqi and Khotan, such manuals provided guidelines and forms that needed to be filled out and then digitized for security databases. In a manual that was used in Kashgar prefecture, relatives were given specific instructions on how to get their little brothers and sisters to “let down their guard.” The manual, which was posted on the internet but taken down just as this story was going to press, advises relatives to show “warmth.” “Don’t lecture right away,” it suggests, and show concern regarding their families and bring candy for the children. It provides a checklist that included questions such as: “When entering the household, do family members appear flustered and use evasive language?” “Do they not watch TV programs at home and instead only watch VCD discs?” “Are there any religious items still hanging on the walls of the house?”

> The manual instructs the relatives to tell their little brothers and sisters that they have been monitoring all internet and cell-phone communication that is coming from the family, so they should not even think about lying when it comes to their knowledge of Islam and religious extremism.

> The manual also instructs them to help the villagers alleviate their poverty by giving them business advice and helping out around the household. They were told to report any resistance to “poverty alleviation activities.”

https://foreignpolicy.com/2018/10/26/china-nightmare-homesta...


hmm... i guess only the one's they've not yet sterilized?

https://www.pop.org/the-plight-of-the-uyghur-people-2/

edit: wow... 2001


RFA is a US propaganda operation. Leave it up to them to make "sleeping with the wives of detained Uyghur men" sound like the job description of those government agents, rather than a consequence of poor people not having free guest beds on hand, so they have to share beds with someone, potentially with the whole household. Also clever use of "sleep with" to imply sex. (I don't doubt that some will abuse their power, but I'd expect Uyghur families to think far enough ahead to have another male relative in the same room, if not the same bed.)

EDIT: I posted this as a bit of an experiment. In https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=21601613 I link to a TV program criticising the Chinese government's treatment of Uyghurs. Here I criticize blatant propaganda published by an organization funded by the US government for precisely that purpose. Almost an hour later, this comment is at -4 while the other is at +6. Agreement-based voting at it's finest, but I'm not going to let propaganda slide just because it pushes a viewpoint I agree with.


sadly the echo chamber is strong here and anything said against vetted mainstream rhetorics will be downvoted


I don’t think any major business in the world cares about this. They only care about things that affect their own revenue streams, and the average consumer isn’t boycotting companies for not doing anything about it.

Seriously. Show me one major corporation that cited this as a reason for pulling out of China. I’m not justifying the actions—I’m saying western industries don’t care about genocide. Because they don’t.


That’s a tautology. Major businesses can’t care about anything else.

But major businesses aren’t the whole economy. Just a part.


Loads of companies make political and social statements all the time. Whether it come to gay rights, protesting censorship, etc. None have said anything about the issues in Xinjiang.


@YC Leadership: The Chinese Article [1] reads synonymously to: YC China was RENAMED, not aborted. That's highly different from your English statement. LOL: even the website ycchina.com redirects to MiraclePlus. http://www.ycchina.com/

They even have the YC logo on their website and claim to have funded Airbnb, Dropbox etc. Be careful to read their whole website. This whole website of MiracleMinus is extremely dishonest. I would be very careful not to be connected too much to dishonest and lack-of-integrity people like Qi.

[1] https://mp.weixin.qq.com/s/SnSsli_ZGo0yI58YD-ddaw


These are just leftovers from the first batch Qi ran, which was under the YC name. We're still in the middle of the transition. As we noted, Qi is taking over and will run under the MiraclePlus brand. We'll both make that clear on our websites. Other than that first batch, there is no commercial relationship between YC and MiraclePlus.

Your personal comments don't match my experience at all. I have known Qi for many years and have always found him to be extremely high integrity and trustworthy.


"they even have the YC logo on their website and claim to have funded Airbnb, Dropbox etc. "

YC的创业方法论培养了大量例如Airbnb,Stripe, Dropbox等的明星企业。经过了14年的实战考验,充分证明了其有效性。在中国,我们将YC创业方法论落实到本地企业中,用来服务我们的初创公司。

" YC's entrepreneurial methodology has produced a number of star companies such as Airbnb, Stripe, Dropbox and more. After 14 years of practical tests, it has fully proved its effectiveness. In China, we implement the YC entrepreneurial methodology into local companies to serve our startups."


That's pretty disappointing, so they're still actively using the YC name and the YC brand, I recon with YC's approval. I had hoped that after recent Hong Kong videos like this one [1] (not to mention the whole Uighur near-tragedy) any sane company which cherishes some sort of values would have gotten out of China as soon as possible. It seems that in this particular case YC is chasing the local maximum of getting money in the short-run, forgetting about the long-term consequences of what the Chinese government is now doing.

[1] https://www.taiwannews.com.tw/en/news/3819595


Companies don't cherish values unless their customers do.

And most people don't know/understand/care what's going on in HK or Xinjiang.


Blizzard fans would disagree. A small amount of voices has lead to massive awareness in that community.


Also the Blizzard fanbase has put pressure on the company to uphold its own stated principles, which quite frankly Blizzard didn't, and arguably still hasn't upheld.

I'd be surprised if less than 80% of Blizzard's fan base isn't aware of the "Free HK" controversy and doesn't support the notion of freedom in HK to some degree.


> I'd be surprised if less than 80% of Blizzard's fan base isn't aware of the "Free HK" controversy and doesn't support the notion of freedom in HK to some degree.

I assume you mean 80% of Blizzard's US fan base?


They took a hit in EU for it as well. You probably were referring to their sino-servers but they do get a hint of what we see over there. Before Blitzchung they were already facing some PR problems for their bans within OW and WoW for anyone who happened to type anything related to winnie the pooh in chat.


For better or worse, it sounds a lot like Qi screwed YC here. Raising 55mn USD, leveraging the YC brand, and keeping all of the profits and upside to himself in China.

On a fairer note, I think YC got to ask: what unfair advantage do we have in this country?

Most of their advantages are network effects in SV and brand-awareness in the western world. Their advantages in the US are MUCH higher than in China, where you'd have to build much from scratch, rebuild the investors' and founders' networks. If Qi was supposed to bring all this -- which he undoubtedly had as ex-COO of Baidu -- why would he need YC at all?

I'm not going into the details of his personality or whether this is a gentleman's move or are the highest standards of honesty and integrity. You shall make your own opinion about Chinese business.

That to say, all of this -- just like any other comment here obviously -- is a hypothesis and nothing less. So take each comment with a huge grain of salt :).

Cheers


You got it right. I read the announcement in Chinese on WeChat before any reports were available in English, and had to check other sources to make sure I was not misreading the facts. I attended all YC events in Beijing (May 2018, May 2019, June 2019) and certainly noticed some changes in marketing messages and a declining role of US partners, but never expected this sudden "rebranding" to happen. After leveraging the YC brand to gather resources and attract applicants, this just feels like a shameless takeover.


OP here (no affiliation with YC in anyway), posted the link because was surprised it wasn't already on HN.

I first got to know about it on WeChat actually. There was an announcement from the official WeChat account of YC China in regard to the split-up (link: https://mp.weixin.qq.com/s/SnSsli_ZGo0yI58YD-ddaw), though the announcement took a much more positive and exciting tone than its English counterpart. The announcement from YC China talked a lot about 本土化 (which is not to be confused with sinicisation (汉化))。 As someone who has moved back to China recently, I noticed that 本土化 is actually a really big thing in China and it basically means localisation on steroid to become more similar to other products/services in China in every aspect (including HR, internal operations, etc).

Anyway I'm fascinated by all the comments here, none of which discussed the cultural and sociopolitical differences between that of the west and that of China, which I believe is one of the main factors that have enabled the disintegration between YC and YC China.

The Chinese government is one thing. But "the Chinese way" is another thing. And "the Chinese way" actually underlines how the Chinese society works and how the Chinese government functions. To understand "the Chinese way", one has to try to emulate a generalisation of how a Chinese person thinks and acts in this day and age after all these revolutions and wars and pandemonium that have shaped the land and the way people interpret things and interact with one another. Without great knowledge in the modern Chinese history and a good grasp of the contemporary Chinese language and culture (from a none-bias perspective as much as possible), it's extremely difficult to form a proper mental representation of "the Chinese way". The thing is not many Chinese people are aware of this too (since they are already operating under "the Chinese way", emulating it would be like running a meta-circular interpreter - not impossible just highly difficult for an average person). Perhaps this is why people (Chinese and none-Chinese) often resort to understanding China through the lens of the media (i.e. state-sponsored or company-sponsored) and that is akin to looking at a 2d projection of a higher dimension object.


It's the same narrative all over again. When no strong arguments are present to defend a viewpoint, the topic suddenly becomes a "cultural" thing. Sounding smart and mysterious. In Russia, it's "the Russian way", in China it is "the Chinese way" etc. It's just BS.


What you have just said is very postmodern and the meta-narrative (or meta-sentiment) could be applied to virtually anything. I was merely trying to shift the focus of the heated discussion here as things were getting homogenous and reddit-like.


I was born in the USSR and it also had it's "own way". And it didn't resist even 70 years. The elephants in the room mentioned by others in the comments are all "meta" things at the highest level of human cognition: basic human rights, freedom of expression, religion, overall civil liberties are all above any "<insert nation> ways". Cultural differences are just irrelevant here.


Huh. Claiming that there are no valid outer narrative is postmodern.


That is the central problem of the postmodern. It is a framework that inevitably dismisses itself when you go enough meta-level up.


I don't see why it dismisses itself. It asks questions, it's just philosophy at that point and the good old epistemological questions. But the first and second order thinking it encourages is a perfectly useful framework.

It helps understand situations vastly different from ours, but it doesn't dismiss your own core values.

It's probably a good postmodern conclusion that truly understanding the Chinese way is impossible without actually being completely in it, but at that point you are again too biased. But that doesn't mean that without a full immersion we can't gain valid insights about it. We can. We are perfectly aware of the big picture, we have seen it hundreds of times by now in various countries (and proto-countries) over the last few thousand years.


so a specific example then -- in your opinion is putting ca one million Uighurs and Kazakhs into internment camps compatible with the 'Chinese way'?


> Anyway I'm fascinated by all the comments here, none of which discussed the cultural and sociopolitical differences between that of the west and that of China

To be fair, you don't describe any particular difference yourself in the following paragraph. You say these cultural differences can't be defined and simultaneously expect us to discuss them.¿

The fact is, there are plenty of businesses who have successfully navigated the cultural and political waters of China-Western relations. Maybe it's not the right time for YC - that's fine.

I think we all understand that dealings between the West and China are complicated, to say the least, by cultural, language, and historic differences. That is why we look to the best of us to reach across these differences and make deals so that we can all prosper rather than be left behind as the rest of the world moves on.


It is possible. Just extremely hard. And I will love to write a book about it after I have gone through a good amount of papers on cultural theories and had a good amount of interaction with Chinese of all walks of life so to have a better grasp of "the Chinese way" and somehow utilise the very knowledge of it in my new start-up to make Vsauce-inspired Chinese videos on liberal arts, philosophy, science and tech for Chinese audience (and hopefully go viral) and build a "quality content marketplace" where people in China get to directly connect with local and oversea creatives and they can sponsor these creatives to make explanatory videos on things, etc. The business model would have to follow "the Chinese way" and I'll need to conduct more experiments.


This does not do much to clarify.

Which person in Chinese history has had the most influence on your perspective of the "Chinese way"?


That is an interesting question, unfortunately I would say probably no one. "The Chinese way" that I'm talking about here is a contemporary phenomenon that has enabled the Chinese economy to thrive in the last 30 years, which is what makes it more interesting economically speaking than, say, "the Russian way". Basically it is about how the 1.3-billion-people system works and evolves to be more efficient over the years, macro-economically as much as micro-economically. And this is where culture theories come in. Ultimately, it is cultures that govern how people act and think in groups. Cultures towards interpersonal relationships, work-life balance, technology, infrastructure, human right, cynicism, dignity or 面子, how to navigate in grey area, irony and sarcasm, criticism, hierarchy, what roles authority play, how to game the system, etc. Of course, there are also the social-political aspects that arise from it, etc.

Recently I stumbled upon a Zhihu post (Zhihu is basically Quora in China) discussing about Vox: "What do you think about the Youtube channel Vox" (https://www.zhihu.com/question/314185948) filled with opinions accusing Vox of slandering (抹黑)China in a malevolent (恶意)manner. And the accusations regarding the biasness of Vox were in no way unbiased themselves, commingled with comments on how bad the content quality of all Vox's videos are. If you think this is just pure propaganda or some sort of communist bot commentary then you are taking the simpler path out of this, and people in China would probably find it to be disrespectful. These Chinese comments reflect the general view of people in China who are exposed to Western media that would otherwise be censored without the use of VPN. These people support the government by their hearts and they believe in the government and the surrounding ideologies. There is a somewhat modernist honesty in it. This is why people actually get agitated when the government is being criticised in ways they condemn as "pure slandering". You may be tempted to call out bigotry and label these people as having been brainwashed but from their point of view the same label and description can be applied to people in the West. And epistemologically what is brainwash but just another Freudian invention from the time of bigotry? And what is bigotry really but closed-mindedness? My point is that this is a very complex social-political situation of the 21st century. And some aspects of it certainly have direct impact on consumer behaviours - we have seen that with the boycotting of Dolce & Gabbana. And some aspects of it influence business processes too, and what it means to be professional, and how politics plays or not plays out in a working environment, etc. There are just a lot more to it than what you see on the surface. I have denoted the central mechanism to be cultural but in many ways it is behavioural and psychological as much as linguistic and philosophical. And out of all these the most fascinating is that - let it be a bubble or not - the Chinese economy has been doing extremely well over the past few decades with crazy growth rate and my prediction is that they would continue to do well in the next many decades or so until some sort of a Nash equilibrium is reached. Not only would "the Chinese way" continue to work, it would be more and more relevant in the future, especially to people in the West that will increasingly be affected by it as the world gets ever more interconnected.

By understanding more about "the Chinese way", and by having a better appreciation for it, people in both the East and the West would have a much more accurate view of how not just China but the world works. As much as "the Chinese way" is about China it is also about pragmatism and a deviation from Western ideologies.


It just came to me that there was indeed someone in contemporary history that had the most influence on my perspective of "the Chinese way". That would definitely have to be Lee Kuan Yew. Not exactly a Chinese in terms of nationality, but he sure knew profoundly lots about "the Chinese way" in contemporary China. I highly recommend his book One Man's View of the World where there is a chapter if not a couple of them on China.


>a contemporary phenomenon that has enabled the Chinese economy to thrive in the last 30 years, which is what makes it more interesting economically speaking than, say, "the Russian way".

You mean the Russia where per-capita GDP (both nominal and adjusted for purchasing power) is higher than China's?


> The Chinese government is one thing. But "the Chinese way" is another thing. And "the Chinese way" actually underlines how the Chinese society works and how the Chinese government functions.

"The Chinese Way" is a cop out, it points out the cultural differences between the West and China, but that does not change the fundamentals of political ideologies. Fascist and authoritarian regimes, all, justify their actions through the proxy of cultural differences.

It is not right to shut down discussion about political climates by reducing it to a non-negotiable argument, i.e. the other party does not understand "The Chinese Way" or they will never know the history of China. There are plenty of non-Chinese historians arounds the world who have studied China deeply, academically and by experience such as expats including myself who have spent significant time in China. We know "The Chinese Way".

> The Chinese government is one thing.

No, that's the elephant in the room here, don't be so quick to dismiss it. Ask yourself this - "Would I feel threatened to criticize the Chinese government publicly while I am in China?" If the answer is yes, you either A) Took allegiance to the Chinese nationalism B) or afraid to speak out. If it is B, then it is time to move out of China before it is too late.


> It dismisses, insults the argument that is pertaining to human rights, freedom of press, justice, freedom of speech, liberty, right to vote - some of the pillars of Democracy.

The more fundamental question here is: What if the modernist's definition of democracy which you have just laid out is extremely one-sided and full of grey areas and, when implemented into a society accordingly, would be full of vulnerabilities to be exploited for things the very ideology opposes?

> It is not right to shut down discussion about political climates by reducing it to a non-negotiable argument, i.e. the other party does not understand "The Chinese Way" or they will never know the history of China.

Firstly, I don't see how reducing an argument into a different form would end up "shutting down discussion". Secondly, this is not a non-negotiable form, actually it opens up more areas for research and there are many questions to be asked and answered such as "how does metamodernism manifest itself as we see a ~800% increase in middle class in China between 2000 and 2018"?

Also, read about the history of China so you can be more informed before discussing about China? I don't understand what do you mean by "they will never know the history of China".

> There are plenty of non-Chinese historians arounds the world who have studied China deeply, academically and by experience such as expats.

Exactly. So go read some books about the history of China. Or read a paper, say, about postmodernism in China. It really helps to put things in a different perspective.

The thing is that nowadays comments on HN have certainly diluted.

> No, that's the elephant in the room here, don't be so quick to dismiss it. Ask yourself this - "Would I feel threatened to criticize the Chinese government publicly while I am in China?" If the answer is yes, you either A) Took allegiance to the Chinese nationalism B) or afraid to speak out. If it is B, then it is time to move out of China before it is too late.

When you put people into two polar categories you are basically radicalising them just like on any other social media. The problem here is that "speaking out" doesn't change a damn thing. And it never will. Not in China. Not in the States. If you want to improve the system you first understand how the system works, then work hard and do things that will improve the system. When "speaking out" works that is merely an indication that the system has evolved and changed over the years. When LaToya Jackson spoke out in the 90s did it work? No, and that's because "the system" was still fucked. Criticising is only useful when it actually influences something. Otherwise you are just playing the devil's advocate in a Nash equilibrium that is not in favour of your proposition. And then there is the question: what is the proposition really? Can it be fine-tuned to satisfy the people's needs without shaking up too much the status quote, the legacy code? Ultimately I believe it is about improving people's lives. And it's a constraint satisfaction problem.


> The problem here is that "speaking out" doesn't change a damn thing. And it never will. Not in China. Not in the States.

Aren't you doing exactly that right now? "speaking out" on Hacker News against people you disagree with?

> Criticising is only useful when it actually influenced something.

Of course. And countries with freedom of speech allows criticism to be influential.


> Aren't you doing exactly that right now? "speaking out" on Hacker News against people you disagree with?

>> If you want to improve the system you first understand how the system works, then work hard and do things that will improve the system.

>> Criticising is only useful when it actually influences something.

The trick is to achieve system understanding first. On Hacker News, the system is set up to reward intellectually stimulating arguments, e.g. taking a systemic view of social phenomena. Since there are at least some open-minded people here, that kind of criticism may actually influence something.

To effectively "speak out" on China, you need an entirely different skillset, including being able to reference a large corpus of shared knowledge that most people on HN are probably unaware of.

Since China does not yet allow criticism to be very influential, it is likely that the effort invested into criticism would be better spent, for now, on increasing the likelihood that future criticism will be influential. There are many possible ways to do that; it appears the person you're replying to has settled on a particular one I don't quite understand yet.


I like your grey area analogy. Why do we constantly feel the need to validate our own personal point of view as the only correct solution while completely ignoring or even considering the potential from an opposite angle?

Even in the worst scenario in which the opposite side could be in the wrong, but surely there must be at least a few good things come out of it. We ought to focus on those details. Our world is indeed full of grey areas, but human nature just tends to default to a black and white, us vs. them mentality. It probably helps to strengthen our individual identity, yet it hinders and limits our full potential at the same time.

Even the strongest ideology will never stand the test of time as it is only created by humans, for it must constantly evolve or be replaced by another one due to human limited life expectancy. It can never be true forever in a dynamically changing world.

The key to intelligence is being able to hold two opposing ideas together in our minds while still function perfectly well at the same time. This, by the way, is a teaching that comes from the West.


I agree: read books about China. Books like "Mao's Great Famine: The History of China's Most Devastating Catastrophe, 1958-1962" by Frank Dikotter, and "The Black Book of Communism: Crimes, Terror, Repression" by Courtois et. al.

These are books you are unlikely to be able to read in China, and not because reading history does not comport with some imagined "Chinese way" but rather because the truth is threatening to totalitarians.


Preposterous to say that "speaking out" doesn't change a damn thing. So let's ignore the history of the entire world about "speaking out". Let's ignore struggle of every country that gained independence, let's ignore Martin Luther King, Gandhi, Nelson Mendela. Let's ignore the idea of free press.

I think you're circling around the main argument about authoritarian regimes and despite of evidence in front of you, some how twisting words to either avoid discussing the nature of authoritarism or subscribed to the Chinese government propaganda. Honestly, I plead you to sit down, and question the consequences of an impossibly powerful government ruling almost a billion people without representation. It is not about cultural differences, it is about co-existence of multiple cultures around the world in peace. Lately, the Chinese government is supressing free speech and using financial leverage to shut voices down - outside of China. Instead, you're arguging about what's the point of free speech which is worryingly obtuse.

Mother nature doesn't given a shit about these politicians, you're intelligent enough to not subscribe to propaganda. We have so many seconds to spend on this pale blue dot - let's do it peacefully, respectfully and with strong ideals about freedom, liberty and justice. Politicians are using nationalism to gain power over public, tapping into human psyche to rally up support. Question authority fearlessly.

We need an anti-nationalism movement on the world stage.


[flagged]


Please don't cross into nationalistic or ethnic slurs.

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


Genuinely curious, what is "the Chinese way"?


An ineffable, inexplicable thing, bound up in the mystery of 5000+ years of culture, that you can only understand if you are Han Chinese, as they are above the rest of us humans.


It's funny cause any specific "Chinese way" that might have existed during these thousands of years was inherently crushed in the second half of the 19th century. I mean, the party that runs the whole thing is the "cultural" creation of some European idealists who lived in the 19th century (from Saint-Simon and Fourier going to Marx and Engels). Not to mention that the Taiping Rebellion, which was to blame for the death of 10 to 20 million people, was the result of a Chinese farmer who thought of himself as Jesus Christ, partly as the result of interacting with an American baptist priest [1]

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


That's exactly the point people are trying to make, just not so eloquently! (So in that sense I could say "woosh", because the parent comment sarcastically pointed out that the only valid way to understand it - as claimed by the CCP - happens to be only available to them, yet analytically it's just as easily deconstructed as any other totalitarian state, and not even completely new brand at that, because it's still very recognizably follows the "revolutionist" doctrine.)

However, at the same time people rightly point out that sure, it's totalitarian and rooted in socialism and whatever it was around in the 1920s, but it's full of Chinese characteristics. And ... somehow this makes it very indecipherable, and a-okay, and not a big human rights crisis. :|


So what exactly is the Chinese Way other than something Westerners can't grasp?


Personally I was really disappointed when YC opened up shop in China - to me it really revealed a Profits over People approach and was pretty brazen at the time.

Happy to see (for whatever reason) that they're recommitting to communities that (at least on the surface) don't support fascist overtures.


>>"recommitting to communities that (at least on the surface) don't support fascist overtures"

Sorry, but what you said is quite different from my conclusion from comparing a country which starts wars all around the world, with a country which build infrastructures all around the world.


Echoing another poster, people and individuals who are Chinese are not their government. You shouldn't equate working with Chinese individuals and talent as a tacit support of their government.


You should do more digging into how "doing business in China" works before you make this statement.


I really have no idea how "doing business in China" works. I thought I understood it but I still don't...

An interesting thread last year suggested that in some cases companies spent many years "doing business in China" as a form of ... de-escalation to avoid nuclear war, https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=17004546


You don't do business in China without supporting the government, and them supporting you, period.

Plenty of Chinese people call the communist party "The organization" because as far as they are concerned, its the only power structure that exists in China.


Is it like that? I’m sure it’s true in some cases, but I have the feeling Chinese people are often much more their government than otherwise similar people in other countries.

Of course, all that’s based on hearsay, so who knows what the reality is.


They aren't recommitting anything. They got their IP stolen and their logo is still being used, and apparently they can't even say anything about it.


Chinese people are people too, you know.

ngcc_hk 61 days ago [flagged]

But chinese government is not a government of the people, by the people and for the people.

North Korean is also human too. So is those in nazi Germany für Ibm.


Nazis are not in fact people for the purposes of discussion. They are movie extras who get shot as fast as possible.

You really had to go full Godwin dehumanization on a billion people right away?


The nazi regime is very much comparable to the Chinese communist party in methods and death toll, about the only thing they don't measure up on is overt military aggression.

Why do you dismiss any comparisons with the Nazis out of hand? Seems like an exceptionally poor way to learn from history.


> comparisons with the Nazis out of hand

Because they're generally silly hyperbole, just like this example. If you put China in the same tier as Nazi Germany, you're missing the forest for the trees.


Very disappointing and probably the least honest and transparant update from YC.


Even YC is cowed into silence by the might of China. Understandably so, even if somewhat cowardly. Does YC want China to boycott or otherwise disable YC companies? Does YC want to threaten any future relationship with China? No. So they keep mum as to their real reasons.


Why disturb waters unnecessarily? YC's statement seems more like "let's wait for a better time" than self-censorship.

If YC truly saw no chance for YC-China in the future, then I don't doubt they would come out and say so. However, that's a pretty strong statement, and I don't think anyone can make such a prediction. There is always a chance for a more serendipitous time in the future.


Please do me the courtesy of writing a reply if you're going to downvote. Thank you.


[flagged]


These criticisms don't even make sense. YC is announcing that they're not expanding formally into China, which is something China very much would want them to do.


I am sure China would gladly welcome YC and all the IP it has access to.

There is no question China presents an opportunity to generate capital returns on a scale that YC can no longer achieve in the more mature US venture capital market. They also present many risks that are hard to put in an equation.


Until they make it be partnered with a local company, which eventually forces a majority ownership, spins out, and YC is left with nothing.


Again: they are withdrawing from China. There's nothing to spin out.


China is the ultimate long game and they tend to have long memories as well.


Everyone says China is stable but they’ve had two bloody revolutions in the last century-and-a-bit.

Whoever the next Chinese government is, they probably won’t look kindly upon those who collaborated with the CCP.


China could still do a lot of harm to both YC companies and what and who remains of YC china/MiraclePlus. Its pretty obvious that the boss woke up one day and gee we decided to completely withdraw from a country isn't the whole story.


What's dishonest/opaque about this?

YC is generally Bay Area-only, and after consideration they decided to stick with that.


There's no real reason why given. It seems that HN's "No politics" policy flows over to their blog updates as well.


HN doesn't have a no politics policy.

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=17014869

https://hn.algolia.com/?dateRange=all&page=0&prefix=false&qu...

Edit: maybe I should add that we do moderate posts that are just political, i.e. don't have an intellectually curious angle, as well as threads that depart from the path of curious discussion and sink into flames.


I think you should adopt your "moderate with a light touch on sensitive YC-affecting topics" tactics for this thread.


Indeed I am. This thread is much worse than we'd normally allow.


You do understand that YC China would have been an enormous change, right? They barely started doing NYC this year.

The default answer is simply "no"/"not right now"; not a ton of explanation required.


The reason given was "change of leadership", i.e., from Sam Altman to Geoff Ralston. Interestingly, Geoff wrote: "we are just working on launching YC China and I'll work hard to make sure Qi Lu has everything he needs to make that go well" after he was appointed, so it doesn't seem like he started out with different ideas.

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19969490


> "No politics"

Maybe because politics was not involved and it was purely an operational capacity decision? I know it's not as fun as silly conspiracy theories.


While "As we worked to establish YC China, we had a change in leadership. With this, our strategy changed back " does give 50% of the answer as to "why", I'd be great to hear from otherwise transparent YC about why the strategy changed and why it didn't work out.


would be good to hear what they plan on doing instead.

YC China was a bet at doing something different. With that gone—and idk if it should have stayed or gone.. sometimes experiments fail—what is YCs plan?

Invite 200, 300, 500, 20,000 companies to SF? maybe it is the best option, but also maybe not the best thing to do. YC Seems stuck in an innovator's dilemma. Reminds me of Apple under Tim Cook. Keeping a good thing going, but nothing innovative.


YC has been trying a bunch of things new to them. Not sure how they are working out yet:

* Supporting more hardware specific companies.

* Supporting more biomed device tech companies.

* Scaling online with startup school.

* Trying to scale the number of companies who get accepted into the program.

There is still a lot to figure out in the 'nurture small/young companies' space. That said, each country has its own unique challenges.


> does give 50% of the answer

How could you possibly know it's only 50%? Please, HN, stop with all of the ridiculous guessing of motives with nothing to back it up.


Don't take it so literal. Point being, the "why" doesn't seem fully covered.


> "why" doesn't seem fully covered

Again, there's no way you can know that and you're making complete assumptions.


@YC Leadership: The Chinese Article [1] reads synonymously to: YC China was RENAMED, not aborted. That's highly different from your English statement.

LOL: even the website ycchina.co redirects to MiraclePlus. http://www.ycchina.com/

[1] https://mp.weixin.qq.com/s/SnSsli_ZGo0yI58YD-ddaw


I don't think there's any contradiction between the two statements. Y Combinator stops their involvement in YC China, turning it into a separate entity. YC China gets renamed MiraclePlus.

The announcement by YC emphasizes the separation from YC China, the announcement by MiraclePlus emphasizes the continuity with YC China.


My observation is that Qi used the YC brand to help launch his MiraclePlus. After that they part ways. The first batch of startups are very different from regular YC companies.

https://mp.weixin.qq.com/s/KdfV4hF4qz8Ti1XL0i_S3A


So form a partnership with US firm, extract IP and know-how, launch a clone in China, and part ways. Sounds like a standard approach.


Oh, and the Western "chumps" got "nothing". Is that the story line you are selling here?


I was hoping for a denouncement of China's actions in Hong Kong. One can dream.


No need. Even as a hongkonger. Support thanks but normal business sense — that comes the point. I find all these world venture is a bit naive. It is not going to pay in the long term. If want to, why not Russia. At least you are aware and have alarm bell rang.


Interesting that Qi Lu just raised $55m for his "MiraclePlus" last week:

https://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1792939/000179293919...

I wonder Qi just decided to just go his own way.


> I wonder Qi just decided to just go his own way.

If that's the case, let him say so.


I applaud this move. Given the recent history of actions by the Chinese government, investment in China is not ethical.


I doubt it's about ethic, it's about the ability to protect your investment on foreign turf, in the current climate.


yep, yc can't capture the patents if there's no patent system in place.


US will have a financial war with China soon. So it is wise to cut the tie early.


Soon?


Maybe already.


I visited Eric Migicovsky’s presentation in Hong Kong a year ago dedicated to YC China. He is a founder of Pebble, YC partner, and helped Qi Lu a lot in establishing YC China. Although China VC investments have almost surpassed US, there were only three projects from Great China (Mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan) in YC. They wanted to find out how they can bring more local talents to SV.

Unfortunately, it seems they haven’t succeeded much. I think the main reason is that Chinese entrepreneurs rarely want to target the international market. They don’t really know much about it, they don’t have the network and they have a huge domestic market, where they feel much more convenient.

The state of early-stage investment is different in China, compare to US or Europe. You won’t find here many events or meetups where angles or early-stage VC connected with entrepreneurs. They don’t actually like sharing events of that kind. For example, the largest community of such kind in Shanghai is founded by non-Chinese. The only way to reach a well-known VC fund is your network. A warm introduction helps multiples your chances for fundraising dramatically. Probably YC failed with establishing a good network among early-stage VC funds in China, and moreover, they don’t have a strong brand there.

The Chinese market is not mature enough. Maybe in US you eager to make a blue ocean project, but in China entrepreneurs mostly driven by higher returns. China is all about scale - even a bad product may have a huge IRR. However, never underestimate the local competitors. If the company managed to get a series A fundraising and got coverage in media most probably they surpassed 30-40 completely identical companies. Such tight competition brings some innovative ideas - WeChat, Doyin, VipKid. The western world can study these cases. Unfortunately, there's been mostly negative coverage in media about China nowadays. I worked in Chinese startups and in Chinese academia. People are bright, high-skilled, and motivated. There are great visioners like Allen Zhang or Frank Wong. Only a few entrepreneurs take advantage of CCP regulations. Many of them claim that the party negatively affect the investment and business climate in the country.


Thanks for the intel! This is super great to know. It definitely helped to put things into more perspective. So kudos for that! I saw an interview with Qi the other day (back when it was still YC China) and Qi mentioned about funding ambitious start-ups that play the long game and are in early stage but have little or no connections in China which mean these start-ups would otherwise be ignored by Chinese investors. Do you think Qi's MiraclePlus will continue to do that in the spirit of YC?

I saw an article coverage of YC China's last demoday (17 Nov) and noticed that most start-ups graduated this year have had their angel rounds before entering YC China, which could be due to the reason as you've described - YC China failing to establish a good network among early-stage VC funds in China, thus looking out more for post-angel companies. Or it could also be because there were just too few aspiring early-stage start-ups in China. Perhaps funding early-stage start-ups in China imposes a much higher risk than say in the Valley.

Anyway do you think it would be possible for someone who has okay track record but no direct connections with angels and VCs in China to get their early-stage start-up angel-funded? Will it change a thing if it is an early stage with MVP that has thousands of active users? What about an early stage in artsy-style (i.e. as a small self-publishing media company related to the tech/product being developed) with a self-media WeChat/Weibo account that has tens of thousands of visitors every week?

I'm one of those people that ended up moving back to China and looking to start a blue ocean project here. The early-stage investment landscape in China really is not looking good right now, just wondering how that will change over the next few years (especially in China where things are so fast-paced!) So would also love your opinions on that! Thanks!


> I'm one of those people that ended up moving back to China and looking to start a blue ocean project here.

I assume you're fluent in Chinese, that helps a lot. As for angel-funding without connection, it could be a bit tuff. Also sometimes it helps to go through your current Chinese network and to ask whether someone is envolve or know people who involved in PE and VC. Btw, which city are you based?

> What about an early stage in artsy-style Try to reach https://www.parklu.com/ or similar KOL companies. They should be more familiar with the state of the business. But there've been a lot of media-incubators recently.

>I saw an article coverage of YC China's last demoday (17 Nov) Do you have a link?

P.S. You can reach me in twitter for more questions https://twitter.com/kidrulit


Thanks for the pointer! Here is the link of the article coverage: https://mp.weixin.qq.com/s/KdfV4hF4qz8Ti1XL0i_S3A (it's in Chinese though) I'm based in Guangzhou at the moment.


Thanks. I can read a little Chinese. Unfortunately, I don't know much about GZ. However, I think in SZ the entrepreneur community is slightly more developed


I see. Yeah SZ definitely a more vibrant city. But am stuck in GZ for a while. It's alright. Will figure out something. I'm connecting with people in the contemporary art scene here. They are pretty nice.


The response to this is unfortunate. Consider the run-on effects it will have on other companies that the primary response to YC pulling out of China is negativity. Requiring companies to stake everything on an action like this only serves to discourage any of them from acting.

YC did the right thing here, the comments should reflect that.


Maybe it’s a bit like the HK extradition bill retraction. Too little, and too late.


I mean theres no place for western companies in China as seen times and times again. This literally happens all the time


GM, Tesla and Apple are making tons of money in China now. Even Google and Facebook are making over hundreds of millions of ads money each year from China. Yes, Google and Facebook still have branches in China and make a lot of money.


Unlike GM, Tesla and Apple, Facebook is not making money by operating in the Chinese market. Facebook is making money from Chinese advertisers via resellers. It's Chinese capital being exported to Facebook outside of the country, for a service operating entirely outside of China.

Equivalent to an advertiser in China going through a local ad broker that works with the NY Times, to place an ad in the NY Times in a paper sold in NYC.


AirBNB is though if their operation there is anything less than a constant fire I would be surprised.


So YC's own China-version startup effort flopped basically.

It's at an awkward time per se, nobody wants to get serious business started now at current climate, which could be the beginning of a sea change policy from what has been here for the last 3 decades between US and China.

Techstars etc have lots of offices in US and Europe, how about YC expanding to NY, Boston, Austin first? That will help US economy and foster some local startup ecosystem as well.


Is MiraclePlus funded by or supported directly or indirectly by YC? Does YC have a stake?


I found two things. Business Insider (via Reuters) [0] suggests no. I also found a Chinese post, but I can't read this so maybe someone else can[1]

[0] https://www.insider.com/silicon-valley-startup-incubator-y-c...

[1] https://www.sohu.com/a/351116732_550313


The Sohu link doesn't talk about the link between YC and Miracle Plus, it's just a brief bio about Qi Lu (he was speaking at that Tsinghua event).


I imagined this was going to happen. Lately PG has been more vocal on twitter regarding Human Rights issues in China.

I understand this is a very difficult decision. I'm not sure if its right or wrong. From the perspective of Human Rights its probably right, but from the perspective of investment its difficult considering China's growth prospects.

I'm torn on the China issue and I personally hope our two countries can work out their differences in a constructive way.


If he pulled out over China's human rights issues, I have a newfound respect for PG. Very few leaders today are willing to support basic rights of fellow human beings over personal profits.


What would you think of a VC who was investing with a thesis that enlarging+enriching the Chinese bourgeoisie (i.e. entrepreneurs) would give Chinese citizens as a whole more power relative to the Chinese state, and thus likely accelerate the shift toward more democratic forms of government that seems to inevitably come to "developed nations" once they have enough people who've "got theirs" and now want to signal their care for the working man, rather than rising on their backs?


I'd say they're delusional.

Everyone made this assumption in the '90s, that prosperity necessarily lead to freedom. 20 years later that assumption doesn't look so good.


Maybe people in the 90s assumed "prosperity" in general would be a panacea; but the hypothesis here isn't really to do with GDP more generally (because that can all be generated and captured by the state, as in middle-eastern oil-producing countries) but rather to do with a certain inevitable demographic shift.

China has already started on a shift called industrialization: a massive demographic shift from poverty-class subsistence farmers, to middle-class industrial workers (e.g. construction workers.)

The next shift after industrialization is a mass promotion out of the working-class and into the middle-class (a.k.a. the bourgeoisie: small-business owners/entrepreneurs), where industrial jobs dry up, people mostly live in cities, and everyone goes into business for themselves to serve a specialized role in a city. Accompanying this is, also inevitably, a massive rise in political consciousness, because you need to study the political climate to effectively run a business.

Now, that second shift is far from happening in China yet. Their industrialization phase only just started 10 years ago, with a construction boom analogous to the one that the US went through in the late 1800s. It'll likely be decades more before there are no more Chinese public-infrastructure projects; before the average Chinese citizen is rich enough that everyone turns their nose up at working in the trades; before the average Chinese citizen's life-goal is to be a vlogger or whatever kids in developed countries want to do now.

But, despite that phase being a ways away, it's also seemingly inevitable. We've never seen a country get stuck in the industrialization phase once it's truly begun. It's finite by definition—the same forces that create this phase of growth, push a country through and past it.

The only deciding factor on how long it takes a state to become democratized, in this theory, is how long it takes to reach the industrialization phase. It took China a long, long time (probably because Communism put them at a standstill in accruing the necessary resources and talent to begin having a working class at all; they had to relent and do some top-down state capitalism just to get anywhere at all.)

And many states are stuck lower down the development path, where they'll likely never reach industrialization without outside help. That "help" usually coming in the form of the world deciding to target them as the newest cheap labor outsourcer. (Luckily, once China is post-industrial, it too will be a labor outsourcer, not a labor supplier.)


> But, despite that phase being a ways away, it's also seemingly inevitable. We've never seen a country get stuck in the industrialization phase once it's truly begun. It's finite by definition—the same forces that create this phase of growth, push a country through and past it.

No, no, no, each and every country that deindustrialised, did so for their own, individual reasons.

And you have Japan, Germany, and Switzerland — all developed countries with substantial industry.

Most countries that did deindustrialise, did so because they lost industrial competition. Their industries were too uncompetitive to stick around for anything else, but cost. This is how US lost its steel, in which it once was a global leader.


You need to think of China like North Korea. There is very little chance they are going to democratize in the near future.


All else being equal, sure.

But China are still making construction workers into nuveau-riche at a prodigious rate. They're creating the proto-Rockefellers and proto-Carnegies of China, right now. Those people, and especially their children (who would become the actual Rockefellers and Carnegies of China), are going to have some impact. China might "manage" (i.e. suppress) that impact, but a large bourgeoisie class is uniquely powerful in terms of its ability to throw money around to influence foreign politics as a knife against the throat of the local state.

Consider: the Napoleonic Wars weren't a consequence of the French Revolution; they were the second phase of the French Revolution. Sometimes the best thing to do to get your government in better shape, is to convince every other major power that your state is the bad guy and needs its ass kicked.

Right now, China is (barely) keeping a lid on global unrest against them—but a big part of that is that right now, Chinese citizens are still mostly positive and patriotic about their homeland, as you'd expect of people who just went through an industrialization boom. Take that coefficient and flip the sign the other way, though...


That's one of the more odd assessments of China that I've heard. These proto-Carnegies and their children you speak of are a well defined class. Specifically, the children are the "princling" class, Xi is one of them. They have been raised to understand the source of their wealth is the state. They are quite happy with the status quo and greatly value the power of the state as an instrument of suppression.


[flagged]


Please stop using HN for nationalistic flamewar. It's not what this site is for. We've already had to ask you this, and ban accounts that won't stop, so please stop.

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


Understood the first time but am I being singled out here? I see lots of comments spewing unsubstantiated nationalistic hate and I don't see them getting flagged/banned. Those comments are getting left up and leaving the argument totally unbalanced. At least when I comment I make an attempt to link to (legit mainstream) sources and explain in a rational way.


I know it inevitably feels like bias to get moderated like that, but we are careful not to single users out because of their views, and indeed there's a child comment to yours which expressed an opposite view in an unacceptable way, and we moderated it.

If you see a glaring case where the rules weren't enforced, the likeliest explanation is that we didn't see it. We don't come close to seeing everything that gets posted here. You are welcome to alert us to such cases, by flagging them (see https://news.ycombinator.com/newsfaq.html for how to flag comments), or by emailing hn@ycombinator.com about egregious ones.


Understood. Appreciate your response.

mrobot 61 days ago [flagged]

Good god you people are disgusting.


Obviously we ban accounts that break the site guidelines like this, so please stop.

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


I would say that VC is naive and doesn't understand the lengths that the CCP goes to prevent a free democracy. The current regime understood what happened during the fall of the Soviet Union and are extremely keen on not allowing that to happen again. We have already given China many decades to free their markets and their people based on the principle that "free markets lead to wealth and wealth leads to democratization" and look where we ended up. Furthering this line only emboldens the CCP.


They’re delusional and insane—the definition of insanity being doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. That model is exactly what the last 30 years of cooperation with China was meant to be, but all it has done is strengthened a kleptocratic, increasingly paranoid, bloody dictatorship.


Virtue signaling doesn't achieve anything.

And it is an easy business decision, why politicizing it? See what Google had politicized its image and the harms that action had brought to it?

It will be stupid to claim this is done to any political reasons, e.g. human rights. And frankly speaking, they don't care.


> China's growth prospects

150% debt : gdp... gonna hinder the growth in medium term


As inflammatory as my last statement is going to seem, it's a genuine question, I'm not trying to bait you -

But how does

>investment

Versus

>Human Rights

Equal

>I'm torn on the China issue

Do your morals and conscience have a price tag?


I read the GP's "from the perspective of investment" more like a sort of "corporations, despite being made of humans, are inhuman paperclip-maximizers" attitude. You can't convince a corporation to "do what's right", because caring about "what's right" requires a human definition of "right"†, and corporations don't have that, instead having other conceptual preferences in its place, that you have to appeal to instead.

You can't convince a paperclip-maximizer to preserve human life because "it's right"; you have to convince it that doing so will somehow get it more paperclips. You can't convince an investment firm to stay out of China because "it's right"; you have to convince it that doing so will somehow make it more money.

https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/fG3g3764tSubr6xvs/the-meanin...


> Do your morals and conscience have a price tag?

Read his comment again. It's pretty clear that's the case.


Everyone has a price tag, silly to pretend otherwise.


This has got to be satire.

>I understand this is a very difficult decision. I'm not sure if its right or wrong. From the perspective of Human Rights its probably right, but from the perspective of investment its difficult considering China's growth prospects.

I can't believe a human being would actually write this. The level of cognitive dissonance would be off the charts.


I don't really appreciate that. I would argue I'm pretty well informed on China. I've traveled to China, I've worked with the Chinese for over a decade across various roles, my grandfather helped industrialize China, and I've read many great books on China. Personally I retweeted Hillary Clinton's support of Hong Kong protestors while I was in Beijing, so I put myself at personal risk in doing this.

But lets address your comment directly: "The level of cognitive dissonance would be off the charts." Is it?

One book I recommend is Graham Allison "Destined for War".

https://www.amazon.com/Destined-War-America-Escape-Thucydide...

One question that specifically stands out from his book - is that the West believes in Universal Human Rights. China obviously does not. This is a point of conflict and we have some very difficult questions to address in the future. Suppose China attacks Taiwan. What if China has a second Tiananmen in Hong Kong? Do we sanction China? What if China responds with more violence? What do we do? Do we go to war? This is an obvious point of conflict. And these are questions that we will have to work out in the future.

From the perspective of an investor, these are also difficult decisions. We can see this in how the NBA has responded, and how South Park has responded - each differently. Is it really wise to Balkanize the world if our goal is to encourage China to adopt Human Rights? How would a second cold war help?

Obviously I don't have the answers. But I can recognize the conflict from the perspective of a VC whose goal is to make money.


> ...the West believes in Universal Human Rights. China obviously does not.

This is probably a case where more precision is warranted. The CCP and the nearly synonymous PRC government obviously do not believe in Universal Human Rights [1]. However "China" can be interpreted as the Chinese nation/people, and many of them do believe in human rights [see Hong Kong] or have been deliberately kept ignorant of the concepts. It's not like rejection of human rights is part of the national character, or anything.

> Is it really wise to Balkanize the world if our goal is to encourage China to adopt Human Rights? How would a second cold war help?

The Cold War was basically about containment, and it's an acknowledgment that no good options are available. Recent history has shown that trade and investment don't necessarily lead to liberalization, and military attacks are out of the question. Besides containment, the only option left is acceptance/appeasement.

[1] https://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/20/world/asia/chinas-new-lea...


> One question that specifically stands out from his book - is that the West believes in Universal Human Rights. China obviously does not. This is a point of conflict and we have some very difficult questions to address in the future. Suppose China attacks Taiwan. What if China has a second Tiananmen in Hong Kong? Do we sanction China? What if China responds with more violence? What do we do? Do we go to war? This is an obvious point of conflict. And these are questions that we will have to work out in the future.

We don't need to go to war with them but we also don't need to invest in their suppression.


Here's an attempt at interpretting it graciously: if China's economy grows, more Chinese people may be lifted out of poverty. This is obviously beneficial to their lives directly, but could also result in political shifts as the rising middle class becomes more of a stakeholder in society. More developed countries can also afford to have more environmentally friendly laws. There are a bunch of potential benefits to China and the rest of the world that could result from continued growth. Sacrificing these benefits to bring attention to human rights might actually be harmful in the long run by a wide range of metrics, and whether it's desirable to do so might depend on which metrics you value more and how you typically respond to trolley problems.


> Sacrificing these benefits to bring attention to human rights might actually be harmful

So we have to tolerate human rights violations so that in the future _maybe_ there are no more human rights violations?


I'm not actually arguing that this is the most desirable course of action, I'm arguing that OP's original comment can be interpretted in a manner that isn't putting personal gain above human rights. I felt like there were a lot of angry voices piling on over a potential misinterpretation.


No it can't. You believe an acceptable response to Schrodingers Cat is that even if the cats alive maybe killing it is ok if it means you can sell the box. You then justify it by saying a lot of good things could come from the money we might get if we can sell the box.

None of those potentials are sacrificed, they just as much both exist and do not exist as they did before a hypothetical intervention based on human rights abuses.


You have missed as the original posting about china not care about universal x. China do. We do. Always. We have enforced our harmony way to our labour for several thousands years now. We would.

At least I quite the Open source founder has used the chinese way of colonialism to describe open source. Look at how the top leader talk in international forum on things like internet.

China will impose its view. And if you are not civilised per china view you are barbarian to be crushed. It is in our gene.

They will play nice then when not colonised you will be see.

*

Still I believe it does not make commerical senses. China does not allow others to make money unless they can’t replace you. Learning and turn ... The nasty part will come.

Our whole place is an example. And we are chinese according to them. Still ... hence good luck.


A noble view but giving China too much credit. The more that US invests in China, the more the US is supporting the atrocities in Chinese concentration camps, mass surveillance and censorship, and military expansion into international territories. This is not at all just an economic issue. China is acting without impunity and it is up to world leaders to step up and put a stop to their aggressive tactics.

I think most people would be sold on decoupling from China or at least entertaining the idea of enacting punitive actions on China the moment they realize that more than 1 million Chinese citizens are being detained against their will and having their organs ripped out from them while still being half-conscious. All the while, their family gravesites are bulldozed [1] and the CCP sends Chinese men to sleep with their wives [2]. Unfortunately, the insane amount of influence through bribery, censorship, and propaganda exported from China has made people completely unaware of Holocaust-level atrocities.

[1] https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/oct/09/chinas-destruc...

[2] https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7647865/Muslim-wive...


Lets not bash on one person when the worlds largest companies have been fine doing business with china for decades, knowing the HR situation. There was always the hope that growth would help improving the HR situation ( which may be what OP is referring to) , but that doesn’t seem to be in the cards with Xi


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