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China has passed a national security law for Hong Kong (bbc.com)
170 points by rootsudo 2 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 168 comments





This is the death knell for Hong Kong and for One Country, Two Systems -- which has effectively been over in Macau for years.

I can't help but wonder if things would have been different if the US had different leadership -- actually interested in furthering the cause of freedom and democracy throughout the world. While of course the UK is responsible for policing the handover agreement, it's been too busy staring down its own irrelevance while nursing the self-inflicted gaping wound of Brexit. I tip my hat to Beijing, they sure did know when to strike.

It'll be very interesting to see if the UK goes through with it's offer to provide a path to citizenship for 3 million HK'ers. Frankly, it's the least they could do.

It's probably time to learn Mandarin, huh?


> I can't help but wonder if things would have been different if the US had different leadership - actually interested in furthering the cause of freedom and democracy throughout the world

What US leader in the past fifty years has been interested in those ideals?

Certainly not Obama, with how he handled events in Yemen, Libya, and Syria, not to mention the assassination program. And his predecessors weren't any better.

This idea that the US has ever been a force for "freedom and democracy" is ridiculous Cold War propaganda. We are an empire, and our concern for Hong Kong has always been about maintaining our interests there.


US foreign policy has obviously always been very far from perfect, but this kind of equivocation is destructive and pointlessly cynical. Russia and China aspire to nothing. Even if we fail them most of the time, at least the US has ideals. If you were given the chance to live in the US vs one of the other “empires” would you really choose somewhere else? For all our faults, you know the answer is no.

I recently learned some about the Chinese vision: China aspires to long-term stability first.

China had in its past times where the country's internal organization broke down, resulting in famine, ... Lots of people died.

As a result, Confucianism has risen: A vision where individual freedom is seen as a danger to that internal organization. Hence, it should be tempered by strict loyalty to the family, with the whole China being a sort of extended family. The elders and superiors should be obeyed, not necessarily because they are better people, but because this represents stability. In turn, these elders and superiors should be better people, with traits as benevolence,integrity and righteousness.

I am happy I live in Europe, not China, but looking at the state of most western democracy's today, I can have some understanding for this vision.


Um....

There were hundred of other thoughts at the time and Confucianism hasn't risen. Confucianism was used as a tool to solidify the power within the Empire. The only thing you will do is kneel and obey.

And China aspires to long-term stability first is not about China in itself, but the long term control of power. Which for thousands of years has proved what should now be a famous line, Absolute Power corrupts absolutely.


I cannot help to ask: what are your background on Chinese history? What do you recommend for an overview on Confucius?

You seem articulate thousands of years of history, and one of the most ancient philosophy and culture system, and it’s impact in so few words that I dare not to challenge - because, as a Chinese myself, I never gained enough understanding on Confucius, and had no capacity to summarize its impact or origin to even fellow Chinese friends.

In the end, I doubt your credential as a competent commentator on such a complicated topic.

But I have no intellectual capacity to either endorse or deny your statement.


A great new-ish podcast is: The Fall of Civilizations Podcast. They have one on the Han dynasty, the first in China’s history. Worth a listen.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=U9W7cOMGXyA


When I see Americans talking about confucianism, I want to laught.

You got it all wrong.

What you say makes no sense to a Chinese not in its literal, or proverbial sense, and talk like these usually get grannies pointing finger to foreigners on the bus, quietly giggling "oh, those foreigners thinking something on China again..."


OK fair enough. I am no American, BTW, and every culture talking about every other culture has this problem, in both ways.

Now I do see a fairly negative response here, without anything to replace it. So make us all on hacker news one of the lucky 10 000 today: What does China aspire to? What are the overarching themes in the Chinese view of the world, and how do they differ from the Western ones?

I recently learned some about the Chinese vision. If it's wrong, I'd like to learn something more.


Can you give a better explanation?

> Can you give a better explanation?

1. 99% regular Chinese citizens can't give more .... about what some ancient philosopher wrote. They have more important things to care, like earning a living. It is like telling that most Americans are... Aristotelians because few of them were of Greek extraction (even when their descendants today cannot say a word in Greek...)

2. Chinese culture was not formed by ancient dictums. The culture of China was razed with fire in seventies, and rebuilt from blank sheet. The level of "culture" of a regular citizen was reduced to just being able to read, and write, and even that was not a given.

And even before the revolution, Chinese culture people knew had zero things in common to what these people think. The man would be laughed out not only by grannies on the bus today, but equally so a century ago.

3. If there is any cultural imprint on China at all, it would be Russia. Chinese north of Shanghai are effectively indistinguishable by what is in their head from most Russians, other than them speaking Chinese.

Only a more rural, impassable, and much less well off Southern China managed to preserve few vestiges of what China was before the revolution.

To most Chinese citizens, a travel to HK, or Taiwan is a giant cultural shock. It is because them suddenly realising themselves being so much less Chinese than they though they were.


> To most Chinese citizens, a travel to HK, or Taiwan is a giant cultural shock. It is because them suddenly realising themselves being so much less Chinese than they though they were.

Given that I know a lot of both Hong Kong people and mainland Chinese people, I am really not sure from where you're getting this idea.


As a Chinese person from north of Shanghai, what in the world do you mean by “indistinguishable by what is in their head from most Russians”????

Similar in what their attitudes are to so many things in life. Thoughts on having a family, marriage, treatment of women, ideas on social status, work, career, material wellbeing, and down to things like hobbies, and free time spending. And their tourists... especially northeastern ones...

Everything within cultural gravity of Beijing, and Northeast has been molded very early in history of PRC, and was pretty much an attempt to copy USSR 1-to-1 before Mao cut ties.


Wow. I am a northeastern Chinese. I like Russian people, but all I can say is that this is a very surface level analysis on my culture.

There's a theory (known as rice culture theory) that states that rice farming requires cooperation from your neighbors to farm successfully, which solidified a culture of collective values. Wheat, the Western staple, has no such requirements.

If you depended on your neighbor's cooperation, the ideals of Confucianism help the village survive.

If your neighbors were like the Americans who refuse to put on a mask, your whole village would starve to death within the generation. The theory explains why individualism was suppressed and collective values so uplifted in Chinese culture.


Confucius was born in what is now Shandong province, which is far enough north to be not very suitable for rice production. The most important crop is wheat. The southern provinces where rice is more common weren't even part of the Chinese cultural sphere at the time.

The theory doesn't explain anything, since it doesn't even get the agricultural facts right.


sorry if I explained it poorly. Here's an article about it.

https://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2014/05/08/310477497/ri...


Russia takes care of Russia, China takes care of China, and well, US takes care of US, but acts as if they take care of the world.

US foreign policy is meant to improve US. If you don't agree, please give me an example where they wanted to "spread democracy" without any personal gain.

And I'm perfectly fine here in EU thank you very much.


You can look at it that way sure. The USA benefits from global stability and trade, but don't pretend the USA's trading and defence partners don't benefit as well. It's a mutually beneficial relationship.

In contrast, how many countries have that sort of relationship with Russia or China? You could argue Syria has benefited from Russian patronage, but in reality Russia doesn't care at all about Syria, only it's base in Tartus. China has no regional allies whatsoever.

The key difference is that the USA has a reputation to protect. It has so many allies, both military and economic, that if it sells out one of them for purely transactional gain, it weakens it's relationships with all it's other partners.


> The key difference is that the USA has a reputation to protect. It has so many allies, both military and economic, that if it sells out one of them for purely transactional gain, it weakens it's relationships with all it's other partners.

You do know about the industrial espionage by Echelon, right? On that front that pretty much puts US in the same bucket as China.

Only 1 example of many:

"In 1999, Enercon, a German company and leading manufacturer of wind energy equipment, developed a breakthrough generator for wind turbines. After applying for a US patent, it had learned that Kenetech, an American rival, had submitted an almost identical patent application shortly before. By the statement of a former NSA employee, it was later discovered that the NSA had secretly intercepted and monitored Enercon's data communications and conference calls and passed information regarding the new generator to Kenetech.[71] As German intelligence services are forbidden from engaging in industrial or economic espionage, German companies are frequently complaining that this leaves them defenceless against industrial espionage from the United States."

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ECHELON#Examples_of_industrial...


Yes I know about it. Allies have always engaged in snooping and peripheral intelligence operations against each other. As long as it doesn’t go after vital national interests, or involve really nasty stuff like killings and such, it’s just part of the rough and tumble of international affairs. You have to look at the full picture, not get hung up over single incidents.

Note German intelligence wasn’t so much complaining that the Americans did it, as much as that they weren’t allowed to do it back.


> Allies have always engaged in snooping and peripheral intelligence operations against each other.

EU doesn't use their secret intelligence against allies for economical gain, US clearly does.


>but don't pretend the USA's trading and defence partners don't benefit as well. It's a mutually beneficial relationship.

How has Iraq benefited? What benefit do the people of Saudi Arabia see from our relationship? How many of the US led South American regime changes have benefitted the populace?

>It has so many allies, both military and economic, that if it sells out one of them for purely transactional gain, it weakens it's relationships with all it's other partners.

We sell them out constantly. None of those "partners" have other options. Working against the US means most of the world refusing to interact with you, or a regime change on the horizon.


Iraq are our allies against ISIS, they did most of the actual on the ground fighting. Saudi Arabia was terrified Saddam would attack them next, and we now know that was his intended next move after a Kuwait. Also the US is the prime obstacle to Iranian operations against the Saudis. SA spends big on defence, but they’re hopelessly inexperienced, while Iran has plenty of military experience from the wars with a Iraq and operations in Syria. They may look under equipped on paper, but they’d eat SA for breakfast in an actual conflict.

America’s efforts at regime change in the America’s are an appalling catalogue of screwups and bloody disasters. No argument there.

But then NATO has been a useful and very effective alliance, effectively keeping Russia in check. Ask the Baltic States or the Eastern European states how they feel about it. We’ve had setbacks like Ukraine, but boy it could have been a _lot_ worse. Taiwan, South Korea, the Philippines and Japan have benefited hugely. Even Vietnam is now becoming a regional ally.


>Iraq are our allies against ISIS, they did most of the actual on the ground fighting.

ISIS exists because of US action, they are not benefitting from this.

>Saudi Arabia was terrified Saddam would attack them next, and we now know that was his intended next move after a Kuwait.

Not only is this just untrue, Saddam Hussein discussed the invasion of Kuwait with the US before the invasion, our deployment of troops in Saudi Arabia stemming from that event has caused numerous problems for the people of the country.

>Also the US is the prime obstacle to Iranian operations against the Saudis

Though I'm not sure how the citizens of Saudi Arabia are benefitting from this in your version of events, the Saudi troops should be well trained from their ongoing war in Yemen.

>But then NATO has been a useful and very effective alliance, effectively keeping Russia in check. Ask the Baltic States or the Eastern European states how they feel about it

On the other hand, NATO encroachment could be blamed for much of Russia's aggression. Crimea lasted twenty years under Ukrainian control after all, but would NATO continue letting Russia access it's Black Sea port?


You can thank us later for fixing that Milosevic problem that the EU should have dealt with itself.

Shh, HN is super pro EU. You're not allowed to point out that nobody cares about them outside of trade.

>Russia and China aspire to nothing. Even if we fail them most of the time, at least the US has ideals.

This is ridiculous. Do you think China and Russia are operating like an ant colony or something?


Fine, they aspire to power and resources. Is that better?

> This is ridiculous. Do you think China and Russia are operating like an ant colony or something?

As a person who spend near half of my life in both of them, I don't see the statement being far from reality.

Both countries indeed feel quite "aimless," as they are today. Nor Russia, nor China saw any kind of conscious political course setting for two full decades.

I don't see Xi, or Putin having any semblance of a long term plan for their countries, nor having an idea where they are going themselves.

Just like an airplane on autopilot will fly aimlessly until it runs out of fuel, or runs into a mountain, both Xi, and Putin just want their systems to last as much as they can, and if they need to invade few countries to sate primal urges of their polities, they think "so be it"


I don't know enough about Russia to speak about it, but China's goals are pretty clear. They're aiming to raise the standard of living in China massively, working towards one united and uniform Chinese cultural identity, and spreading Chinese culture around the world through economic and social means. Another big one is trying to earn China respect as a nation and undoing the reputation of being poor, dirty, and being an exporter of junk, and one big way they're aiming for that is through tech exports and scientific research.

The government has clear ideals. The problem is the ways they're going about achieving them and whether some of them (like erasing the separate cultures within their borders) is justifiable.


> They're aiming to raise the standard of living in China massively

Haha

> working towards one united and uniform Chinese cultural identity,

Haha

Ask any middle class Chinese citizen earning his cup of rice. If you really believe that, lots of Chinese grannies are laughing at you now.


Ask any Chinese person whether the quality of life is better now than 5 years ago, and they'll say yes. Ask them if it's better than 10 years ago and they'll say of course. Ask a grandma if it's better than 50 years ago, and she'll think you're insane for even doubting that it's better. People have trains, food, houses, and smartphones as a baseline with many taking international trips. A couple decades ago, China was incredibly poor. Their modern lifestyle was unimaginable, which is why the CCP has no trouble maintaining stability.

And China is chipping away at its various cultures and pushing for one Mandarin-speaking Han identity and achieving that goal quite quickly.

I have no clue what point you're trying to make.


It's crazy that at the time of the handover, Hong Kong accounted for about 20% of China's GDP. Today, it's just 2.7%

I can call ten Chinese citizens now, of all walk of life, including non rank holding CPC member, and small time public servants. They will laugh you out.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NZ6UuF85ENA


> Both countries indeed feel quite "aimless," as they are today. Nor Russia, nor China saw any kind of conscious political course setting for two full decades.

> I don't see Xi, or Putin having any semblance of a long term plan for their countries, nor having an idea where they are going themselves.

I could say the same about the US.


This is the world we live in today

Their “ideals” are more land and more power for themselves. That is their publicly stated ambition. That is what is ridiculous.

The US is an oppressive surveillance state with regular police murdering minorities, rampant white supremacy, and when not in the middle of catastrophically mishandling a pandemic, has a mass shooting every day of the year.

To most people outside the US’s branding sway there’s very little difference between a USA and a Russia or China


Also a country where millions of people from different backgrounds, religions, and races will unite and march for the justice of minorities. Will outright challenge authority in the street and march until negotiations are made during a pandemic.

This does not happen in China or Russia.


>where millions of people from different backgrounds, religions, and races will unite and march for the justice of minorities

but mostly to act it out as performance art because people have been marching for decades now and yet here we are. The US is the only country that kind of lives in a permanent television version of itself, with people setting trashcans on fire for justice or throwing a window in, while a few dozen journalists capture some very authentic images[1]

People in Russia or China are realistic enough to know that this is in itself nothing but entertainment. The US is in a sense the most advanced security state on the planet, because pretty much nobody else has manged to internalize its own opposition to that degree.

[1]https://i.redd.it/xqrhsj17wb321.jpg


Millions of people risking their lives to beg the government to stop murdering people and police engaging in widespread violent crackdown against those people demonstrating is exactly what happens in those countries.

I don’t know how systematic police murder and beating up peaceful protestors looks different to you when it happens in the US and when it happens elsewhere.

What is it about the anthem or flag that makes you see it differently?

Look at Hong Kong protests, then look at police beating people in cities across the US it’s the same.

What are the concessions from the US government? A few minor police reforms to encourage cops to stop killing minorities on camera, qualified immunity is still here, so basically nothing.

At least China and Russia consider healthcare a human right like any developed country. The US health care system is depraved.


> Look at Hong Kong protests, then look at police beating people in cities across the US it’s the same.

> What are the concessions from the US government? A few minor police reforms to encourage cops to stop killing minorities on camera, qualified immunity is still here, so basically nothing.

US’s reaction is hugely different than HK’s.

Not a single HK cop was actually penalized, let alone fired or charged, for their misconducts during the year long protests. The only HK cop that was charged was the one who posted posters criticizing the police force. [1]

By contrast, numerous US cops were fired and charged. Not to mention two weeks before George Floyd was killed, a South Asian was also killed by HK cops by kneeing on his neck. [2] The victim’s name wasn’t made public, not a single HK cop was penalized, and they went on to keep doing the same to HK protesters a month later (no casualty this time) [3].

Disbanding the HK police is one of the core demands of Hong Kong protesters [4]. While US has made some police reforms, nothing like this happened in Hong Kong, except HK police just got more powerful under the new National Security Law.

And you tell me US is the same as HK?

[1] http://www.rfi.fr/tw/%E6%94%BF%E6%B2%BB/20200118-%E4%BC%91%E... (in Chinese)

[2] https://www.hk01.com/%E7%AA%81%E7%99%BC/471390/%E9%9D%9E%E8%... (in Chinese)

[3] https://hongkongfp.com/2020/06/15/i-couldnt-breathe-hong-kon...

[4] https://news.ltn.com.tw/news/world/breakingnews/2925727 (in Chinese)


For every cop held accountable there are hundreds more committing the same crimes who are protected by the state. While cell phones are a new invention where the protected class in the US is now seeing the oppression that many citizens have been living with, it’s not new. The state has known the whole time and intentionally hidden it.

Doing the bare minimum is just PR, eg: cops kneeling with protestors and then an hour later using chemical weapons and beating on the same peaceful protestors.

If the distinction is: China addresses challenges to oppression with censorship while the US addresses it with marketing and ineffectual “concessions” then we’re saying the same thing.



>And you tell me US is the same as HK?

You are comparing what happened in one city against what happened across the entire country. Look at the actions of the NYPD during these protests. They have also received virtually no punishment despite their range of heinous acts.

An occasional incident nationwide that drives up enough outrage to force a punishment doesn't grant us some moral high ground.


The parent comment compared the US to HK, so did I.

Now I just focus on NYPD: NYPD charged an officer for using a chokehold. [1]

No officer was charged in HK after the year long protests for their misconducts and brutality.

Side note: Numerous HK protesters were also victims of sexual harassment or sexual violence during arrest or detention. A 19-year-old girl was gangraped by police officers in a police station and got pregnant, and the police threatened to arrest her for “making false statements”. She defended her claims and had to flee to Taiwan. [2][3]

Any similar incident in NYC?

[1] https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/25/nyregion/nypd-officer-cho...

[2] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SQ3-OZaEcCA

[3] https://hongkongfp.com/2020/05/13/hong-kong-woman-who-accuse...



Would you rather live in North Korea or South Korea? Hong Kong or Taiwan? West Germany or East Germany?

Some people really need to step out of their bubble and go see what it really is out there.

Not saying the US doesn't have problems, but this laundry list is mild for let's say 70% of the world's population.

And to be fair the "woke" press (including some national "unbiased" news sources) just make the problem worse.

But I guess the grass is always greener

> To most people outside the US’s branding sway there’s very little difference between a USA and a Russia or China

Only if they ignore how things happen on this countries or is sheltered.

Now, about "mishandling a pandemic", yes, it could have been done better, but I think a lot of countries are not handling it better, they just didn't get the check yet and/or are putting the problem under the table.


Right. That’s why millions of people clamor every year to immigrate to Russia for a better life. Get a grip. The world is not black and white.

Here's immigration stats for Russia: https://www.macrotrends.net/countries/RUS/russia/immigration....

Of course millions are clamoring to immigrate to Russia for a better life - it's a rich, stable country!


[flagged]


Last civil conflict in Russia was the second Chechen war.

By all definitions it's Ukraine in the state of civil war, not Russia. More than 90% of Donbas rebels are Ukrainian citizens. Russia of course supports the pro-Russian side in this conflict, but foreign interference during civil wars is so common, you could call it a rule.

And even outside the war zone you can see a strong polarization in Ukrainian society (just look at the recent news about an attempted murder of an opposition party member by far-right nationalists), with nothing comparable in Russia.


Ukraine is not in civil war, Ukraine was invaded. I hope you supported the Iraq war? What a terrible civil conflict we had to get involved in.

> So stable it has multiple ongoing civil conflicts.

Can you mention one?


Crimea/Ukraine. Civil because they stole the land. Chechnya. Literally run by terrorists who murder their own people daily. And let’s throw in the casual assassination of domestic political dissidents as a free one. We should have dealt with Russia the proper way in the Cold War and glassed it end to end. I am hopeful we still will.

> That’s why millions of people clamor every year to immigrate to Russia for a better life

They literally do.


> Russia and China aspire to nothing.

Not really.

Russia and China aspires to protect their perceived sovereignty. That is probably the most fundamental political ideal.

Also, China doesn't really treat HK as 'foreign'.

Last but not least, in a post-COVID world, I can't really say that US is even better for your physical well-being among the choices.


I think, you need to read some history books... preferably Chinese, or Russian.

For most people from the West, the political thinking of people in power here is almost martian.

Both Russia, and China spent a big chunk of their history under foreign occupation, and the occupation it was very savage, and brutal. How do you reconcile your imperial ambitions with understanding that your global superpower polity began its existence as a country of a slave?

How do you live as a big man you tell you are when your driving impulse is a preoccupation with your vulnerabilities, and your identity as a power holder being that of an enemy to your own people, having to server as a tributary, or vassal lord to some Hun/Mongol/Tatar/Manchu khan on your own home soil?

This is the reason of immense insecurity of ego, and character you see there through the history. And that cutthroat, survivalist attitude is also because of that. And the incessant urges to do chest trumping, and prove themselves are also because of that.


"Both Russia, and China spent a big chunk of their history under foreign occupation" What's the Russian's big chunk? "having to server as a tributary, or vassal lord to some Hun/Mongol/Tatar/Manchu khan on your own home soil?" Didn't Grand Duchy of Muscovy predecessors come to existence thanks to alliance with Golden Horde?

Yes, they had an alliance in a manner of vassalage in exchange for khan's troops.

It was basically the khan saying them "I will back you if you submit a bigger chunk of Russian land to me"

It was like that with Mongols, and many other foreign invaders before, and after them. Both by Muscovy, and by duchies apposing it.


> China spent a big chunk of their history under foreign occupation

Not true. Most of Chinese history is under a unified regime. The years between 1850-1950 is an outlier in Chinese history.

I don't see China's actions here as insecure. HK never really has a chance to be separate from China, that is just its geopolitical destiny. It is more like Xi or CCP's assertion than vulnerability that leads to this legislation. It is the classical Asian parenting techniques, just manifest at a much larger scale.

BTW: I do read Chinese history books, and in Chinese. :)


> Also, China doesn't really treat HK as 'foreign'.

Depends what you mean by "treat it as foreign". It's under a different legal system, it has its own currency, and migration between China and Hong Kong is controlled. If you enter China on a single-entry visa, you won't be able to get back in (without a new visa) after visiting Hong Kong.


Definitely not in the sense that China would treat HK issue like anything but its internal issues.

Its action of directly imposing the national security law upon HK only asserts its position, that Chinese government doesn't see there is any need to start negotiation, with anyone.


Yes, personally I'd go live to China for a while before than to the US.

All isn't as white and black as "we have ideals and they're the baddies". The US has a lot of negative things too like x40 guns per citizen [0] or a prohibitively expensive healthcare [1]

I'd also like to learn Mandarin, but that's on me.

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

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



I’ve read it. I think you need to learn any Chinese or Russian history.

> Russia and China aspire to nothing.

This is the same kind of destructive and pointlessly cynical statement that you're arguing against.


>Russia and China aspire to nothing. Even if we fail them most of the time, at least the US has ideals.

How would these "ideals" stop the Chinese action in Hong Kong? Would they lead us to invading China again to force Hong Kong into Western hands, killing god knows how many millions this time?


>> It'll be very interesting to see if the UK goes through with it's offer to provide a path to citizenship for 3 million HK'ers. Frankly, it's the least they could do.

As far as I can tell, a lot of Brexit was driven by anti-foreigner anti-immigration sentiment due to how easy it was for non-skilled people from other countries to enter into the UK? If so, I think that although Britons might be emotionally fine with that offer in the heat of things, they might not be so OK once they remember the negative emotions that drove Brexit in the first place. Either that, or Britons are extremely selective and discriminatory on who gets to get a pass for immigration (but that wouldn't surprise me).

And then there's the other interesting factor in the wave of anti-Asian racism due to COVID-19-induced negative emotions, which the UK has also been experiencing. https://www.scmp.com/magazines/post-magazine/long-reads/arti...

If they go through with the offer to provide a path for citizenship for 3 million HK'ers, I think that's a decision that will force the general population to realize that they have a ton of cognitive dissonance all over the place. Or they won't, and they'll act like everything's normal and as it should be.


As far as I can tell, Brexit was largely driven by discontent around Polish migration. There's over a million Polish citizens in the UK. This is a pretty good read [1].

[1] https://www.humanityinaction.org/knowledge_detail/understand...


Poles are well thought of here. The meme of the hard working Polish builder is well known.

I think one Pro-brexit faction created disinformation around Romanian immigrants.

The other main brexit faction created a meme around “taking back control” from bureaucrats.

Neither is based on reality.


What is based in reality is that the law isn't applied to everyone equally. That has to do with opportunistic politics and self presentation.

So ok, honestly trying to understand this. You are saying a massive country-wide vote was decided based on a couple of bizarre myths ("Romanians and bureaucrats") propagated for some reason by some vaguely motivated groups, and majority (slim, but nonetheless) of the country made a decision on some ridiculous myths that have no basis in reality.

What was the motivation for these lie-spreading groups to propagate those myths?

How could a majority of a Western, best-educated probably in the whole world, about as democratic and core-value-believing country, be in a single moment swayed by a bunch of scammers like that? Was there any other basis for that, perhaps? Again, honest question, I know almost nothing about British politics, but dismissing a major vote in a very rich and educated country as lunacy seems ... not a great explanation?


The two groups are were Vote Leave and Leave EU.

I don't want to derails a discussion about China effectively ending One Country Two Systems further but you can easily search for a description of their tactics if you want.

You can also search for news on when the UK government report in to Russian interference in the vote will be released but I wouldn't hold your breath...

Now back to what China is doing to the people of Hong Kong and why our companies are still outsourcing manufacturing to China without restriction.


>You can also search for news on when the UK government report in to Russian interference in the vote will be released but I wouldn't hold your breath...

Just like in the US, right? ;)


Funny thing, but especially given the Covid situation and worries about crops, now they want those low skilled Poles, Romanians and Bulgarians back, fighting over them with Germany, Spain, Italy, etc.

Somehow, the fact that Britain seceded from the EU over one million foreigners, makes me skeptical that they'll offer citizenship to three million foreigners.

Citizens of the commonwealth aren't foreigners in the UK (and can vote if resident -- a Canadian citizen resident in the UK can vote in UK elections), and of course, Hong Kong is ex-commonwealth so I think it's more nuanced than you're giving it credit for. The Crown was sovereign over Hong Kong for more than 150 years.

Framed as a move to spit in the eye of someone else (in this case China) it would be likely to gain overwhelming support.

it wasn't about that. they left the EU club because they thought were getting far less out of it then they should have. while I don't agree with that, I do understand it.

Personally I think Johnson just wants power and that Brexit was a useful tool for him to get it (at the expense of the country).

He isn’t all in on the on far right stuff in the same way as Farage is.

I think Johnson will follow through on give the Homg Kongers passports.

Of course if the CPP wants to buy him off he might go that.


> a lot of Brexit was driven by anti-foreigner anti-immigration sentiment

I don't know if you can make massive generalizations about people who voted to leave Europe. Because people voted for all sorts of different reasons. And it wasn't just racists who voted to leave Europe. Cunts did as well didn't they.[1]

[1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uovt1sC3rtM


HK is pretty advanced, so 3mm HK citizens is different from 3mm from rural Pakistan. I don't see why the British wouldn't see that difference and be okay with immigration that improves the country.

I did not live outside of London but I knew quite a few Brexiteers and my impression is that it wasn't about hating on races or foreigners as much as about national pride on being superior and different to Europeans.

No non-skilled Eastern Europeans were coming, they all came for a job that their services were required and these jobs ranged from picking fruits to working in high-tech industries. Of course there were some people who would exploit the social security system but these were insignificant. With Brexit, the government is now the first step in the HR department and reducing meritocracy by introducing non-skill criteria in the hiring process.

Brits pride themselves for being international and having a grasp on foreign cultures and I think rightfully so. Continentals would always think in their own terms and dismiss the stuff that they don't understand as "bakcwards civilisations stuff" but the Brits would actually put an effort to understand foreign cultures and understand why someone does something. I think this also plays role in the relations with countries like Turkey, where the UK understand the country much better than their much more closer European neighbours.

That's why I think having 3 million HK'ers in UK would not be that hard. Some may even argue that HK'ers could fit even easier than many continental Europeans due to the history and cultural influence of the UK in HK.

I bet many Brexiteers would welcome HK'ers as "Our boys from Asia". There is a sense of brotherhood between UK, Australia, New Zealand and the USA and suspect that the HK can fit in just fine.


> As far as I can tell, a lot of Brexit was driven by ...

The problem with Brexit was the same with Trump--vague anger with no target.

A bunch of different groups ascribed, often contradictory, concrete actions and values to the inchoate phenomenon.

For Trump, this is embodied in "But he's not hurting the right people." Lots of people who voted for Trump wanted him to hurt their pet scapegoats, but the problem is that they were often the pet scapegoats for each other.

For Brexit, you could take any idea (unified market, for example) and find Brexiteers who were both for and against it. This was doomed to a crash-out as there was no actual concrete proposal that could satisfy any more than a minority of Brexiteers.

Ironically, revoking Brexit probably satisfies more voters than any concrete Brexit strategy.


> While of course the UK is responsible for policing the handover agreement, it's been too busy staring down its own irrelevance while nursing the self-inflicted gaping wound of Brexit. I tip my hat to Beijing, they sure did know when to strike.

> It'll be very interesting to see if the UK goes through with it's offer to provide a path to citizenship for 3 million HK'ers. Frankly, it's the least they could do.

Just so that we're all on the same page:

https://www.scmp.com/article/48108/thatcher-reveals-dengs-th...

> DENG Xiaoping threatened China could seize Hong Kong in a day, former British prime minister Lady Thatcher has revealed. The threat by the Chinese patriarch was contained in his famous warning that Beijing might take back the territory before 1997 at their September 1982 meeting in the Great Hall of the People, Lady Thatcher says in her memoirs, The Downing Street Years, to be published tomorrow. The threat is being used to try to block Governor Chris Patten's moves towards greater democracy in Hong Kong. ''He said that the Chinese could walk in and take Hong Kong back later today if they wanted to,'' says Lady Thatcher. ''I retorted that they could indeed do so; I could not stop them. But this would bring about Hong Kong's collapse. The world would then see what followed a change from British to Chinese rule.''


> I can't help but wonder if things would have been different if the US

Honestly not trying to be snarky or anything but purely observationally, I find it interesting how people automatically default to thinking America should have done something about something going on in a completely different country of which they do not really understand the history and culture.

And if you've been following global developments on any scale, you would have realized the time to learn mandarin was a long time ago


The bedrock of western ideals that the US was born from contains a lot of influences from Christianity, especially the part where the duty of a good Christian is to spread the faith and convert heathens around the world to the one true faith in order to save them from eternal damnation in hell. Although religiosity as a whole is going down in the western world, this savior complex still persists and echos of it can be seen in how many people in the West feel a need to, as you put it, do something to spread democracy and human rights on the other side of the world regardless of local history or customs because it's for their own good.

The US was also founded on a continental wide genocide that even the Nazis couldn't accomplish.

You're seeing the unintended consequences of America's shoddy foundation of slavery, genocide, and short-sighted decision making in all the protests in these past decades as historically abused minority groups rise up to demand their fair share of wealth and power.

> the history and culture.

That's because the status quo is that the US Pacific Fleet has a presence in the region that is welcome by several EA and SEA polities. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Pacific_Fleet

International relations in East Asia and SEA hinge greatly on the ability of the US to respond and deter Chinese aggression against its neighbors, and persuade that a cooperative approach is more productive.


> And if you've been following global developments on any scale, you would have realized the time to learn mandarin was a long time ago

You are presuming a lot about me, I was being glib.


What do you want America to do about it? Hong Kong is Chinese soil.

Let’s flip it, how well would America receive pressure from China because we won’t allow Washington DC equal representation by becoming a state? We’d be pretty irate and tell the CCP to pound sand it’s not their business.


Exactly what the US just did now? (Removal of special economic and political status) HK receive "Special" treatment in many ways for being NOT really China. They are economically treated different from China and in someway exempt from certain export control restriction.

Also, HK is handed over to China on the basis of the 1984 Sino-British joint declaration. It's not a one and done deal. 50 years of no change is one of the basis on the handover, and China is breaking it right now.


> Also, HK is handed over to China on the basis of the 1984 Sino-British joint declaration. It's not a one and done deal. 50 years of no change is one of the basis on the handover, and China is breaking it right now.

It is a one-and-done deal unless you believe that Britain is willing to wage war on China over it.


You don't have to wage a war upon a broken treaty. China even complained that UK was considering giving path to citizenship to British National Oversea passport holders. Many things can be done. Point is, an international treaty is broken and it doesn't make sense to justify because "china is big and powerful", we need to hold China accountable (and US/UK/western countries definitely have the power to do so)

> we need to hold China accountable (and US/UK/western countries definitely have the power to do so)

This is not obvious.


I agree. This will effectively place the HK people under Chinese laws that much more harshly punish political decent.

What happened when Macau was handed back from Portugal to China? Did the people of Macau just handle it differently? I do not recall hearing about protests or much from Macau.

I know Macau is very prosperous and has casinos so maybe the prosperity had an effect...


Macau is only 670,000 people, and over 40% of them were born on the mainland. I suspect that the 澳門人 ('Macanese') people were just displaced by mainland Han Chinese over time. I believe the current Chief Executive, Ho Iat Seng, ran un-opposed with overwhelming support from Beijing. Hong Kong, being 10,000,000 or so people, was able to retain a much stronger cultural identity. It's like the difference between ceding Buffalo, NY vs New York City to Canada.

It is also worth noting that Hong Kong has a home-grown cultural industry (movies, songs, TV, etc) that pulled a fair share of weight, and this industry was also good at shaping the identity of future generations. Macao is much smaller and doesn't have anything comparable.

It's ironic that the convoluted Hong Kong "democracy" system was directly created by British colonial administration. And this system is largely responsible for limiting ability of Hong Kong citizens to control political power in their city and thus resist mainland power grabs.

This isn't true.

The Urban Council was the colonial British council that was completely elected by universal suffrage: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Urban_Council

The system today only came about because of the handover.

Also note:

> The People's Republic of China government did not agree with reforms to the Legislative Council enacted in 1994. Therefore, it withdrew the previous so-called "through-train" policy that would have meant that members elected to the colonial Legislative Council would automatically become members of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region ("HKSAR") legislature. Instead, the Chinese government resolved to set up an alternative legislative council in preparation for the return of the sovereignty of Hong Kong from Britain to China. This body, the Provisional Legislative Council, was established by the Preparatory Committee for the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) under the National People's Congress of the People's Republic of China in 1996.[6] The Provisional Legislative Council, in operation from 25 January 1997 to 30 June 1998, initially held its meetings in Shenzhen until 30 June 1997.

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


Urban Council powers were very limited and mostly covered municipal services, so it's far less important than the Legislative Council.

And how is my message not true? The current system is a direct descendant of the British colonial one and your link is pretty explicit about it. Of course, PRC would like to keep the opaque, convoluted and easily influenced system, which British had. No surprises here.


Other than the part where the British changed it in 1994 and so the Chinese made their own one post-handover in 1998?

The 1994 changes were pretty substantial:

> When Chris Patten arrived, the Legislative Council (LegCo) was composed of only 18 directly elected seats from the Geographical Constituencies (GCs), 21 Functional Constituencies (FCs) mostly selected by the powerful elite groups in Hong Kong, 17 members appointed by the governor, 3 ex officio members (namely the chief secretary, attorney general, and financial secretary) and the governor himself as the President of the LegCo.

> The electoral method of the 1995 Legislative Council was fixed under the Basic Law, the mini constitution of Hong Kong after 1997, with only 20 directly elected seats from the geographical constituencies, 30 functional constituencies, and 10 seats elected by an election committee. To broaden the democratic structure of LegCo under such a framework, Patten had to find room under the Joint Declaration and the Basic Law.

> On 7 October 1992 during his inaugural policy address to the Legislative Council, Chris Patten announced his 1994-95 electoral arrangements. The proposal included:[3]

- "single seat, single constituency" measure should be applied in geographical constituency elections including the Legislative Council, Municipal Councils and District Boards;

-Lowering the minimum voting age from 21 to 18;

-Abolishing all appointed seats on the District Boards and Municipal Councils;

-Removing all the restrictions on local delegates to China's National People's Congress to stand for election;

-Broadening the franchise of certain existing functional constituencies by replacing corporate voting with individual voting;

-A total of 9 Contemporary functional constituency seats should be brought up so as to let about 2.7 million people have the right to vote; and

- Introducing an Election Committee of District Board members to return 10 members to the Legislative Council.

> In this way, Patten extended the definition of functional constituencies and thus virtually every Hong Kong subject was able to vote for the so-called indirectly elected members of the Legislative Council.

Even so, even if you say the current LegCo is descended from the pre-handover one, the pre-handover LegCo was one of the things that the British negotiated with China.


How about Hong Kong becomes autonomous Hong Kong and they decide what they want?

They are.

How about everyone becomes rich, smart and healthy?

If they are working for it, then yea?

Sounds like HKers are working hard for it and on a legal basis it's their right to make their own law within Basic Law , so what's your point here?


I somehow suspect that the Basic Law does not actually give Hong Kong the right to become autonomous. They have the right to make some laws.

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

It does, article one states HK should have high degree of autonomy and etc...

Furthermore, article 23 states that HK should make their own national security law, not China.


>> I somehow suspect that the Basic Law does not actually give Hong Kong the right to become autonomous.

> It does, article one states HK should have high degree of autonomy and etc...

Wow. This may be the single most dishonest thing I've ever seen someone post to HN!

For reference, here is the actual text, in full, of Article 1 of the Basic Law:

> The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region is an inalienable part of the People's Republic of China.

( https://www.basiclaw.gov.hk/en/basiclawtext/chapter_1.html )

This has no effect other than denying Hong Kong the right to become autonomous.


> And this system is largely responsible for limiting ability of Hong Kong citizens to control political power in their city

Relative to what? Relative to what they had in place before? Or relative to some system you've dreamed up?


Relative to universal suffrage with elected representatives (be it party or individual-based). Read about the current system and why the law, which has caused the previous protests, got accepted, while being vastly unpopular among citizens.

It is nothing you can blame leadership for. Platforms on the net are currently banning 'hate' or dissent without justification. "The west" looks like a oppressive regime that has problems with racial tensions. HKers just don't get support for freedom or self expression or democracy in the current situation. The image the west paints is that platforms get sanitized in the interest of advertisers. The time to strike was now and they did.

The thing is the protesters are not wanting One Country Two Systems, but Two countries. They are weaving US and UK flags when protesting, telling everyone that they are not Chinese. And the list goes on. I don't think either US or UK can tolerant things like this for more than a year.

Update: I can't reply any more because Hacker News thinks I'm posting too much. So please let me thanks you all for replying here.

And to @cambalache: If this is true, then it is very unfortunate because "zh" is the acronym of my real name... And sorry for also getting you into this downvoting storm


I can also speak to some of the negativity as you've asked for folks to chime in. The foreign banner waving you're seeing is a response to the perceived and actual loss of freedoms and autonomy guaranteed under Once Country, Two Systems for a minimum of the next 20 years. Beijing is failing to honor the commitments it made to the Hong Kong people, to the UK and to the international community in 1997. The Hong Kong people are as a result asking for assistance from their former colonial overlords and contractually-bound current protectors (the UK) and the "bastion of freedom" (the US).

I sincerely doubt that had Beijing given Hong Kong the autonomy it committed to, you'd be seeing this kind of action on their part.

It didn't need to be this way, but the CPC cannot tolerate anything that might be perceived as an attack on "national unity" (and I use quotes only because "national" as defined by the CPC extends into the sovereign land of a number of countries including (at least) Taiwan, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and India).


They're asking for war, for the UK or US to engage China. That is too much to ask. Neither the UK or US has the will or the ability to wage such a war. China wants Hong Kong to be part of it and it will get it just like Russia got Crimea. There are no repercussions to China passing laws and doing as they see fit. They could full out abolish the entire agreement and bring HK under Chinese rule like the mainland if they wanted to. The only way to stop such aggression is war. And that is especially not going to happen as both the UK and US are struggling to get a handle on corona. Agreements and contracts don't mean shit if they can't be enforced and there are no consequences to breaking them. Whatever agreements China and the UK had before don't mean shit anymore because of exactly that.

> They're asking for war

This is a gross misinterpretation. What the protestors actually wanted was:

- For the UK to grant BN(O) holders citizenship to show that they are no longer bound by the Sino-UK Joint Declaration.

- For the US to revoke Hong Kong's special status (the Hong Kong Policy Act).


> For the UK to grant BN(O) holders citizenship to show that they are no longer bound by the Sino-UK Joint Declaration.

BN(O)s are already British Nationals (hence the 'BN'), what they're missing is Right of Abode in the UK.


Correct, hence there is currently no pathway to citizenship / "settled status" for BN(O) holders.

This is why the recently proposed BN(O) changes are quite significant.


Thank you for responding also. I don't realize that I asked anyone to chime in. I just said what I thought and don't understand why I'm down voted and flagged immediately. TBH what I expected is some discussion (and maybe some down votes, but that's fair if I'm saying something different then others' thought).

If this comment is not flagged, I am interested that specifically what autonomy is taken from Hong Kong so that this "un-nationalism" happened?


The CPC has long meddled in Hong Kong, not least when they disappeared a Chinese billionaire from the penthouse of the Four Seasons [1] who has been 'receiving medical care on the mainland' for 3 years now and 'is very sorry for the trouble he caused'. This is a clear violation of Basic Law and the handover agreement which enshrines a degree of autonomy in Hong Kong and the rule of law.

Then there's the case of the missing booksellers [2]. Another clear violation of Basic Law and the handover agreement which enshrines freedom of speech and of the press in Hong Kong (again, a violation of the rule of law).

Then there's the fact that the high-speed rail station in Kowloon which connects to the mainland is guarded by China Police, who are not allowed to operate in Hong Kong under, you guessed it, Basic Law. [3]

Not to mention the pro-democracy elected officials not being allowed to assume office. [4]

The list goes on, and on, and on. The fact is the PRC agreed to treat Hong Kong a certain way for a certain period of time, and it has failed to live up to its obligations. It has for years now been boiling the frog, so to say, whittling away at the freedoms guaranteed to the Hong Kong people for decades before, and decades to come. With this, they've lurched over the line.

[1] https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/feb/01/chinese-billio...

[2] https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/03/magazine/the-case-of-hong...

[3] https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2018/oct/04/high-speed-tr...

[4] https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jul/14/hong-kong-pro-...


Also keep in mind that the first strike was probably the annulment of the 1995 LegCo on handover, because it was too open to public influence so the Chinese dissolved it and created a new one in 1998.

Many of the protesters want democracy, they will never get it under the CCP government. So in that sense they reject China, which is understandable (since the CCP did a very good job at making party, country and government seem like one entity).

The reaction of brutally suppressing protests and rejecting any form of discussion, as well as creating these laws that will effectively allow them to shut up their opponents under the pretense of "rule of law" is anti-democratic.

The countries you mention are democratic countries and would (in today's world) address the demands of the protestors (not saying accepting all of them and totally giving in), start a dialogue and find a compromise. The protests would have calmed down a long time ago if there had been any kind of de-escalation from the CCP and HK governments.


Now where do 5 demands state independence?

Flags of other countries (mostly dominant countries like US and UK) were raised due to US and UK had huge stake in HK from the international treaty of the 1984 joint declaration. Since China has broken the promise of 1 country 2 system, UK has the absolute right to hold China accountable for its action because it was an international treaty signed by China and UK. US also gives HK special economic treatment, so US has the power to withdraw the treatment if HK is no longer autonomous.

It doesn't make sense to compare HK and US/UK. Over 2 million marched in HK and the government barely listened to its people. Also, HK has no universal suffrage so obviously the government don't have to worry about people's vote. (Except the "committee" that votes the chief exec)


Why wouldn't the UK or US tolerate that? And what's wrong with identifying as a Hongkonger?

The UK supports the right of self-determination -- often to its own advantage, as in Gibraltar and the Falkland Islands, but also to Scotland just a few years ago.


[flagged]



Thank you for responding. I'm getting tons of down votes, and you are the first to say something.

You are being downvoted just because the "zh" in your username. What you say it is actually true and I suppose it is the feeling of a majority of HongKongners, if those wishes are legal or feasible it is another discussion.

"I don't have a point so I'm going to pull the race card".

Most Hkers are against CCP not China, who does a great job in blending the nation-party-race elements together in disguise. Hkers don't feel superior, it's just that your self-consciousness are assuming others are looking down on you.. lol


The poster was being downvoted because it was pushing what-about-ism deflection to U.S., and because despite what it may seem, the right to protest, fly other flags, etc, remain strong in the U.S., not just one year, but since 1776, although I'm sure there are counter examples of where it failed,it never collapsed. The passing of this law in Hong Kong is not a single failure but evidence of a total collapse the free speech and Democratic leanings from a mainland centralized power.

or perhaps it's the chance for Hong Kong to renew itself?

It couldn't compete economically with growth in the rest of the greater Bay area and the rest of China it's certainly need some new purpose and direction. maybe the national security law can help Hong Kong regain a sense of being an extremely safe and stable place. a shining light for the rule of law perhaps.

certainly that would be a welcome contrast to the images of dissenting voices being set on fire and violently assaulted by the self-appointed protectors of free speech and democracy on Hong Kong streets. you can support the heroic actions of those young misguided hongkongers if you'd like... and see it in simplistic terms as a struggle between in the red corner the evil China and in the blue corner the wonders of democracy.... or you can grasp the larger picture. increasing stability in Hong Kong is a good thing, while the commentary around the world is part of the noise. The divisive noise required to keep democracies functioning smoothly.

anyway the security law it's certainly no death knell, although I'd say that being burned to death for having an opinion that diverges from the mob, was definitely a threatening blow to freedom and the rule of law in Hong Kong.

so not a death knell but the security law is an exact implementation of the agreement that Britain and China created together. every step the China is taking its right there in the basic law as created by China and Britain in 1997.

I think you can understand this situation because countries like Britain and America they have to say they disapprove, to conform to their populations expectations, but in reality every country's working towards the same goal. it's just that to admit this would cause the useful fantasy in each particular place to collapse. for now the best way to get to a better future globally is for different countries to have their own stories.


> I can't help but wonder if things would have been different if the US had different leadership -- actually interested in furthering the cause of freedom and democracy throughout the world.

Even if there was different leadership, I don't see anyone changing this. China wants this more than anybody else is willing to suffer for it. What could you do? Embargo China - The economy of those embargoing china would collapse. Pass a UN Security resolution - China is a permanent member of the security council. Invade Hong Kong - China has nuclear weapons. Send a strongly worded letter? - Xi does not care about strongly worded letters.


Maybe international relations is more complicated than we think it is? TPP for example was meant to be an offset to China's growing power that would allow for meaningful trade negotiations. Obama had a plan, and even if I thought the IP portions were a poison pill, I can still recognize the strategic value.

Imo, the current leadership, as a whole, has taken a far more aggressive stance against China than any of their predecessors. Not saying the US will free Hong Kong single-handedly, but there's progress. Some senators like Josh Hawley are very active in this issue.

Many Hong Kongers will choose to flee, but more choose to stay. The future for Hong Kong is a grim one, and it's getting closer and closer to the worst scenario that we have imagined from the start - the whole city turning into what XinJiang is like now, only with more advanced technology because of the well-established infrastructure in Hong Kong.


The current US administration doesn't have a foreign policy. It barely has a domestic policy. At most it has a collection of excited utterances.

As someone who lives inside China I just hope this will encourage more direct and indirect confrontations with the system that defines the current central government i.e. among the intellects and influentials in China, now that a pillar of the freedom of Chinese expression is on its way to unnatural erosion under the paradigm introduced by this new law unto Hong Kong, that of which used to be where grey areas of Chinese politics surface themselves without cease, and where parts of the contemporary Chinese history are still being played on record, untampered.

What is the incentive for someone to "confront" the system in China? It means imprisonment, career destruction, the destruction of their family's wealth and well-being, and possibly death.

The way to change a belligerent governmental system isn't through direct confrontation unless you can literally mobilize a majority of the population - it is by changing it from within. Become part of the system, spread an ideology, and change it where you can.

The protest mentality in Hong Kong just provided optical cover for Beijing to accelerate their plans to implement centralized governance.

The peaceful protests had some positive impact, but directly confronting the Chinese government through violent protests in Hong Kong made things worse, not better.


“Be extremely subtle even to the point of formlessness. Be extremely mysterious even to the point of soundlessness. Thereby you can be the director of the opponent's fate.” ― Sun Tzu

I speak not of confrontation with the central government but confrontation with many aspects of the things in "the system" that currently underlines and defines how the cerntral government thinks and operates.

The ambiguities introduced by the word "system" here is in no means unintentional in that it needs not even be political or geopolitical: it can be cultural, it can be like you said ideological, it can be legalistic, it can be infrastructural or componential, it can even be technological, transnational, game theoretical, self-regulatory, etc. It's a board spectrum having to do with the emergent phenomena in the power structures that spread across different industries and establishments in and outside of China. As much as the Chinese central government is central and monolithic in nature, there are many shades to it, and for everyone involved in running this conglomerate (including those at the top) it is a constrained optimization problem to survive, diversify future risks, etc. Ultimately we are dealing with human nature and the status quo here. There are some beauties and there are lots of ugliness. But it is definitely not immutable. It will continue to change.

What they are currently doing to Hong Kong is shooting themselves in their own foot. It is a very short-sighted move and likely they are aware of the many cons that come with it too. Now the question is what they are going to do next to minimise damage and how the system that constraints them can be confronted to encourage more freedom of Chinese expression.

In the next twenty years China will probably overtake the States in terms of market sizes, but very unlikely in terms of science, art, technologies, etc. And without all those wonderful human endeavors China as of now is and will continue to be (if there are no changes) pretty much just one giant sweatshop, except for small parts of Beijing and Shanghai, etc where the manufactured consent are being examined and there are still traces of liberal arts (and also maybe parts of Yunnan where the hippies live). One could argue that it was necessary for China to position itself as a sweatshop in the post-Mao era (1975~1989) under the darwinism-inspired mindset on national progress [1], but as times change we are coming to a point where "the system" needs to be adjusted to encourage more freedom of Chinese expression and confrontations challenging the status quo. The act of postponing it or doing things aimed to diminish it is very short-sighted, backward-thinking, self-mutilating, and sad, and it would continue to screw up the reward systems of capitalism for innovation domestically, and to an increasing degree around the world due to its sheer market size. And I hope that is not the direction we as a civilisation is heading towards.

“The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.” ― Sun Tzu, The Art of War

Confrontation needs not be violent.

[1]: https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt1tg5mmd


Then the word "confront" is wrong to use, because 99% of the people reading your first comment would not interpret it by the Sun Tzu interpretation.

unlikely given that the shining example of freedom of expression was the crazy chaos in Hong Kong over the last 12 months, which saw people who use their freedom of speech to voice their dissent being assaulted and set on fire. hard to find many sympathizers for this in the mainland.... but easy for many in China to see hongkongers simply as unhappy about an economic reality where in the last 30 years China has far exceeded the growth of Hong Kong.

instead of pouring their energy into useless Street protests the kids of Hong Kong should make some startup companies or move to Guangzhou and make their fortune in a place that's a little more affordable to live in with a lot more space....

still I bet it must feel so satisfying to be able to blame China for all their unhappiness. The only problem is these kids being used by forces they don't understand. their energy, momentum and potential has being directed towards this end. Even the end is a good thing, the creation of a more stable society, it's not what people realize. wouldn't it be in China's interest to create a chaotic situation in Hong Kong in order to increase the contrast between the successes of its own system and the failures of the Western model espoused Hong Kong, as well as to add momentum to calls to extend national laws to Hong Kong to make up for the long-overdue article 23?


Removed from title is that it just passed and is going to be enforced going forth from July 1st. Less than 24 hours.

This is key because July 1st used to be the annual HK march since 1997, or the hand over.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hong_Kong_1_July_marches


I thought China would wait to take Taiwan first, so they could limit resistance in Taiwan by saying "we'll let you have your own system like we did in Hong Kong." Now that China has reneged on Hong Kong, Taiwan won't believe them.

That's basically exactly what happened with the last presidential election. The pro-China (conservative) party was heavily favored to win and then suddenly the Hong Kong protests ignited and reminded Taiwanese about China and the pro-USA party (liberals) ended up winning in a landslide.

I hope we (the US) can clean up our act so we can go back to having at least some credibility in the world again. (other than just being rich and having a lot of guns) I'd love for us to be worthy of the praise we get from some places.

I can't say that I've been particularly "proud" to say that I'm an American when I started travelling abroad a few years ago. Hard for people to miss though, I sound like a stereotypical Midwestern radio announcer.

Well, maybe except for that one very plastered German guy who kept yelling at us for being English at Oktoberfest.


"at least some credibility in the world again."

Might have to go back about 80 years.


> The pro-China (conservative) party was heavily favored to win

Contrary to popular belief, mainland Chinese often hate the pro-Beijing party. Because all they want is more economical gain, rather than political unification. Some radicals even advocate Tsai's presidency and urge her to declare independence so PLA could have a Casus Belli to invade.


This exactly - and one of Xi's main goals is to take back Taiwan this century.

This will likely include some degree of subterfuge exactly like this - and will probably happen when the US is distracted by divisive internal conflict.


they would have reneged had they not promulgated a law. the basic law which Britain and China agreed to and produced before 1997 requires article 23 and says matters of defense and foreign affairs are the responsibilities of the central government. it's not hard to consider that matters of national security also responsibilities of the central government. Hong Kong failed to fulfill its duty under the agreement. this law added to annex 3 is not a substitute for Hong Kong's unenacted article 23. it is there because Hong Kong failed to enact its own legislation.

the notion that this is China breaking the basic law or the joint declaration is just fuel to stoke the fires of anti-china sentiment to distract from problems at home. this sort of emotive fake news is required in a democratic system as people need to be compelled to vote as well as not focus on undelivered results. what is occurring now in HK is only the inevitable consequence of the joint declaration and the basic law to which all parties agreed and about which no other country ever complained until now. isn't it a little hypocritical that countries want to protect their own national security then object when China wants to protect its? who's unhappy with a plan to catch a thief? only the thief. so who wants to make up such stories? only those who need to keep their people focused on the next two minutes of hate


Western intellectuals and liberals don't listen to logic in matters concerning enemies of the US government. A purely emotional response, always.

At the moment, there is no reasonably practical strategy for "taking" Taiwan.

Hong Kong on the other hand - they probably thought they could get away with it under Trump, but maybe not under Biden, so best to do it now.

Short term diplomatic "outrage" - long term gain.


[flagged]


This reads like an ad hominem.

I know this is not on many people's radar right now, but I strongly believe the rise of Xi's authoritarian nationalism is the biggest story of this century (after global warming).

And this is our generation's "Berlin wall moment". By itself, you might look at this law (after it's published) and not see anything bad. But in the greater context of Chinese policy choices of the last few years, this is nothing less than the signal to end democratic open society in another part of the world.

This is not just about Hong Kong. It's about a small group of powerful people thinking they can create a new order where they can do whatever they want to their own people, their neighbors and the world. They take full advantage of the naivety and openness of our global open system while openly threatening anyone who dares speak out, be it individual Canadians or Australians, the Indian state, a twitch Streamer or a Hong Kong comedian.

So, Is there anything we can do?

some ideas...

- call to boycott the Beijing 2022 Winter olympics

- share the story of the Uyghurs. Today's news include proof that Uyghur women are being sterilized en masse: https://apnews.com/269b3de1af34e17c1941a514f78d764c

- if a company does not list Taiwan as an independent country, they are in effect performing appeasement politics. Increase the cost of doing business with dictators by loudly calling out these companies. Don't be shy, they are getting much more pressure from the Chinese side. It is time to pick a side.

- more importantly, do NOT tolerate any discrimination towards Chinese. It's immoral and increases support for the regime: https://twitter.com/jenjpan/status/1277664711325048832?s=21

... at least, that's what I can come up with in 10 minutes. I'm sure there's much. We need to move the Overton window on this people, the longer we let this go on, the bigger the consequences will be.


Not sure why this is downvoted, so plz have an upvote!

Chinese Nationalism is incredibly strong. Many people of Chinese ethnicity take great personal pride in the rise of China as a new global super power.

Imagine if you were Italian, Spanish, or Greek, and a new Roman Empire was emerging.


Posts that are critical of China's gov. will automatically get downvotes from a particular subset of people.

I see my post going up and down, it's a true roller coaster, haha.

Upvoted.

Lol, someone downvoted my "Upvoted." comment.

It’s 2020 and humanity is really scared of democracy.

There are many forces out there that are actively trying to diminish the global public's respect for democracy.

It involves slowly eroding people's respect for the core principles we always associated with democracy...

The First Amendment? We don't need that since Hate speech shouldn't be protected - and there's the Paradox of Tolerance!

Second Amendment? We don't need that - no population could ever hope to topple the military anyway!

Judicial process? Who needs a court, when I can organize a mob to get stuff done? Besides, the courts are hopelessly corrupt rapists!

Executive branch? The police are racist belligerents who should be defunded and removed, and the Military has a long history of war crimes!

Legislative Branch? Oh, that decrepit thing? Votes aren't proportionate so the small states have all the power - controlled by racists. We need a revolution!

US History? It's all based on genocide and slavery. That's all we should teach.

Statues / monuments? We need to tear it all down. They were all racist slave owners.

When you destroy everything people believe in - it's a lot easier to get them to embrace something more extremist.


This makes me sad. I loved Hong Kong the way it was and had held out some hope that it can. stay more or less that way for a while. I knew of course that Hong Kong had a huge uphill battle. But was still waiting for that miracle.

The core of the communist party follows an unambiguous agenda.

John Garnaut described this very well in his speech "Engineers of the Soul"

https://sinocism.com/p/engineers-of-the-soul-ideology-in


Besides the politic, I eager to see the moving of the global technology industries with these moving of China. Do hope the technology will go up in spite of war, ban...

The people of Tibet, Taiwan and Hong Kong are all feeling the same about China and now add India to the list with the recent tiktok ban.

The key is still we do NOT have a copy of the law on us. That is how dead our system is. This is the end. See you on the other side.



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