No Minister

If you bow at all, bow low.

Some weeks ago I was leading an American family around the sights of Queenstown, and part of that included a day on Coronet Peak Skifield, to which we took a bus from Queenstown.

I found myself sitting next to a young woman who had an interesting story to tell. She’s a sophomore attending Yale University but was originally from Hong Kong and her parents had just moved from there to settle in Auckland.

I told her that I thought that was great because I can’t see things improving in Hong Kong, and she agreed. Her family had held out hope for twenty years that there would be a gradual liberalisation of China, with Hong Kong setting the example. But by 2018 they had finally accepted that this was not going to happen, and that in fact the reverse was occurring, with China’s authoritarian control extending over Hong Kong.

We talked a little further about the parallels with European refugees escaping the Nazis and the Soviets prior to WWII, and even after it started, and I asked her whether she had other relatives who had not yet left: Aunts, Uncles and so forth. At that point she turned her face away from me and I realised that I’d pushed a little too far. After a minute she turned back to me and said that they were all still there and either could not or would not move.

Another parallel and the most chilling of all.

Her family’s departure had happened months before the start of the protests that are now roiling the city-state. Those protests were against a new law that would have seen people arrested in Hong Kong extradited to China for trial, but they quickly became about much more than that. The protests did force the Hong Kong government to table the law, but nobody was under any illusion that they would not re-introduce it at a more opportune moment to be rubber-stamped. They are mere puppets controlled by China, and this is part of China’s extension of its society into Hong Kong. It’s the true meaning and the eventual goal of the farcical “One Country, Two Systems” illusion that everybody has pretended to believe ever since 1997 when China took control of the city-state.

The protestors and the rest of the world are under no illusions now.

It also should be noted that at the same time that substantive portions of the Western Left are spitting on the history and symbols of the USA and Great Britain, the Hong Kong protestors understand precisely what they mean in terms of freedom.

They’ve also been clever so far; relying on technology to self-organise their gigantic protest marches, thereby providing no leadership targets that can be picked off and arrested. As described in two excellent articles in Quillette and The New Statesman, they have borrowed from the IT world, making the protests “Open Source”.

They have adopted Bruce Lee’s fighting strategy to “be water“: flooding the streets of various districts naturally through legal means instead of permit-required marches; the focus of a protest emerging only after the protest starts; a rally can turn into a march; a march starts in one direction and suddenly goes in another; protestors suddenly occupy government buildings, wait until the authorities close them – and then immediately head for another target.

There is also the fact that several million smart-phones mean that a Tiananmen Square “solution” is going to have photos and video of the bloodshed circling the world in minutes.

China has been executing Denial-Of-Service (DOS) attacks on various apps used to organise the protests, such as Telegram, but the protestors are already using the Apps between phones via Bluetooth, avoiding possible crackdowns on the primary telecoms services.

The other thing that has held China back has been the potential economic threat. The loss of freedoms, even curtailed as they are, that have made Hong Kong such an economic prize for China, would mean a rapid decline as people with talent and brains escaped, as that young woman on the bus has. And whether formally organised by other governments or not, there will be trading kickbacks. China has made no friends in Vietnam, The Philippines and most of SE Asia, adding to its traditional enemies in Japan and India – plus the USA now. Tanks running people down in the streets of HK would hand Trump a powerful new weapon in his trade war on China. Even those who hate his guts might be able to make a June 22 decision.

But I’m sorry to say that all this bravery and brilliance and geopolitical consequences will make no difference in the end.

Anyone with even a basic knowledge of Chinese history and its Mandate from Heaven, knows that Beijing doesn’t tolerate dissent – let alone public dissent in the form of protests. Forced to choose between economic shocks, the effective destruction of an economic prize, and massive amounts of bloodshed and horror – versus a USSR-style collapse of their own system, the Chinese Communist Party will choose the former path.

As I pointed out in this Op-Ed, China is determined on “unification” by 2049: Hong Kong now; Taiwan later. What loss a few thousand Hong Kong lives for that goal? This weekend, they clearly told Hong Kong cops to step it up: tear gas, rubber bullets, water cannons, fists, and sticks were all used against protestors. Plus live warning shots. In the air. For now.

The following video shows Hong Kong police wading into people inside a train stopped at a station: there are sequences showing them dealing to protestors who are wearing yellow construction hard hats, but quite a few victims appear to be people who just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
 

This is what real fascism looks like, courtesy of the Chinese Communist Party.
 
A blind person could have seen this coming, and the way things are going, what you see in this video will soon be considered “moderate”. Beijing is willing to go much further than this.

The West may be able to do nothing to stop this, but I suggest that one thing we can do is offer refuge to hundreds of thousands of Hong Kong people – right now. Get them out and away from the coming death and oppression – and stick a finger in the eye of the Chinese Communists by depriving them of many of the best and the brightest.

Written by Tom Hunter

September 2, 2019 at 1:36 am

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