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Hong Kong and China

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chewybrian
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Hong Kong and China

Post by chewybrian » August 15th, 2019, 10:01 am

What is your opinion of the situation in Hong Kong and on China in general?

Are we on the brink of another Tiananmen Square? Do the people of Hong Kong have the right to independence, or to certain rights and freedoms? In a broader sense, do all people have the right to things like freedom of speech, religion, assembly, jury trial and such? Is that thought the result of cultural bias, or are such things basic human rights that everyone deserves? What could or should we in the west be doing in response to this situation and to the Chinese government's broader goals (if we know what these are)?

---------------

Today's state of affairs seems to be that the economy is suffering from the protest, and neither the protesters nor the Chinese government seem to show any signs of giving in or offering concessions to the other side. Reports are that the Chinese government is staging military assets close to Hong Kong, and it seems a showdown could be looming.

https://nypost.com/2019/08/14/hong-kong ... e-streets/
"If determinism holds, then past events have conspired to cause me to hold this view--it is out of my control. Either I am right about free will, or it is not my fault that I am wrong."

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Re: Hong Kong and China

Post by h_k_s » August 15th, 2019, 1:13 pm

chewybrian wrote:
August 15th, 2019, 10:01 am
What is your opinion of the situation in Hong Kong and on China in general?

Are we on the brink of another Tiananmen Square? Do the people of Hong Kong have the right to independence, or to certain rights and freedoms? In a broader sense, do all people have the right to things like freedom of speech, religion, assembly, jury trial and such? Is that thought the result of cultural bias, or are such things basic human rights that everyone deserves? What could or should we in the west be doing in response to this situation and to the Chinese government's broader goals (if we know what these are)?

---------------

Today's state of affairs seems to be that the economy is suffering from the protest, and neither the protesters nor the Chinese government seem to show any signs of giving in or offering concessions to the other side. Reports are that the Chinese government is staging military assets close to Hong Kong, and it seems a showdown could be looming.

https://nypost.com/2019/08/14/hong-kong ... e-streets/
The USA and the UN have stated that all peoples (plural) should be allowed self-determination in government.

The Russians finally gained their own self determination after many decades under Communism after it collapsed in 1991.

The Chinese are a hot potato where Communism still flourishes however. Like Russia, China is too big to force democracy onto.

The Arabs seem to be the major exception, due to their fanatical religion and their hate for all things Jewish and pro-Jewish. Most other people are happy to see the Arabs under monarchy or dictatorship, in the view that the monarchs and dictators are more enlightened and smarter than the Arab peoples.

That's where it stands for now.

Back to Hong Kong, those residents will simply need to rebel on their own. Being disarmed, it will be difficult for them to stage a meaningful protest or rebellion against the armed state of China, which essentially keeps them enslaved within the Communist system. This is thanks to Mao Tse Dung's personal aspirations in collaboration with Stalin's many decades ago.

When the Russians had their revolution, they had guns. The Hong Kong residents do not.

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Re: Hong Kong and China

Post by Mark1955 » August 16th, 2019, 2:54 am

chewybrian wrote:
August 15th, 2019, 10:01 am
What is your opinion of the situation in Hong Kong and on China in general?
Are we on the brink of another Tiananmen Square?
Not if the Chinese government can help it, but eventually if they think it's necessary then yes. Hong Kong is very much the goose that lays the golden egg economically so China will only chop it's head off under severe provocation.
chewybrian wrote:
August 15th, 2019, 10:01 am
Do the people of Hong Kong have the right to independence, or to certain rights and freedoms? In a broader sense, do all people have the right to things like freedom of speech, religion, assembly, jury trial and such? Is that thought the result of cultural bias, or are such things basic human rights that everyone deserves?
The whole concept of rights is an example of cultural bias, in China you focus on your civic duties unless you've been perverted by Westernism.
chewybrian wrote:
August 15th, 2019, 10:01 am
What could or should we in the west be doing in response to this situation
We can do nothing, therefore we should be very careful about being seen by the Chinese as backing the protesters as at some pint in the future this will beheld against us.
chewybrian wrote:
August 15th, 2019, 10:01 am
and to the Chinese government's broader goals (if we know what these are)?
The Chinese governments goals are [in order]
1 Remain in power
2 Develop China's economy
3 Use the economic power to influence the rest of the world, either by economic power or by military power derived from economic success, such that China never again has to Kow Tow to foreign powers as it did in the late 19th century
4Develop Chinese power until the world sees things the Chinese way and we all Kow Tow to them
Obviously if trouble in HK only interferes with 2 then it is better not to destroy HK to solve the problem, however if it threatens 1 HK is toast.
If you think you know the answer you probably don't understand the question.

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Re: Hong Kong and China

Post by chewybrian » August 16th, 2019, 10:42 am

h_k_s wrote:
August 15th, 2019, 1:13 pm
The USA and the UN have stated that all peoples (plural) should be allowed self-determination in government.
This must, or should, mean that they can vote on what they want. It can't, or should not, mean that we have a 'prime directive', like Star Trek, that prohibits any interference in the development of other countries, no matter what is going on. If they really did vote for something, and they have checks and balances and ways to change their decision, then we should let them all go their own way, unless their way is to invade their neighbors. But, if the people are held down by the party, or a dictator, or religious fanatics, and have no say in their own rights, then perhaps we should act, if only to boycott to avoid enabling and strengthening the tyrants. When it comes to something like genocide, we have a moral right to intervene on behalf of the victims.
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Re: Hong Kong and China

Post by chewybrian » August 16th, 2019, 11:14 am

Mark1955 wrote:
August 16th, 2019, 2:54 am
The whole concept of rights is an example of cultural bias, in China you focus on your civic duties unless you've been perverted by Westernism.
I understand that the party would say this, and that some segment of the population may believe it, especially if they are among the elite few who benefit from their system. But, do you really think this is defensible? I am trying to unlock my brain to see how it might be fair, but I can not see it.

I think it is fair and easy to argue for or against various permutations of western democracy. For example, I think the Europeans have superior systems for health care, and public transportation, and do a better job defending worker's rights. But, I can not put a dictatorship, rule by religion, or a one party system on equal moral ground.

Perhaps I am biased, but I think I know what this controversy is about. The Chinese government wants to be able to invent charges against their political enemies in Hong Kong, and export them back to China and put them in prison to shut them up. But, if their system was really morally defensible, why should it not be able to stand up to the bright light of truth, and withstand anything anyone had to say about it without crushing free speech? I don't see how we can look at these 1984 tactics and compare them to something like the right to free speech and say they are in any way equal.
"If determinism holds, then past events have conspired to cause me to hold this view--it is out of my control. Either I am right about free will, or it is not my fault that I am wrong."

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Re: Hong Kong and China

Post by Felix » August 16th, 2019, 2:54 pm

China should honor the "one country, two systems" treaty they made with Hong Kong in 1997, which grants Hong Kong 50 years of autonomous rights, including the rights of free speech and peaceful assembly, and Western Democracies should hold them to that pact - end of story.

Trouble is we have a U.S. president who is clueless about the politics of the region (and politics in general), and tweets comments like "Hong Kong is a part of China, so it's their problem." No, actually it is not.
"We do not see things as they are; we see things as we are." - Anaïs Nin

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Re: Hong Kong and China

Post by Mark1955 » August 17th, 2019, 3:05 am

chewybrian wrote:
August 16th, 2019, 11:14 am
I understand that the party would say this, and that some segment of the population may believe it, especially if they are among the elite few who benefit from their system. But, do you really think this is defensible? I am trying to unlock my brain to see how it might be fair, but I can not see it.

I think it is fair and easy to argue for or against various permutations of western democracy. For example, I think the Europeans have superior systems for health care, and public transportation, and do a better job defending worker's rights. But, I can not put a dictatorship, rule by religion, or a one party system on equal moral ground.

Perhaps I am biased, but I think I know what this controversy is about. The Chinese government wants to be able to invent charges against their political enemies in Hong Kong, and export them back to China and put them in prison to shut them up. But, if their system was really morally defensible, why should it not be able to stand up to the bright light of truth, and withstand anything anyone had to say about it without crushing free speech? I don't see how we can look at these 1984 tactics and compare them to something like the right to free speech and say they are in any way equal.
Yes you are biased and have been brain washed by the cultural norms you've been brought up with, which favour self expression and selfishness over the group collective and it's needs. Since man is a social animal and everything man has achieved has been achieved by organised societies, yours is a recipe for the return of the dark ages. I've used the term deliberately, consider what happened when the organised empire was replaced by, 'every tribe for itself'.

Now obviously the above is a simplistic view and the answer as always is that balance is needed between personal rights and group cohesion, but it is not a common view in China, where Confucian philosophy is still very prevalent. China's history is littered with civil wars when the central control broke down, each of them leads to millions more deaths than the previous dictatorial centralist government ever caused. Even the USA decided it couldn't accept secession and fought the bloodiest war in its history to prevent it.
If you think you know the answer you probably don't understand the question.

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Re: Hong Kong and China

Post by Mark1955 » August 17th, 2019, 3:11 am

Felix wrote:
August 16th, 2019, 2:54 pm
China should honor the "one country, two systems" treaty they made with Hong Kong in 1997, which grants Hong Kong 50 years of autonomous rights, including the rights of free speech and peaceful assembly, and Western Democracies should hold them to that pact - end of story.
How
Felix wrote:
August 16th, 2019, 2:54 pm
Trouble is we have a U.S. president who is clueless about the politics of the region (and politics in general), and tweets comments like "Hong Kong is a part of China, so it's their problem." No, actually it is not.
So when China intervenes in the USA to prevent the 'pointless loss of innocent life of unregulated gun ownership' you'll be OK with that will you.
If you think you know the answer you probably don't understand the question.

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Re: Hong Kong and China

Post by Felix » August 18th, 2019, 3:34 am

Mark1955: So when China intervenes in the USA to prevent the 'pointless loss of innocent life of unregulated gun ownership' you'll be OK with that will you.
How is that relevant to the China/Hong Kong situation? The U.S. and China have always been separate sovereign nations.

What is your point, that China should be under no obligation to honor the pact they signed with Britain and Hong Kong? - that guaranteed Hong Kong would remain an autonomous region of China, with it's own currency, legal and parliamentary system.
"We do not see things as they are; we see things as we are." - Anaïs Nin

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Re: Hong Kong and China

Post by Mark1955 » August 19th, 2019, 2:49 am

Felix wrote:
August 18th, 2019, 3:34 am
Mark1955: So when China intervenes in the USA to prevent the 'pointless loss of innocent life of unregulated gun ownership' you'll be OK with that will you.
How is that relevant to the China/Hong Kong situation? The U.S. and China have always been separate sovereign nations.
and HK has always been part of China until is was illegally annexed by the UK after a military invasion.
Felix wrote:
August 18th, 2019, 3:34 am
What is your point, that China should be under no obligation to honor the pact they signed with Britain and Hong Kong? - that guaranteed Hong Kong would remain an autonomous region of China, with it's own currency, legal and parliamentary system.
Realistically China will honour the pact if it sees an advantage to do so, if social unrest in HK gets bad enough then they won't because they see the risks of the unrest as greater than the risks of upsetting the US/UK. As I asked in my previous post, how do you propose to put effective pressure on China.
If you think you know the answer you probably don't understand the question.

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Re: Hong Kong and China

Post by Felix » August 19th, 2019, 4:06 pm

Mark1955 said: HK has always been part of China until is was illegally annexed by the UK after a military invasion.
Illegally annexed? If you call the spoils of war illegal annexation then you could say that about most of the current countries in the world. China ceded it to Britain in 1842 after they lost the first Opium war, so it has been independent from China for over 175 years.
Mark1955 said: If social unrest in HK gets bad enough then they won't because they see the risks of the unrest as greater than the risks of upsetting the US/UK.
To the Chinese Communist party, free speech = social unrest. It's difficult for them to maintain their charade of being the people's servant when Hong Kong has done so well without them.
As I asked in my previous post, how do you propose to put effective pressure on China.
Can't say I have an answer to that. In the continuing era of might makes right, it will be difficult for the international community to do much especially since the Chinese government paid no political price for their Tiananmen Square massacre.
"We do not see things as they are; we see things as we are." - Anaïs Nin

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Re: Hong Kong and China

Post by Mark1955 » August 20th, 2019, 5:21 am

Felix wrote:
August 19th, 2019, 4:06 pm
Mark1955 said: HK has always been part of China until is was illegally annexed by the UK after a military invasion.
Illegally annexed? If you call the spoils of war illegal annexation then you could say that about most of the current countries in the world. China ceded it to Britain in 1842 after they lost the first Opium war, so it has been independent from China for over 175 years.
Yes I call the spoils of war illegal, particularly when the war was not started by Britain for any reason other than Imperial expansion; but as you comment later on 'might is right', however if it is we can hardly complain when other parties apply the same standards.

You're apparent assessment of 175 as a long time suggests that you have an American view of history. The Chinese see their culture going back ~ 3,000 years so the temporary loss of Hong Kong is a blip on the road to be corrected ASAP, much as the Jews wanted Palestine back after 2,000 years.

I also doubt that 'most' of the current countries in the world are the spoils of imperialist wars, of course the USA and most of the rest of the America's are, but that's another story.
If you think you know the answer you probably don't understand the question.

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Re: Hong Kong and China

Post by Felix » August 20th, 2019, 4:53 pm

Mark1955: I also doubt that 'most' of the current countries in the world are the spoils of imperialist wars.
Your doubt does not change the fact that only a few countries in the world have never been conquered or ruled by another one at some time in the last 3000 years - and China is not one of them.
"We do not see things as they are; we see things as we are." - Anaïs Nin

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Re: Hong Kong and China

Post by h_k_s » August 21st, 2019, 12:40 pm

Felix wrote:
August 20th, 2019, 4:53 pm
Mark1955: I also doubt that 'most' of the current countries in the world are the spoils of imperialist wars.
Your doubt does not change the fact that only a few countries in the world have never been conquered or ruled by another one at some time in the last 3000 years - and China is not one of them.
I made a short list:

Argentina

Australia

Brazil

Russia

Switzerland

USA

Venezuela

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Re: Hong Kong and China

Post by h_k_s » August 21st, 2019, 12:41 pm

I expect a slaughter in HK by the PRC any day now.

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