Posts by Chris Waugh

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  • Speaker: “Foreign forces”, hope and Hong…, in reply to mark taslov,

    I just realised I've seen all this before: Classic foreign pan-Green/Tai Du sympathiser tactics. He's entitled to his views, but I'm not going to repeat myself any more, and I'd rather get back to the situation in Hong Kong.

    Beijing • Since Jan 2007 • 2170 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: “Foreign forces”, hope and Hong…, in reply to Seamus Harris,

    Well, then stop guessing.

    I only mentioned Taiwan because it was raised as a comparison with Hong Kong in that Media Take segment and I object to that because the comparison just does not work, the situations in the two territories are just too different.

    Beijing • Since Jan 2007 • 2170 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: “Foreign forces”, hope and Hong…, in reply to Seamus Harris,

    To clarify:

    I'm certainly not going to apologise for the CCP or its multitude of wrongs. Hence the link to the Cui Jian MV upthread (which I hope works for those outside the Great Firewall).

    You're comment seems to me to be all Big Bad Bully in Beijing vs. Gook HK and Britain and Taiwan. I struggle to see any goodies or baddies in this, just a whole bunch of powerful, wealthy people with interests they want to push or protect, and down on the streets, the students.

    So let's look at it from a different angle: Both the CCP and the KMT are (or were, perhaps, in the case of the KMT? Need to catch up with Taiwan, election must be coming soon... ) supposed to be parties of national liberation. Not much point in preaching national liberation unless you're going to liberate the nation. Hong Kong Island was ceded to the UK under the Mother of All the Unequal Treaties, the Treaty of Nanking in 1842. The territory was expanded through more unequal treaties. So Hong Kong was stolen property. Why shouldn't China have demanded it back? Taiwan had been ceded to Japan under another unequal treaty in 1895 and returned to Chinese (i.e. RoC) sovereignty under the Japanese surrender in 1945, so really, why not demand Hong Kong back?

    Fast forward to now: What is Zhongnanhai's motivation in all this? Is it really as simple as evil, nasty commies and their loathing of democracy? Is it the CCP's fear of a competitor for power? Social harmony and the preservation of stability seem to have become almost Party fetishes in recent years, but I don't think it's as simple as the need to hold onto power. The fear of chaos is very real and based on very sound reasons. You can certainly critique the way they go about preserivng harmony and stability. And many other things. But maybe there's more to it than simply keeping their hold on power?

    And when your party was founded by people living in a time and place where it seemed the world was carving your country up and so national liberation and reunification and rejuvenation are such a core plank of your founding philosophy and the culture you were raised in holds being a 败家子* as one of the greatest sins, perhaps it's no surprise they so resistant to the idea of losing even one tiny rock way out in the ocean or even the hint of federalism or confederation.

    And after the Century of National Humiliation they see nefarious foreign forces meddling sometimes covertly sometimes overtly in the affairs of so many developing countries working to preserve, at least, preferably advance Anglo-American and (at least in Africa) French interests. Follow that up with the rash of "colour revolutions" this century in which those nefarious foreign forces have hardly bothered to conceal their activities, and perhaps the paranoia is not so completely unfounded? Look at what Mark Taslov found about Jimmy Lai.

    And down on the streets are the students. I'm certainly not old enough to have forgotten my youthful passion, idealism and radicalism. I certainly do not disagree with the values or ideals the students are promoting. I'm just not sure of all that is going on here or all the forces that are in play, and I'm certainly not satisfied with such a simplistic answer as the "it's all the evil CCP's fault!" that seemed to be your argument.

    *bàijiāzǐ, the wastrel son who pisses away the family fortune. One could argue that it applies to the state (国 ) as much as to the family (家).

    Beijing • Since Jan 2007 • 2170 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: “Foreign forces”, hope and Hong…, in reply to Seamus Harris,

    Well, that's certainly how your comment read to me. Was I wrong?

    Beijing • Since Jan 2007 • 2170 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: “Foreign forces”, hope and Hong…,

    Can I put in an early submission for the Friday music thread? It's a Beijinger singing in Mandarin, but this may not be entirely irrelevant.

    Beijing • Since Jan 2007 • 2170 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: “Foreign forces”, hope and Hong…, in reply to Seamus Harris,

    What Mark said about context. I was specifically rejecting the Taiwan comparison because it does not work. By "one country, two systems" being a default that came about almost by historic accident, I mean precisely the current non-arrangement where neither side agrees on how to proceed, except that the status quo is working for now. Personally, I don't think either reunification or formal independence is going to happen in our lifetimes, I think both sides will muddle along as they are now, but I've been wrong more than once before, so who knows?

    It's fun playing what if? and of course, nobody can ever prove their alternative histories right or wrong, so how's this:

    Thatcher and Deng fail to come to an agreement through the '80s. China, remembering the events of '79 and well aware that it's only military advantage over the UK is in sheer weight of numbers, but the UK military is vastly superior in terms of skill, experience and equipment, is not in any great mood for risking a bloodbath. '89 further dampens the mood. But still, they're riding the nationalist tiger. Gotta do something. The UK agrees to return the leased New Territories, but digs its heels in over Hong Kong Island and Kowloon, saying "You, or at least the Qing, ceded it! It's our sovereign territory". The UK starts building a defensive line along Kowloon's northern boundary as the 90s progress. '97 the UK returns the New Territories but holds on to Kowloon and the Island. China, trying to balance the risk of nationalist blowback and its reluctance to engage in any military adventures, lest things turn pear shaped and spark off that blowback anyways, says, "Fine, keep Kowloon and your poxy little island, we're turning off the taps and you can forget about any overflight rights". Kowloon and the Island revert to drastic water rationing like they had back in the 50s and 60s while the UK rushes to build desalination plants, and flights in and out of Kai Tak get even more exciting. A closed border brings HK's role as gateway to China to an abrupt end.

    But we'll never know, because neither of our scenarios happened. I do wonder, though, how much of your scenario is realistic and how much is an anti-communist knee jerk. It certainly reads that way.

    Beijing • Since Jan 2007 • 2170 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: “Foreign forces”, hope and Hong…, in reply to mark taslov,

    I took the house price thing as a not entirely serious throwaway. I just thought it was silly. But the Taiwan comparison came across as a serious question, and I just don't see how that works. The two territories' histories are just too different. For starters, "one country, two systems" is a formal arrangement for Hong Kong, but a default that came about almost by historical accident for Taiwan. And if the pan-Greens win the next election there, it's a default that'll find itself threatened again.

    I dunno, the comparison Just Does Not Work for me.

    Beijing • Since Jan 2007 • 2170 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: “Foreign forces”, hope and Hong…, in reply to mark taslov,

    On Media Take Toi

    Ah, thanks, I didn't realise Nickkita was on Media Take, too.

    I enjoyed Toi's intro, but I found the Taiwan comparison very, very weak. The history is entirely different. And house prices? Somebody send Toi to Beijing, we'll show him house prices.

    Beijing • Since Jan 2007 • 2170 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: “Foreign forces”, hope and Hong…, in reply to DeepRed,

    In HK they still know how to protest.

    I think the Anglosphere has gotten rather complacent, while many in HK are seeing bloody good reasons to not relax.

    Beijing • Since Jan 2007 • 2170 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: “Foreign forces”, hope and Hong…, in reply to Nickkita Lau,

    Thank you, Nickkita.

    I’m not convinced that the Communist Party was the sole aggressor in the 1960s riots, nor that the KMT was innocent of all involvement. But that’s by-the-by. Photos have been popping up online of protestors (not necessarily Occupy Central, some of these have been around for a couple of years) with colonial flags and even signs calling for independence. Extreme examples, probably, but still there. Didn’t HKU’s POP programme show a rise in HKers identifying as HKers first, rather than as Chinese? Funny, seems I’d need to turn on a VPN to open this page. And I’m sorry, but I did detect what seemed to be a note of nostalgia for the colonial days in your original post and in your “after the handover things have only gone downhill.”

    Obviously this doesn’t apply to anchor babies and the grey market shopping, but a lot of the behaviours HKers complain about, the public urination, spitting, queue jumping, etc, are widely despised and complained about by Mainlanders in the Mainland. Each new incident in HK, Singapore, wherever, is met with as much disgust here on the Mainland as is generated wherever it took place, both disgust at the particular behaviour by the particular person in that particular incident and at uncouth Mainlanders losing face for the Motherland. There’s a lot of discussion of the poor character (素质) of “the Chinese” (Mainlanders tend to just say 中国人 when the conversation takes this turn – read into that what you will), but nobody seems to have figured out what to do about it, and those who do actually engage in the offending behaviour carry on being arseholes blithely ignoring government campaigns and the demands of wider society to shape up.

    And just as everybody in Greater China and the diaspora hates on the Mainland, Beijing and Shanghai both hate on the rest of China (including mutual loathing), urban China is contemptuous of rural China, and generally the more developed regions of the Mainland despise the less developed regions of the Mainland. So, seriously, how much of the HK/Taiwan/Singapore contempt for the Mainland is about comparative levels of development and access to quality education?

    “Access to quality education”, because I’ve noticed that those of my students who have done at least part of their earlier education in HK or Singapore are noticeably different from their “purely” Mainland classmates, more open minded, more mature and generally better prepared for university.

    But discussions over expanding democracy and the election of the chief executive have been going on for some time. What has brought things to such a head now? What is the significance of the 2017 election? Was there a reason in the Sino-British Joint Declaration to give HKers reason to believe they’d have greater democracy by that date? Didn’t that agreement put a 50 year limit on “one country, two systems”, and how much of what is happening now is inspired by fear of what Zhongnanhai will decide to do with/to HK when those 50 years are up? Cack-handed attempts to include “patriotic education” in the school curriculum and tighten up security laws in recent years don’t seem to have helped inspire confidence. Understandably, I should add. Persistent rumours over the years of even HK’s English-language media self-censoring to keep Beijing happy are also worrisome. Jimmy Lai seems to be keeping the pro-democracy light burning in the Chinese-language press, but he can come across as knee-jerk anti-Communist sometimes, and is he the only one?

    As for language, how seriously should we take people’s fears? Combine with Taiwan and there’s a fairly big and highly literate market for Traditional character printed media. Also, plenty of Mainlanders, especially those of a more “independent” mindset, are deeply appreciative of HK’s and Taiwan’s free-er markets, which expands the potential customer base quite a bit. There are very valid fears for the health of local/minority languages and dialects in the Mainland, and far too many people insisting on teaching their kids Putonghua only, but given the strength of HK’s media and entertainment industries, do we really need to worry about the strength of Cantonese in HK?

    ETA: I've had some weird troubles posting this comment, and I see Nickkita has commented in the meantime dealing with some of the stuff I mention here. I'm going to click 'save', hope this comment appears intact, let my frustration with whatever has been causing this trouble posting subside, then have another look...

    Oddly enough, Russell's YouTube video was showing up, but SCMP link behaving like it was blocked.

    Beijing • Since Jan 2007 • 2170 posts Report Reply

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