Cadence of Conflict: Asia, December 2, 2019

Opinions on Asia aren’t just flying, but swarming the Pacific. Hong Kongers vote against China in an unmistakable slap to Beijing’s face, then Beijing blames the US—because Beijing still thinks that voters only vote how the government tells them to. And, everything is all America’s fault anyway, right?

It took a day of silence for Beijing’s media machine to figure out how to spin the election. Beijing accused Hong Kong’s dissent on violence. But, that doesn’t hold since last week’s election went uninterrupted. Yet, Beijing sticks to the same script.

A commentator predicts that Hong Kongers don’t want independence—even though they already declared independence on October 4. Perhaps Doris Lam’s article on Channel News Asia was an attempt to tell Hong Kongers what they should want. Or, it could have been an attempt to tell Beijing to think that Hong Kongers don’t want what they want. Either way, it is a delusional olive branch in the form of a typical long-worded think piece. There is a growing trend of commentators who make their articles longer when they know that few readers will accept their opinions.

After Trump signs two laws about Hong Kong—one to define an autonomous region as autonomous, the other to stop exporting police tools for riot-control—Beijing calls it “interference”. Then, Trump drops tariffs on China because good ole Benjamin is hard to argue with. Yet, Beijing wants more. Now, as in Chinese business negotiation, China wants to change the deal after everything has been agreed to. They want even lower tariffs in Phase One.

Great Britain wants UN access to Xinjiang.  China wants the world to believe Xinjiang is happy, an Islamic utopia; new documents prove otherwise. China also faces a food shortage, but a good marketing effort is underway for investment in Chinese farming. Stopping any possible abuse of Uyghurs in Xinjiang is interference in Beijing’s opinion, but accepting foreign money to build better farms isn’t. Perhaps Beijing will call it interference if the rest of the world does not invest in Chinese farms.

Taiwan’s election is fast approaching. Though Tsai Ing-Wen, the pro-democracy incumbent president, leads in the polls, many Taiwanese are scared that there are too many voters in the old, beaten-down generation for her to win a second time. Older Taiwanese, like many Chinese, have been so dominated by East Asia’s shame culture that they truly believe that “bigness” always wins and therefore they must vote for politicians who will surrender to China. Younger Taiwanese have seen this older generation get its way so many times, even polls can’t keep them from being scared. But, as John Maynard Keynes said, “Men will not always die quietly.” Few things drive voters to the polls like fear of dying at the hands of politicians who want to surrender. Tsai Ing-Wen is set to win by an even greater margin than she did in her first term—and everyone has something to say about it.

Great Pacific

“biggest opportunity” in China…
Asia’s food crisis: a $800 billion investment needed in next 10 years // CNBC


Huawei CEO Ren Zhengfei says daughter should be proud she became a bargaining chip in US-China trade war // CNN

Down Under thinks…
China Communist Party: President Xi Jinping’s week from hell //

Down Under thinks…
It’s been a horrible week for China’s president Xi Jinping and the Communist Party // NZ Herald

China wants tariffs rollback in phase one trade deal with US, says Chinese media // CNBC

Because money talks…
In latest sign of trade-war pain, the Trump administration announces tariff relief for dozens of Chinese products // Markets Insider

ICBC: US-China deal is ‘imminent’ due to Beijing’s upcoming policy meeting // CNBC

Is anyone allowed to say that?
Official says Xi cannot cling to power forever // Asia Times

Getting serious!
UK calls for UN access to Chinese detention camps in Xinjiang // Guardian

Further evidence
Data leak reveals how China ‘brainwashes’ Uighurs in prison camps // BBC News


Taiwan presidential election (42 days remaining): Tsai vs. Han vs. Soong // Taiwan News

Taiwan KMT candidate’s wife denied entry to Singapore // Taiwan News

Hong Kong

Zero confidence: survey…
Honour, Duty and Loyalty… to whom? Why the new Hong Kong Police Force slogan is far from reassuring// HKFP

Allegations of mistreatment by Hong Kong police surface // CNN

Hong Kong protests: China arrests two men for alleged involvement // CNN

For the record…
Commentary: Surely separatism is not Hong Kong’s endgame? // CNA

As Hong Kong suffers, China risks losing its financial window on the world // Guardian

China condemns US bills supporting Hong Kong protesters // CNBC

Trump signs bill supporting Hong Kong protesters despite strong opposition from China // Fox News

China still making friends…
Exclusive: In face of criticism, Hong Kong tycoon Li Ka-shing says he’s getting used to ‘punches’ // Yahoo News

‘We will never stop,’ says Hong Kong protest leader Joshua Wong // Sky News

Then why no violence reports on Election Day?
China state media responds to Hong Kong district council elections // CNBC

‘Hong Kong is China,’ Beijing reiterates after opposition landslide // Nikkei Asian Review

And blamed the US…
Beijing Was Confident Its Hong Kong Allies Would Win. After the Election, It Went Silent. // NY Times

China issues stern response to landslide victory of Hong Kong pro-democracy forces // NBC News

Hong Kong police officer stomps on protester’s head // YouTube @ Hong Kong Free Press