Cadence of Conflict: Asia, November 18, 2019

America and China are getting fed up with China and America being fed up with each other. Americans tried patience and negotiations; that didn’t work. China hid its agenda for global domination, denouncing so-called “interference” except when China did the interfering. Now, China’s true colors are showing and it looks like a lot of debt. Municipalities and local governments are buried in debt, which is eating at China’s central economy like Asian ants on a morning worm.

Amid riots and threats, encroachments by police on university campuses and by China upon Hong Kong rule, the primary issue in Hong Kong is the upcoming revolution election in March. On October 4, Hong Kongers declared the current government already nullified and that interim government elections would take place in March. That election is not the primary concern for most reports coming out of Hong Kong, if it gets mentioned at all. But, that election should be the primary concern of China, the United States, and the current—and denounced—Hong Kong government. Perhaps those upcoming elections have not been taken seriously, and, if so, that would be perhaps the most serious miscalculation.

But, rather than carefully calculating the right way forward, China is more concerned with optics—not with causing good optics, but with countering bad optics with more mere optics.

The same Plague from the Black Death has re-emerged in China’s Inner Mongolia province. Historically, whether in 541, 1347, or 1894, the Plague always had its origins in the Far East. Rather than promptly confronting the source, the Chinese are basically doing what the San Francisco government did in the early 1900s: covering it up.

Even Chinese soldiers play the optics game. Chinese Communist PLA soldiers are not allowed to leave their garrisons in Hong Kong without a formal request from Hong Kong’s government. But, they did anyway—to clear streets blocked by protestors. They didn’t clash with protestors, they simply picked up stuff in the street, mostly bricks. They weren’t armed nor did they wear fatigues; they wore running shorts and OD-green T-shirts, the same that they exercise in on a daily basis. But, they weren’t invited by the Hong Kong government. As a result, their presence was technically illegal, though seemingly helpful in the minds of some residents who want to drive down the street.

Interestingly, the unarmed, seemingly-harmless soldiers were accompanied by cameras; it was a publicity stunt. Voices in the British Commonwealth are especially concerned because this beautiful, warm, kindhearted photo-op sets a precedent of PLA soldiers breaching Hong Kong illegally. Chinese thinking puts logic before law, which feels like justice at first, but then operates with no standard of conduct, deciding right and wrong from one moment to the next. In other words, Beijing thinks that China’s soldiers must not enter Hong Kong uninvited—unless they want to.

Great Pacific

US Secretary of State signals Donald Trump is taking a harder line on China, blaming Beijing’s broken promises // SCMP

2 Taiwan companies win Apple orders due to defects in China’s red supply chain // Taiwan News

Trade & Tech

Huawei Just Gave 194,000 Employees An Unexpected Reason To Stay // Forbes


While you weren’t looking the trade war with China went completely off the rails //

It’s all over, again…
China and US had ‘constructive discussions’ about phase-one trade deal // CNBC

Denial when Plague reached San Francisco
The First Plague Outbreak in the United States Was Met With Denial – HISTORY //

The Real Reason to Panic About China’s Plague Outbreak // Foreign Policy

US-China trade deal negotiations hit another snag // CNN

Attorney General William Barr: ‘Huawei and ZTE cannot be trusted’ // CNBC

In China two people got the plague. Why is it still a thing? // CNN

Xi Jinping offers to help Greece retrieve contested Parthenon Marbles // CNN

Trump’s China trade war losses will never be recovered, shipping data tells us // CNBC

Son of Chinese billionaire is banned from living a luxurious life by Beijing’s social credit system // Daily Mail

How Bad Is China’s Debt? A City Hospital Is Asking Nurses for Loans // NY Times


China latest: Wonder weapon threatens to isolate Taiwan and prevent US protection // Express

Taiwan’s first commercial-scale offshore wind farm inaugurated // Taiwan News

Taiwan’s Yageo to buy US rival Kemet in US$1.8 billion deal // Taiwan News

Hong Kong

Hong Kong protests: Police officer shot with arrow during university siege // CNN

Officer on Leave After Firing Sponge Grenade: Hong Kong Update // Yahoo News

China’s PLA soldiers help clean up Hong Kong streets but violence flares again // CNA

‘First step’: Appearance of Chinese soldiers on Hong Kong streets raises fears // Sydney Morning Herald

Mainland Chinese Soldiers Take to Hong Kong Streets for First Time During Protests // WSJ

Panic button app, evacuation plans, bankrupt client risk…
Hong Kong: ‘I was tear gassed getting my lunch’ // BBC News

Hong Kong’s student protesters are turning campuses into fortresses // CNN

Hong Kong government is being willfully blind to the chaos it’s creating // CNN

‘Mini Stonehenges’: Hong Kong protesters take on police, one brick at a time // Guardian

An open letter to the Chief Executive //

Employers act to protect staff as Hong Kong crisis deepens // Financial Times

Cambridge University under pressure to revoke Hong Kong chief Carrie Lam’s honorary fellowship // Telegraph (UK)

Hong Kong Colleges Become Besieged Citadels as Police Close In // MSN News

Hong Kong faces more protests after clashes at university // BBC News

Hong Kong protests: Rule of law on ‘brink of collapse’, police say // BBC News

The army of volunteer doctors, artists and pastors keeping the Hong Kong protests alive // Independent

Disrupting elections…
Hong Kong protesters must call a truce for the district council elections – or let Carrie Lam win the day // SCMP

Ugly From the Outset: Hong Kong’s Day of Widespread Violence // NY Times

Maxim’s Restaurant Vandalized as Protests Spring Up Across Hong Kong // Yahoo News

China response to NBA Hong Kong tweet was ‘violation of US sovereignty’: Rice // CNBC

Hong Kong violence spirals as one man shot, another set on fire // CNBC