Cadence of Conflict: Asia, October 14, 2019

You can’t bring a pot to boil forever. While the conventional narrative for Hong Kong warns, “Retribution is coming,” a better understanding would be, “The Chinese are coming if Hong Kong doesn’t level up.” The protests must either “level up” or otherwise change, or else the PLA will indeed march and smash.

While the situation in Hong Kong is deteriorating into a cultural war—a defense against an invasive culture of Sinicization—talks between the US and China took a similar cultural detour for the worst. China doesn’t want so-called “interference” with kidnapping 1.5 million Muslims in Xinjiang, in Beijing’s view “internal matters”. By that definition, “internal matters” violate international Human Rights laws.

Trump’s words, that all is well in Hong Kong, elude Hong Kongers and Chinese as much as the American media. On the surface Trump appeared to praise the doctored press reports coming out of Hong Kong. He also praised Supreme Justice Kavanaugh’s accuser, Christine Ford, days before mocking her. Not one main news agency reported Hong Kong’s October 4 de facto declaration of independence with plans for rebellion elections. Praising evidentially censored reports from Hong Kong surmounts to little.

Still, Trump knows the ramifications of his words. By playing along with propaganda China would normally get resistance from, and by staying hands-off, Trump was indirectly telling Beijing that he knows Hong Kong is worse than reported while also letting Hong Kong learn the hard lesson that independence starts with expecting no help from the outside. Over the weekend we saw just that, including smaller flash-protests and perching the Hong Kong “Goddess of Democracy” atop Lion Rock in Kowloon. “Careless Carrie” Lam even cancelled a meeting with Senator Ted Cruz—after his 10+ hour overnight flight landed.

Trump’s words could lead to the very “level-up” game-changer the Hong Kong protesters must make in order to survive. One should guess that Trump doesn’t want Hong Kong to “just be okay”, but to earn whatever independence they get on their own. It feels like rejection at first, but being abandoned to earn one’s own victory—and the spoils with it—is the greater gift of a friend. Trump never said he would squash Hong Kongers’ call for independence; he simply refused to steal their thunder.

The Chinese probably won’t pick up on Trump’s subtlety because Confucianism—especially Communist Confucianism—doesn’t believe anything can happen without outside “help”. This is the only reason Beijing suspects supposed “Western interference” without a shred of evidence.

So, the trade agreement seems to be okay, this week. But, China doesn’t want to be told to let its economy play by the same rules as ours because that too is “internal”. There is one key flaw with China’s thinking: entitlement.

Of course, America should not dictate what type of economy is best for China or any other nation. At the same time, trade is a privilege not a right. By America requiring a free market as a condition for trade with another free market, America is not interfering, but refusing to be interfered with.

Just the same, Beijing claims to reject a “zero-sum game” deal. What they mean is that they want a zero-sum game in China’s favor because they believe being better than everyone else is their right. If America doesn’t lose so that China can gain, China will reject the deal as unfair, just as they did with Britain in the “silver-for-leaves” trade that led to the Opium Wars. Nothing has changed.

The virtue of compromise doesn’t work in dealing with China, whether as an American trade negotiator or as a citizen of Hong Kong. When China demands 100, then we compromise at 50, China will demand another 100 again tomorrow. If we compromise again, it would be 100-0, and it would happen all over again the next day and the next. China will keep demanding to expand and overrun everyone else. By China’s China-favoring standards, the only compromise stands on how fast China takes you over, either ultra fast or slowly. For Beijing, there is no room for the words in the Book of Job where God told the ocean, “Here, and no farther.”

Great Pacific

Giving in to China will make Taiwan the next Hong Kong: Premier Su // Taiwan News

This is How To Solve the Problem of the South China Sea // National Interest


Trump says US has come to a substantial phase one deal with China // CNBC

Wall Street has doubts after partial trade deal // CNBC

The U.S.-China Relationship Is a Tangled Mess on Eve of Talks // Yahoo News

U.S. visa move against China casts pall over talks to end trade war // Yahoo News

Trade War Spins Out Of Control // Forbes

US blacklists 28 Chinese entities in latest trade war escalation // Financial Times

China takes some key trade issues off the negotiating table with US report // MarketWatch


Petition reaches threshold to elicit response from US // Taipei Times

Petition to recall mayor of Taiwan’s Kaohsiung reaches targe // Taiwan News

UPDATE 1-Taiwan leader rejects China’s ‘one country, two systems’ offer // Yahoo News

Indian officials attend Taiwan’s National Day banquet ahead of Xi Jinping’s arrival // Taiwan News

President Tsai meets former Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper in Taipei // Taiwan News

Hong Kong

It’s make or break for Carrie Lam as she prepares to deliver her policy address // SCMP

‘Careless Carrie’ Lam stands up Sen. Cruz, cancels after landing in HK!
US senator Ted Cruz accuses Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam of cancelling meeting with him out of ‘weakness’ and ‘fear’ of anti-government protesters // SCMP

Hong Kong police arrest protesters after mall rallies and skirmishes across the city // Straits Times

Protesters erect ‘Lady Liberty’ statue on Hong Kong mountain top // Yahoo News

Molotov cocktails thrown in HK metro amid unrest // Taipei Times

Hong Kong protesters bomb subway station with Molotov cocktails // NY Post

Hong Kong protesters use new flashmob strategy to avoid arrest // Guardian

Hong Kong police make arrests as small flashmob protests erupt // CNA

Hong Kong protesters break into small groups to thwart police // Aljazeera

“…they should just forge their own way forward.”
Trump says latest US-China trade deal ‘very positive’ for Hong Kong, leaving protesters disappointed he did not back their cause // SCMP

Video: HK police sexually assault female…
香港警察逮捕女性後 開始瘋狂襲胸 // Facebook

Disturbing photos: Dead body in Hong Kong…
反對修訂逃犯條例 #antiELAB (@antielabhk) // Instagram

Blizzard, Hearthstone and the Hong Kong protests: What you need to know // CNET

‘No one showed up!’ Hong Kong’s protests face acid test // Yahoo News

Tim Cook Explains Why Apple Removed App Used In Honk Kong Protest // Gizmodo

Hong Kong protests: Apple (AAPL) removes police-tracking app amid unrest // CNBC

FIFA Disciplines Hong Kong After Fans Protest Chinese Anthem // NPR

East Kowloon
Hong Kong protesters target Chinese PLA soldiers with laser pointers // Taiwan News

Culture war…
No Mandarin allowed! Chinese citizens in Hong Kong are living in fear // New Straits Times

Vans shoemaker under fire after dumping Hong Kong protests-themed design from contest // RT

Apple removes Taiwan flag from keyboards on Hong Kong iPhones // Taiwan News

Hong Kong could be at ‘tipping point’ as warning flag unfurled at Chinese military barracks // CNN

Chinese soldiers in Hong Kong warn protesters as emergency rules fail to quell unrest // CNBC

Korean Peninsula

North Korea latest: Fears state may be overrun by deadly swine flu // Express

North Korea news: Kim Jong-un developing secret weapon capable of ‘mass deaths’ // Express