Prelude to Conflict: Asia, September 29


Inside Report—Hong Kong has one problem that is unaddressed in the media: HK can’t and doesn’t have its own military. Military service is the unwritten rule of any democracy. As much as Hong Kong needs freedom, they aren’t big enough to have their own military. That creates many problems and misunderstandings.

Hong Kong has a huge misunderstanding that could spiral out of control if everyone involved doesn’t understand each other soon. The uprising in Hong Kong is so complicated, it is difficult to accuse or defend anyone. Here are some perspectives based on anonymous sources from the inside:

With the police having used tear gas on Sunday, it’s most difficult to acquit Beijing. The unwritten law of Human Rights is that unarmed protests can interrupt their own government and force changes without arms—and if the police lift a finger to stop them, it’s a Human Rights violation. This isn’t written, but that’s what precedent hashes out to.

Unlike media reports often show, the Hong Kong police are quite peaceable and only sought to disperse the group so government business could continue on Monday. More police have been hurt in Hong Kong than by protestors than by the Sunflower Movement in Taiwan, 6 months ago. There were no water cannons like Taipei saw. Nor did Hong Kong police nab a professor and beat him bloody in front of the Executive office. But even that small use of force (tea gas, pepper spray, a quick baton rush, etc) could be a problem, especially since Taiwan would not use force to retake their own legislature. Our sources say that Hong Kong has asked for Beijing to send police, but there are no reports of Chinese police taking to the streets of HK at press time. Beijing wants to stay out of it. Even so, Beijing looks like the regional bully, simply because Hong Kong’s flag flies under China’s.

On the other hand, Hong Kong’s opposition doesn’t have as much domestic sentiment as it seems to in the news reports. While vast support from Taiwan rushed to aid the Sunflower Movement (possibly because so many Taiwanese despise the crony-capitalism of the ruling KMT-Nationalists,) the Hong Kong protesting students are viewed as somewhat of the minority among their friends. Of course, that’s typical with any cultural or political revolution or change in policy. Taiwan was an exception to this rule of history. The only conclusion from this is that the news is making mountains out of mountain foothills.

This brings us to the inside of Hong Kong’s news industry. Even if the protestors are doing what is right, newspapers make them seem more popular than they are on the streets of Hong Kong. This doesn’t discredit the protestors, but the news reports shouldn’t exaggerate. The other unreported problem is that Hong Kong news market is saturated with too many news outlets. Everyone tries to blow everything out of proportion just to sell a few more newspapers. The evidence for this is not only with Jimmy Lai’s scandals, but simple knowledge of the Hong Kong news market. There is a marketable and economically-observable demand to “fabricate” or “exaggerate” news in order to keep a Hong Kong newspaper’s bottom line afloat. When our sources asked Hong Kong’s wealthy businessmen, as well as the man on the street, about Occupy Central, the common response was, “Just remember that someone wants to sell newspapers.” Hong Kong’s news industry is so bad that street vendors throw free/ad-funded newspapers in the face of passers-by on the street every morning. That didn’t happen under British rule, which only allowed three British-controlled newspapers.

Then there’s the actual policy in question. Beijing isn’t taking away any powers that Hong Kong already has, but is very, very slowly increasing democracy’s power in a way that Beijing Communists probably don’t know will insult Hong Kongers. The 2017 elections are being purported by the government as “universal suffrage” and Beijing probably, genuinely wants to have Hong Kongers control their country more. But, being Communists, they don’t know how insulting it is to outright vet the candidates before the election. An anonymous Taiwanese professor said, “Maybe Beijing just needs an education.”

Taiwanese Sunflower students all pay taxes for their own military and all the men are required to report for one year of required military service in Taiwan. This makes the Sunflower Movement very different from Occupy Central. This does not mean that Hong Kong can be oppressed, but it is at least a point to prove that Beijing isn’t all bad. But, no one discusses this aspect of the Hong Kong problem. Not even Beijing mentions this, even in their own defense. This is likely because Communists don’t understand democracy. So Communist Beijing would be even less likely to know that universal suffrage first requires universal military service.

Well-intended broken promises: Beijing promised, in 1984, not to interfere with Hong Kong for 50 years, in lieu of the 1997 planned takeover. But in 2004, Beijing declared that Hong Kong changes required Beijing approval, breaking their promise. In 2008, Beijing said they would consider universal suffrage in 2017, then proposed quasi-universal suffrage (vetting candidates), the promotes it as universal suffrage anyway. While Beijing most likely intends to avoid “buyers remorse”, like in Taiwan and American elections, this isn’t the way to achieve that. But Communists don’t understand democracy-minded cultures.

Of course, the Western media is ecstatic of anyone disagreeing with Beijing.

Things would be better if Beijing had done something like establish an “unfriendly impeachment board” in Hong Kong, for a rebel CEO. Or perhaps Beijing could say, “Elect anyone you like, however you like. But, similar to Canada, a Beijing-appointed board decides when the election will be.” Then, Beijing could have said said, “Sorry, Hong Kong, we pay the military bills in blood and cash, we need at least some say in your government.” Hong Kongers may not like that, but it would likely have resulted in more peace.

Taiwan is experiencing more KMT-Nationalist implosions. Pushing the Taiwanese to a peaceful reunification with China has become as untenable as the American government supporting the KMT in any more Taiwan elections.

Beijing has some understandable perspectives. But they use too heavy of a hand because, being Communist, it’s all they know. No one tries to get to the core truth. At best, CNN and BBC just observe. Instead of understanding each other, the prelude to Asian conflict only escalates.

So much for the ‘One China’ dreamland…

Officials reject Xi Jinping’s ‘solution’ (Taiwan)

…Taiwanese react strongly against Beijing, just as others observe…

By pounding on Hong Kong, Xi is losing Taiwan

…great summary article from the American Interest:

But their stance on Hong Kong has already had a significant knock-on effect in another area of concern for China: Taiwan. Though Taiwan’s current president, Ma Ying-jeou, was seen as gingerly steering his country towards gradual and eventual unification with the mainland, recent events in Hong Kong have created a political consensus that reunification is just not going to work.

Hong Kong protests grow, but humiliation at home has robbed Cameron of clout on China

…Britain is also waking up from the ‘One China’ dreamland.

Hong Kong

Hong Kong police use teargas and pepper spray to disperse protesters

…with video

Hong Kong: Tear gas and clashes at democracy protest (BBC)

…video and objective commentary

At least 26 injured as police, protesters clash during Hong Kong protests

…many videos listed

LIVE REPORT: Schools, banks closed and travel disrupted as Occupy Central goes on

OCCUPY CENTRAL – THE FIRST NIGHT: Full report as events unfolded

Tear gas fired at chaotic HK protests

HK protesters not deterred by tear gas

Police clear protesters from Hong Kong HQ

Taiwan can-o-worms: So much for ‘one country, two systems’

Ma misquoted on unification: ministry

Officials reject Xi Jinping’s ‘solution’

Ma Ying-jeou hit by ‘Formosa Betrayed’

Ma tells Le Figaro: Taiwan will not be another Hong Kong

…Taiwan’s president hopes to meet with Chinese president Xi in November.

Richard Bush: Ma-Xi Meeting May Precede APEC

…Former AIT director continues to interfere in Asia and tells China and Taiwan what to do. Do a search on “Richard Bush Taiwan” and see what all he thinks other countries should do.

Taiwan’s continues gas line explosion in Kaohsiung

Prosecutors Question Kaohsiung Mayor in Explosion Case

…But no mention of questioning the mayor at the time the faulty line evaded city regulations in the first place. The line was built while a KMT-Nationalist was mayor (appointed, not elected), who is now the vice president. This official KMT blog does not report any serious investigation involving him. Under him, not the current mayor, did the problems begin. The mayor being questioned by the KMT-Nationalist controlled government is in the opposition party, and was elected by the people of Kaohsiung, not appointed.

British research blog revisits ‘Sunflower Movement’ this week

Taiwan’s Sunflower Movement and Generation Politics

…Generational analysis of Taiwanese.

Where have the Sunflowers gone?

…good overview of things today.

The article also discusses some traffic accidents of outspoken Sunflower activists, though it doesn’t mention the suspicious death of Oliver Chen whose scooter reportedly drove off a high cliff far from his home. It also fails to mention that Mitch Yang was almost run over by a car with seemingly fake license plates. Mitch was a spokesman to ABC, NBC, and CBS in 1996 when Taiwanese protested China launching a missile across Taiwan at the first presidential election. Mitch and the witnesses of the attempted drive-over concluded that the driver was an assassin in the Chinese mafia in Los Angeles and was hired by Communist China.

In observing that the Sunflower Movement has “splintered”, the author fails to explain the diversity of different students during their occupancy of the legislature! The movement included many different-minded students who agreed on one thing, for one effort in a moment of history. They are no more divided now than before they began. This isn’t a testimony of division or “splintering”, but the power of different people agreeing to work together. And more importantly, Taiwanese youth are politically-minded, in general. They still agree that they should be involved in issues of the day. That said, many other points in the article are good are worth reading.

Cross-Strait relations after the Sunflower movement

…reviews a lot of very interesting history with little analysis.

Reflections on Taiwan’s Sunflower Movement

…explanation of why this blog is focusing on the Sunflower Movement this week.

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