Cadence of Conflict: Asia, August 3, 2020

If ever there were a time when two nations didn’t want to get along, it is now. If ever there were a time when a growing group of nations decided that a single other nation never wanted to get along, it is now.

China’s security law affecting Hong Kong, defining what is a crime in every sovereign, non-China territory of the world—in a word “pretentious”. No nation’s government should ever allow a foreign government to define what is a crime within its own borders, especially a single government acting unilaterally and without counsel.

Human Rights involve laws that China directly agreed to in joining the United Nations. Human Rights sanctions over forced sterilization among Uighurs in Xinjiang in no way compare to Beijing dictating it is a crime for someone in New Zealand to voice support for free elections in Hong Kong. The Confucian-Communist Chinese don’t see the difference. They view sterilizing Uighurs as fair and international sanctions for doing so as unfair. It’s not a lie or polite statement—they really see things that way.

So, banning TikTok won’t give the Chinese any second thoughts about their aspirations and actions. Taiwan’s first democratically elected president passed away this week at 97 and the US lauded his achievement. China won’t see any need to change so as to cooperate with our democratic world today; they will only see it as an insult to China’s entitlement to greatness.

The Taiwanese chip maker TSMC provides 20% of the worlds microchips at quality of which China cannot produce any. If China invaded Taiwan and TSMC had to cease operations, China would suppose that the ability to make these chips would instantly transfer to China, where China could pick up the slack, so there would be no threat to the global tech industry.

Now, the US introduces a bill with bipartisan support for military action already approved for the US to defend Taiwan against China specifically. It’s not hard to know how China will respond. With every step, China has the same response: China’s right; the rest of the world is wrong. It’s not hard to know how the rest of the world interprets that kind of response.

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Cadence of Conflict: Asia, July 27, 2020

Bail on Hong Kong, jump to Taiwan. That’s the move from everyone.

Britain doesn’t bail on Hong Kong, but creates a path for Hong Kongers to bail on Hong Kong. Britain isn’t just walking away. By allowing British Overseas Passport holders to easily enter Britain, British Parliament responds as if 3 million British citizens and their families are suddenly in China—basically treating Hong Kong as if it is truly, fully Chinese. Britain ended its extradition with Hong Kong, making it the same as with China. Britain extended an arms embargo to Hong Kong already in place against China.

This is the part that confuses the Chinese. They want the world to recognize that Hong Kong is China, but when countries treat Hong Kong the same way as they treat China, China objects. Consider the mindset that demands: Everyone treat Hong Kong like China, but you interfere if you treat Hong Kong like China. The Chinese don’t understand how the world is responding. They never thought the world would respond this way. They think the world is simply being mean and cruel.

Staying consistent is not a part of the Chinese Communist worldview. Consulates do passport services and diplomatic visits, not much beyond that. That’s why countries allow them. America says China went way beyond that, claiming evidence of the consulate running a spy ring. Truth or lie, the Chinese thought they could do anything inside their consulate as if they were in Beijing, otherwise they wouldn’t need to burn documents before leaving. They don’t see America following consistent rules by demanding the consulate close; they only see America as starting a fight.

Western nations at least pretend to operate with universal standards and kept promises. They are far from perfect, but at least they pretend to and their voters expect them to. China doesn’t even pretend to operate with universal standards and kept promises. Chinese Communists simply do whatever they decide for each, individual situation, then justify it as either “their right to do what they want” or as “an internal matter” or as “what is best”. If China makes a promise, then decides to break it without any notice, then the people they promised object, China calls that objection “interference”. Following precedent or promises has no place in Chinese understanding of lawfulness.

Now, ask yourself about a government that insists that it is fair to change the rules throughout the game and without notice. What will mid-level leaders within that government do themselves and expect from their leaders above them and from their subordinates below them? Will their military be able to function with a culture where it is right to change rules at any time? Will ship captains prefer battles for the glory over winning the war? Will the West think such a military is a formidable threat or that such a military is inconsistent and easily defeated?

Taiwan certainly sees the Chinese military as a threat, but the Taiwanese apparently believe China’s military can be affronted. Taiwan boosts its own military budget while the US only increases ties. Banks are also looking to Taiwan as the Asian alternative to Hong Kong, which banks are losing interest in since it now appears to be truly, fully Chinese. With so many people running to Taiwan—and taking their money with them—Taiwan won’t lack the budget for defense.

So, ask yourself, with the shift moving to Taiwan, what will the rule-changing Chinese do? And, will China’s rule-changing embolden the West to think that China’s military won’t be very organized?

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Cadence of Conflict: Asia, July 20, 2020

Hong Kong is seriously considering shutting itself down. Many may argue that Hong Kong is certainly shutting down, but a basic understanding of humanity says that people are resilient. China claims that doing whatever China wants inside Hong Kong is good, right, and fair, regardless of the promise not to do so until 2047. Democracies and countries with free speech have always risen up with with unstoppable strength to resist powers claiming their right to control them from outside, as China is doing.

France insulted King Henry V of England, according to legend with three tennis balls instead of promised tribute. Henry invaded and conquered. At that time, the French were spoiled and foolish; their military was no match for England because it was not disciplined.

Scotland revolted against King Edward I and won independence. At that time, the Scottish were selfless and willing to burn their own corn fields and even die; Scotland fought from desperation to not be oppressed while England’s disposition of entitlement was no match.

China claims that Hong Kongers are spoiled like the French were under Henry V. Hong Kongers claim they are desperate to escape oppression like the Scottish under Robert the Bruce. Who is right? The next few years will answer that question. But, it could go either way. Nothing is decided.

At this time, however, China is doing certain things, then Hong Kong is responding a certain way while other countries in the world respond in their ways. China believes everyone else is wrong.

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Cadence of Conflict: Asia, July 13, 2020

China and the US have shown their intentions to the world. The new “National Security Law”, passed and interpreted solely by the Chinese Communist Party, applies to the entire world. China made it illegal for Americans to support calls for change in Hong Kong. Germans wearing a Winnie-the-Pooh shirt could be guilty of a Chinese crime against China’s national security. This is no joke.

The US went hard line after China over Uyghurs in Xinjiang this week. 78 members of Congress petitioned President Trump from both parties to declare China’s work with the Uyghurs “genocide”. That is not merely rhetoric nor an attempt to insult, but a step to unlock later military permissions. The US is preparing for invasion, either to land US troops or to support some other military that does, such as India. This is no joke.

China clarified its understanding on two fronts.

Firstly, about Uyghurs in Xinjiang, China responded to America’s visa sanction and frozen asset action against Chinese officials with a tit-for-tat policy. By not responding with military preparation, or at least genocide declaration, China misinterpreted what the US is ultimately preparing.

Secondly, Chinese state media have commented how the new “National Security Law” for Hong Kong would apply if China could assert jurisdiction elsewhere. This means that, just as the US is laying in the groundwork for an invasion of China, China is laying in the groundwork for what would follow an invasion anywhere else. In all likelihood, the US’ response concerning Uyghurs in Xinjiang—paving a way for invasion—showed understanding of China’s plans for invasion, less likely not, but surely the sabers have been unsheathed and are no longer just rattling.

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Cadence of Conflict: Asia, July 6, 2020

It’s official. China has broken the treaty that allows Hong Kong to be Chinese. The last time Britain accused China of breaking treaty, the Royal Navy opened fire on the Taiwan city of Tainan in 1858. The time before that was just a few decades earlier, when Britain obtained Hong Kong Island in a surrender from the Chinese after the Opium Wars.

Those wars began because China believed it was fair for silver to flow out of Britain, but only tea leaves to flow out of China. China would not accept British inventions and technology in trade, only silver for leaves. Opium was another leaf, one some in China were willing to return silver to Britain in exchange for.

For China, friendship has always been a one-way street. The Opium Wars did not begin with British military intervention. They started with an unbalanced sense of justice from China and subversion in response from Britain. While the British military did not start the wars, it ended them.

Now, China has passed a law in Beijing that affects the streets of Hong Kong. That violates the 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration, the basis for Hong Kong’s return to China. It seems 150 years have not changed anyone’s disposition. China wants laws written in one city, then obeyed in another. China wants to make promises, then ignore them. Britain will not respond with military, but with subversion. In the end, America’s military may play a role, but Hong Kong will likely return to the British for one, single reason. History repeats for those who refuse to learn from it.

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Cadence of Conflict: Asia, June 29, 2020

At what point is it okay to bully the bad guy? At what point does bullying the bad guy make the bully the bigger bad guy? This is a line China is fast approaching and the US is fast leaving.

The thinking goes, “If you just did the good things I demand, then the great harm I did you in response wouldn’t have happened.” Of this, both China and America are guilty. That’s why they are headed toward a conflict.

China pushes more and more toward this in the Far East while America brings home troops from previous venture wars in the Middle East. China is stepping-up bully responses while America backs off from them. But, both harbor that same “I’m allowed to do anything because I’m right” attitude. Both China and America need to repent. Perhaps God allowing this war will get some people there, or perhaps not. That choice is up to the individual.

Regardless of choice and attitude, we know things are only escalating. China passes a law grossly violating the 1984 treaty with Great Britain. That, technically, un-returns Hong Kong to China, though the wise, shrewd Crown hasn’t said so yet. America has recognized this first, giving third-party credibility. If China’s plan were to endear the world and win hearts with a show of its kindness, it’s failed. It’s hard to show a kindness one does have because it’s hard to have kindness one resents in favor of winning at any cost.

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