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 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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Cadence of Conflict: Asia, December 23, 2019

China’s in over its head. They got somewhat of a trade deal, though they never had much to bargain with because their economy is much more dependent on imports than the US economy. So, their trade deal can’t have gone as well as they would have liked, so they were always going to be unhappy, no matter what they got. They won’t be happy, even though they plan a signing photo op come January.

Beijing-rooted leaders in Hong Kong are genuinely confused about the public outcry. In all likelihood, the Chinese truly don’t know how much they afflict and oppress their own people. Because they are out of touch with normal life—because they rely on inhumane means to silence any opposition—they probably believe dissidents are genuine misfits. Beijing remains oblivious to how cruel and rightly despised its rule is. Had Beijing even tried to know what real, ordinary people really, truly think, they might not have been surprised by Hong Kong’s harsh rejection. But, Beijing never cared enough to try to ask in the first place. So, Beijing despises Hong Kong, all the while doing so under the delusion that its spite is well-deserved.

The British have politely demanded that Beijing honor the 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration and hold talks with Hong Kong protestors. From Beijing’s perspective, this is as unimaginable as a Chinese demigod being willing to hold a dialog with a cockroach. Make no mistake, Beijing does not feel that Britain is making any kind of request; it is purely interpreted as an insult, like demanding one to kiss one’s own rear end. However incapable Beijing is of understanding the polite demand, let alone obeying it, the demand remains legally binding. Britain is building a case for nullification and Beijing believes that every way out is an illusion meant to insult.

Then, there’s Huawei. The trade agreement China holds no cards to oppose with won’t matter. Huawei needs customers and Europe is skittish, to say the least. Huawei needs money because the Chinese government needs money. Central planning squandered loans on enormous, countless, empty buildings. The concept of “scalability” is foreign to the government that always gets what it wants, until it can’t afford to anymore. Even then, the Chinese won’t know why they can’t afford to anymore because they can’t understand “scalability”. Huawei’s losses will weaken China’s position further when it comes time for round 2 of the US-China trade negotiations.

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Cadence of Conflict: Asia, September 9, 2019

The missile issues in North Korea have too much unknown about them to formulate a clear opinion. From reports, Kim has indeed kept his promise, though he has violated seemingly less significant UN sanctions. Japan is on alert. Trump doesn’t seem to care. If we made a stack of American clothes made in China, then stacked what we don’t know about the North Korean missile crisis, the stack of what we don’t know about North Korean missiles would be higher. It’s unsettling, but sometimes we just don’t know.

Carrie Lam’s response to the “five demands” from protestors will not bode well in Hong Kong. She withdrew the controversial bill. The best illustration from Hong Kongers is a bandaid on a scratch after it turned gangrene. “Too little, too late” is what most are saying. Expect riots and burning buildings in the weeks to come.

Some Hong Kongers will indeed be satisfied with her speech, dare we say thrilled, but others will be enraged that she waited until after three months and a leaked recording. That recording included Lam’s claim that she couldn’t resign and that she had two masters, one of them Beijing. This is contrary to the autonomy required by the contract allowing China to claim Hong Kong as its own. If true, that recording could return Hong Kong to Britain merely in court. The stakes are high. Beijing cannot allow the public to believe that the recording demonstrated any truth. And, apparently Lam can’t either.

If that recording was inaccurate as she said, then she wouldn’t be so angry. Not only did she admit that the recording was real, it made her angry. Her objection to it is the recording’s greatest notoriety. But, Confucian Beijing-minded Chinese don’t understand that evidence speaks louder than spin. They only bake the cake they’ll have to lay in.

Withdrawing the bill will be seen by many as an attempt to counter evidence that Beijing interferes regularly, violating the Basic Law and the Sino-British Joint Declaration of 1984. But, the evidence remains, and there are greater grievances.

Lam’s speech fails to address the protests’ demand for her resignation, which is the very subject of the leaked recording, which came just before her sudden withdrawal of the bill. The protestors insist on her resignation and will continue to. When she said that she never considered resigning, she further incriminated herself by proving that Hong Kong does not have its required universal suffrage and that she is part of the reason why.

Some will stop protesting, but those who continue will do so with more veracity. Apart from withdrawing the bill, everything in Lam’s video ignores and insults the protest demands, essentially telling the people what they ought to want.

Telling people what they should want is widely accepted in Confucian society. But, it mixes with the West like water with oil. Lam wants to investigate to find out why Hong Kong rejected what are essentially Confucian values. But, there is no disturbance or interference or social trend to investigate. The conflict arose because the Confucian minds controlling Hong Kong, namely Lam and Beijing, are incapable of recognizing that Hong Kong already was Westernized. The question now is whether William Wallace can defeat Mao Tse-Tung.

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