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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Encore of Revival: America, April 6, 2020

Conspiracy theories fly. That’s to be expected when the whole world is told to stay home. Some say 5G is the killer. Though suspicious as interesting, that doesn’t explain everything. The more disturbing part is that the video was censored by Facebook and, reportedly, YouTube. Elsewhere, people are reporting empty hospitals around the world, contrary to reports by big news media. Most disturbing of all was the decision for governors to close schools, which runs against common sense. Consider an article published by AAPS in which a doctor from Cadillac, Michigan explains that keeping schools open would have had the best affect on containment.

Public panic and shutting down the economy by closing the schools that would have slowed viral spread aside, look how the greater damage from overreacting is helping in other ways.

Trump only grows in popularity. Michigan’s governor is in the spotlight and will be a likely pick for a typical establishment Democratic VP candidate come November. If she runs, the voters in Michigan she unemployed may vote against her in the general election. If that happens, she would likely be a one-term governor, facing a double loss like Scott Walker did after he lost in the 2016 presidential primaries.

More importantly, unexpected things are shifting. Businesses are forced to reinvent. While the masses go into panic mode, money is moving toward those who keep calm and level heads.

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Cadence of Conflict: Asia, November 11, 2019

Hong Kong has presented the world with the ethical question of confronting bullies. Say there is a bully at school who quietly eats whosever lunch he wants, stealing anyone’s homework he wants, until one day someone says something and the bully gets violent. In theory, most people agree that the bully started it. But in practice, when it comes time to stand up to the bullies of life, even the biggest Braveheart fans place the blame for the fight on the one who had the conscience to stand up to the bully. So, are Hong Kong protestors to blame for not going along to get along while China quietly violates its treaty with the UK, denies human rights, and refuses to regulate police conduct?

China says restoring social order in Hong Kong is the “most pressing issue”, but obviously not as important as destroying anything that stands in the way of Chinese Communist hegemony.

In a double-standard, Taiwan is having to adjust its laws to deal with Chinese interference. The CCP is paying news outlets to spread its propaganda in Taiwan. It got caught having a fake news site and is now resorting to outsourcing. The Taiwanese don’t think that publishing what China tells someone to publish is “free speech”.

Xi Jinping’s decision to keep Carrie Lam as CEO of Hong Kong only makes sense, notwithstanding it proves interference by pure definition. The Chinese Communist Party would never dispose of such an efficient creator of chaos. Chaos is always the first phase of the CCP taking over a resistant people; the second phase is to send in the military and—well, do what China’s military does so well. While the Western press explains keeping Carrie as a way to avoid opening a can of worms, the Chinese have much more sinister intentions as history proves.

More crud hit the fan this week, over and over, again and again, evermore. A college student not connected with a nearby protest tried to escape a parking lot just after police fired tear gas, then fell to his death. As expected, police denied any wrongdoing.

A woman rumored to be only 16 years old passed a police station Tsuen Wan where she claims to have been ordered inside, then gang raped by four masked men. Meeting some of the criteria of a rape victim, she found she was pregnant a few weeks after the incident, the young woman was reportedly suffering from depression, and had an abortion last Thursday. The investigation is ongoing, but, in the current atmosphere, police have done little elsewhere to stop such stories from being believable.

Over the weekend, police arrested six lawmakers who effectively filibustered Carrie Lam’s annual report back in May. Six reporters wore Chinese letters on hardhats at a police press conference, spelling a Cantonese request to investigate police. This was in response to two reporters having been arrested. The police department sent formal objection letters to the six reporters’ press agencies. Lawmakers and journalists should be immune to such arrests in order to prevent political interference. But, Hong Kong police no longer wear ID tags on their uniforms, and China says the unrest in Hong Kong started because police don’t have enough power.

Western foreigners visiting Hong Kong have started to join protests. It’s arguably bad form, though it indicates that the world feels a sense of solidarity in standing up to China’s bullying anywhere and everywhere it happens. China sees it as proof of interference while the West sees it as successful marketing from the Hong Kong protesters. The problem with China’s “interference proof” argument is that foreign attendees after the fact do not prove any causality before the fact. But, when being a mouthpiece rather than a think tank has been the habit for so long, Chinese wouldn’t understand the difference.

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Encore of Revival: America, January 28, 2019

American deadlock trudges on. Trump promised a wall and he won’t back down. Democrats won’t back down either. Both show solidarity with their respective platforms. The only group that seems to favor backing down is Congressional Republicans, who want Trump to get this over with any way possible. For the compromising Republicans on Capitol Hill, Trump’s refusal to sign a “wallless budget” isn’t a “wall” strategy as much as it is a “shut down” strategy. Trump and Congressional Democrats see it differently.

Keep watch; it just might be Jared Kushner who saves the day.

The term “free speech” has taken a new meaning. While speech has kept less and less freedom from the tech bosses, the monetary cost of speaking out has essentially become free. With speech becoming more and more “financially free”, the media industry can’t find a way to stay solvent.

Newspapers and local news broadcasters seek collective ways to work against the tech giants, but they only rearrange their immediate problems with no long-term solutions in sight. The dwindling news industry is attacking “free” platforms of semi-free speech: social media. That’s the clue of where news & information will head in the future.

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Encore of Revival: America, July 9, 2018

Facebook has been censoring many good things. Their procedures or automatic algorithms or whatever mechanism was designed to snag speech that just so happened to be from the Declaration of Independence was no isolated incident. Especially when a long train of abuses and usurpations evince a design, it’s not coincidence, it’s telling.

Facebook has had its hand caught in the cookie jar many times as of late. The social media giant doesn’t seem interested in cultivating good will, but keeps working for excuses to drive away people who want to freely submit facts to a candid world via any platform but their own. Putting the post from The Vindicator newspaper back up won’t prove to be enough. With trends and polls being what they are, the only way to prevent Facebook from taking a nosedive is for Zuckerberg to apologize for not endorsing Trump and write bots to flag posts praising Obama. That won’t be fair, but it would be the only way to court favor lost among  the bulk of its home-market customers who are subtly shopping elsewhere.

But, the biggest wire tripped by Facebook censoring the Declaration of Independence wasn’t the people’s irritation with Facebook, but the resulting alertness about the Declaration of Independence. Facebook unwittingly helped make that document famous again. It seemed that America had forgotten all about it. Now, everyone is going to search and read what words created the safest nation in the world to hold such hot debates as the last two years, without fear of execution. For reclaiming attention to American history, Facebook has earned the first annual Pacific Daily Times Liberty of the Year award.

Thank you, Facebook, for reminding us of our heritage of freedom well fought for.

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Cadence of Conflict: Asia, June 4, 2018

North Korea inches further and further toward talks with the US. China fears this. If Kim Jong-Un get in the same room as the man who wrote The Art of the Deal, North Korea could become a stronger ally to the US than even South Korea overnight. That would likely lead to a quick reunification of the Korean Peninsula, as well as other shifts in power, even before any alliance might be formalized. But, Trump’s deal-making reputation should bring no shocks to what is about to transpire in the Singapore Summit.

Then, there’s China, about to be left behind. The hardline crackdown on free speech throughout China won’t be without consequence. Symphony has been saying so for years; Albert Ho effectively said the same, quoted in a Bloomberg article dated June 4. Party power is getting brittle. But, the consequences of brutal brittality are rarely explored. So, here goes.

Hong Kong won’t shut up anytime soon. The whining, whimpering bratty students of Hong Kong may be wrong to demand rights when freedom was largely handed to them by the British. But, those bratty students sure are drawing a press load of attention to China. That alone should be a heavy factor in logistics calculation. Hong Kong is a megaphone for any anti-China sentiment because the world reads about Hong Kong every day. After all, Hong Kong is “Asia’s World City”.

But, then there’s the problem of cracking down within “China proper”, the Mainland governed directly by Beijing, not a SAR like Hong Kong or Macau. If China considers friendly sarcasm to be a threat within China—that means tech companies and hardware manufacturers won’t have candid conversations about quality control and competitive design. Once free speech becomes a minefield, people will divert mental resources away from fee and open brainstorming toward making sure that they don’t say anything offensive. The key to good brainstorm sessions and innovation is that nothing is off the table and no one is allowed to take offense at anything whatsoever. That’s can’t happen in China anymore. Bye-bye Western manufacturing paradise. It’s only a matter of time before Western outsourcing brands figure it out. One little story, like an innovator being locked up for a tech suggestion because it was interpreted as “opposing to the Party”, might plunge Chinese factory stocks into the void below.

“Single-Party Rule” is the key topic now, at least according to Western papers. That’s the protest mantra in Hong Kong. It’s the talking point of headlines and marches. It is the so-called “problem” as is being presented to the world. The Western press is on a path for reporting a narrative that stirs sentiment for two-party rule in China. Whether it’s a typhoon, an earthquake, a solar flare, or some other “act of God”, if China suddenly adopts a two-party system, Western newspaper readers will have already been prepped to think it is a good thing.

Then, there’s Vietnam, exploring foreign investment “zones”. Deserved or unfair, distrust is stirring against China as a place of investment. This will have a double-edged effect in Vietnam. Firstly, Western manufacturing will flock to Vietnam as a way of fleeing the newspaper villain, China. But, with a Communist Party having total rule in Vietnam, Western investors will demand certain assurances before dumping too much money into yet another single-party market. Sooner or later, we could be looking at Vietnam adopting a friendly two-party system as a stronger strategy of competing with China. That will only add to the momentum of change in East Asia.

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