The overwhelming, earth-shattering, landslide re-election victory of Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-Wen sends a shocking message to Beijing: If you plan to take Taiwan, prepare for greater opposition than you got from Hong Kong. But, like the house cat who doesn’t know it’s not God, let alone that it’s not any tiger, they won’t ever decrypt the message. Beijing will be emotionally hurt, insulted, and will thus froth with rage.
Choosing former Premier William Lai as her Vice running mate was wise. Not only is he loved for—perhaps only for—his intractable stance against corruption, he also views Taiwan as having an already de facto independent status. While President Tsai prefers status quo—a peacefully unresolved dispute with China—Vice President Elect Lai views any Taiwanese declaration of independence from China as no more than a formality for how things already are anyway.
This choice of William Lai strengthens her position. If she were to step down, a president would take her place with an even stronger stance against Chinese expansionism. So, even her political opponents would want her to remain in office.
Taiwan’s position is stronger, not only in US relations, but also within Taiwan. Expect actions from China that result in Taiwan responding with moves toward even greater independence than status quo already boasts.
Money doesn’t lie; it’s in the airline figures. Cathay is reducing its capacity, largely from loss of demand for flights in and out of China. Hong Kong Airlines is dropping long hauls to and from Australia, the US, and Canada. Clearly, both Chinese nationals and Pacific English speakers have lost confidence in Hong Kong. Hong Kong was special—for tourism, culture, lifestyle, trade, finance, and a slough of other things—all because both Chinese and the English-speaking West had easy and overlapping access. They could meet, they could do business, they could speak their own language, and they could enjoy Chinese culture without the oppression of a Confucian-Communist government. But, neither wants to play ball anymore.
In response to the US ending exports of riot-control weapons and defining autonomy as “being autonomous”, China banned the US Navy from making port stops in Hong Kong. The port stops had been an encouragement to international business, reassuring investors that everything was alright between the US and China. But, apparently China doesn’t want that illusion of reassurance to continue. And, more importantly, China obviously is less fearful of the US Navy making its R&R port calls in Taiwan instead.
Watch for many things to shift to Taiwan. While the first finance leaders in Hong Kong are exiting to Singapore, watch for a swath to relocate in Taipei once Singapore’s galore wears off and finance centers discover the difference in real estate prices and cost of living.
China will still be angry enough to blow a few gaskets when the US Navy does make more port calls in Taiwan, it’s just that they are less fearful of it for the time being. China’s leaders have been had, largely due to their thirst for respect, which blinds their judgement. But, they are incapable of learning, so they are only going to be had more and more.
Opinions on Asia aren’t just flying, but swarming the Pacific. Hong Kongers vote against China in an unmistakable slap to Beijing’s face, then Beijing blames the US—because Beijing still thinks that voters only vote how the government tells them to. And, everything is all America’s fault anyway, right?
It took a day of silence for Beijing’s media machine to figure out how to spin the election. Beijing accused Hong Kong’s dissent on violence. But, that doesn’t hold since last week’s election went uninterrupted. Yet, Beijing sticks to the same script.
A commentator predicts that Hong Kongers don’t want independence—even though they already declared independence on October 4. Perhaps Doris Lam’s article on Channel News Asia was an attempt to tell Hong Kongers what they should want. Or, it could have been an attempt to tell Beijing to think that Hong Kongers don’t want what they want. Either way, it is a delusional olive branch in the form of a typical long-worded think piece. There is a growing trend of commentators who make their articles longer when they know that few readers will accept their opinions.
After Trump signs two laws about Hong Kong—one to define an autonomous region as autonomous, the other to stop exporting police tools for riot-control—Beijing calls it “interference”. Then, Trump drops tariffs on China because good ole Benjamin is hard to argue with. Yet, Beijing wants more. Now, as in Chinese business negotiation, China wants to change the deal after everything has been agreed to. They want even lower tariffs in Phase One.
Great Britain wants UN access to Xinjiang. China wants the world to believe Xinjiang is happy, an Islamic utopia; new documents prove otherwise. China also faces a food shortage, but a good marketing effort is underway for investment in Chinese farming. Stopping any possible abuse of Uyghurs in Xinjiang is interference in Beijing’s opinion, but accepting foreign money to build better farms isn’t. Perhaps Beijing will call it interference if the rest of the world does not invest in Chinese farms.
Taiwan’s election is fast approaching. Though Tsai Ing-Wen, the pro-democracy incumbent president, leads in the polls, many Taiwanese are scared that there are too many voters in the old, beaten-down generation for her to win a second time. Older Taiwanese, like many Chinese, have been so dominated by East Asia’s shame culture that they truly believe that “bigness” always wins and therefore they must vote for politicians who will surrender to China. Younger Taiwanese have seen this older generation get its way so many times, even polls can’t keep them from being scared. But, as John Maynard Keynes said, “Men will not always die quietly.” Few things drive voters to the polls like fear of dying at the hands of politicians who want to surrender. Tsai Ing-Wen is set to win by an even greater margin than she did in her first term—and everyone has something to say about it.
Hong Kong’s election results from yesterday have confirmed the general public’s view: Hong Kongers reject China’s actions. Not that it will make a difference—elected officials don’t hold a majority in Hong Kong’s legislative process. But, pro-Beijing officials were voted-out, replaced with pro-democracy candidates who campaigned on “5-demands”. There had been speculation as to how much Hong Kongers supported the “5-demand” protests; this morning there is no doubt. Taiwan, the US, and the UK generally oppose the manner of Chinese expansion; this morning we know Hong Kong does too.
It was always easy to see why.
When the US Senate unanimously passed its own version of a bill that would annually evaluate whether Hong Kong was autonomous enough for it to be treated autonomously, China went berserk and accused the US of interfering. When Hong Kong’s High Court overturned Hong Kong’s recent ban on masks, Beijing rebuked the court, thereby proving that Beijing believes Hong Kong is not a separate jurisdiction from the rest of China. Apparently, Beijing thinks Hong Kong should have its government utterly determined by Beijing, but should be treated as if the opposite were true. In America we call this “wanting to have your cake and eat it too”; in China it’s called “Communism”.
US Congress has sweeping bipartisan agreement to determine what the US does in its foreign relations. The US decides whether to sell riot gear to another country. China calls this “interference”; in America that’s called “blame-shifting”. Albeit, China has been illegally interfering in Hong Kong, Taiwan, and even working to undermine Australia’s government, according to a Chinese Communist spy who recently defected Down Under. $200M USD to thwart Taiwan’s election—and China thinks the US is meddling by not selling rubber bullets to Hong Kong police. It’s no wonder yesterday’s election turned out as it did.
Several students holed up in Polytechnic University in Hung Hom tried to walk out, but police chased them back in with tear gas—purportedly because they wanted the students to leave. That was a few days before the US Senate passed its bill about Hong Kong’s autonomy being defined by autonomy. While the intentions of the police seem to be contradictory, there is a greater danger Hong Kong’s government is blind to.
While under siege and later trying to escape, the students and countless new protestors who joined the cause because of the police response, have learned new skills. They are gaining practice at launching Molotov cocktails, shooting police officers with old fashion archery, rappelling in free air, organizing supply and movement lines, along with other aspects of urban guerilla resistance that neither Hong Kong’s police nor China’s PLA are trained for. Carrie Lam has turned these now three plus million protestors into one of the most formidable military forces in Asia, if not the most per capita.
A civilian military is necessary for any nation’s independence. Before these protests, Hong Kong never met that unwritten-yet-real requirement. Since Carrie Lam made the decisions that she did, now Hong Kong has a different truth. As relevant and telling as yesterday’s election was, the more important election is coming in March, when Hong Kong’s October 4 Declaration of Independence scheduled its provisional election. With a now-experienced civilian militia, Hong Kong has all the pieces it needs for a successful revolution. That should not be ignored, but it is.
China is dipping into its pork reserves while America is largely unaffected by the surge in oil prices. The pork crisis in China started with an outbreak of the African Swine Flu and has been exacerbated by the trade war. China doesn’t have energy independence like America does. Soon, China will have a crisis of both food and energy. Wars have started over less.
Taiwan is ready and on high alert. Though there is a surrender movement in Taiwan as always, Taiwan stands ready with the advantage. Projecting power for an invasion is not as easy as defending an impossible island. With a coastline of either cliffs or marshes and jungle mountains everywhere else, Taiwan is no walk in the park. Taiwan’s president is wise to the bullying of China and believes in taking a stand. This is why she supports Hong Kongers as she does.
The situation in Hong Kong is past dire. As foreseen, the protests turned violent because of a deaf government. “No” means “no”, but China and its puppets can’t bring themselves to accept that, and Hong Kongers won’t let “no” mean anything else. Chinese Confucian Communism now faces the determination of the West. The great showdown between the Shame culture of the Far East and the self-determined culture of the West has begun. It’s only going to escalate. And, all those people who preached “capitulation to the bully” and the “invincibility of Chinese Shame” are about to be proven drastically right or fatefully wrong.
Chinese rhetoric spiked over recent weeks. They made threats. Trump made threats. They made more threats. Trump and Xi are BFF, just like Xi and Putin, but Xi and Putin are BFF-er. Now, we move toward quiet action. If China stops exporting “rare earth metals” to the US, the US would simply get them from somewhere else. “Rare” means many countries can get them, but few actually do because China does it so much.
The US is selling several tanks and tank-buster rockets to Taiwan. Beijing isn’t happy—about the $2 Billion in weapons sales to Taiwan, but also because of the people who publicly express memory of what happened 30 years ago at Tienanmen Square.
Around the time Taiwan’s primaries finish, the US launches its first Ford-class carrier in October, larger than a Nimitz. It still has a year of training and won’t be commissioned until 2022.