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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Cadence of Conflict: Asia, September 2, 2019

Reuters broke the story. According to unnamed sources, Beijing refused to let Hong Kong’s government grant free elections, withdraw the extradition bill, and crackdown on police brutality. If this report can be proven in court, a case could be made that Hong Kong is no longer under China’s governance, already. Of course, China would never recognize such a ruling and a military conflict between China and the West would quickly ensue.

The West has slowly been inching forward in support of Western freedoms everywhere the West resides, including Hong Kong, and China has been ill prepared. Had Beijing anticipated the status quo, preventative measures would have been taken long ago. But, China doesn’t understand the West, just as Beijing can’t understand Westernized Hong Kong. So, “suspicion” is the emotional response to expect.

Well past the 79-day record of continued protests from the Umbrella Movement in 2014, the extradition protests are in their 13th week.

Turn of events included protestors setting large fires on police-related barricades and the police using blue die in water cannons, presumably to mark protestors for later action. This is a serious escalation on both sides. Far more importantly, but less likely to be noticed, protestors marched outside the Chinese military garrison, near Central on Hong Kong Island. This is a direct affront to Chinese control and, for that reason alone, the situation has never been more explosive, so to speak.

Hong Kong’s miracle was that it was Western, but it was located in the Far East. This made it an overlap and a gem in the world. It was the convergence of extremes that made Hong Kong special. But, Confucian-Communist Chinese can’t imagine that being Western would make a thing desirable. So, Beijing chalks-up Hong Kong’s “greatness” to the idea that “it is Chinese”.

In attempt to explain the protests, and without evidence, China has repeatedly accused the West of interfering in Hong Kong, which got its very value from already being Western. The greatest Western influence in Hong Kong came from Hong Kong itself. Reports of supposed Western financial backing for Hong Kong protests seem laughable to the West since they have been presented without a shred of anything remotely resembling a “paper trail”; it’s mere surmise.

Far more importantly, since when did Beijing object to Western influence? Communism is Western. But, seeing that requires objective thought, something Confucian culture can’t do.

Beijing supposes their must be someone behind the protests. In Confucian Chinese thinking, no one would oppose their great benevolence unless someone else told them to, and “objective thinking” is a mere myth. But, the West can’t imagine anyone supporting the government of the Tienanmen Square massacre without brainwashing.

As Westerners, Hong Koners don’t want to be brainwashed to support such a murderous government, neither does the rest of the West. So, with this past week, we can’t expect the West not to interpret action against Hong Kong’s protestors as a preemptive attack on the rest of Western civilization. World War veterans remember what happens when the West feels threatened. Still, no matter how much Hong Kong wants to, Beijing refuses to allow the only way to stop making Western culture feel like someone wants it to stop being Western.

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Cadence of Conflict: Asia, August 26, 2019

The Hong Kong police have lost public trust. They’ve cried, “Victim!” after their injuries were proven to be from self defense when they were the assailants. They illegally shot tear gas canisters as harmful projectiles in violation of international law and from windows high enough to kill someone if a canister landed on someone’s head. One girl lost an eye because the police shot rubber bullets at the crowd at point blank range and one bullet passed through her protective face mask. Yet, the police claim that rubber bullets don’t cause harm.

Now, peace turns to instant violence just because these police arrive. Or, perhaps it’s because they arrive, then start pounding their batons against their shields as if they were Roman soldiers about to charge.

At the Yuen Long MTR Station in a somewhat remote part of Hong Kong’s New Territories, protestors were loud, but not violent, until the police showed up. From well-earned fear, protestors tore up the place to block the police from blinding someone else. Trash cans and other furnishings were turned on side, fire extinguishers made a smokescreen, and the students pulled down a gate to block the way between themselves and the violent police of Hong Kong.

The greatest mistrust of Hong Kong police isn’t their violence, but their inaction. The great criminals control the government. Perhaps protestors believe the police should enforce the Basic Law by forcefully unseating CEO Carrie Lam for violating the Sino-British Joint Declaration of 1984. But, they don’t because they have become a tool of Beijing’s interference, proven most by the usual Human Rights violations of Beijing.

But, Hong Kongers’ fears are still greater, sharing an overlap with US President Trump. China wants to Sinicize the world, as the 2008 Olympics opening ceremony showed—as Hong Kong and Taiwan show—as America’s economy shows.

As if Hong Kong’s problems haven’t shown enough about the greater threats looming over the world from the Far East, South Korea’s vindictive administration keeps making trouble. This week, South Korea ended an intel sharing agreement with Japan, then stepped up military drills near an island disputed by Japan.

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Cadence of Conflict: Asia, August 19, 2019

Conflicts with China are helping Taiwan. The trade war is driving manufacturing away from China toward Taiwan, Vietnam, and Burma, among others. China’s travel ban on Taiwan for openly supporting the Hong Kong protests is pushing the Taiwanese to implement better visa privileges with other Asian nationals visiting Taiwan. Not only did last week’s occupation of the Hong Kong International Airport break Western confidence in the Chinese “Special Administrative Region”, the Hong Kong protests are even affecting business in Macau.

Why the protests? Where did it all start? Follow the money. Of the many factors, one of the best kept secrets around the world is the housing cost for local Hong Kongers. It’s called “gentrification”. Ordinary Hong Kong citizens can’t afford even the least expensive homes without government subsidy in addition to living with family. A Hong Kong jail cell is larger that many homes.

That happened because Hong Kong’s government, clearly under the thumb of Beijing, allows Mainland Chinese citizens to move into Hong Kong at such a high rate that new housing can’t be built fast enough to keep residential costs affordable. Wealthy Chinese need a place to live, some place where they can enjoy life. They won’t find anything nice enough within China proper, so they have to go somewhere with an economy created by the West—somewhere like Hong Kong. That way they can enjoy all the money of China without the lousy lifestyle. In their view, it would be cruel for Hong Kong not to let as many Chinese Mainlanders displace native Hong Kongers as fast as possible.

Protests are entering their eleventh week. One more week will begin a new record of 79 days from the Umbrella Movement in 2014.

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Cadence of Conflict: Asia, August 12, 2019

China instructs Hong Kong not to confuse restraint for weakness, notwithstanding that China is making that very mistake with the West in not sponsoring the demands of Hong Kongers that Hong Kong’s government keep the Sino-British promise of 1984. China claims that the West has meddled in Hong Kong. The biggest problem with this argument isn’t lack of evidence, though evidence is lacking. The bigger problem is need—the West wouldn’t need to meddle in order to create the chaos we see in Hong Kong because China has already done more than enough. Balancing Hong Kong’s unrest with China’s interference, the math adds up.

As China poetically said of Hong Kong, a “blow from the sword of law is waiting for them in the future.” China should heed its own words. But, we already knew China was incapable heeding any wisdom, including its own, which is probably why the West doesn’t bother commenting anymore. After all that has happened, China recently had the lack of self-awareness to call its growing power a “peaceful rise” in defense of growing Australian concerns.

Taiwan is gearing up and arming up. Their new “Cloud Peak” missile can reach Beijing. It’s mobile and in mass-production. It still pales in comparison to Beijing’s aggression toward everyone, everywhere. But, Taiwan figures, at least an attack from Beijing would hurt in Beijing. But, Beijing’s probably not capable of understanding that. So, the Taiwanese can’t count on their Cloud Peak missiles as any kind of deterrent, only a disruptor to cripple and confuse and weaken sequential attacks from an attacker who struck first.

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Cadence of Conflict: Asia, July 29, 2019

China says that Hong Kong CEO Carrie Lam may not resign because she must remain in power to clean up the mess China started and blames on her. Albeit, staying in power to clean up her scape-goat mess is impossible because cleaning up that mess requires her to resign as the people demanded. The “mess” includes her being there in the first place—because her election was not from self-governance as Hong Kongers were promised in 1984. The mess also includes China saying who may and may not resign—because China doesn’t get a say about one grain of sand in Hong Kong until 2047.

The whole problem goes back to China’s inability to not meddle. A Beijing-managed group based in Shenzhen has been carefully researching and observing the developments in Hong Kong so that Beijing can know how to properly respond—whatever that’s supposed to mean. Make no mistake, they aren’t trying to understand how to govern a free people or understand the reasonable requests of a free and self-motivated economy. They aren’t trying to learn whatever wisdom might have made the West so rich and powerful in the first place. No, Beijing is on a mission to Sinicize Hong Kong out of being Hong Kong.

The current task is to figure out how to “disappear” 2 million Hong Kongers without the world noticing. Hong Kong’s police under-reported the 2 million turnout; they’ll probably under-report the number of “disappeared” people as well, and they need research to make it sound convincing. If the protests had happened in Xinjiang, Beijing wouldn’t need to do such research because the world wouldn’t be watching because making 2 million people disappear in Xinjiang was never a problem in the past. And, that’s what Hong Kongers rightly fear.

Beijing’s research narrative presumes that Hong Kongers only fear being “Xinjianged” because some phantom, invisible Western influence influenced them. They have no proof of this, but that’s Beijing’s presumption. If there’s a problem, it must be America’s fault. So, Beijing’s approach is to sneak around and spy from the shadows until this phantom “influence monster” from the evil West shows its face. That’s Beijing’s plan to solve the Hong Kong problem.

Now, there’s constitutional discussion about where and how Hong Kong’s “Basic Law” allows military intervention from China, namely if Hong Kong’s government asks. But, the whole discussion misses the whole point—that Hong Kong’s Basic Law is based on the Sino-British Joint Declaration of 1984 of non-interference from Beijing. Beijing already interfered by not allowing self-governance in Hong Kong as promised. Not letting Carry Lam resign is yet another violation of that promise and premise. So, technically, the law beneath the Basic Law has already been dissolved. And, Beijing only incriminates itself further by claiming that promises made in the past don’t need to be kept because they are in the past.

Pay attention because, while Taiwan is a linchpin that will bring America into war with China, Hong Kong is the linchpin that will bring the UK and Europe along with it.

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