We are headed toward a massive inquisition of police. It could be known as the “Hong Kong Trials”, where each police officer who served since June is combed over and evaluated for every step taken at every single protest, then tried under international law. It’s not immediately around the corner, but the current powers governing Hong Kong are doing everything they can to make that day inevitable.
Over the holidays, neither protestors nor police took a break, except for a brief moment on Christmas at midnight, when protestors were the adults in the room to pause for a moment in honor of something greater. Many had Christmas dinner away from their families, largely due to East Asian culture’s dogma toward older family members. Authoritarianism generally drives away people who are self-motivated and take initiative, family being a least exception. Older generations in Hong Kong don’t understand that. Neither does Beijing. This Christmas, many middle aged and elderly parents faced the question posed by empty seats at many a dinner table: Do you love your children more than your desire for compliance? To some extent, families will be reconciled in due course; parents who refuse will lose even more.
Taiwan had its own drama over the holidays. An accused Chinese mole, formerly in Taiwan’s military, is being hung out to dry for purportedly recruiting more moles. Former president Ma is accusing the Control Yuan of interfering by questioning the judge who let him off scot-free. That stands to reason since the Control Yuan was effectively shut down during his tenure, which, unbeknownst to most, gave even greater rise the Sunflower Movement of 2014. As if Taiwan hadn’t its fill of holiday joy, US Congress is now working on a bill that will formalize the US envoy to Taiwan as a full ambassador—requiring presidential appointment and Senate approval. That is about as close to recognizing Taiwan as a country without recognizing Taiwan as a country as a country can get. China won’t be happy, but the Taiwanese sure thought it was a very Merry Christmas!
Victory! Taiwan finally defeated the old enemy of the East that the Chinese Communists could not. The KMT-Nationalist party has rarely faced such a stunning defeat. The enemy of the revolution, murderer of Taiwanese and thieves of Asia’s greatest assets, the witch of the East met her end at the hands, not of soldiers and explosives, but of democracy.
Beijing would have worldwide respect in declaring victory and normalizing relations. But the land of Sun Tzu seems to have forgotten the basics of war: If one government controls an entire region, then an enemy only need take-out the central government for the entire land to fall. If Taiwan were a Chinese province, China would be less safe. As an ally that China itself could not take—an attack against China would be unwise for any adversary. But, again, Beijing seems more bent on delusions of pride than real safety. The best kept secret about respect is not that it must be earned and not bestowed, but that those who state their respect rarely mean it. Having respect of others and having others show respect are entirely different things. This is a lesson the KMT-Nationalists still haven’t seemed to learn.
China had it’s own streak this week. More than one teary-eyed apology cross the air-waves. The world continues to see China for what it is while Beijing counts more ill will an indication of progress. Perhaps Beijing is right.
Taiwan’s confidence in voting overwhelmingly for a political party that will not cow-tow to China’s hostile takeover agenda sends a message to China. While the messengers in Beijing may not deliver, the people of China read it loud and clear, perhaps for the first time: A single government can have a new political party and the people do not need to bend to the dictates of the old establishment.
China’s economic shaking may have had more of a placebo than newspapers let on. Devalued Chinese yuan does not contribute to lower oil prices as much as the decisions of the Arabs. Even if it has a factor, lower oil prices are healthier for economies as it keeps costs lower. Perhaps China’s slowdown is good for everyone except China, and of course, Africa.
The disappearance of Hong Kong bookseller, Lee Bo, has Hong Kongers in a tizzy, still not as severe as the Umbrella Movement that ended just over a year ago. Much like the Umbrella Movement, while protests will result in little change concerning Beijing’s Hong Kong SAR policy, the world is evermore aware that there is not change.
Taiwan is set for a historic election. The opposition DPP is likely to win the presidency and likely the legislature, which would be a first. Wanting to be “friends” with Beijing has so far been the goal of the DPP and the Taiwanese, but would be seen as an insult of Beijing which wants “reunification” instead. The consequences could echo Taiwan’s first presidential election in 1996 when China shot a missile across the island.
With the tensions in the area, particularly the flyovers and bomb testing in the Koreas and protests in Hong Kong, the foreseeable diplomatic response of the White House would be in spite of an American public that is evermore aware of China’s methods and nonetheless more determined to answer.
China steps up its game again. While companies won’t be required to give Beijing power to indiscriminately snoop the web, they are on notice to cooperate with coming procedures if they are asked. This time wasn’t the first, but it’s a little more clear, a little more friendly, and a little more toothy than the last.
Taiwan’s likely Presidential victor party, the DPP, has adopted a policy effectively outlawing the KMT-Nationalist party practice of owning for-profit businesses. The policy is wise by many measures, respect from the US and an even greater increase in voter support notwithstanding.
Since the US stepped up its own game, $1.8B to Taiwan, China is not happy.
Propaganda backfired this week. Beijing wants more Internet censorship, almost to create a “Chinanet” akin to another Great Schism not seen since the Orthodox Church split from the West. TPP failed. Students in Taiwan stormed government offices to keep out China-propaganda over “minor” changes to national curriculum. An Australia-India-Japan alliance plumed out of nowhere. Taiwan and Japan are kissing and making up. And some truth came through well-kept gates.
An 18-year-old got back from his year in North Korea. The North Koreans shower together like Americans and Romans. North Korean students are curious about mundane life in America. And, notably, North Koreans seem to agree with a Americans: Government is the problem, not the people.
Joshua Wang, Hong Kong, had an interview with the BBC and explained that the Umbrella Movement never really had a plan and never communicated a plan to the public. But they did succeed in raising public awareness. · · · →
The US flies over China’s man-made islets, China is is not happy. China wants Taiwan to fight to protect China’s sovereignty, which China may think includes their man-made islets. The UN does not recognize man-made islands as a rightful claim to sovereign waters, but that is exactly what China is doing. The US won’t have it.
Chinese professors are accused of stealing US technology, the Pentagon is involved. Asia in general, except China, is irritated with Chinese and American meddling in Taiwan’s presidential elections.
Taiwanese protesting China were beaten by tattooed men in black clothes. China’s economy may not be the best, but it’s banks may be, at least Forbes thinks so. Everyone seems to have an opinion on everyone else these days. For better or worse, no one seems to want to stay home.