China has been busy online. Western allies warn about increasing cyber attacks from China; it’s become the common thing to expect and discuss. Cyber attacks aren’t China’s only online hobby. Social media “influencers” are reportedly set to spread the good gospel of China’s greatness all through the Olympics. We’ll see how long their social media followings last.
While China engages in paid diplomacy and bolsters Western demand for cybersecurity, Taiwan has another new friend. Slovenia will open a diplomatic office in Taiwan. And, Taiwan will send an envoy to the inauguration of Honduras’s president, none other than Taiwan’s former favorite, pro-independence Mayor William Lai. That means more officials from Taiwan will attend the Honduras event than American officials will attend China’s Olympic Games.
But, that’s okay for China. After all, there are all those “influencers” getting paid to pay China compliments on their soon to fall social medial accounts.
The global case against China is marching forward in force. Typically the West doesn’t care about human rights violations—they care, but never enough to do anything until it involves themselves. Two million Uyghurs missing in Xinjiang doesn’t matter to the West. But, if Americans and Europeans are afraid of catching a pneumonia-cold that most people don’t know anyone who died from, but they have to stay home without toilet paper—well, now it’s time for a war. Who do the papers blame?—China.
Anti-Chinese sentiment is no joke. Taiwan is being painted as a key victim. The Chinese Communists are being labeled as the perpetrators of the global pandemic. Even in Israel, even among the anti-Trump American electorate, China is the biggest bad guy ever!
We can argue that China deserves it. We can argue that the West set up China by making China rich in the first place, then causing a fake pandemic. However we chalk it up, the West is coming for China. The saddest part of all comes from the Chinese.
A reporter working for a news company owned by a Chinese general makes a Chinese propaganda speech when “asking a question” to the president. Chinese college students at Western schools march, protest, and even bully, all inline with Chinese Communist propaganda. And, while the West amasses force against China, the Chinese Communists only dig their heels in and feed the forest fire of hate raging against themselves.
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.
Taiwan publicized reports that China was pushing for its dream of reunification through many venues and in many nations. The fact that China works so diligently through aggressive diplomacy further indicates that the “military option” being less than preferable with North Korea carries some continuity with China’s policy concerning Taiwan. That’s not to say it is beyond Beijing to decide to strike Taiwan, only that it would demonstrate that China had exhausted other methods it preferred in its determination.
Military deescalation is not out of character with China. Chinese troops were friendly with the defense minister from India in her recent visit to the disputed area. Late August, China halted building the road that India objected to in a way that saved face for China, but also appeased India for the time. This doesn’t indicate any change of heart nor indicate that China is not relentless, but the Asian culture of “preferring smoothness” in disputes seems to be holding true with non-volatile land on which China hopes to fly its flag.
Trump’s resolve and openness, however, are a contrast to China’s. In his “only one thing will work” comment this week, the US president is not afraid to use a military option to bring peace to a region if that region is arming up and dangerous. If the US wins in a conflict with North Korea, the US flag would not fly as the authority on that soil.
China is preparing for a routine leadership review. Much of the top brass under Xi Jinping will rotate out, but he himself is not set to retire anytime soon. While there may be some changes in temperature, there will be no change in the speed or direction China has been taking.
Xi Jingping told his military the same thing China has been telling its people for decades: The world needs us, our military, our might, and our expansion, otherwise there can be no peace. This proves a static ethic. From this perspective, China wants the US to remain calm and not take action in North Korea.
Meanwhile, South Korea’s president wants the US to wait while he negotiates with the North for safety in the US. South Korean people want much the same thing Filipinos want: non-dependence. South Korea’s president, South Korea’s people, and China all want the US to “get out”. Interestingly, they share this sentiment with North Korea.
The world is full of political ideologies that claim half of one thing and do half of another. The best chance at victory is to simply stay home and do good work there. In that, the South Korean people stand the greatest chance of victory. Yet, the United States stands the greatest chance of taking action for two reasons: the US is being threatened more than any other and the US is willing to take action more than any other. If the US takes out the North, they can leave and the South Koreans will get what they want. But, things rarely happen as they should.
Only two things are foreseeable: conflict and Korean unification. All the rest is conjecture.
Korea drew attention this week. It almost seems disappointed that it hasn’t drawn fire. The North has not built up its military just to make beautiful propaganda videos. Unlike the West, “building the bomb so you never need to use it” eludes the reasoning of the old far east.
But, something else seems to have slipped past China’s and Korea’s strategy—the Britons. During English-Scottish-Irish wars, the Scottish burned their own corn fields in response to being invaded. While the English culture has sought to dominate the world—even by language if necessary—Scottish defence methods have made the the Western British-American force unbeatable, at least from a cultural perspective.
While Congress, Senator McCain, Chairman of the Armed Services Committee, in particular, voices growing concern about America’s readiness for off-shore battle, China and North Korea don’t show any concern, or even awareness, about how the West thinks. When spreading propaganda about an enemy who has never lost a home game, it’s better not to show him an imaginary home game where he loses. He just won’t believe it.
The deeper question is does China really believe that if America had a weakness that the press would be allowed to know about it? McCain is the loud voice on the matter. Perhaps he understands something that China and Korea can’t.