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 Post subject: We're doomed
 Post Posted: Wed May 27, 2020 6:30 am 
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I feel like I should start a new thread, because Hong Kong's really going over the event horizon of authoritarian rule this time. You may have already heard something about it on the news, but Beijing has finally gotten sick of Hong Kong government's inability to do their dirty work and is planning to ninja some national security legislation through the back door, bypassing our legislature entirely.

Plus for the cherry on top of the poop cake, this week they're going to outlaw making fun of the national anthem.

I feel sick to my stomach. 200-300 people have been arrested today, the vast majority of them peaceful protesters. Or I should say attempted protesters. The cops run in and bust up gatherings before they're even able to form, so people are getting arrested merely for standing on the sidewalk and shouting slogans. They're going after teenage girls in particular. The easiest to bully, I imagine. This adds on to the 7,000-odd people who have already been arrested in the past year.

Soon Mainland security agents will be able to operate in Hong Kong. There will be a parallel court set up to deal with political crime. They're gonna need a much bigger prison.

And to apologize in advance for jumping down your throats, the next concerned foreigner who tells me to stay safe is going to get slapped upside the head. I've heard it so many times it just pisses me off now. It's not about me, and this isn't a bloody earthquake or a wildfire. If you really give a crap and you live in a country with civil and political rights, get off your duff and DO SOMETHING. I can't tell you what, because that would be seditious.

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 Post subject: Re: We're doomed
 Post Posted: Wed May 27, 2020 9:04 pm 
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Looks like the Trump administration is going full Kurd on HK. I guess dropping a line to senators and congresscritters is next.

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 Post subject: Re: We're doomed
 Post Posted: Thu May 28, 2020 12:02 am 
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I assume that by "full Kurd", you mean "abandoning Hong Kong in the dust"? And that you are referring to the sanctions that may be implemented when the US cancels Hong Kong's special trade status? You could stand to be a bit less cryptic sometimes.

There are those here in Hong Kong whose desire to see Beijing punished by the international community is so strong that they'll accept the damage it brings upon their own heads. If foreign investors abandon Hong Kong, not only will this hurt our economy, but it will give Beijing a freer hand to repress us. But they say, "If we burn, you burn with us".

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 Post subject: Re: We're doomed
 Post Posted: Thu May 28, 2020 2:50 am 
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Though I know virtually nothing about the leaders involved, there might be a chance (or is it only a hope?) that the threat of revoking that special status may persuade Beijing to back off a smidge. After all, they do reap a fair amount of economic benefit from that special status. Crushing Hong Kong will probably give Beijing a certain visceral satisfaction; but then all they'll have after that is one more city, full of rebellious troublemakers. On the other hand, not crushing it will allow them to continue to reap the economic rewards (along with, of course, continuing to push that line as far as they can without actually losing that special status; which presumably means that they'll at least pretend to deny the worst stuff).

I guess the question is whether Beijing would rather have the (temporary) satisfaction of crushing Hong Kong, or the (potentially permanent) economic benefits of not crushing it.

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 Post subject: Re: We're doomed
 Post Posted: Thu May 28, 2020 6:51 am 
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Xi Jinping is the most paranoid Chinese leader in 50 years. He thinks that draconian laws will permanently end the rebellion in Hong Kong by jailing or frightening everyone into submission. He appears to be willing to take the economic hit to achieve this goal.

He does not appear to have considered that cracking down will make the rebellion worse, which will necessitate even more draconian measures, which cause even more economic damage. This is a guy who sent a million Uighurs to concentration camps. He seems like the sort to think he's succeeded even if all there's left is a smoking crater.

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 Post subject: Re: We're doomed
 Post Posted: Thu May 28, 2020 7:39 am 
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Ah.

Yyyyyyyyyyyyeah, that sort of irrational paranoia is, as a general rule, a very bad sign. Especially in a man who can't be voted out of office. If he's paranoid enough that he'll consider anything an acceptable cost, then it's also super hard to stop him; he'll just take the consequences and keep on going. If he's not quite that paranoid, then he'll stop once the potential consequences are both certain enough and severe enough; but it's hard to tell how severe they would need to be before that happens.

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 Post subject: Re: We're doomed
 Post Posted: Thu May 28, 2020 5:48 pm 
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So he is generally referred to as 'President' Xi. But he is the Chairman of the party now, is he not? Which term is most correct to use?

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 Post subject: Re: We're doomed
 Post Posted: Thu May 28, 2020 9:19 pm 
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Looks like he's going to get his economic problems, then. If Europe decides to go along on top of the Covid mess then China's financial house may well crumble; their banks are already rather weak because of all those politically expedient but essentially worthless loans they've got on the books.

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 Post subject: Re: We're doomed
 Post Posted: Fri May 29, 2020 1:10 am 
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Dodger77 wrote:
So he is generally referred to as 'President' Xi. But he is the Chairman of the party now, is he not? Which term is most correct to use?

Technically it's General Secretary of the Communist Party (they don't use the term "chairman" anymore), but he is ALSO the President of China.

It's a bit confusing. China's a one-party state, so both the party and the state exist. The Party and the government bureaucracies are in theory, separate organizations that exist in parallel. Xi Jinping is therefore the head of both. Here's a long-arse explanation if you're that interested.

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 Post subject: Re: We're doomed
 Post Posted: Fri May 29, 2020 1:33 am 
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Weremensh wrote:
Looks like he's going to get his economic problems, then. If Europe decides to go along on top of the Covid mess then China's financial house may well crumble; their banks are already rather weak because of all those politically expedient but essentially worthless loans they've got on the books.

People have been saying that China's banking system is going to collapse aaaaaany minute now for more than a decade. Somehow they keep those plates spinning. When they can bail out corporations and write off debt without anyone arguing, endorse all sorts of financial shenanigans, and straight up order investors to stop selling when the stock market goes pear shaped, they can defy financial gravity for a long time. Maybe it finally won't be enough, but that's what they said the last 423 times.

I'm also fairly sure that they've concealed the extent of several previous recessions by massaging the figures. That does not make people any less broke and unemployed, but maybe they are less likely to vocally object if they do not know how many other people are also broke and unemployed.

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 Post subject: Re: We're doomed
 Post Posted: Sun May 31, 2020 6:15 pm 
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Kea wrote:
Dodger77 wrote:
So he is generally referred to as 'President' Xi. But he is the Chairman of the party now, is he not? Which term is most correct to use?

Technically it's General Secretary of the Communist Party (they don't use the term "chairman" anymore), but he is ALSO the President of China.

It's a bit confusing. China's a one-party state, so both the party and the state exist. The Party and the government bureaucracies are in theory, separate organizations that exist in parallel. Xi Jinping is therefore the head of both. Here's a long-arse explanation if you're that interested.

Thank you by the way. I apologize if I asked the same question multiple times. My long term memory is pretty good, but my short term memory is not and it sometimes plays tricks on me.

edited to add:
Kea wrote:
You could stand to be a bit less cryptic sometimes.


Heh. She's not wrong, Weremensh. XD

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 Post subject: Re: We're doomed
 Post Posted: Mon Jun 01, 2020 5:27 am 
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Trump, of course, has squandered it. He announced that the US would revoke Hong Kong's special trade status, no details included, so nobody knows what that means in concrete terms. It could be anything. It could be nothing. And at the same press conference he announced he was quitting the WHO. So that stole all the attention. Now, no US allies have any reason to believe that the US is serious about Hong Kong, it's just another pawn in Trump's Big Covid/Trade China Beef.

EU's doing nothing - they're going to stop at giving Beijing a stern talking to.

Australia's doing nothing, besides issuing a strongly-worded statement. They're already embroiled in a trade war with Beijing over their virus investigation (which was actually supposed to debunk conspiracy theories, but Beijing's still stroppy).

Canada's doing nothing, except aforementioned strongly-worded statement.

The UK is potentially going to extent visa privileges to 2.9 million HK citizens (and their dependents) who hold British National Overseas passports from before 1997. But they're only talking about giving them a year to stay in the UK - then they have to find jobs and go through normal immigration procedures. So uh, who wants to uproot your whole life on the off-chance that you might be able to stay after a year?

Taiwan is contemplating some form of quasi-asylum for some unspecified number of Hong Kong refugees, but no details yet. It might end up being very limited. They're very cagey over letting large numbers of immigrants - they're worried about everything from us driving up their property prices to spies using us as a front to get in.

Japan is "concerned".

South Korea is keeping their dang mouths shut.

So thanks, arseholes. Thanks a lot.

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 Post subject: Re: We're doomed
 Post Posted: Mon Jun 01, 2020 12:22 pm 
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I guess I can see where the international community's coming from on this. If Hong Kong is firmly taken under Chinese rule, then the odds are that life there will begin to resemble life in Mainland China; if anyone does (say) completely open visa requirements to people from Hong Kong in order to take in refugees, then they should in all fairness make the same offer to the people already in mainland China. And, given its' population, anyone who does that will either make a near-negligible difference, or collapse under the weight of the incoming refugees.

But it looks like some policy-makers are still treating this extremely seriously; the UK is at least allowing some people a way out. Not all of them, that's true, but if things are really bad enough then an offer to stay in another country for a year and then prove that it's to that country's benefit to keep you there longer can easily be a whole lot better than nothing.

It's not a perfect solution. But there's always a limit to what will be done from outside.

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 Post subject: Re: We're doomed
 Post Posted: Mon Jun 01, 2020 10:57 pm 
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There are several steps in between "tsk taking" and "accepting refugees", none of which were taken.

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 Post subject: Re: We're doomed
 Post Posted: Tue Jun 02, 2020 12:02 pm 
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Yeah.

But why were those steps not taken in response to mainland China already?

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