18 thoughts on “Breaking My Heart Some More”

  1. China has been waging a propaganda war against Hong Kong for twenty years.   Mainland Chinese people think of Hong Kong as a prosperous city of selfish spoiled brats, and they think that the protests are ginned up by American agitators.

    Real information has been kept away from Chinese people by a complicit Google.

    6+

    Users who have liked this comment:

    • avatar
    • avatar
    • avatar
    • avatar
    • avatar
    • avatar
  2. MJBubba:
    Mainland Chinese people think of Hong Kong as a prosperous city of selfish spoiled brats, and they think that the protests are ginned up by American agitators.

    Of course they do because the citizens of Hong Kong are used to running their economy with a positively unrelenting work ethic. Spoiled? That’s a laugh!

    I say this with all due respect- doing business there is a testimony to who is the most persistent; I can remember spending two hours negotiating over a dollar.

    I loved and respected the challenge!

    2+

    Users who have liked this comment:

    • avatar
    • avatar
  3. I’d also like to comment on the exquisite 5 star hotels and restaurants in HK and the confusion my co-workers and I experienced about the fact that each guest was assigned an “assistant” to run errands and bring you cappuccino and fresh flowers every morning. Let’s just say we had never experienced this type of lux in any other country…

    HK was ahead of its time in so many ways. I refused for many years to get a haircut from anyone in the U.S.

    Ah… capitalism.

    3+

    Users who have liked this comment:

    • avatar
    • avatar
    • avatar
  4. I’m blown away by your descriptions of Hong Kong!  It sounds like, idk, a legendary deep space oasis the Star  Trek crew might visit on leave, fabulous luxury, exotic beings!

    And I also think what happened with HK illustrates the stupidity, in international relations,  of simply playing for time.   Yeah, 99 years sounded like a long time back in 1868, but,  if what the British Empire really wanted was to keep HK forever, it shoulda negotiated for that.  And look at the asinine Iran deal: we “bought”a minuscule  ten years of a non-nuclear Iran,  at an exorbitant cost.  What did we think was gonna happen when the ten years was up?

    4+

    Users who have liked this comment:

    • avatar
    • avatar
    • avatar
    • avatar
  5. This is a tragedy. I wish the US could help them in a substantive way but that’s simply not in the cards. The best we’ll be able to muster is encouraging words. Effectively, Hong Kong was lost in 1997. I blame the Brits. I mourned for Hong Kong then.

    The Chinese take the long view. They’re willing to wait to get satisfaction but satisfaction they will get. Taiwan might just be able to hold out but not Hong Kong.

    4+

    Users who have liked this comment:

    • avatar
    • avatar
    • avatar
    • avatar
  6. drlorentz:
    Taiwan might just be able to hold out but not Hong Kong.

    Unfortunately, you may be right. HK has no military to defend herself and the Donald has to consider the implications of irritating China especially now!

    This whole scenario is eerily reminiscent of the downfall of Warsaw, once one of the most intellectually and artistically vibrant centers of Europe. Last time I was in Poland, Warsaw was barely more than a clump of Soviet public housing. I spent less than 24 hours there before moving on to Krakow.

    1+

    Users who have liked this comment:

    • avatar
  7. EThompson:

    drlorentz:
    Taiwan might just be able to hold out but not Hong Kong.

    Unfortunately, you may be right. HK has no military to defend herself and the Donald has to consider the implications of irritating China especially now!

    This whole scenario is eerily reminiscent of the downfall of Warsaw, once one of the most intellectually and artistically vibrant centers of Europe. Last time I was in Poland, Warsaw was barely more than a clump of Soviet public housing. I spent less than 24 hours there before moving on to Krakow.

    Oooh I’m so disappointed to hear that about Warsaw!going there In October.  But we will be spending more time in Krakow.

    is there anything more awful than those Soviet era blocks?  The outskirts of St Petersburg are like that too.  But the most heartbreaking place:  Bucharest.  It really did look like a mini-version of Paris!  Now, it looks like a mini- version of Moscow (and I don’t mean like Red Square.)

    “Many ingenious lovely things are gone/That seemed sheer miracle to the multitude..”

    2+

    Users who have liked this comment:

    • avatar
    • avatar
  8. Hypatia:
    Oooh I’m so disappointed to hear that about Warsaw!going there In October.  But we will be spending more time in Krakow.

    And do not miss out on Gdansk and the Solidarity Wall. That was the reason I traveled to Poland in the first place- bucket list #1.

    If you decide to go up there, let me know. I stayed in the Grand Hotel in Sopot set on a private beach along the Gulf of Gdansk. The dining room was absolutely fascinating; I’d never seen such a group of flashy, loud, and positively intimidating Russian oligarchs.

    But I like these types of adventures…

    2+

    Users who have liked this comment:

    • avatar
    • avatar
  9. drlorentz:
    This is a tragedy. I wish the US could help them in a substantive way but that’s simply not in the cards. The best we’ll be able to muster is encouraging words. Effectively, Hong Kong was lost in 1997. I blame the Brits. I mourned for Hong Kong then.

    The Chinese take the long view. They’re willing to wait to get satisfaction but satisfaction they will get. Taiwan might just be able to hold out but not Hong Kong.

    The Chinese may take the long view, but they are opportunists also.   In 1997 they promised “One China, Two Systems” would last for at least fifty years.   But now it is clear that they want to bring the Two Systems part to a premature end.   They are figuring that President Trump will not be able to play hardball very deep into the Christmas season.

    I hope President Trump is determined to hold fast against China.   Everything he said about fair trade/unfair trade is true.   The Chinese have been stealing and lying ever since G.H.W. Bush first relaxed and opened trade.   I do not fault G.H.W. Bush, but I do fault W.J. Clinton, B.H. Obama, and especially G.W. Bush for failing to make corrections to the unfair trade we experienced with China.

    Since this problem has been building up for 25 years, it is going to be somewhat painful to resolve.   One big factor is that American agri-bidness seems willing to undertake some short term pain for the sake of long term gain.   But I doubt if American retailers will be similarly disposed.

    Buckle up.  It’s going to be a bumpy ride.

    2+

    Users who have liked this comment:

    • avatar
    • avatar
  10. MJBubba:
    Buckle up.  It’s going to be a bumpy ride.

    You said it. Without panicking, I’m slowly converting some assets to cash until I see the market stabilize.

    MJBubba:
    I do not fault G.H.W. Bush, but I do fault W.J. Clinton, B.H. Obama, and especially G.W. Bush for failing to make corrections to the unfair trade we experienced with China.

    Agree totally.

    2+

    Users who have liked this comment:

    • avatar
    • avatar
  11. MJBubba:
    In 1997 they promised “One China, Two Systems” would last for at least fifty years.   But now it is clear that they want to bring the Two Systems part to a premature end.

    They lied. And fifty years wouldn’t be long enough anyway. The “Two Systems” would need to outlive the Communist regime in Peking (HK dialect), which it clearly will not. The end is not premature from Peking’s point of view. They’ll bring it to an end as soon as possible but have the patience to wait until after the storm blows over. For China, another ten or twenty years is but the blink of an eye.

    2+

    Users who have liked this comment:

    • avatar
    • avatar
  12. Facebook and Twitter actually doing something useful.

    Twitter said this week it had suspended nearly 1,000 accounts it believes are tied to Chinese state actors and that it would no longer accept advertising from state-funded media. Facebook announced shortly after that it was removing seven pages, five Facebook accounts and three groups after Twitter tipped the platform off to the use of “a number of deceptive tactics, including the use of fake accounts.”

    According to data released by Twitter, almost all of the suspended accounts were disguised as personal or corporate accounts of marketing firms, international relations experts or bitcoin enthusiasts. Others posed as Hong Kong media outlets and wrote in traditional Chinese characters, the script used in Hong Kong and Taiwan.

    Some suspended accounts even appeared to masquerade as the work of Chinese dissidents. One such account, @valentinovchar4, posted “born in 1970, experienced June Fourth, now living in China,” a reference to the bloody crackdown against protesters in China’s Tiananmen Square on June 4, 1989. Another suspended user, @qujianming1, registered in the Bronx and wrote this bio: “a vagabond punished for free speech. I believe that one day the light will come.”

    Documents show that Chinese government agencies have been paying to acquire more social media followers. A tender posted Aug. 16 by Chinese state-run outlet China News offers RMB1,250,000 ($177,000) to acquire more Twitter followers. Another government tender posted Monday RMB750,000 ($108,300) to acquire more Facebook and Twitter followers to support the China ASEAN exposition being held in September.

    https://www.npr.org/2019/08/20/752668835/how-china-uses-twitter-and-facebook-to-share-disinformation-about-hong-kong

    0

  13. EThompson:

    drlorentz:
    Taiwan might just be able to hold out but not Hong Kong.

    Unfortunately, you may be right. HK has no military to defend herself and the Donald has to consider the implications of irritating China especially now!

    OTOH, China has to consider the implications of irritating the US now as well.  I hope that buys some safety for the demonstrators.  Going leaderless is certainly the smart lesson they learned from ’14.

    2+

    Users who have liked this comment:

    • avatar
    • avatar
  14. Damocles:

    EThompson:

    drlorentz:
    Taiwan might just be able to hold out but not Hong Kong.

    Unfortunately, you may be right. HK has no military to defend herself and the Donald has to consider the implications of irritating China especially now!

    OTOH, China has to consider the implications of irritating the US now as well.  I hope that buys some safety for the demonstrators.  Going leaderless is certainly the smart lesson they learned from ’14.

    Sincerely hope you’re right!

    3+

    Users who have liked this comment:

    • avatar
    • avatar
    • avatar
  15. Here is an anecdote about how Hong Kongers and mainland Chinese view one another from John Derbyshire’s Radio Derb podcast of 2019-08-16.

    Hong Kong v. China: an anecdote.     Because I’ve lived in Hong Kong, and written about the place with some feeling, I’ve been getting a lot of requests to comment on the protests and demonstrations there this past few weeks.

    I’m holding back because, in the first place, my knowledge of Hong Kong is decades out of date and I haven’t kept up with the situation there; and in the second place, I’ll be spending most of September in mainland China among Chinese relatives and old friends, so I’ll be able to take the temperature of the situation much better than I can at a distance.

    In lieu of any real commentary until then, I’ll just post a little sample, an anecdote that’s stuck in my mind from a brief visit we made to Hong Kong three years ago.

    My point here is to illustrate a relevant fact: the fact that, speaking in all generality, Hong Kongers don’t like mainlanders, and this dislike is fully reciprocated — mainlanders, in the broad generality, don’t much like Hong Kongers, either.

    OK, here’s my anecdote. On that visit three years ago we met up with an old friend from Northeast China — Manchuria, my wife’s home region. I’ll call this friend Wu Ming, which is nothing like his actual name. Wu Ming is not just a real mainlander, he’s a real Northeasterner — blunt, opinionated, combative, and plain-spoken.

    So we’re in Hong Kong meeting with this Manchurian pal Wu Ming, going somewhere — I forget where — that requires us hailing a cab. So we hail a cab. Cab pulls over, the Mrs and I get in the back, Wu Ming gets in the front.

    The cabbie addresses Wu Ming in Cantonese: Heui bin-douh a? — “Where are you going?” This would be totally different in Mandarin: something like, ni yao dao na-li qu? or just a brusque na-er qu? or dao na-er? Here’s the Cantonese once again: Heui bin-douh a? Sometimes Cantonese and Mandarin just don’t sound anything like.

    Our friend Wu Ming just squinted back at the cabbie uncomprehendingly. “What?” he said in English, for our benefit. “What, what?”

    Sitting in the back seat there, I laughed and put it into Mandarin for him.

    The joke here is that Wu Ming had been living in Hong Kong for four years at that point. He’d been living there four years, and hadn’t bothered to pick up the most elementary bit of Cantonese, a phrase that he must have heard hundreds of times.

    Or just as likely he actually had understood the cabbie’s question, but wanted to flaunt his superiority, as a mainlander, to this uncouth local dialect, by affecting not to have understood it.

    The obverse — the other side of this little coin — is all the complaining and eye-rolling you get from native Hong Kongers about how mainlanders are rude and pushy, talk too loud, spit too much, and let their kids crap in the street.

    That’s my anecdote. I leave it there for the record, with a caution not to make too much of it in a wider international context.

    When there is no existential threat from outside the ethny, and even the memory of past such threats has faded, what Freud called the narcissism of minor differences kicks in, and people direct their antipathies towards their own co-ethnics. But in the case of the Chinese, these regional antipathies are in tension with a deep underlying racial solidarity.

    I recall conversations with Hong Kong friends in the years before the British handed the place back to China. A very common topic of conversation was, naturally, speculation about how things would go after the handover.

    At some point one of the Hong Kongers — usually one of the younger ones — would say: “Oh, we’ll work things out. We’re all Chinese, aren’t we?” And everybody would nod agreement, or at worst just shrug in resignation.

    That’s my Hong Kong contribution. I’ll have more to say when I get back from China at the end of September.

    (If you want to read some further insights into the Hong Kong-China situation, I refer you to the excellent blog called The Scholar’s Stage, to a longish August 14th posting there under the headline “Chinese Are Partisan Too.” The author, whose name I don’t know, got my attention right away by opening with a quote from an excellent book titled The Enigma of Reason, which I myself had things to say about when it came out two years ago.)

    2+

    Users who have liked this comment:

    • avatar
    • avatar

Leave a Reply