Posted by: Dr Churchill | May 24, 2020

HK is rubbished…

The predetermined date that Hong Kong’s liberty and democracy died, was supposed to be the year 2047…

Yet that was just the illusory deadline that has come to symbolize the end of the territory’s way of life — but that too came early this year because the unofficial official end of Hong Kong has arrived.

Already.

The “end is nigh” now that China has moved to take away all of the city’s autonomy and semi-independence that was much ballyhooed fake PR and propaganda policy aptly two faced shady “One Country-Two Systems” illogical doctrine devised by the willy fox that bamboozled the Nixon-Kissinger duet — the wise and venerable, yet utterly ruthless Deng Xiaoping.

Because today in what is seen as one of the many aggressive actions by Beijing across the region, Hong Kong is shot squarely in the heart of their aspirations that have kept them hoping over the last many years of integration into China proper since their separation form Great Britain.
July 1st of 2047, was the official date when Hong Kong’s special status expires, according to the agreement negotiated with Great britain back in 1984, and yet Christmas for Beijing has come early this year and Hong Kong is the gift wrapped in bondage under the tree…

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Over the course of April and throughout May of this year 2020, and while most of the world’s attention was trained on the Wuhan coronavirus’s spiraling death toll due to the resultant epidemic illness termed Covid-19 — hardly a day passed in Hong Kong without news of arrested activists, scuffles among lawmakers, or bombastic proclamations from mainland officials about sending troops over the bridge to quell the rioters. And in a few weeks, all the long-standing norms of the 1984 agreement and the subsequent Civil liberties, were all rubbished at dizzying speed, because during that time, Beijing was also undertaking aggressive actions across all of Asia and the South China Sea and wanted to divert attention further away from those territorial annexations.

As an example, this past week, a Chinese naval ship rammed and sunk a Vietnamese fishing vessel in the contested waters of the South China Sea.

Still kore ominously, just off the coast of Malaysia, and well within the Malay country’s exclusive economic zone — a Chinese research vessel, accompanied by Chinese coast-guard and Chinese fishing ships that were all part of China’s maritime militia — began what they term as seismic, underground and sediment topographical survey work within spitting distance of a Malaysian oil rig platform.

Naturally, the standoff that followed drew warships from the United States and Australia, as well as from mainland China.

Next shameful actions came when the commissars of Beijing, declared that China had created two new administrative units on islands in the South China Sea that are part of Vietnam.

Today, Chinese officials are constantly pressing and reacting with predictable rage towards Taiwan’s successful handling of the Covid-19 pandemic that has won her many followers and many more “likes” as she begun a push for more international recognition and gaining her independence more fully as a Sovereign power in opposition to Mainland China’s authoritarian rule.

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These madcap Chinese political and military battle moves were capped this week when China’s National People’s Congress announced that it would force wide ranging national security laws on Hong Kong in response to last year’s prodemocracy protests.

Yet, in doing so — Beijing for the first time — simply circumvented the city’s autonomous legislative process and began dismantling the “one country, two systems” framework under which Hong Kong has been governed since 1984.

This new Chinese offense against boot just Hong Kong, but against the whole World and its people, is setting up the stage for what is a fundamental shift in the territory’s freedoms, its laws, and how it is recognized internationally, but also it predetermines the fact that there will be conflict with China in the near future…

The announcement of this latest offense, came late Thursday evening and it stunned all the Hong Kong people, but none more so than its Pro-democracy advocates, HK lawmakers, all the resident diplomats of foreign powers, and many of the city’s 7.4 million residents, who awoke Friday morning and started questioning themselves and all others about Hong Kong’s real future.

Naturally, the HK stock market plunged, usage of VPNs and questions about Exit visas, all skyrocketed, and since the residents realized that the game was up — Hong Kongers started to pick up the pieces amid wonderment of whether 2047, the year in which China was set to take back full control of the city, had arrived more than two decades early.

Tanya Chan, the convener of the prodemocracy camp in the city’s legislature simply said: “Last night was a complete setback. I’m heartbroken.”

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And this speaks volumes of the opportunistic nature of the Forbidden City’s machinations that although much of the world has come to a standstill as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic unleashed by China’s fascist regime from the Wuhan bioweapons research laboratory at the Wuhan Virus Epidemiology facility — China’s global ambitions and grudge settling clearly have not stopped and if anything they have intensified and magnified.

Indeed, Beijing has offered provocations galore, garnished with a dash of propaganda and medical diplomacy, all pushing forward its narrative and the agenda of dominance, despite the unfolding public-health crisis that China has brought to bear at the expense of the whole world with the engineered virus they have unleashed upon an unsuspecting world that has caused a global shutdown.

And this is business as usual, for Beijing acting like a giant bully both in the South China Sea towards Taiwan and against all other neighbor nations, as well on the international propaganda front blaming the United States for all of the pandemic fallout, and the global uncoordinated response, as well as the obvious failure of WHO (World health Organization) that is now seen as an instrument of Beijing, once removed. So for the Forbidden City, it’s all the same, with Beijing going about its aggressive empire building as if it is time for business as usual, during a pandemic that they have caused, and this is a far more sinister approach to geopolitics than even Hitler’s burning down the Reichstag and blaming his opposition for it, and thus gaining the excuse to unleash complete Terror and shut down the German parliament for good, making himself a lifetime Dictator in 1933…

And just to place China’s unelected leader Mr Xi Jinping in context — he declared himself to be a Lifetime Dictator back in 2018 — so the parallels are stunning, and since “History Repeats Itself” we are in for a bloodbath.

Today, Beijing’s conduct has caused some alarm as it moves in Hong Kong to impose its will by decree, force and hateful prosecutions of all opponents to its dictatorial regime. And alhough China has failed to pass a law through its allies in Hong Kong that would allow extraditions to the mainland, it will, through the newly announced national-security legislation, effectively bring its law directly to Hong Kong targeting “secessionist or subversive activity” and “foreign and external interference,” while paving the way for mainland security forces to operate in the city, which, although part of China, has maintained its own laws, courts, and HK civilized police. The current Chinese mainland legislation gives the Forbidden City of Beijing’s commissars, a new tool with which to crack down on protesters and dissidents, and push forward Chinese authored and doctored pseudo-education that simply trumpets the successes of the Communist Party of China and of the Red people’s Army…

Go Figure…

Predictably during the paralyzing Covid-19 pandemic, the American response has been subdued and quite predictable by Beijing’s standard OP, and although Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called it a “death knell” for Hong Kong’s autonomy, and US lawmakers unveiled legislation aimed at Beijing’s reach into the city, and although the State Department is preparing a report on the issue — all of these inactions are seen as anemic attempts and a side show, in order to show to the rest of the World, that we are actually doing something while we have fully accepted the Fait Accompli scenario that the Forbidden City has thrown at us.

Similarly, when the US Congress pushed for a bill that sought to defend Hong Kong protesters and sanction those who chip away at their freedoms, the vague and scattershot effort, coupled with President Donald Trump’s uncoordinated leadership, have left HK as well as all other countries in Asia questioning Washington waning influence in this most important part of the world, and seeing America as ineffective in defending their territorialism stemming from the ASEAN nations nationhood.

And today, we see great maneuvering success on behalf of the Forbidden City, because despite China’s abundant application of their unique mixture of soft and hard power along with mask diplomacy — Beijing has sought to dull criticism of its initial response to the coronavirus outbreak with some cheap medical aid, while still pursuing and pushing forth in all of its territorial, legal, and political claims as Beijing’s growing military and diplomatic might warrants.

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This scares most all countries in the region that have not taken kindly to the Forbidden City’s massively aggressive maneuvers, like the sinking of the Vietnamese ship, for example, that prompted officials in Hanoi to lodge an official protest with China, although there is a growing belief among Vietnamese leaders that these types of responses are now insufficient.

And while Beijing, is getting into the mode of making the most of this opportune time when nobody is looking while hunkering down under the Coronavirus threat — China’s grabbing of the crisis and turning it into an opportunity for aggressive and expansive Empire building actions, have again given rise to the possibility of a lawsuit by Vietnam in an attempt to hold China to account.

Still, successful legal challenges to China’s maritime aggression are not unheard of, such as the one back in 2013, when the Philippines lodged a complaint challenging Beijing’s expansive claims of sovereignty over the South China Sea. Three years later, Manila was handed a victory when the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague ruled in the country’s favor. By then, however, Rodrigo Duterte, who has been friendly toward China, had been elected president and he did not pursue the matter further..

And now, beyond China’s actions, its messaging has also had a largely negative impact on public perceptions, oscillating between ill-advised friendly overtures and pugnacious statements. Much of the latter has come through Beijing’s “wolf warrior” diplomacy, which has seen dozens of Chinese diplomats and spokespeople take to social media, predominantly Weibo, TenCent, Twitter, Facebook, and even LinkedIn, in order to boast, attack, target detractors and sow misinformation — all the while parroting the Communist apparatchiks party line to a “t” while in most diplomatic palaces, Chinese embassy officials are characteristically undiplomatic since they are not making any attempts to calm things down or be conciliatory and that is to their detriment since it is seen as a bully tactic, an imperialist directive instinct and Hitlerian in nature.

Any other attempts by the Forbidden City to play nice with their favorite friendly nations, have been equally unsuccessful and more publicly embarrassing, such as when back in April of this year and while much of the Philippines was under lockdown — the Chinese embassy in Manila released a song and accompanying music video that were meant to promote being “friendly neighbors across the sea.”

The maudlin ballad “Iisang Dagat” (“One Sea”) was written by the Chinese ambassador, yet its timing was curious, coming just days after the Philippines had lodged a diplomatic protest over two incidents involving Chinese maritime aggression. The song was roundly panned and, perhaps aided by weeks of shut-in boredom, the perfect target for relentless online mocking and memefying by internet savvy Filipinos and Pinoy citizens, resident and netizens alike. An opinion piece in the Philippine Daily Inquirer declared that it had displaced Frank Sinatra’s “My Way,” a song linked to a string of drunken bar fights, many of them deadly, to become “the ditty most likely to provoke a brawl anywhere it is sung.”

Apparently as long as Beijing maintains its claim to Philippine maritime territory, China can never expect the Filipino people to trust her, since she will always be viewed as stealing, through deceit, intimidation, and force, what lawfully belongs to the Filipino people.

Still back in the United States of America, the origin and the handling of the Chinese Covid-19 pandemic has helped accelerate growing bipartisanship in Washington around a more hawkish approach to China. And successive administrations have stated, though hardly fully articulated or implemented, goals of shifting focus, particularly in defense, to counter China and Beijing’s unabated aggression, diplomatic stumbles, and poor early response to the emergence of the coronavirus since these Sino-failures would provide an opportune moment for the US to reassert itself, but American actions have in the region, have not even begun since most of our fleet is incapacitated due to Covid-19.

Still, when the US sent ships to Malaysia to counter the presence of the Chinese survey vessel, Kuala Lumpur reacted with some hesitation, because some Malay leaders believed that the arrival of US vessels inflamed the situation, leading to further escalation by Beijing. Malay thinking goes that the US doesn’t think about the potential calamity they might cause other people with all their good intentions, and Malaysia is not the only place the American military is less than welcome, since this year, President of Filipinos Mr Duterte announced the termination of the US – Philippines Visiting Forces Agreement, a two-decade-old troop-rotation pact that aspired to closer military cooperation…

Unfortunately it is also an issue of timing, because the time difference between the US and most of Asia means that President Trump’s often unfiltered and seemingly unhinged outbursts, bookend the days’ news cycle in the East Asian time zones… President Trump’s press conferences run into the Asian morning, and as evening rolls around, he begins firing off his trademark bellicose, difficult to decode or even decipher tweets, and the usually reserved Asian people are pretty appalled at the lack of coherence in response from the United States, and that is drowning out a lot of other facts…

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, during a recent call with Southeast Asian leaders said that Beijing had “moved to take advantage of the distraction” created by the pandemic. He also mentioned the findings of a recent report by the Washington-based Stimson Center that Chinese dams on the Mekong River, which flows through numerous Southeast Asian countries, cause severe drought conditions downriver. But Pompeo’s attempts to force Southeast Asian leaders to make a choice between the US and China fell on deaf ears, because by framing the situation as a competition in which countries had to pick sides, the call “played really badly in Southeast Asia.

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Naturally Trump and Pompeo’s form of diplomacy as a bull in a China shop, is an unwelcome distraction breaking the facade of decorum at least as far as the seemingly serene and harmonious leaders of Asia want to present…

In Hong Kong, the new incoming Chinese legislation has made clear that this Confucian logic is certainly not the case, and that Beijing cares little about decorum or even harmony, peace and serenity when attempting to win over Hong Kong’s herts and minds, because even after 23 years, they still can’t win over the Hong Kong people with kindness and Confucian logic and they have now decided to resort to violence, just like they did in Tiananmen Square back in 1989 when they massacred everybody that stood in their way.

Yet today just desserts is what is expected as the “time machine” has come to see this HK suppression act as “Fait Accompli” for both Hong Kong and for the rest of the world sensing the weakness and impotence of Britains authorship of an agreement that they cannot enforce, although they are the signatory and guarantor of it since 1984.

So, if Hong Kong is like this already almost three decades before 2047, what will it be like after 2047 arrives?

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It is a question and a date that has hung over this city and its demonstrations these past several months, because when Britain handed Hong Kong back to China in 1997, the two countries agreed on a 50 year transition period in which its liberties would be maintained. But as those freedoms have come under increasing threat from Beijing, including in the form of an extradition law that has triggered the worst political crisis in Hong Kong since the handover, 2047 has become more than just a distant deadline. It has come to symbolize the end of Hong Kong’s way of life and fundamental identity, the specter of its subsumption into mainland China.

Reflected in art, film, political discourse, and the way people see their lives, the idea of 2047, the prospect of a nightmarish final curtain, is an important factor in the persistence and intensity of the city’s current unrest, now in its sixth month. Hong Kong has long prided itself on being home to a well-trained police force, an independent judiciary, and a relatively free society, but responses to the current protests have upended that sense of security. A lack of accountability over police aggression, attacks on protesters and bystanders by police and triad gangs, as well as mass arrests, have fed into the notion that freedoms are being eroded at an alarming rate, that 2047, and life controlled by the Chinese Communist Party, are already happening. The death of a student who fell near a police clearance operation has sparked an escalation in violence in recent days: On Monday, a protester was shot in the stomach by an officer who fired a live round, and a man was set on fire after arguing with demonstrators.

In Hong Kong today, there is an ominous sense of a last stand like Alamo to what the Asian city feels like…

Five years ago, when demonstrators occupied roads in the heart of Hong Kong to demand democratic reforms, the urgency of the moment was already coming into greater focus. After the movement failed to win any concessions, new political parties emerged, calling for more radical measures such as self-determination or even Hong Kong’s full independence from China, and faith in the city’s political system fell precipitously.

Once those 2014 protests, the Umbrella Movement, awakened people to the political complexities at play, anxieties born about the year of the handover’s deadline had determined the way young Hong Kongers saw their own future, because they literally don’t know whether their home is going to exist after 2047.

When members of the public were invited to put questions to Hong Kong’s chief executive, Carrie Lam, at an event in September, a young man pointed out that she would be 90 years old in 2047, but he would be only 55. The expiration date might not matter to her at that age, he said, but it would still matter to him. “After 2047, do we have a future?” he asked.

Director Au himself has spent a great deal of time and energy considering what the future might look like for the city’s residents. “Dialect” a short film that Hong Kong filmmaker Au directed, was one of five works by different directors featured in Ten Years, a 2015 movie that depicted Hong Kongers’ worst fears as the clock ticks toward the end of the guarantee on the territory’s semiautonomous status. In the movie “Dialect” a taxi driver struggles to make a living because of new rules stipulating that he must speak simplified Mandarin, the official language of mainland China, rather than Hong Kong’s dominant language, which is the more melodic “Cantonese” spoken right here since time immemorial.

Yet another film set in 2025, “Ten Years” resonated with Hong Kongers when it was first released, envisioning events such as the imprisoning of activists and the quashing of an independence movement, the film has already proved prescient. Somewhat unsurprisingly, it was banned on the mainland, where it was declared a “thought virus” by the state-controlled Global Times newspaper and struggled to get a proper run in Hong Kong cinemas, despite sold-out shows. Au still sees the film as relevant now.

“The taxi driver in the movie, “is” the Hong Kong people, if we lose this battle” is what the Director’s view of the meaning of the movie all about.

Yet, these prevailing fears for Hong Kong’s future were not always so prevalent, because the origins of the 2047 deadline date back to the 19th century “Opium Wars” when China ceded parts of Hong Kong to Britain in perpetuity and leased one area, the northern New Territories, for 99 years, a period that ended in 1997. As that date drew near, the two nations opened talks to decide Hong Kong’s future fate, eventually signing the Sino-British Joint Declaration in the year 1984.

1984 right?

The year 1984, was when that ominous Sino-British Hong Kong’s handover treaty that laid out the terms of the handover, stipulating that Hong Kong would fall under the direct authority of Beijing was signed. Yet in the treaty were provisions that also awarded it a high degree of autonomy, under the “one country, two systems” formula that was devised by none other than the Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping, and it implied that Hong Kong would retain its capitalist system and other liberties unseen on the mainland, including an independent judiciary and freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, and the famous Hong Kong freedom of the press completely unfettered until the year 2047.

Thus the people of Hong Kong were assured and assuaged that all of these freedoms would be protected for at least half a century hence, and the hope existed that mainland China by that time would have grown secure for Democracy and thus the hope was maintained that instead of Hong omg losing its freedoms — mainland Chinese people would gain theirs … and that is what kept the Hong Kongers staying put in their homes and not seeking to escape to any other country taking with them their much vaunted entrepreneurial and commercially successful traits and wealth creating know how.

Obviously the Hong Kong people were fooled then, and now they are waking up to that reality.

Is Beijing going to convince them once again to stay?

Fat chance.

Deng Xiaoping, was the Chinese Communist Party’s most powerful leader when the 1984 agreement was signed, and he proposed the 50 year plan as a “bridge” that would foster stability and reflect commitment to Hong Kong’s special status, while he also set a line in the sand that made clear Beijing’s ultimate sovereignty. The agreement gave no specifics about what exactly would happen after 2047, but the fast paced liberalization of the Chinese economy under Deng Xiaoping, as assisted by Richard Nixon’s commercial and cultural openings towards the “forbidden city” had cultivated an international view that China’s political system would surely follow suit and open up accordingly.

And because life in Hong Kong back then — same as today — was far superior to that on the mainland in almost every respect, there was a great deal of hope that Hong Kong somehow would democratize China. Albeit slowly, securely and quietly.

Of mice and men …

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Plans were are made to unravel, rules are made to be broken and expectations dashed, while people are rubbished as I saw first hand the situation in Hong Kong when I went to speak to the young protesters of the Democracy movement and the umbrella rebellion back in 2014, in 2015, and in 2016, and met with the leaders of the young and aspiring independence movement that has now been crushed fully.

Indeed, all those high fallutin expectations for Democracy and Liberalization were ultimately undone by the massacre of many thousands of pro-democracy and pro Liberty protesters in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square in 1989, so that while Hong Kong’s transition to Chinese sovereignty initially appeared to go smoothly — efforts by the China controlled HK government to enforce anti-sedition laws and regulations, and impose a patriotic curriculum on schools, foreshadowed future unrest, as they sparked huge protests and mass movement of average people and drove not only the young ones into the streets, but also the average middle aged workers and office drones.

And of course, over time, cultural expression followed the rich milieu of anti-conformist views about Hong Kong’s liberty & Democracy, and this has led some of HK’s artists to focus on the countdown to 2047.

Example is the 2004 film, ominously titled “2046” by the legendary Hong Kong filmmaker Wong Kar-wai, who filmed the story of a novelist who writes of a train that time-travels to the year of the title, where people go to recapture lost memories. Although Wong insisted that he did not want to make a political movie, he nevertheless posed this question in an interview with the English newspaper “Guardian”: “The Chinese government promised Hong Kong 50 years without change; 2046 would be the last year of this promise. Will this promise be kept? Will there be change?”

More recent works of art have also sought to tackle the subject. Oxygen, a short film by Yip Yuen-ching that won a youth-film award in Hong Kong in 2016, portrays the city 50 years after the handover as a wasteland where surveillance devices are implanted in people’s necks and the internet and media are fully controlled.

That same year, the artist Sampson Wong was part of a group behind an installation called Countdown Machine, one of the starkest visualizations of the deadline: It projected onto the facade of Hong Kong’s tallest skyscraper a countdown in seconds to July 1, 2047, when the 50-year guarantee on Hong Kong’s status expires. “Fate and time is so central to the discussion of Hong Kong,” Wong says. Part of an exhibition by the city’s arts development council, the installation was removed by organizers once its political message became clear to them.

While some believe that the time to discuss 2047 has passed — Hong Kongers still see the deadline as the most important reference point for relations with mainland China and the issue of Hong Kong’s identity under the One country – two systems doctrine.

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Yet the realists know and sense that we are almost halfway there and it’s high time for to really start thinking about it before it’s too late. Drawing on real-life predictions of young and old Hong Kong residents for what would happen then, and from their visions of 2047 as described realistically for a new theatrical production scheduled to open in September 2020, we see that while the residents predictions given for this September production are almost universally bleak, we could take heart from the fact that the different generations are more united in their aspirations for Hong Kong than anyone till thought they would be.

With China a global superpower under the hard-line leadership of President Xi Jinping, the significance of 2047 in the minds of Hong Kongers has no doubt changed, and the deadline of 2047 has now become imminent as it has also been made real by circumstances unforeseen during the time of the handover agreement of 1984, and yet rather presciently and precisely described by George Orwell in his book 1984 so many years ago…

The current protests were sparked by a now withdrawn bill that would have allowed Hong Kongers to be extradited to China for trial, but they have grown into a much broader movement reflecting outrage at incursions on the city’s liberties and a renewed demand for real democracy. Au, the Ten Years director, told me of his fears that, as time went on, artists would find it harder to speak out on the issue as Beijing exerts greater control over Hong Kong, and the space for freedom of expression here shrinks. Already, protest marches are routinely declared illegal, demonstrators have been ordered not to hide their identities with face masks, and journalists report a worsening climate for the press.

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Yours,
Dr Churchill

PS:

The basic people’s sentiment around Hong Kong is simple:
“What we do now will determine our ending. The ending could be the worst ending. But still we’ll have a footnote in history that we did something.”

The actors are all on stage and waiting for History to repeat itself, but this chapter is not written as of yet…

Parallels are drawn with the Tiananmen Square massacre and this is fully expected as Hong Kong readies for a “Last Stand” in Hong Kong scenario and so is the rest of the World. But if we want to foresee the future — we should best see it as reading the tea leaves, the ancient art of divination from I-Ching and beyond, an art perfected by Sinologists over the many years of China study, from my earliest days to today.

Xi Jinping’s response will be predictably bloody and ruthless , because back in 1989, he applauded Deng Xiaoping’s quenching the Tiananmen Square’s Liberty demanding rebellion of the students and the workers in a cold and calculated mass murder bloodbath.

And so it seems that the die has been cast for this history to be repeated today in Hong Kong too…

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When China’s paramount leader Deng Xiaoping ordered the slaughter of the pro-democracy protesters in the Tiananmen Square massacre of June 1989, Xi Jinping was the party chief of Ningde district in Fujian province, over a thousand miles from Beijing.

So let us see how Xi Jinping would react to a similar situation today, and what are we to do, because thirty years ago, the US missed a historic chance to intervene to prevent the bloody crackdown and, in its wake, to labor to weaken the CCP’s chokehold over China.

Mark Twain is purported to have written that history doesn’t repeat itself, but it rhymes. This lamentable past provides a valuable lesson for the United States and its allies to prepare for history’s rhyme, should it occur, and act against the life time Dictator Xi Jinping and his murderous clique of acolytes and fawning sycophants within the Politburo of the Communist party of China.

In the late spring of 1989, millions of people took to the streets in Beijing and other major cities in China to demand political reforms and a clean government. It was perhaps the largest peaceful protest in China since the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) came to power in 1949, and perhaps even the largest in the history of modern China.

What was unique about the pro-democracy movement that gathered in Tiananmen Square was that protesters came from within and outside the Chinese Communist system. They sought to make China a modern country with democracy and the rule of law as defining political principles of the country. Famously, they constructed a 30-foot plaster-covered “Goddess of Democracy” statue in the center of Tiananmen Square, which recalled the Statue of Liberty. Symbolizing the desire for democracy and freedom was the common dream of the Chinese people.

The historic movement was sparked by the death of Hu Yaobang (the CCP general secretary from 1982-1987), which sparked the seven-week protest and that soon captured the world’s attention. At first, protesters occupied the square in support of Hu. Seen as a reformer, Hu was popular among many Chinese citizens, but equally unpopular among the CCP hardliners. The gathering in memory of Hu turned into a popular movement for democracy.

But the hardliners led by Deng Xiaoping refused the moderate demands, and instead ordered over 200,000 soldiers from the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) to march into Beijing, and retake Tiananmen Square from the student protesters on June 4, 1989. The PLA attack resulted in thousands of deaths of the innocent. The exact casualties are still unknown because of the CCP’s cover-up and censorship of information concerning the event.

In the Soviet Bloc, the 1989 pro-democracy movement, at first in Poland, triggered a chain reaction that ultimately led to the collapse of the Soviet Union and the communist governments of its satellites. In contrast, the June 4th massacre is a tragedy of modern China, which took the country in an unfortunate direction. The real cost of the massacre was that China lost the opportunity to become what China has been and, indeed, should be again; a great and sublime power.

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Interestingly, after the bloodshed, Xi Jinping’s wife Peng Liyuan, a PLA pop singer, hosted concerts in which she sang for soldiers to celebrate their victory crushing the “counter-revolutionary riot.” However, Xi’s father, Xi Zhongxun, a CCP veteran leader, stood firm against Deng’s order to kill student protesters. The senior Xi openly criticized Deng Xiaoping for using force to slaughter the students. As a consequence, he was punished by being ejected from the CCP leadership and exiled to the south for nearly 10 years. Xi’s divided family history reflects today’s China. Those who survived the massacre were silenced, imprisoned or exiled. The CCP hardliners and their supporters dominated China’s politics.

Deng drew seminal lessons from the collapse of communism in the USSR and its Eastern Bloc allies. Accordingly, Deng recognized that the CCP’s economic performance would provide legitimacy. This solution worked well for decades. But the heady economic growth is waning, and consequently the party’s legitimacy also is vulnerable to challenge.

Xi drew a different lesson from the former Soviet Union’s collapse. He believes Soviet party leaders’ communist ideals and convictions wavered, and they lost control of its ideology. His determined solution is what may be termed “communist fundamentalism” and that means the return to traditional Stalinism, Leninism and Maoism, in order to ensure the party’s control of the commanding heights of ideology. This requires tightly controlling the internet to police thought and expression and preserve the party’s control. It dictates absolute loyalty from the military to ensure regime security. The subsequent measures he implemented, including high-tech mass surveillance, turned China into a super police-state, with little room for any dissent, and that is what he is doing in Hong Kong now too.

Yet despite the formidable power of this lifetime dictator’s heady and haughty authoritariansim, there is some hope, because of the undercurrents of civil disobedience and liberty minded resistance left amongst the people fo Hong kong and perhaps China too. Thus the tension has intensified between the Xi Jinping clique, including his old school leftist and nationalist supporters who hail him as a hero, and those who oppose this tyrannical regime apparatchiks old boys club, by advocating for political and civil rights and internet freedom, and include some within the CCP who embrace and defend Deng’s reforms and policies.

Xi’s mistakes and gross human rights abuses, such as suppressing tens of millions of Uighurs, and all of the millions of Hong Kong Chinese populations along with the mainlanders and after not missing a beat from the unleashing of the deadly Covid-19 virus upon an unsuspecting World, to corrupting the W.H.O. and the Untied Nations Man Rights Commission as well — all ensure that a random event may trigger massive civil disobedience and, in turn evolve into another Tiananmen protest.

To me it seems that this new directive against Hong Kong is exactly that “random event” that could prove the unraveling of China’s authoritarian regime of Mr Xi Jinping…

In sum, a new spark could occur at any time.

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And as an acolyte of Lenin and Mao, Xi’s natural proclivity is to use force and violence to hang on to power at all costs. This also means that he likely will use any means to crush dissent. Thus, the probability of repeating the Tiananmen tragedy is high under Xi — far higher than under his predecessors in post-Deng Xiaoping China.

As always in these circumstances I like to say that “We are a long way from home Alice … because a chaotic China is not in the best interest of the United States, just as much as a totalitarian China is not in our favor either.”

And who knows — maybe we’ll get a good compass, choose a good navigator and take some smart turns, and along the way we just might find our way home back to Kansas again.

Or not…


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