Author Topic: Hong Kong  (Read 3723 times)

Crunch

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Hong Kong
« on: August 13, 2019, 04:36:22 PM »
Hey, that’s kind of getting out of hand.

Should we do something? If so, what?

ScottF

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Re: Hong Kong
« Reply #1 on: August 13, 2019, 06:26:22 PM »

TheDrake

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Re: Hong Kong
« Reply #2 on: August 13, 2019, 06:56:41 PM »
How about we just send them our thoughts and prayers?

TheDeamon

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Re: Hong Kong
« Reply #3 on: August 13, 2019, 10:00:18 PM »
How about we just send them our thoughts and prayers?

Start a new Social Media hashtag because #activism always works wonders.

Crunch

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Re: Hong Kong
« Reply #4 on: August 14, 2019, 07:55:23 AM »
Oh yeah, hash tag stuff on Twitter!  That’ll do it. And photos of liberals making duck lips and little hearts with their hands!  Oh, oh, also, let’s put a semitransparent flag logo over social media profile photos.  That totes makes an impact.
« Last Edit: August 14, 2019, 07:59:01 AM by Crunch »

Crunch

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Re: Hong Kong
« Reply #5 on: August 14, 2019, 07:57:23 AM »
Should we do something?

No.

Why not?  It’s looking like the communist regime is going to steamroll Hong Kong and grind them under the boot heels of a totalitarian state. Should we just let that happen?

Economic sanctions not viable?


cherrypoptart

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Re: Hong Kong
« Reply #6 on: August 14, 2019, 08:00:04 AM »
We could offer special amnesty and asylum terms for people who want to flee Hong Kong.

Wayward Son

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Re: Hong Kong
« Reply #7 on: August 14, 2019, 12:41:59 PM »
One way or another, we're going to end up on the short end of this crisis.

Quote
[T]he President has another headache on his hands, namely the ongoing unrest in Hong Kong. Some, including many in the Chinese government, think the United States is behind it. Who knows how true that is, but what is much clearer is that Xi Jinping is getting ready to crack down harshly, and Trump has no plan for what to do. "The Hong Kong thing is a very tough situation. I hope it works out peacefully. I hope nobody gets hurt. I hope nobody gets killed," he said. If things spiral out of control, it would be a very bad look for the White House, whether the U.S. gets more directly involved or it looks the other way, and would even further inflame tensions between the U.S. and China. That is particularly true if Taiwan is the next target, as many fear will be the case.

In short, the administration may be on the brink of its first full-blown foreign crisis. This one would even tax a skilled diplomat like Richard Nixon or Franklin D. Roosevelt, which means it's way, way above the pay grade of Trump and the other folks in the White House right now.

But at least Trump sent his thoughts and prayers. :)

D.W.

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Re: Hong Kong
« Reply #8 on: August 14, 2019, 01:25:13 PM »
You say that as if you want him to dive into the middle of this.  Are you just sniping from the sidelines or do you really think the US needs to act?

scifibum

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Re: Hong Kong
« Reply #9 on: August 14, 2019, 02:14:50 PM »
Trump should speak up for free speech and freedom of association, at the very least.

Fenring

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Re: Hong Kong
« Reply #10 on: August 14, 2019, 02:26:54 PM »
Trump should speak up for free speech and freedom of association, at the very least.

What does "speak up for" mean? Isn't that redundant since it's happening in a country where there literally isn't free speech?

ScottF

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Re: Hong Kong
« Reply #11 on: August 15, 2019, 01:36:26 AM »
I’d say he should double down on the tariff stuff but that would mean people would need to deal with the markets freaking out and lots of cheap Chinese crap being less cheap.

Crunch

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Re: Hong Kong
« Reply #12 on: August 15, 2019, 08:09:03 AM »
You say that as if you want him to dive into the middle of this.  Are you just sniping from the sidelines or do you really think the US needs to act?

For me, I just don’t know. I think the US should probably do something material to support the people of Hong Kong but what that would be I’m not sure. Thus, my question.

D.W.

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Re: Hong Kong
« Reply #13 on: August 15, 2019, 09:00:29 AM »
I expect there is a lot we could do to make things worse.  I'm not so sure we could make things better though.  I think offering to take those protesters (now branded terrorists by the state) off their hands is a good gesture.  As for anything else, official advisory against investment in Hong Kong as an unstable situation is about as far as I'd go.

The current propaganda is already that we, and the UK, are to blame and instigated/supported these lawless violent trouble makers.

Seriati

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Re: Hong Kong
« Reply #14 on: August 15, 2019, 09:55:25 AM »
Just a preface, I have no idea what to do.  Seems like a tragedy in the making.

What I can tell you is that any "symbolic" or public measures the US makes are likely to increase the risk of harm not mitigate it.  China is a society that believes that it has an image to present, appearing to back down from the US is not an option for them.  If we interject ourselves we may be doing little more than sealing the fate of the protesters, same for the UK - which is particularly sensitive for HK.  Japan, just as bad.  You'd need to find a state actor that is willing to take the lead that China doesn't have to deem as an existential threat.

Anything more than symbolic interference and you have to ask if intervening is worth a war with China.  Given that the people of HK would suffer massive casualties even in a victory, you'd almost have to consider it pretextual to consider supporting them militarily.

The only real options are completely behind the scenes or stay out of it and hope the "unstated" world opinion constrains China.  It can be real condemnation if they act.

TheDrake

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Re: Hong Kong
« Reply #15 on: August 15, 2019, 12:43:00 PM »
We shouldn't ignore the role Taiwan can play in this. Push China on Hong Kong, they'll likely do what they want to Hong Kong anyway and may decide while they're at it, they'll get rid of the special status for the other Chinese territory (from their perspective) that has some autonomy. They might not invade but they could definitely bring some pain with potential naval blockades. This could quickly get out of hand. All China has to do is blame Taiwan for supporting the protests as a believable pretense.

You can't build a UN coalition, because of the UNSC veto. So if you do sanctions, they'd be unilateral or opt-in multilateral. Even multilateral sanctions, like those put on Iran and NKo, have dubious ability to change behavior. The US is going to have a hard time getting people on board given the current state of geopolitics.

I have to say, Trump is playing this right by standing to the side and expressing a desire that China will be restrained. Ideally, the protesters back down. I don't really know what they think they can accomplish now. They're not going to spark any protests in the rest of China. They're not going to get concessions from China. There's a good chance they spark a much worse outcome. It is likely that they have achieved a preservation of the status quo already if they let it stand as is and return to normal.

Crunch

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Re: Hong Kong
« Reply #16 on: August 15, 2019, 12:52:26 PM »
Pelosi and some other Democrats are critical of Trump for not being more forceful is support of Jing Kong and Trump did just recently tie the ongoing trade negotiations to Hong Kong protesters being treated humanely. So it seems everyone is aligned on the idea that we should do something. I just don’t see anything we can do that’s really impactful although making it part of the trade deal could be pretty motivational

Grant

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Re: Hong Kong
« Reply #17 on: August 23, 2019, 02:19:08 PM »
Hey, that’s kind of getting out of hand.

Should we do something? If so, what?

No.  For several reasons.  None of them great. 

1.  America can't get it's **** together.  We used to have coherent foreign policies.  They vacillated between the idealistic and the interventionist and the isolationist and the pragmatic.  You can argue which we would do.  But we would pick one and carry it out to the best of our collective national ability.  Not everyone was on board all of the time.  But when the chips were down the vast majority of Americans were team players. 

That's probably a bad word now.  We don't have a coherent foreign policy at this point, grounded in anything.  Our foreign policy is primarily grounded in domestic policy and elections.  Don't do anything that will threaten reelection.  Foreign intervention is big risk.  You risk American lives, American money, American prestige, and political power.  American politicians and most Americans are risk adverse.  Foreign intervention is a poker game.  If the other guy goes all in, and you don't see the point of calling, you can never win. 

Even if Barrack Obama, Hillary Clinton, George W Bush, Colin Powell, Donald Trump, Jesus Christ, and Richard Dawkins all got up on a stage together and said "we need to do this", you still probably wouldn't get more than 80% support for any course of action.  Even then, your 80% would fall apart the first time things went south.  We're perfectly materially capable of doing many things.  But Americans are too divided right now with too many opinions.  Too many Chiefs and not many Indians. 

What are our goals?  What should we fight for?  What are our core beliefs?  Too many different answers.  We'd end up fighting ourselves harder than anybody else.

That doesn't really answer towards "should we", but if we can't do it then we probably shouldn't try even though it would be the right thing to do. 


2.  The cac hasn't hit the fan yet.  So far you have some protests and some police action and threatened military action.  Some violence between the police and some protesters who are ready to throw down.  The death toll is pretty low.  Are we supposed to be defending life? When millions of Chinese protesters start getting mowed down by the PLA, you can make an argument that we should intervene.  If you believe that, you should have a plan now.  But that point hasn't hit yet. 

3.  We need to support Democracy?  Man, nobody in America believes in Democracy anymore.  They believe in winning.  Themselves.  Who are we supposed to support?  There are no opposition leaders for what I can tell.  There is no alternative.  We can occupy the place or ask the UK to move back or Taiwan, but they don't want to do that crap either.  Too much heavy lifting.  And the only country in the world militarily capable of taking on the CCP is the United States. 

None of this addresses whether we should protect people from mass murder or genocide, or support democracy, or have a foreign policy that stands for anything other than pure material self interest.  It addresses that we don't have the national cohesion to successfully lock horns with anybody right now.  We would probably lose a war with France right now.  And it addresses that the things that you would intervene for havn't really materialized.  There is no coherent opposition waiting on the wings, so unless your policy is to support mobs, there is nothing you are furthering.  Nobody is being massacred right now, so there is no reason to step in to stop any. 

Even in a perfect world, if you had great cohesion and a good reason to do something, the situation is remarkably complex.  The CCP is, in my opinion at least, not much better than a criminal organization.  But this criminal organization isn't exactly disastrous in it's management and runs the most populous country on earth with plenty of military might and economic interests for the United States.  The point is that they're not going anywhere, unless you're ready for World War III, which isn't really "doing something". 

Sure, you can start a war with China.  Start by blowing the hell out of their political leadership.  Deal with whatever fall out.  And after you decapitate them, then what?  We really cannot occupy China.  We could occupy Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Syria, Germany, and Japan.  Do it right.  But not China.  Too big.  Too many people.  And not enough fear.  There isn't any government waiting around except Taiwan.  I'm not really sure if the mainlanders even want them back in charge. 

You could economically squeeze China.  We're already doing that.  We have no cards, unless you're offering China something now that you were withholding earlier.  I doubt his Orangeness will give up his trade war for Hong Kong lives.  Too much political investment already. 

You could attempt to simply cut off the island portion of HK and hold it.  China would become the next front in the Forever War.  I'm already sick of Millennials poaching a term from a Vietnam era war protest novel.  They don't need more complaint fuel. 

I'm probably the LEAST pessimistic individual here when it comes to foreign intervention.  I can find a win scenario almost anywhere.  I don't see much of one taking on China.  If they start shooting up millions of HKers, I'd love nothing more than to knock out the bridges and start ripping apart the PLA and start the early retirement of the leadership of the CCP.  But that isn't winning. 

Pete at Home

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Re: Hong Kong
« Reply #18 on: August 24, 2019, 09:37:07 PM »
“Do something “

Like what?  Put Polonium in the Forbidden City Starbucks coffee?

“Economic sanctions “

Already in progress for other reasons. China’s military and economic aggressions against the US, it’s neighbors and against the planet take priority over an “internal matter.”  Saying, oh well now our tariffs have another reason doesn’t make the tariffs more powerful. Less if anything.

We could offer special amnesty and asylum terms for people who want to flee Hong Kong.

 We could offer a better example so that the powers that be in China have reason to believe that a democracy with freedom of speech does not automatically turn into a pack of howling baboons.

TheDeamon

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Re: Hong Kong
« Reply #19 on: August 25, 2019, 02:03:01 PM »
We could offer special amnesty and asylum terms for people who want to flee Hong Kong.

 We could offer a better example so that the powers that be in China have reason to believe that a democracy with freedom of speech does not automatically turn into a pack of howling baboons.

*checks the news*

Well, that failed before it even started.

Seriati

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Re: Hong Kong
« Reply #20 on: November 07, 2019, 11:37:15 AM »
Not trying to revive this thread per se, but I just saw a NYTimes picture of protestors in HK all wearing Guy Fawkes masks, presumably both as a protest and to be anonymous.  Yet everyone of them is carrying a smart phone in their hands that they are looking at.  Pretty, in ANY modern country, their ids and locations are being shared, in HK and China its a certainty they are going to the Chinese government.  Just seems so bizarre to me.

TheDrake

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Re: Hong Kong
« Reply #21 on: November 07, 2019, 11:48:12 AM »
Just because they are in range of towers doesn't mean they can be identified as protesters?

In any event, I suspect it is simply more important to be able to share information with other protesters.

TheDeamon

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Re: Hong Kong
« Reply #22 on: November 07, 2019, 12:05:35 PM »
Not trying to revive this thread per se, but I just saw a NYTimes picture of protestors in HK all wearing Guy Fawkes masks, presumably both as a protest and to be anonymous.  Yet everyone of them is carrying a smart phone in their hands that they are looking at.  Pretty, in ANY modern country, their ids and locations are being shared, in HK and China its a certainty they are going to the Chinese government.  Just seems so bizarre to me.

Airplane mode.

Old deactivated phones. :)

Seriati

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Re: Hong Kong
« Reply #23 on: November 07, 2019, 12:06:34 PM »
Lol, like the Chinese government cares about certainty.  Pass by tower in a protest zone without a reason to be there could get you on a list, a couple of times and you're probably locked in the list.

Seriati

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Re: Hong Kong
« Reply #24 on: November 07, 2019, 12:08:34 PM »
They did a study, Airplane mode (that now connects to Wi-Fi) doesn't save you.  Heck even having a powered phone off in your pocket still logs things.  The phone then reports those things to a number of people (depending on your cookies) the next time there's an active connection.

Deregistered phones may, though then you're not getting the same functionality.

TheDrake

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Re: Hong Kong
« Reply #25 on: November 07, 2019, 12:25:47 PM »
Here's a Full set of guidelines

I suspect these are prepaid phones where the sim is not linked to a user, now that I think more on it.

LetterRip

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Re: Hong Kong
« Reply #26 on: November 07, 2019, 12:29:30 PM »
Yeah if you want protection you need to faraday cage your phone when you don't want it to share or log information - a simple mylar sleeve (such as the packaging from a bag of chips) is adequate.

https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2017/11/australian-man-uses-snack-bags-as-faraday-cage-to-block-tracking-by-employer/

Unless they were using burner, stolen, or altered phones they were likely identified.

TheDrake,

I think prepaid phones without being tied to an identity is illegal in China and may be blocked from the networks.

https://www.thechinaguide.com/blog/how-to-use-your-cell-phone-while-traveling-in-china

TheDrake

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Re: Hong Kong
« Reply #27 on: November 11, 2019, 09:36:49 AM »
China slams ‘arrogant and dangerous’ U.S. over Hong Kong democracy bill as city’s dysfunction deepens

I missed this when it happened.

Quote
The Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, approved unanimously by the House on Tuesday, requires the U.S. government to consider annually whether it should continue to treat Hong Kong as a trading entity separate from mainland China in response to political developments in the city. That special status has allowed Hong Kong to cement its role as an international financial center and exempts its goods and services from the Trump administration’s tariffs.

Passed by unanimous voice vote in the House. Mitch hasn't done anything with it.

I generally think this is not a good idea, and I'm glad it is being held up.

Seriati

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Re: Hong Kong
« Reply #28 on: November 11, 2019, 10:06:15 AM »
TheDrake, not sure if it can be misused or not, but read the description on the House website https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-bill/3289.  It makes a lot more sense than the Washington Post implies (big surprise there). 

Basically, this Bill, if a law, would require that the State Department investigate the state of Democracy in HK annually, including whether China has complied with all it's obligations to keep HK free and independent in connection with reauthorizing HK's special status.  Effectively, this means that if China erodes HK's freedom then China can't slip into the HK status through a back door.  At least that's how I read the summary, but I acknowledge that laws in our country often get manipulated into standing for the opposite of their original meaning.

TheDrake

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Re: Hong Kong
« Reply #29 on: November 11, 2019, 10:32:01 AM »
Yes, that is the major provision. It really isn't necessary to do that in advance except as a warning.

The other big piece however is:

Quote
(1)In general
The President shall transmit to the appropriate congressional committees a report, in accordance with paragraph (2), that identifies each foreign person that the President determines, based on credible information, is knowingly responsible for any of the following:

(A)The actual or threatened rendition, arbitrary detention, torture, or forced confession of any individual in Hong Kong.
(B)Repeated acts or decisions which contravene the shared obligations of China and Hong Kong under the Joint Declaration and Basic Law and undermine the national interests of the United States in Hong Kong’s autonomy and the rule of law.
(C)Other gross violations of internationally recognized human rights in Hong Kong.

Violations would result in asset blocking and revoking visas.