Hong Kong is under siege. This attack is ostensibly from the inside but, deep down, it is really from the outside. Hong Kong’s crisis seems to concern only the Hong Kong government and its Motherland China, but its implications are really far wider than most observers realize.
Asia may face severe headwinds sailing the 21st Century, onto the Asian Century from the eye of the storm in Hong Kong. The region faced this once before, in 1998 the Asian Financial Contagion hit the region engineered by elements in the West.
Tempest in a tweet
Like the proverbial tempest in a teacup, a seven-worded tweet from an NBA team general manager stirred an unexpected tempest from China.
Houston Rockets’ Daryl Morey sent out “Fight for Freedom. Stand with Hong Kong”, the backlash from China was tsunami-like as Chinese netizens exploded, with Chinese sports and entertainment companies taking down NBA advertising and cancelling games and endorsement deals worth billions.
The fierce Chinese backlash stunned America. Morey backtracked. NBA commissioner Adam Silver irresolutely apologized to China and defended Morey’s so-called freedom of expression to no avail.
China saw the offensive tweet as an unconscionable interference in China’s internal affairs, an insensitive affront to China’s sovereignty and dignity. Most in the U.S. could not understand the vehemence of the reaction but some were more sensible.
Lebron James speaks up
American politicians and media pundits expectedly lambasted Morey, Silver, and China. The debate further intensified when acknowledged American basketball and sports icon Lebron James, often described as “the most powerful voice in his profession”, declared:
“I think when we all sit back and learn from the situation that happened, understand that what you could tweet or could say (could affect people) … We all talk about this freedom of speech. Yes, we all do have freedom of speech, but at times there are ramifications for the negative that can happen when you’re not thinking about others, and you’re only thinking about yourself.
“I don’t want to get into a word or sentence feud with Daryl Morey, but I believe he wasn’t educated on the situation at hand, and he spoke, and so many people could have been harmed, not only financially, but physically. Emotionally. Spiritually. So just be careful what we tweet and what we say, and what we do. Even though yes, we do have freedom of speech, but there can be a lot of negative that comes with that too.”
Many Americans rejected Lebron’s view, but there were also those who expressed a critical view of Morey’s tweet.
Yale University senior fellow Stephen Roach called the HK protests “destructive anarchy”. Steve Kerr, coach of the Golden State Warriors said, “People in China don’t ask me about mass shootings, I don’t ask them …” Actually, scores of giant U.S. companies do great business in China by abiding by Kerr’s outlook.
Expectedly, many Americans supported Morey’s tweet. Most aggressive among them looney “Cold War” hawks.
Senator Ted Cruz is one, he visited HK and claimed seeing no evidence of rioters’ violence (what planet was he in?), and chief Venezuela coup plotting shill Marco Rubio accused the NBA of throwing Morey “under the bus to please” China and protect its business, while lambasting Lebron.
American writer Harlan Ellison said of opinions, “You are not entitled to your opinion. You are entitled to your informed opinion. No one is entitled to be ignorant.”
Unfortunately, in the world dominated by America’s “First Amendment” liberal values, too few people understand the Ellison quip. Morey obviously didn’t know what he was getting into with his seemingly innocuous tweet on Hong Kong.
Morey has since backtracked and kept out of sight; but now he, too, is ravaged by critics for keeping silent, accused of shutting up to protect his and the NBA’s financial interest and ignoring “human rights”.
Moreover, we have YouTube records of American media pundits accusing Morey of playing up to the domestic audience with his tweet to boost his basketball club’s popularity with the American audience too.
What angers the Chinese
A reopened historical wound
There is plenty that Morey and casual kibitzers in social media don’t know about Hong Kong and the crisis raging there for fourth months now.
It is this same ignorance of history and culture (such as that of Islam) that created situations akin to the Charlie Hebdo shooting that introduced a spate of Islamist terrorism inside Europe in 2015, providing useful material for agents provocateurs of all sorts.
Hong Kong, in China’s cultural, historical, and present-day consciousness, is of a significance far beyond many Westerners and kibitzers can appreciate.
Hong Kong is the supreme reminder of the Century of Humiliation the Western powers inflicted on China when British, American, and other Western flags led military forces in the Opium Wars and seized Chinese cities, imposed unequal treaties, and carved away territories such as Hong Kong. (See https://qz.com/1019826/hong-kong-handover-xi-jinping-invokes-opium-wars-at-the-inauguration-of-hong-kongs-new-leader/.)
Interference and Containment
On top of the historical wounds, the U.S. today maintains a containment policy on China, establishing 400 military bases around it and, as recently as 2017, deploying advanced THAAD missiles in South Korea that China vehemently objected to, all in the same year the U.S. tagged China as a “strategic competitor” and tried to organize the “Quad” to isolate China.
In 2018, the U.S. started its attempts to kill Chinese technologies by arresting the Huawei CFO with gangland tactics in jumpstarting the “trade war”.
The U.S. has its obvious black hand in the Hong Kong situation as it has in other places. The evidence is incontrovertible:
– the photo of the juvenile anarchist leaders with U.S. political officer Julie Eadeh;
– “pro-democracy” leaders meeting with National Endowment for Democracy factotums and taking the C.I.A. front’s funds;
– photos of Joshua Wong with U.S. “White Helmets” operative in Syria Raed al Saleh, as well as with Ukraine’s regime change hero Vitaly Klitschco. (See https://www.globalresearch.ca/hong-kong-protest-leader-hangs-out-white-helmets-boss/5688967.)
Michael Pillsbury of the Center on Chinese Strategy, Hudson Institute, Washington and author of three books on China (the most recent one being “The Hundred Year Marathon”, describing U.S. competition with China), said in a Fox interview on the precursor of the current protests, the Umbrella Movement:
“We have funded millions of dollars of programs through the National Endowment for Democracy to help democracy in Hong Kong, so in that sense the Chinese’ accusation is not totally false.” (http://socioecohistory.x10host.com/2019/08/26/mike-pillsbury-the-brains-behind-cia-ned-hong-kong-riots-irregular-warfare/ )
The uninformed don’t see the irony of Hong Kong separatists calling for independence from their Motherland China that fought and won a revolution to successfully build the modern nation upon which Hong Kong and its Western masters fattened economically.
Now, these brain-addled rioters are dismantling the city’s roads brick by brick, its MTR station by station, its trading community shop by shop, just as the special administrative region prepares the complete return to its bosom.
The uninformed fail to see the fallacy of the “democracy movement” demands for freedom and popular elections in light of the huge peaceful rallies permitted by the HK government, free access of HK media and foreign media, the HK liberal educational system that even denigrates China, a free press that allows China’s worst critic and rabble-rouser Jimmy Lai to spew his venom. All these belie the alleged lack of freedom.
The “democracy movement” appeal to the U.S. and Britain to support direct democracy for Hong Kong when these two faded empires both do not have direct democracy themselves reeks of Western doublespeak.
As the electoral college system rules the U.S., where minority presidents such as Bush and Trump win despite losing the popular vote, and while half of Britain’s MPs are locked into place for life, all the democracy movement’s demands fall flat against reality.
Infinity war and the “New Cold War”
The HK protests obviously follow the classic “color revolution” and regime change playbook of the West:
– By generating anti-authority rage especially among juveniles; by escalating and rejecting compromise on issues;
– by employing violence and destruction to provoke police action and, later, claim “police brutality”.
Then, there is the hidden agenda, which one can listen to: Joshua Wong admitting an “infinity war” in the “no end game” strategy in his YouTube broadcast (https://www.euronews.com/2019/10/03/there-is-no-endgame-hong-kong-activism-leader-joshua-wong-speaks-to-euronews).
Leaders of the HK “democracy movement” are revealing more to their cohorts in Western media, exposing their hitherto hidden agenda. In an interview with America’s 60 Minutes, ex-Giordano boss Jimmy Lai, one of the acknowledged riot ringleaders, said:
“We are fighting the first battle of the new cold war…” in an apparent pandering to the U.S. “Deep State”.
Wiki’s definition of “Cold War”: “…a state of conflict between nations that does not involve direct military action but is pursued primarily through economic and political actions, propaganda, acts of espionage or proxy wars waged by surrogates.”
This conflict-laden milieu is Jimmy Lai and company’s expressed desire: A new state of low intensity war they are bringing to the borders of China. Why then shouldn’t China and its people respond with the vehemence that we now see?
Against the ideals of humanity
To put in perspective what this real agenda of the “New Cold War” is, let us contrast this to the ideals behind the United Nations in order to refresh our idealism:
“WE THE PEOPLES OF THE UNITED NATIONS DETERMINED
to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, which twice in our lifetime has brought untold sorrow to mankind, and
to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small, and
to establish conditions under which justice and respect for the obligations arising from treaties and other sources of international law can be maintained, and
to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom,
AND FOR THESE ENDS
to practice tolerance and live together in peace with one another as good neighbours, and
to unite our strength to maintain international peace and security, and
to ensure, by the acceptance of principles and the institution of methods, that armed force shall not be used, save in the common interest, and
to employ international machinery for the promotion of the economic and social advancement of all peoples”
Jimmy Lai’s “New Cold War” is clearly anathema to the ideals of humankind.
It is the ideology of the West’s warmongering core, which, in the U.S., comprises the Deep State. It is demonstrating clear, malicious, and macabre motives behind the deceptive slogans of freedom and democracy that sees HK thugs rampaging in the streets of HK while frolicking in the capitals of the neocons in the U.S. and its minions in Germany and other NATO states.
Provocation upon provocation
Hong Kong was, is, and will always be China; but the U.S. today leads in bolstering its separatist elements, even reversing the Sino-British Joint Declaration of 19 December 1984 for the turnover of Hong Kong back to China by 1997, in making treasonous calls for secession and independence.
As if the aggravation isn’t enough, dolts of both parties in the U.S. Congress then pass the so-called HK Human Rights and Democracy Act of 2019 (HKHRDA), threatening to end HK’s special trading status, which these amateurs must think is a pressure on China.
As is the case in the trade War, the U.S. deludes itself into thinking that it has the upper hand even when it was the first to blink. China repeatedly says that it does not seek conflict but that it will also never back down. Given this, the U.S., through this crappy legislation, only causes damage to itself as 1,000 of its companies in HK will be the first to be hurt.
Interfering Western politicians, though, are not limited to the Americans or Brits. A Norwegian female politician recently nominated the “Hong Kong people” for the Nobel Peace Prize, forgetting its 7 million-strong population, a greater majority of whom are averse to the mainly juvenile, self-destructive designs for a “New Cold War”.
This Norwegian figure, thus, reminds us of Norwegian terrorist Andre Brevik’s racially-charged murder of 80 non-White children in Norway in 2011.
Win-win vs. Cold War
U.S.-China basketball, prior to the current crisis, depicts the positive message that China through President Xi Jinping has projected for some time: The Win-win approach to build “A Community for a Common Future”.
Since 1992, or for the past twenty-seven years, the NBA has earned billions for the U.S. as the game has given so much joy to Chinese fans.
Alas, this win-win basketball diplomacy is spoiled by one tweeter, who, despite his MIT degree, can’t really claim to know the full implications of what he commented on.
Lebron, who may not necessarily grasp the total picture but is sensitive enough to know the essentials, was at least humble enough to speak of the complexity of the subject. It shows that this win-win diplomacy can still be restored if only the U.S. listens to its sages such as Lebron James, Stephen Roach, or Steve Kerr.
Sports diplomacy, cooperation, and its bounties
Sports has had a central role at the onset of the U.S.-China entente. In the 1971 World Table Tennis Championships, the game of Glenn Cowan (U.S.) and Zhuang Zedong (China) marked the thaw in Sino-American relations that paved the way for President Richard Nixon to visit Beijing the year later.
Ping Pong diplomacy, as it came to be called, opened China to the world while the U.S. went on to win its old Cold War with the U.S.S.R.
The NBA has had its presence in China since 1992, opening its first office in Hong Kong. NBA games subsequently boomed in China after the Houston Rockets signed Yao Ming to become an all-star and global name who symbolized the meeting of minds of these two nations.
Today, as some 300 million Chinese play the game and as 500 million fans there watch the games, NBA’s China business is now worth more than $4 billion, according to Forbes magazine.
Ping pong thawed the U.S.-China frost, basketball warmed it, and a love affair began upon Yao Ming’s drafting into the NBA’s ranks. Nothing can, thus, signify the possible togetherness of the peoples of China and the U.S. than this two-and-a half decades love affair through basketball.
Ripple effects of the HK crisis
We at the Philippine-BRICS Strategic Studies are closely monitoring the possible adverse impact that the current turmoil in HK has on 250,000 Overseas Filipino Workers’ (mostly domestic helpers’) welfare and job security.
The concern is now growing that with the 40% loss in HK’s tourism revenues and the downward spiral in its real estate and retail sectors, OFW jobs may be hit by layoffs.
For China, the Hong Kong crisis is a minor economic problem. Hong Kong’s GDP today is now only 2.9 percent of China’s economic output, down from 27 percent back in 1997.
For the Philippines, Hong Kong is its 12th largest trading partner, with much of that business with mainland China through the special administrative region. Any dislocation of our OFWs there could create more difficulties in the form of untimely repatriations that will severely dampen demand in our domestic economy.
However, such economic problems are minor compared to what may lie in store for Asia if the Hong Kong crisis is not resolved at the shortest time possible.
An Asian crisis as endgame
The “black hands” are not so naïve as to spend hundreds of millions of dollars, as well as billions in 400 military bases surrounding China, and to start a trade war without an endgame.
There is no doubt that an economic and financial crisis is being induced in HK, one that intends to push HK down into a recession before launching a predatory financial attack. China is an integral part of Asia’s milieu. What happens in it affects us all.
We recall the engineered Asian Financial Crisis of 1997 that nearly brought East and Southeast Asia crashing, save for China’s help. The Philippines was sideswiped and the Peso devalued from P 26 to P 46.50, growth fell to zero.
Hence, today, we must assist where we can our neighbours in ensuring peace and stability.
Our region, Asia, is facing a great historical period of unprecedented economic growth and promotion of prosperity and harmony. The RCEP, the Asean-China dialogue, and the Sino-India rapprochement are all going well and all nearing fruition. We must not let these go to waste.
What we need to do
First, we must be aware that the information war against China and the Hong Kong regional government waged by Western powers is escalating.
In the interest of the social, economic and political security and stability of our region, i.e. Asia and the Philippines, we must step up measures to help in dispelling the disinformation and distortions, to uphold the sovereignty and integrity of Asian nations, and to inform our publics of the continuing historical truths.
The vast majority of Filipinos are as sparsely informed as the average citizen of Western countries that this makes them prey to the constant information war.
To the enlightened among us who can appreciate the in-depth and strategic realities, we must project what troubles the future can bring to our region from what we are seeing in Hong Kong if such foreign interference and support of disruptive elements is not resolutely opposed.
Let us all stand in solidarity with the people of China and the Hong Kong majority who are fighting this malign hegemony. ###