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Speaker: “Foreign forces”, hope and Hong Kong's Umbrella Revolution

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  • mark taslov, in reply to mark taslov,

    and of course 7 years ago today. The response of our Prime Minister:

    On Monday Helen Clark stated that the people arrested on firearms charges have been using firearms, testing napalm bombs, and constructing Molotov cocktails– this before any evidence has been presented to court.

    Te Ika-a-Māui • Since Mar 2008 • 2281 posts Report Reply

  • Chris Waugh, in reply to mark taslov,

    On Media Take Toi

    Ah, thanks, I didn't realise Nickkita was on Media Take, too.

    I enjoyed Toi's intro, but I found the Taiwan comparison very, very weak. The history is entirely different. And house prices? Somebody send Toi to Beijing, we'll show him house prices.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 2401 posts Report Reply

  • mark taslov, in reply to Chris Waugh,

    And house prices? Somebody send Toi to Beijing, we’ll show him house prices.

    I hear you and I can also appreciate Toi's cynicism, it is worth noting that, however marginal, there has been some impact, even in Beijing.

    Te Ika-a-Māui • Since Mar 2008 • 2281 posts Report Reply

  • Chris Waugh, in reply to mark taslov,

    I took the house price thing as a not entirely serious throwaway. I just thought it was silly. But the Taiwan comparison came across as a serious question, and I just don't see how that works. The two territories' histories are just too different. For starters, "one country, two systems" is a formal arrangement for Hong Kong, but a default that came about almost by historical accident for Taiwan. And if the pan-Greens win the next election there, it's a default that'll find itself threatened again.

    I dunno, the comparison Just Does Not Work for me.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 2401 posts Report Reply

  • mark taslov, in reply to Chris Waugh,

    Yes it doesn’t work at all given the history, I’d initially glossed over that as a dig at Beijing’s cross strait propaganda but looking back it’s clearly a veiled attempt to gauge Nickkita’s thoughts on secession, Scotland’s recent vote would have been more appropriate.

    Personally I’m tired of hearing China referred to as a ‘Communist’* country. In the same way that Judith Collins may one day be ‘Honorable’. Karl Marx has surely gone full rotisserie by this point.

    *Disclaimer required.

    Te Ika-a-Māui • Since Mar 2008 • 2281 posts Report Reply

  • Seamus Harris,

    "One country, two systems" should not be called "a default that came about almost by historical accident for Taiwan".

    "One country, two systems" is peddled only by Beijing and its allies. No major political party in Taiwan has endorsed it.

    The KMT (i.e. the Blues) might support the "One China Policy", but that doesn't imply their giving up the sovereignty of Taiwan/ROC.

    KMT counter-proposals to "one country, two systems" have been along the lines of a 'Chinese Confederation' (including the PRC and ROC/Taiwan). These ideas have been rejected by Beijing.

    So regardless of who wins the next election in Taiwan (i.e. Blues versus Greens), nothing changes for 'one country, two systems', because Taiwan and it's politicans have always rejected it.

    As for Hong Kong and Nickita's piece. . .

    Had it not been for the CCP threatening to invade HK if the British allowed democracy, the territory would likely got universal suffrage decades ago. So HKers have plenty of reasons to prefer British rule. Had the equation simply been HK citizenry versus Westminster, the people of HK would have been far better off politically than they are now. Of course without HK's boom period as the gateway to China they'd probably be poorer economically.

    On historical HK riots: The 1956 riots involved KMT attacking CCP and general mayhem; the 1967 riots were CCP against the HK government - and saw pro-government journalists burned to death (nothing much changes there).

    Auckland • Since May 2008 • 43 posts Report Reply

  • mark taslov, in reply to Seamus Harris,

    Just to contextualise Seamus, Chris seemed to be specifically referring to Toi’s question to Nickita on Media Take (12:15):

    "Do you buy into the the saying “one country two systems”, or would you like, like Taiwan; ’one country one system’?”

    Te Ika-a-Māui • Since Mar 2008 • 2281 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    It's been a few years since I spent a lot of time in Taiwan but the impression I got was that it really seems to be a weird series of contrasts - the greens want to be what they already are, a country - that's easy to understand..

    The blues, the KMT, the remains of the old guard that Mao chased off of the mainland, who ruled Taiwan as a police state for decades, the arch anti-communists ... they still think they're going to somehow rule China so they are cozying up to the mainland because both they and the CP believe in the one China they just disagree about who should be in charge

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2622 posts Report Reply

  • Chris Waugh, in reply to Seamus Harris,

    What Mark said about context. I was specifically rejecting the Taiwan comparison because it does not work. By "one country, two systems" being a default that came about almost by historic accident, I mean precisely the current non-arrangement where neither side agrees on how to proceed, except that the status quo is working for now. Personally, I don't think either reunification or formal independence is going to happen in our lifetimes, I think both sides will muddle along as they are now, but I've been wrong more than once before, so who knows?

    It's fun playing what if? and of course, nobody can ever prove their alternative histories right or wrong, so how's this:

    Thatcher and Deng fail to come to an agreement through the '80s. China, remembering the events of '79 and well aware that it's only military advantage over the UK is in sheer weight of numbers, but the UK military is vastly superior in terms of skill, experience and equipment, is not in any great mood for risking a bloodbath. '89 further dampens the mood. But still, they're riding the nationalist tiger. Gotta do something. The UK agrees to return the leased New Territories, but digs its heels in over Hong Kong Island and Kowloon, saying "You, or at least the Qing, ceded it! It's our sovereign territory". The UK starts building a defensive line along Kowloon's northern boundary as the 90s progress. '97 the UK returns the New Territories but holds on to Kowloon and the Island. China, trying to balance the risk of nationalist blowback and its reluctance to engage in any military adventures, lest things turn pear shaped and spark off that blowback anyways, says, "Fine, keep Kowloon and your poxy little island, we're turning off the taps and you can forget about any overflight rights". Kowloon and the Island revert to drastic water rationing like they had back in the 50s and 60s while the UK rushes to build desalination plants, and flights in and out of Kai Tak get even more exciting. A closed border brings HK's role as gateway to China to an abrupt end.

    But we'll never know, because neither of our scenarios happened. I do wonder, though, how much of your scenario is realistic and how much is an anti-communist knee jerk. It certainly reads that way.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 2401 posts Report Reply

  • Sue,

    thank you so much for this post Nickkita.
    and for your personal take on it all.

    Like any protest in china i worry, for how it will end. History tells us violently and at the governments hands. I hope that in our word of cellphones and social media that won;t happen.

    For those of you interested in more behind it, i highly recommend following the Scholarism feed on facebook https://www.facebook.com/Scholarism the default facebook translation is beyond terrible, i'm google a bit better

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 527 posts Report Reply

  • Chris Waugh,

    Can I put in an early submission for the Friday music thread? It's a Beijinger singing in Mandarin, but this may not be entirely irrelevant.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 2401 posts Report Reply

  • Nickkita Lau,

    This message may be a little simplistic to a very complicated situation. I encourage you all to read more about what's happening in HK right now and what our police has done over the past 2-3 days from different sources. If you have the means, go to one of our protest sites to FEEL it. There were Chinese tourists who only went to "check out how a protest was like" ended up staying and supporting our students during their entire visit, skipping their shopping trips entirely. If you still think HKers aren't ready for democracy after you've tried to understand with an open heart, fair enough, but I'm sure many will be touched by the goodness the protesters have displayed.

    It's okay if you don't support our cause, if you genuinely don't think the youngsters are using the right approach or democracy is the answer to this, but please at least try to understand why we are doing this, why our spoiled teenagers who have enjoyed the life of abundance and are pampered by their parents and maids at home are willing to risk their lives to fight for something noble.

    When I was a teacher in HK, I never thought they were capable of something like this, ever.

    Our students are scared, but they are more scared of HK being turned into just another Chinese city. Regaining control of our own destiny is our only hope.

    Since Oct 2014 • 6 posts Report Reply

  • mark taslov,

    willing to risk their lives to fight for something noble.

    The question for me is, assuming Beijing – against all reasonable expectations – were to back down, and grant ‘democracy’, then what changes might this bring about? The CCP’s public nominations will become private, you will see ‘independent’ candidates emerge surreptitiously fronting for foreign and corporate interests. Instead of democratically elected officials advocating or implementing Beijing’s law you’ll see the advocacy of ‘foreign’ law as we have in NZ with the TPPA, the suppression of terrorism laws (laws that have been exploited to redefine the activist as the terrorist), you’d most likely eventually see increased pressure for young Hong Kongers to be sent to fight for oil or against ‘terrorism’, suppression of speech under new pretexts. Some may even argue that, as odd as this may sound, in many ways Hong Kong is currently in better democratic shape than a number of jaded democratic countries.

    Our dogmatic histories teach us that democracy as an ideal is a noble thing to die for. If New Zealanders were as motivated and organised as the Hong Kong protesters I would feel immensely proud and have considerably more faith in democracy, in fact as DeepRed and Chris intimated, the mobilisation of Hong Kongers puts the constituents of most actual western democracies to shame.

    Whether life is being risked comes down to Beijing’s resolve and whether their approach to large scale demonstration has evolved significantly since 1989. Some more experienced commentators may argue that the likelihood of violent response from the PLA is slim, and furthermore that drawing parallels with Gandhi’s fight for independence appears misguided, the respective contexts being irreconcilable: the embarrassment of ‘international incident’ that Ghandi manipulated could not be met with the same consternation, the international response to a June 4 like massacre would be muted at best, just as it was then, because they’ve the got the bomb.

    Fighting for individual principles, issue by issue be it freedom of speech, press, or assembly would still seem to be well within the rights and capabilities for the Hong Kong citizenry. What has remained largely undiscussed is who has the most to gain from destabilisation in Hong Kong, and what manipulative role democracy’s™ largest exporter might be playing if in fact, as is so often the case, there’s more than meets the eye.

    Te Ika-a-Māui • Since Mar 2008 • 2281 posts Report Reply

  • Seamus Harris, in reply to Chris Waugh,

    "Anti communist knee-jerk". . . wow.

    Auckland • Since May 2008 • 43 posts Report Reply

  • mark taslov,

    And not to discredit the motivations of most of the protesters themselves,but to strongly question some of the impetus.

    Allegations of Jimmy Lai’s top aide; ex-United States Naval Investigative Service employee Mark Simon, whose father served 35 years in the CIA, helping to arrange a meeting between Lai and Sarah Palin in 2009, and further allegations that Lai had travelled to Myanmar with former World Bank president and former US deputy defense secretary Paul Wolfowitz in 2012 and 2013, can't be easily ignored.

    Reconsidering Russell’s comparison to a local protest and looking at the second photo in the original post, I have to ask did the Auckland Occupy movement block roads like that?

    Te Ika-a-Māui • Since Mar 2008 • 2281 posts Report Reply

  • Chris Waugh, in reply to Seamus Harris,

    Well, that's certainly how your comment read to me. Was I wrong?

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 2401 posts Report Reply

  • Chris Waugh, in reply to Seamus Harris,

    To clarify:

    I'm certainly not going to apologise for the CCP or its multitude of wrongs. Hence the link to the Cui Jian MV upthread (which I hope works for those outside the Great Firewall).

    You're comment seems to me to be all Big Bad Bully in Beijing vs. Gook HK and Britain and Taiwan. I struggle to see any goodies or baddies in this, just a whole bunch of powerful, wealthy people with interests they want to push or protect, and down on the streets, the students.

    So let's look at it from a different angle: Both the CCP and the KMT are (or were, perhaps, in the case of the KMT? Need to catch up with Taiwan, election must be coming soon... ) supposed to be parties of national liberation. Not much point in preaching national liberation unless you're going to liberate the nation. Hong Kong Island was ceded to the UK under the Mother of All the Unequal Treaties, the Treaty of Nanking in 1842. The territory was expanded through more unequal treaties. So Hong Kong was stolen property. Why shouldn't China have demanded it back? Taiwan had been ceded to Japan under another unequal treaty in 1895 and returned to Chinese (i.e. RoC) sovereignty under the Japanese surrender in 1945, so really, why not demand Hong Kong back?

    Fast forward to now: What is Zhongnanhai's motivation in all this? Is it really as simple as evil, nasty commies and their loathing of democracy? Is it the CCP's fear of a competitor for power? Social harmony and the preservation of stability seem to have become almost Party fetishes in recent years, but I don't think it's as simple as the need to hold onto power. The fear of chaos is very real and based on very sound reasons. You can certainly critique the way they go about preserivng harmony and stability. And many other things. But maybe there's more to it than simply keeping their hold on power?

    And when your party was founded by people living in a time and place where it seemed the world was carving your country up and so national liberation and reunification and rejuvenation are such a core plank of your founding philosophy and the culture you were raised in holds being a 败家子* as one of the greatest sins, perhaps it's no surprise they so resistant to the idea of losing even one tiny rock way out in the ocean or even the hint of federalism or confederation.

    And after the Century of National Humiliation they see nefarious foreign forces meddling sometimes covertly sometimes overtly in the affairs of so many developing countries working to preserve, at least, preferably advance Anglo-American and (at least in Africa) French interests. Follow that up with the rash of "colour revolutions" this century in which those nefarious foreign forces have hardly bothered to conceal their activities, and perhaps the paranoia is not so completely unfounded? Look at what Mark Taslov found about Jimmy Lai.

    And down on the streets are the students. I'm certainly not old enough to have forgotten my youthful passion, idealism and radicalism. I certainly do not disagree with the values or ideals the students are promoting. I'm just not sure of all that is going on here or all the forces that are in play, and I'm certainly not satisfied with such a simplistic answer as the "it's all the evil CCP's fault!" that seemed to be your argument.

    *bàijiāzǐ, the wastrel son who pisses away the family fortune. One could argue that it applies to the state (国 ) as much as to the family (家).

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 2401 posts Report Reply

  • Seamus Harris,

    I'd say my comment was pretty balanced and informed. I'm not so sure about yours. My guess is that you've never taken the time to learn anything very much about either Taiwan or Hong Kong.

    I just watched the TV segment now. Contrary to what the presenter said, "one country, two systems" is not a "saying". More accurately it refers to a specific proposal from Beijing that involves territories giving up their sovereignty (i.e. becoming part of the PRC) in exchange for Beijing permitting limited freedoms beyond those enjoyed in the rest of the PRC. Hong Kong's example has exposed the weakness of this idea - Beijing's insincerity.

    I don't get your reasoning about how a Green election victory in Taiwan could somehow threaten what you believe to be the "default" of "one country, two systems". First, "one country, two systems" doesn't exist in Taiwan. Second, those who harp on about the importance of preserving the status quo there (i.e. continue shoring up the crumbling remnants of yet another authoritarian regime) overlook that the status quo is fluid.

    While the current KMT government is committed (at least publicly) to upholding sovereignty (i.e. no "one country, two systems"), they are pursuing economic liberalizations that threaten to ultimately destroy Taiwan's democracy. For example, a democracy can't sustain a free press under Chinese ownership of its media, extending citizenship to business migrants from a country committed to your destruction becomes problematic at election time, opening your communications infrastructure to investment from a regime that practices censorship and plots to bomb you is dumb, etc.

    Given the reality, I don't get what a Green election victory threatens. Despite the absurd things said about Chen Shuibian, his presidency did not see war break out. On the contrary it saw healthy growth in engagement across the Taiwan Strait. The intransigence on cross-strait relations during his presidency came entirely from Beijing. Rather than deal with Taiwan's elected government the CCP went and negotiated with the KMT. That nicely demonstrates the contempt both parties have for democracy, and Taiwan's people.

    Auckland • Since May 2008 • 43 posts Report Reply

  • Chris Waugh, in reply to Seamus Harris,

    Well, then stop guessing.

    I only mentioned Taiwan because it was raised as a comparison with Hong Kong in that Media Take segment and I object to that because the comparison just does not work, the situations in the two territories are just too different.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 2401 posts Report Reply

  • mark taslov, in reply to Chris Waugh,

    We’re stuck in a loop. Seamus as I mentioned above it was Toi Iti who made a fleeting Taiwan comparison.

    Te Ika-a-Māui • Since Mar 2008 • 2281 posts Report Reply

  • Chris Waugh, in reply to mark taslov,

    I just realised I've seen all this before: Classic foreign pan-Green/Tai Du sympathiser tactics. He's entitled to his views, but I'm not going to repeat myself any more, and I'd rather get back to the situation in Hong Kong.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 2401 posts Report Reply

  • Seamus Harris, in reply to Chris Waugh,

    Sent my earlier reply while you were posting yours, so didn't see your last post.

    I'm not a fan of the CCP. Simple as that. Nor am I a fan of the KMT. I am a fan of self-determination, and this has advanced in Taiwan (mostly despite the KMT) far more than in China.

    I don't really buy into the whole 'century of humiliation'. China was historically a imperial bully similar to Britain and the other Western powers. So Chinese nationalism seems pretty hollow and overblown. Be nationalistic by all means, but less selective memory would be nice.

    Chinese seem to obsess on their 'humiliations' at the hands of Westerners and Japanese. Their 'humiliations' at the hands of Mongolians, Manchurians, Tibetans etc. all get forgotten. Odd given that the modern Chinese nation was essentially founded on anti-Manchu sentiment. Chinese overlook the barbarity they inflicted on others (e.g. a reason China has no Miao separatist movement could be the castration of the Miao).

    Auckland • Since May 2008 • 43 posts Report Reply

  • Chris Waugh, in reply to Seamus Harris,

    but less selective memory would be nice.

    Well, that I certainly agree on.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 2401 posts Report Reply

  • Seamus Harris, in reply to Chris Waugh,

    If you only bought up Taiwan because you felt the comparison didn't work due the different situations then stop there.

    If that was your sold purpose there was no need to present your 'wise' view a non-KMT government in Taiwan would destabilize things.

    Auckland • Since May 2008 • 43 posts Report Reply

  • Seamus Harris, in reply to Chris Waugh,

    Err yes. You're right Chris. The DPP pay me TWD 0.5 per post.

    Auckland • Since May 2008 • 43 posts Report Reply

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