Vince on Quora: Why doesn’t China just give the Hong Kong demonstrators what they want?
The question was asked on the German language sector of Quora. The following is my commentary about the issue raised by the questioner, followed by my translation of the question and the answer.
Quora is a good place to test the geopolitical IQ of the Western world. Like a great number of Quora questions, the one reflected in the above title is a clear indication of how Westerners think, mostly as a result of consuming news as reported by the msm and the attitudes and values of the political class, which shape our thinking because: 1 – we are inclined to accept their bias thanks to what could only be termed an intellectual deficit, and 2 – the msm are clever enough to report in ways that bend the minds of unwary news consumers toward their biased viewpoint. Now, of course, the news as reported about the Hong Kong protests was not, strictly speaking, erroneous, but it led the public to believe that the protesters are peaceful (many have been violent) victims of a regime that rules them with an iron hand. The general tenor of today’s discourse on China inclines people to think that the PRC is a brutal juggernaut that runs roughshod over a captive people chafing to be free. In fact, the Chinese people are generally content that the CP has been growing the economy steadily for decade and has been making enormous progress in lifting the poor out of poverty, in contrast to the US, where the gap between rich and poor is growing at an alarming rate and no tangible progress is being made in lowering poverty.
Even if you call this Chinese report “propaganda,” there is no denying that US politicians rarely talk about the exploding income gap and none of them have done anything meaningful to improve the lot of the poor. The closest anyone came to this was the passage of Obamacare, but this solution would have made many middle class workers poor due to the legal obligation to buy extremely expensive private health insurance designed to make Big Medicine richer at the expense of the patient. As for welfare, it does nothing to give jobs to the poor, just makes them dependant on government. Worse, under this scheme, a woman with children can generally receive payments only if there is no man living under her roof. Thus, it has the effect of making children fatherless – a significant factor in poverty.
A site that keeps tabs on income inequality reports:
“Income disparities have become so pronounced that America’s top 10 percent now average more than nine times as much income as the bottom 90 percent.”
“Between 1979 and 2007, paycheck income for those in the richest 1 percent and 0.1 percent exploded. The wage and salary income for these elite groups dipped after the 2008 financial crisis but have nearly regained their pre-crisis value. Meanwhile, the bottom 90 percent of earners have seen little change in their average income, with just a 22 percent increase from 1979 to 2017.”
Worse, wages in 3 categories, ie, men, Hispanics and blacks, actually fell significantly, as reported by the Congressional Research Service.
Thus, Western media are hardly justified in portraying China as undermining the interests of its people. Of course, clearly, the purpose of Western reporting has nothing to do with presenting a realistic picture of China. US policy since the 80s, when Congress accorded the PRC “Most Favoured Nation” status in mutual trade with the US, has been guided in large part by the principle of driving a wedge between China and Russia, on the assumption that Russia was the main enemy. Only recently has the US government awakened from its opiate slumber and realized, decades late, that China and Russia are not about to be driven apart in the foreseeable future. The policy under Trump has therefore been to slightly favour Russia over China and do everything in America’s power to undermine the Chinese economy. The trade war is aimed at this goal but the consequence has in fact been a slowdown in the entire world economy – something that economists had warned about. Thus, as it turns out, being the CEO of companies building luxury hotels and casinos does not automatically educate anyone about macroeconomics.
Why does China not simply give in to the Hong Kong demonstrators?
Warum gibt China den Hongkonger Demonstranten nicht einfach das, was sie wollen?
Vince Dhimos, Editor-in-Chief at New Silk Strategies (2016-present)
The PRC gave in months ago to the demands of the demonstrators in Hong Kong. The issue that supposedly triggered the protests was the PRC's intention to introduce a perfectly sensible laws to facilitate the extradition of criminals between China and other countries. The demonstrators claimed that this law would restrict freedom - however, most western countries have such laws and no one is protesting against them. The purpose of the law was to bring Chinese suspects to court in China. A normal process in the West.
So to appease the protesters, the PRC relented and scrapped this law project very early on to end the damage done by the protesters.
The demonstrators, however, continued the protests, proving that the reason for the protests was a false pretext and tending to confirm the suspicions of critics that the US was just staging another “colour revolution.”
This scenario has been repeating itself around the world for many years and each time, it turns out that the US government and/or US NGOs are behind it. US officials and the media have admitted that they want to wrest Hong Kong from Chinese control, so there is little left to guesswork.
The anti-China atmosphere in Washington will be clear to all who have seen the desperate efforts of the current administration to sabotage the Chinese economy with their trade war and negative statements, for example, about Huawei. While it is true that Chinese companies, like those of other countries, including the US, have been found guilty of infringing on patents, these companies are normally made to fairly compensate the offended party for the rights they had improperly utilized. Normally, a lawsuit is the process by which such issues are resolved, and once the infringer has paid for the improper use, both parties are satisfied. Since this legal procedure exists and works well, it is very rare – and unnecessary – for the country to which an offended company belongs to get involved. In fact, this kind of unusual “solution,” with a Huawei official being arrested and detained, was employed by the administration as a political ploy to gain votes and also to stir up resentment against China. The politicians and msm involved succeeded only because of an intellectual deficit on the part of the grassroots. You can hardly refer to a country with a gullible populace that is routinely manipulated by its government and media as a “democracy.” Yet that is what .
The US support for the Hong Kong protests is just a continuation of this attempt to foment resentment against China and the government’s underlying motive is to obtain an unfair trade advantage in hopes that the US economy will somehow benefit from dragging down China. There is absolutely no reason to expect that this would work any better than a shopkeeper’s throwing a rock through the window of a competing shop down the street, but politicians aren’t paid to think or actually to solve problems, just to say the words that garner votes. Both political parties are in on the scheme, literally killing fair competition in ways that ultimately harm the global economy (Deutsche Bank has said that the trade wars have cost the world stock market $5 trillion so far, and US manufacturing statistics are now as low as they were at the time of the 2008 economic crisis).
However, the more people become aware of the malicious attacks on free competition – the bedrock of the capitalist system – and US interference in the internal affairs of foreign countries, and the more easily the public recognizes the familiar patterns of instigation and promotion of coups by the US, the more likely the public is to cry foul and eventually pressure the government and its compliant NGOs to stop fomenting these violent, deadly and unreasonable protests. Bolivia is the latest bloody example of US-sponsored coups, with foreign secretary Mike Pompeo openly supporting the demonstrators, many of whom were violent, and with the administration immediately recognizing an unelected person as interim president, just as it had done in Venezuela.
Ironically, whenever the US succeeds in promoting such protests and fanning them into coups d’état, the people in the nation in which the coup succeeds lose a significant amount of freedom under the transparently false pretext of bringing "freedom and democracy" and typically suffer significant economic losses, contributing to a shrinkage of the global, and with it the US, economy.
The most outstanding example is Ukraine, which had a growing economy in 2014, thanks to fruitful cooperation with Russia, before the US-backed Maidan coup. According to IMF statistics, Ukraine is today the poorest country in Europe!