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Countdown to 2047: The Death of Hong Kong?

SunriseChampion

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As you're probably aware, the last few weeks have seen major protests in Hong Kong in response to a now-suspended extradition bill that would have allowed Hong Kong authorities to extradite alleged criminals to face "justice" in China.

I take personal interest in developments in Hong Kong owing to having grown up going to elementary school with and making friends with a large number of classmates whose families had immigrated to Canada prior to the handover from Britain in 1997. I, at one time, had even contemplated applying for university there.....unfortunately the fees were 25KUSD/year at the time which was more than my RESP could manage.

These current protests come a few years after the pro-democracy Umbrella Movement sputtered and died with the imprisonment of pro-democracy activists and the barring from the legislature of several pro-democracy members due to their insincere oath-taking. An oath that asks members to swear fealty to China.

The current protests, however, are bigger than the last wave and have broad support across class divisions in Hong Kong. For the first time, for example, business leaders are speaking up in favour of the protests, though none publicly that I have seen....for obvious reasons (amongst them serious self-interest).

Hong Kong is in a hard place, being literally attached to the authoritarian behemoth next door, but I have overly-optimistic hope for the place because I see that the younger generations won't take Chinese colonisation lying down.

2047 is the year after which Hong Kong is supposed to be fully integrated into the Chinese state, judicially, legislatively, etc. Whilst it's a long way away still, do you think that the Hong Kong of today will still be around to meet its appointed demise or do you think it will be subsumed into the Chinese tyranny a lot sooner?

Will Hong Kong escape its fate as another Tibet?

Do you think our government should do more to stand up to China?


Geeze, I grew up with friends from HK and live in Parkdale with all the Tibetans....I think I'd be anti-China even if I wasn't an authoritarian-hating liberal. :)
Like, 1984 called, they want their premise back.
 

lenaitch

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I don't follow it that closely but I wouldn't be surprised that, if China gets p/o'd enough, they'll just march in; 2047 be damned. What's the world going to do for breaking their agreement with the UK, take them to court? I doubt the world will choose that hill to die on.
They will claim ethnic sovereignty, like they do over Taiwan and like Russian claimed over the eastern Ukraine - to protect ethnic Russians, which scares the bejeezuz out of the Baltic countries
 

SunriseChampion

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Yeah...that sounds great. haha

It's definitely possible. The Chinese seem to be playing the looooong game. Slowly building up military capacity in the East China Sea, most likely to take out Taiwan (that's another piss off....the way almost no one will recognise them for fear of upsetting the psychotic bully that is China); slowly and nefariously undermining Hong Kong's semi-independence; concentration camps for the Uyghurs; and the infrastructure creep into Tibet.

Even lands they already have full control over they try to make it look like it all happened almost by accident and with the willing participation of the downtrodden locals.

I'm not sure what a military intervention in Hong Kong would look like though. It's a densely populated place....well, the bits that aren't forest. That could lead to some seriously unwinnable urban warfare. Unless they decided to just level the place altogether, which would defeat the purpose of trying to control it in the first place.

I don't think there's much to be gained from intervening militarily, to be honest.
 

jje1000

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Hong Kong was doomed the moment Thatcher handed power over from 1997 and at this current rate, 2047 will arrive well before 2047.

The Communist Party of China still sees a fundamental conflict between its socialist-capitalist authoritarianism and liberal capitalist democracy, and anything marginally resembling such the latter can't be allowed to exist in 'Chinese' lands for fear of ideological percolation and competition. This also extends to religious crackdowns throughout China, especially with Christian converts and the Muslim Uygurs in Xinjiang, as religion offers an alternate set of beliefs that conflict with the pseudo-religious tenets of Communism. In the end, everything must be Han, all of them must speak Putonghua, and most of them must exist under the banner of the Communist Party.

China still sees itself as the centre of its world, and its neighbors are still in the end, tributaries that aren't equals to the Mainland. This extends from the way they treat Hong Kong, to the South China Seas, to their Belt and Road initiatives- they see it as their backyard, so they should be the ones shaping those lands down the road.

Beyond their immediate realm of influence in other countries, they buy off politicians and insert economic hooks into economies so when China pulls on them if a country goes against its will, those hooks will hurt (i.e. selectively banning imports like they've recently done in Canada). There's also been a conspicuous push with social elements like Confucius Institutes and the United Front to blur the line between a Chinese ethnicity and a Chinese nationality.

It's a very long game that goes beyond electoral cycles, and with a general consistency in ideology, China has the time and the money. To the Chicoms, the ends justify the means (and they have a lot of money and a loose interpretation of what defines fair play), so don't be surprised if we see more of this down the road.


Xi Jinping In Translation: China’s Guiding Ideology

Behind this religiously charged language is a man deeply worried that the cadres of his generation are not prepared to make the sort of sacrifices their parents and grandparents did for China’s revolutionary cause. Xi’s verdict is that such people do not have enough faith in the “eventual demise of capitalism and the ultimate victory of socialism.” Their “views lack a firm grounding in historical materialism,” leading them to doubt that “socialism is bound to win.” This has practical consequences. The cadre without communist convictions will act “hedonistically” and “self-interestedly.” Worst of all, he might begin to believe “false arguments that we should abandon socialism” altogether.

For Xi, this would be a grave betrayal of the Party’s heritage. The Communist Party of China is tasked with “building a socialism that is superior to capitalism” whose economic and technological prowess will give it “the dominant position” in world affairs. And though Xi asserts that this is inevitable, “the road will be tortuous.” Party members must fiercely fend off ideological attacks on socialism with Chinese characteristics. The most pressing ideological problems identified in this speech are two ‘false arguments:’ First, that the mass death, cruelty, and poverty of Maoist China undermines the credibility of the Party leadership today, and second, that socialism with Chinese characteristics is not really socialism at all.
More significant than Xi’s use of Marxist theory to justify any particular policy is his conviction that he leads an ideological-political system distinct from that of the capitalist world. Threats to this system are not framed in military or economic terms, but ideological ones. The Soviet Union fell, he declares, “because ideological competition is fierce.” If the faith of its cadres remains fervent, Xi believes his Party will succeed where the Soviet Union could not.
 
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AlvinofDiaspar

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Hong Kong was doomed the moment Thatcher handed power over from 1997 and at this current rate, 2047 will arrive well before 2047.
Technically, it's the Sino-British Joint Declaration of 1984. To be blunt - the Brits themselves never really wanted a meaningful post-colonial/democratic Hong Kong themselves either (notwithstanding the too little, too late reforms at the twilight of British rule - and someone else can assess the motivations of Patten et al).

Also, Hong Kongers were notoriously apolitical for the longest time - so that self-identity never really existed among the populace (the popular saying - "politics have nothing to do with me"). Of course things has changed since then - but the whole "no change for 50 years" promised by the Joint Declaration was predicated upon Hongers remaining docile, focused on money and satisfyng themselves with a colonial level of personal freedoms - which is now totally dated and no longer sufficient.

and second, that socialism with Chinese characteristics is not really socialism at all.
We definitely need to ask Marx and Engels about that. 😈 I suspect they would be spinning in their graves if what's being practiced in China is their concept of Socialism.

AoD
 
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jje1000

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Also, Hong Kongers were notoriously apolitical for the longest time - so that self-identity never really existed among the populace (the popular saying - "politics have nothing to do with me"). Of course things has changed since then - but the whole "no change for 50 years" promised by the Joint Declaration was predicated upon Hongers remaining docile, focused on money and satisfyng themselves with a colonial level of personal freedoms - which is now totally dated and no longer sufficient.
I would say that Beijing's insistent meddling in Hong Kong affairs has to do with a growing politicization of the populace.

There was an agreement, and the Chicoms saw to start bending it as soon as they could (i.e. filtering candidates)- this, combined with Mainland in-migration plus a rising cost-of-living drives resentment, and in turn, resistance to Beijing policies that first emerged in 2014.

We'll see if Beijing will lay low for now, or if has to act decisively from losing "face" (or whatever internal party politics there are).
 

Northern Light

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I'll predicate this speculative statement by saying more people get into trouble predicting the future; and often the demise of great powers.

Of course, usually, they're right, its the timing that's off by years, decades or centuries.

With that said, and noting the incredible economic success of China of the last 3 decades...........I think Xi may have more to worry about on the mainland.

Growth is still high by our standards 5.5-7% annualized if you accept the the figures from China.

However, its being sustained from what I can discerns by massive capital injections through state-owned enterprises and banks.

I'm not sure how long a liquidity push like that is sustainable.

China surely has more opportunities for growth.

However, I would argue that these are predicated on a growing domestic economy, rather than exports.

Should that supposition be accurate, you have a problem. Growing that domestic economy requires substantial wage growth; which in turn adversely affects export competitiveness.

The way you logically combat this is by lowering the value of Yuan, but doing that limits consumer purchasing power and reduces the ability to source raw materials and other inputs from overseas.

I'm not sure how soon this bites the regime (if ever), but I somehow feel like its not so far off in the distant future.

The challenge then, that domestic political peace is largely predicated on sustained growth and prosperity.

Should the latter falter, would the former be far behind?

****

To bring this back to the beginning......if China manages to avoid any bursting bubbles or even low-growth scenarios lasting more than 2 years; then the existing regime will grow stronger and have a greater appetite for expansionist policy.

However, if the bubble bursts or deflates in the next few years.......HK will be the least of Beijing's problems.
 

AlvinofDiaspar

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I would say that Beijing's insistent meddling in Hong Kong affairs has to do with a growing politicization of the populace.

There was an agreement, and the Chicoms saw to start bending it as soon as they could (i.e. filtering candidates)- this, combined with Mainland in-migration plus a rising cost-of-living drives resentment, and in turn, resistance to Beijing policies that first emerged in 2014.

We'll see if Beijing will lay low for now, or if has to act decisively from losing "face" (or whatever internal party politics there are).
They meddled long even before the handover - and there weren’t anyone marching on the streets by and large . It was a generational difference as well. In any case, anyone familiar with behaviour of the Chinese government would have been aware of their duplicity over the years.

The crazy thing is they probably can gain more just by doing nothing - the fact that they couldn’t help themselves suggested a deep-seated fear of the outside context problem by the CCP.

AoD
 

jje1000

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The crazy thing is they probably can gain more just by doing nothing - the fact that they couldn’t help themselves suggested a deep-seated fear of the outside context problem by the CCP.
That was what I was getting at- that literally doing the bare minimum to prevent ideological percolation and letting demographics (aka immigration) dictate destiny would have solved their Hong Kong "problem" over time. Most people are largely concerned about their day-to-day affairs- and it's only when they feel that they're getting pushed against a wall that they begin to act.

It probably has to be some sort of power play produced out of some insecurity in the power of Communist beliefs, IMO.

I think the fundamental issue is that no matter what the current party lines are, Chinese Communism was fundamentally debunked by Deng Xiaoping and the pivot towards capitalist systems in the 80s and 90s (same goes for the USSR but they collapsed in the process of doing so). There might be socialist elements remaining, but there's a degree of mental gymnastics needed to reconcile the current systems with Marxism (which is probably why they no longer reference Marx and co).
 
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Johnny Au

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That was what I was getting at- that literally doing the bare minimum to prevent ideological percolation and letting demographics (aka immigration) dictate destiny would have solved their Hong Kong "problem" over time. Most people are largely concerned about their day-to-day affairs- and it's only when they feel that they're getting pushed against a wall that they begin to act.

It probably has to be some sort of power play produced out of some insecurity in the power of Communist beliefs, IMO.

I think the fundamental issue is that no matter what the current party lines are, Chinese Communism was fundamentally debunked by Deng Xiaoping and the pivot towards capitalist systems in the 80s and 90s (same goes for the USSR but they collapsed in the process of doing so). There might be socialist elements remaining, but there's a degree of mental gymnastics needed to reconcile the current systems with Marxism (which is probably why they no longer reference Marx and co).
The current Chinese Communist Party is in fact much closer to the current Republican Party in the United States than to a hypothetical Marxist political party in power.
 

jje1000

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Beyond their immediate realm of influence in other countries, they buy off politicians and insert economic hooks into economies so when China pulls on them if a country goes against its will, those hooks will hurt (i.e. selectively banning imports like they've recently done in Canada). There's also been a conspicuous push with social elements like Confucius Institutes and the United Front to blur the line between a Chinese ethnicity and a Chinese nationality.
Of note in Canada:

Pro-CCP groups of Canada in 2019
 

jje1000

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And an instance of CCP front groups + the United Front attempting to influence foreign perceptions (and also again inferring a Chinese ethnicity with a Chinese nationality)- Canadians should ask if they want this extra-ethnonationalism within our borders. It's also been suggested that the Claws of the Panda by John Manthorpe is a good read on China's reach in Canada:

Canadian ads blasted Hong Kong ‘radicals’, invoking blood loyalty to China. Was Beijing’s United Front involved?
Ian Young 6 Jul, 2019
  • There were 208 signatories to the newspaper ads placed in Vancouver, reflecting a recent explosion in mainland-linked groups in Canada
  • A director of the long-time Chinatown group that placed the ads said all in Canada should be heard – even those accused of ties to Beijing’s influence campaign
They include dozens of Chinese fraternal organisations, business groups and even clubs devoted to stamp collecting, robotics and ice wine appreciation.

But the 208 Canadian Chinese groups that were signatories to recent newspaper advertisements in Vancouver denouncing “radical” Hong Kong protesters may also have included groups linked to the Chinese government’s “United Front” work – its overseas campaign of influence and outreach into the Chinese diaspora.
The CBAV’s ads invoked blood loyalty among overseas Chinese, saying they were “obliged to unite with the Hong Kong residents and not to be taken advantage of by the separatist forces”.

They also opposed “the interference of any foreign forces”, calling the Hong Kong unrest “an internal affair of China”.
The advertisements placed by the CBAV on June 21 provoked a sharp backlash from diaspora Chinese who supported the protesters, pushing long-standing differences over Hong Kong’s fate into the spotlight of Canada’s mainstream English-language media.

Sung said she objected to invoking racial unity to rally people against the protesters.

“Normally you wouldn’t think that could be an argument: ‘the reason why you should think like this is because of your blood’. That is really problematic, especially for second-generation Canadians here,” she said.
The ads say: “As ethnic Chinese and overseas Chinese people residing in Canada, we are all the children of Emperor Yan and Emperor Huang [two of China’s mythic founders], we belong to the same Chinese nation, based on the idea of blood being thicker than water, patriotism and love of our homeland, we are paying a close attention to the development of the current Hong Kong situation, we are obliged to unite with the Hong Kong residents and not to be taken advantage of by the separatist forces.”

Bill Chu of the Canadians for Reconciliation Society, told the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation he also took exception to the ads’ appeal to Chinese racial unity. “It’s divisive to say the least. It’s trying to shift our allegiance from one country [Canada] to another [China],” Chu told CBC’s Early Edition on June 25.
The CBAV was founded in 1895 and formally registered in 1906, in the waning years of the Qing dynasty, to serve diaspora members in the absence of Chinese government support.

It has been hailed for battling discrimination in the early 20th century and took a key role in pushing for the repeal of Canada’s anti-Chinese “head tax” in 1948.
But scores of the signatory groups were formed relatively recently, part of a mushrooming of organisations claiming to represent various sectors of Canada’s Chinese community. Ing said that “this proliferation only happened in the recent years, with the immigrants from the mainland”.
At least 80 groups appear to be recently founded with some kind of mainland Chinese connection, reflecting the huge surge in mainland Chinese migration since about 2000.

Sung, of the Canadian Friends of Hong Kong, said the recent ad “includes most of what we know to be and that we suspect to be United Front groups”. Others, she agreed, seemed innocuous – “just normal hobby groups, or alumni associations”.
 
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Johnny Au

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And an instance of CCP front groups + the United Front attempting to influence foreign perceptions (and also again inferring a Chinese ethnicity with a Chinese nationality)- Canadians should ask if they want this extra-ethnonationalism within our borders. It's also been suggested that the Claws of the Panda by John Manthorpe is a good read on China's reach in Canada:

Canadian ads blasted Hong Kong ‘radicals’, invoking blood loyalty to China. Was Beijing’s United Front involved?
Ian Young 6 Jul, 2019
  • There were 208 signatories to the newspaper ads placed in Vancouver, reflecting a recent explosion in mainland-linked groups in Canada
  • A director of the long-time Chinatown group that placed the ads said all in Canada should be heard – even those accused of ties to Beijing’s influence campaign








Clearly, the ads completely ignore descendants of Chinese immigrants in other countries.

I may be ethnically Han Chinese, but my nationality is Canadian first and foremost.

If all Han Chinese are claimed to be descended from Emperors Yan and Huang, then it could lead to a theological debate with those with strong beliefs in the Abrahamic religions who claim that Adam and Eve are their first ancestors.

There are even some Han Chinese people who claim to be descended from Adam and Eve rather than Emperors Yan and Huang.

By the way, I am completely non-religious.
 

wild goose chase

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Clearly, the ads completely ignore descendants of Chinese immigrants in other countries.

I may be ethnically Han Chinese, but my nationality is Canadian first and foremost.

If all Han Chinese are claimed to be descended from Emperors Yan and Huang, then it could lead to a theological debate with those with strong beliefs in the Abrahamic religions who claim that Adam and Eve are their first ancestors.

There are even some Han Chinese people who claim to be descended from Adam and Eve rather than Emperors Yan and Huang.

By the way, I am completely non-religious.
Reading the quotes from that article that suspects foreign influence from China make it indeed sound almost cartoonishly propagandistic. Maybe it's something in translation, but it sounds like what you'd expect a troll from abroad to stereotypically sound like, talking about "blood" and "homeland", rather than something grassroots from a local Canadian community.
 
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