Anyone know what is happening in Hong Kong - why the violence?

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  • stetsonstetson Shipmate
    Dave W wrote: »
    Is there official recognition of grave mistakes?

    I believe the Cultural Revolution was very publically blamed on the Gang Of Four, with Mao escaping any official criticism. Of course, one of the Gang was his wife, which kind of complicated the exoneration, but whatevs.

    Not sure how they handle the Great Leap Forward, which I assume is what you mean by "the three years of difficulties". We can probably wait for Sir Pal's answer.
  • BroJamesBroJames Purgatory Host
    Mild note not to abbreviate shipmate’s names, please. It is often not taken kindly, and this is a thread that does tend to get heated.

    Thank you

    BroJames Purgatory Host
  • The government tends to avoid protracted discussions of these events (the famine, the Cultural Revolution), but since everybody knows about them, it can't simply deny or whitewash them, and it does have to manage the narrative. Some characteristic pieces from the Global Times (party-run paper):

    A strident defense of Mao's legacy overall but reflecting a standard way of praising him, with some embedded (though unspecified) criticism:
    We must admit that Deng Xiaoping's remark about Mao's life that he was "70 percent right and 30 percent wrong" represents the mainstream ideas about Mao. As the Cultural Revolution faded, most Chinese people began to recognize his mistakes as well as his achievements. That Mao is a great man has a strong foundation in Chinese society. Some think Mao has had an infamous reputation in society. This is only a naïve delusion of these people...

    We are certain that Mao and the CPC led China to become truly independent and laid the foundation for China's reform and opening-up. However, his personal leadership style has its own limits, which resulted in criticism toward him after his death.

    A revolution always has its cruel side, as did the Chinese revolution led by Mao...

    Until now, the results of the Chinese revolution have been positive. It helped China get out of poverty and put it on the right track of human rights development. It not only makes China outstanding among some underdeveloped countries, but also propels the West to feel unprecedented competition and challenges.

    Results of a poll which finds that
    Nearly 80 percent of respondents believe Mao's main fault was launching the Cultural Revolution (1966-76), around 60 percent of them voted for his pushing the Great Leap Forward (1958-61) out of not respecting economic rules, and 46 percent mentioned Mao's main fault as launching a personality cult.

    "The concern of those who hold a negative point of view toward Mao currently is that the acute social contradictions in today's China may lead to people rationalizing the Cultural Revolution and hoping to solve the problems through repeating the pattern," Huang Weiping, director of the Contemporary Chinese Politics Research Institute at Shenzhen University, told the Global Times.

    "The authorities avoid deep discussions of the mistakes Mao made in launching the Cultural Revolution," he noted.

    The last two paragraphs are examples of a type of loyal criticism of the government that often appears in state media. In this case, basically saying, "the authorities should do more to address inequality, and also to address the mistakes of the Cultural Revolution so it doesn't happen again." Likewise you'll often see criticism of government for failing to do enough to tackle pollution or local corruption- these are fairly safe critiques that often accord with mainstream Party goals.

    There's an unambiguous denunciation of the Cultural Revolution here... but without pointing fingers at Mao.

    Outside of state media it's easy to find people who will point out the worst excesses of Mao without any reservation, to anyone who will listen to them. Economist Mao Yushi, for instance, is thoroughly anti-Mao, and, while the government has censored some of his publications, he doesn't get arrested and he's hardly alone in his opinion.
  • Historiography about the Great Leap Forward is a little more qualified than the Cultural Revolution. The disastrous famine will be admitted but they will also argue that it helped China industrialize rapidly, and a huge, poor country rapidly industrializing was never going to be pretty.
  • SirPalomides - I've looked at a good number of your links; they give me an impression of a youth movement gone seriously awry, and leaning towards anarchism, though I know not everyone here draws those conclusions. If the police / army response has been low-key so far in order not to respond in a way which plays into the hands of intentional provocation to escalation - is it possible that the state thinks the general public will be more sympathetic to an eventual response with force, if that general population are really pissed-off with the disorder by the time that force happens? And are there risks to waiting-and-seeing, regarding the encouragement of disorder in other parts of China?

  • SirPalomidesSirPalomides Shipmate
    edited October 9
    My guess is that Beijing is hoping that, if they let it drag out long enough, enough Hong Kongers (that "silent majority" which may or may not be real) will get sick of it, or more and more of the protestors will see it's going nowhere and start falling away, leaving a stubborn core that can be easily managed, and, as you say, the general public will be more sympathetic to the authorities. That seems to be the subtext of state media treatments of the subject. The PRC knows that any deaths of protestors- no matter what the circumstances- will be blown up by Western governments and media and used as a pretext for new levels of interference and economic warfare. As it is, there seems to be creeping acknowledgment in Western press of bad elements in the protests, even if the tone is of overall support. To some extent the rioters must also be aware of a need for restraint- there have been all kinds of serious injuries but so far no dead cops.

    I don't think there's much risk of these protests spreading to the mainland. Most mainlanders look at them with disgust. Protests do periodically manifest on the mainland over local issues but the Hong Kong protest is widely perceived as a Western-backed attempted coup, and there is pretty much zero sympathy for that. Hong Kong was of course ceded to the British as a result of the Opium War, so the symbolic importance of Hong Kong belonging to China can't be overstated, and these kids waving union jacks (or American flags) look to mainlanders like they're trying to revive colonialism.
  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    As quoted by Sir Palomides: Nearly 80 percent of respondents believe Mao's main fault was launching the Cultural Revolution (1966-76), around 60 percent of them voted for his pushing the Great Leap Forward (1958-61) out of not respecting economic rules, and 46 percent mentioned Mao's main fault as launching a personality cult.

    That is mathematical nonsense.
  • SirPalomidesSirPalomides Shipmate
    edited October 9
    I’m guessing that’s a translation problem; I imagine the respondents could select more than one “main fault”- that is, he could have two or more major faults.
  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    Perhaps. The fact remains that Mao and Stalin each killed many more of their own people than did Hitler. That does not make Hitler a saint but points out that neither were Mao or Stalin.
  • The Communist Party in China is truly Mao's heirs, which is why they venerate him. They persecute minorities, they stamp on dissent, they pursue the development of personality cults. There is almost no significant difference between the Communists under Mao and the present leadership. If you trust or support the Chinese Communist Party you are foolish.
  • stetsonstetson Shipmate
    Simon Toad wrote: »
    The Communist Party in China is truly Mao's heirs, which is why they venerate him. They persecute minorities, they stamp on dissent, they pursue the development of personality cults. There is almost no significant difference between the Communists under Mao and the present leadership. If you trust or support the Chinese Communist Party you are foolish.

    This is kind of like saying there was no difference between Bloody Mary and Elizabeth I, because they both stamped on dissent and persecuted religious groups. Lousy human-rights records aside, they had very different political visions, and England was likely going to be a very different country depending on which one prevailed.

  • Gee D wrote: »
    Perhaps. The fact remains that Mao and Stalin each killed many more of their own people than did Hitler. That does not make Hitler a saint but points out that neither were Mao or Stalin.

    And this contributes to the discussion, how?

  • stetsonstetson Shipmate
    ^ Persuant to the above, had the Gang Of Four and their allies beat out Deng and remained in power until the present day, China right now would be unrecognizable compared to what we know in our timeline.
  • Dave WDave W Shipmate
    The government tends to avoid protracted discussions of these events (the famine, the Cultural Revolution), but since everybody knows about them, it can't simply deny or whitewash them, and it does have to manage the narrative.
    How does everybody get to know about them?

    Outside of state media it's easy to find people who will point out the worst excesses of Mao without any reservation, to anyone who will listen to them. Economist Mao Yushi, for instance, is thoroughly anti-Mao, and, while the government has censored some of his publications, he doesn't get arrested and he's hardly alone in his opinion.
    How is it easy to find them? That's a six year old article about how he's being attacked both by leftists and by the "party-run" Global Times, and how other liberals have also been increasingly muzzled. ("More recently, the party issued a decree banning discussions of seven taboo subjects at schools, including freedom of speech, judicial independence, civil society and past errors of the party.") Since then, according to this article in Wikipedia, publication of all his works has been banned and his web site was shut down. What would a curious Chinese citizen do in order to learn more about Mao Yushi's views of Mao Zedong?
  • stetson wrote: »
    Simon Toad wrote: »
    The Communist Party in China is truly Mao's heirs, which is why they venerate him. They persecute minorities, they stamp on dissent, they pursue the development of personality cults. There is almost no significant difference between the Communists under Mao and the present leadership. If you trust or support the Chinese Communist Party you are foolish.

    This is kind of like saying there was no difference between Bloody Mary and Elizabeth I, because they both stamped on dissent and persecuted religious groups. Lousy human-rights records aside, they had very different political visions, and England was likely going to be a very different country depending on which one prevailed.

    Even though China has somewhat opened up to the world, the methods employed by Mao and the current leadership are not materially different, and methods matter.
  • SirPalomidesSirPalomides Shipmate
    edited October 10
    Dave W wrote: »
    The government tends to avoid protracted discussions of these events (the famine, the Cultural Revolution), but since everybody knows about them, it can't simply deny or whitewash them, and it does have to manage the narrative.
    How does everybody get to know about them?

    1. They are in living memory for millions of people, who, you know, talk about them with friends and family. 2. Information is widely available in publications, off and online, and state approved or not.
    How is it easy to find them?

    By hanging around universities, talking to people, reading articles, etc. Again I think visiting China would clear up misconceptions for a lot of people. Just because something is censored doesn’t mean it’s hard to find anymore- witness the proliferation of Xi Jinping-Winnie the Pooh memes. When I was in Beijing there was a small but very lively black metal scene. I can assure you this is not because the government was promoting black metal. Curious people will find what they’re looking for.

    Mao Yushi’s Unirule think tank has had an office in Beijing for years, openly promoting “free market” stuff. They were finally closed down in August but their website is hosted overseas and Chinese netizens routinely bypass the firewall when they want to (though I doubt many are interested in horrible Austrian economics).

    Also, PRC censorship isn’t entirely consistent.BBC is blocked, for instance, but CNN is not and their anti-China propaganda is readily available.



  • Martin54Martin54 Shipmate
    stetson wrote: »
    ^ Persuant to the above, had the Gang Of Four and their allies beat out Deng and remained in power until the present day, China right now would be unrecognizable compared to what we know in our timeline.

    Economics is infinitely bigger than ephemeral personalities which might have a negative economic impact in the short term, as Gandhi did, in the name of nationalism. But world wants telly.
  • Simon Toad wrote: »
    stetson wrote: »
    Simon Toad wrote: »
    The Communist Party in China is truly Mao's heirs, which is why they venerate him. They persecute minorities, they stamp on dissent, they pursue the development of personality cults. There is almost no significant difference between the Communists under Mao and the present leadership. If you trust or support the Chinese Communist Party you are foolish.

    This is kind of like saying there was no difference between Bloody Mary and Elizabeth I, because they both stamped on dissent and persecuted religious groups. Lousy human-rights records aside, they had very different political visions, and England was likely going to be a very different country depending on which one prevailed.

    Even though China has somewhat opened up to the world, the methods employed by Mao and the current leadership are not materially different, and methods matter.

    Keep moving those goalposts.

  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    Gee D wrote: »
    Perhaps. The fact remains that Mao and Stalin each killed many more of their own people than did Hitler. That does not make Hitler a saint but points out that neither were Mao or Stalin.

    And this contributes to the discussion, how?

    What Simon Toad has said.
  • Ah right, I forgot, it’s not a thread about Hong Kong or anything specific like that, it’s a thread about dragging every tired anti-China talking point from the vault to see what sticks.

    Don’t forget to complain about how China is reducing caviar to a cheap snack.
  • Simon ToadSimon Toad Shipmate
    edited October 10
    It's being treated by you as a place to justify every fault of the Chinese Communists, either by minimising it, pointing to a different fault of others, or saying that people can get around government censorship so it doesn't matter. All this is relevant to the situation in Hong Kong because these people are protesting against the communists and central control. You don't like that because you are a huge apologist for people these protesters consider their illegitimate rulers. If the army does roll in, no doubt you will have your lines and links justifying the Communists' repression ready to post.
  • Your "apologist" smears and strawmen arguments just embarrass you further. Be kind to yourself. Interestingly, when I post about HK riots- which is to say, when I directly address the topic of the thread- you get very uncomfortable and ask, "What's your agenda here?" So let's talk about Mao, Lin Biao, and anything else to distract from the fact that your heroes in Hong Kong 2019 are a bunch of thugs.
  • BroJamesBroJames Purgatory Host
    Host hat on
    *General hostly admonition.*

    If you disagree with a person’s arguments, put forward your evidence and counter arguments. That is what Purgatory for.

    If you have theories about their motives for posting, however well-founded you might consider your theories to be, they are wholly irrelevant to the quality of their arguments, and, further, impugning their motives amounts to a personal attack, and belongs in Hell.

    Please read, mark, learn and inwardly digest, and post accordingly.

    Thank you
    Host hat off
    BroJames Purgatory Host
  • It’s pretty self-explanatory.
  • It’s pretty self-explanatory.
    But it isn't. Why is the link relevant to this discussion? More precisely, what point are you trying to make with it?
  • Why is a link about Hong Kong rioters relevant to a discussion of Hong Kong riots? Are you serious?
  • But hey, if you don’t want to talk about the actual topic at hand, here are Ecuadorian army trucks running over protestors in Quito the other day. Imagine what the coverage would be in the BBC or Faux News if that had happened in Hong Kong.
  • Why is a link about Hong Kong rioters relevant to a discussion of Hong Kong riots? Are you serious?
    You don't have a point? Were you merely acting as a news aggregation service? Typically, when one is adding a link in a discussion forum, one is either making a point or illustrating one. I am curious as to what point you are illuminating.
    I can guess, but I'd rather address your chosen point.
  • RuthRuth Admin Emeritus
    Were you merely acting as a news aggregation service?

    That's how big chunks of this thread read.
  • As opposed to the Trump talking point aggregation service Simon, Rossweisse, et al were providing.

    The link, as the others I have posted, speaks for itself. I have made my own opinions abundantly clear throughout the thread. If getting actual factual information about Hong Kong, as opposed to right wing American propaganda narratives, makes anyone uncomfortable... too bad!
  • RossweisseRossweisse Shipmate, Hell Host
    edited October 14
    .


  • As opposed to the Trump talking point aggregation service Simon, Rossweisse, et al were providing.

    The link, as the others I have posted, speaks for itself. I have made my own opinions abundantly clear throughout the thread. If getting actual factual information about Hong Kong, as opposed to right wing American propaganda narratives, makes anyone uncomfortable... too bad!
    Factual, that is very amusing.
  • RuthRuth Admin Emeritus
    The link, as the others I have posted, speaks for itself.

    A 2-minute video from a reporter I'm not familiar with does not in fact speak for itself. I don't know who the actress is and whether or not she's perceived to have an agenda or if she's regarded as apolitical. The reporter says HK is polarized - that's the only thing that seems clear, but I don't know what prompts which people to pick which side. The reporter says the police just say they're there to keep order; my experience with American cops makes me dubious about that, but that's just my limited experience. Maybe HK cops are way better, but I don't know.

    I had to look up "Marco Rubio Zodiac killer," as I managed to miss (or forget?) the "Rubio is the Zodiac killer" thing. But I don't know what point you're making. That he's creepy is the point of the meme, apparently, but maybe you're trying to say something else? Did some faction of the protestors invite him? Or is he just trying to horn in on something he can spin to his constituents as standing up to the commies?
    I have made my own opinions abundantly clear throughout the thread. If getting actual factual information about Hong Kong, as opposed to right wing American propaganda narratives, makes anyone uncomfortable... too bad!

    Yeah, because I've embraced right-wing American propaganda narratives on this site for years. ::rolleyes::

    You speak from a more informed position than I can have; since I can manage to travel outside North America only about once every decade or so, I won't be going to China any time soon to learn about it first-hand. So when you post a series of links to protestors doing shitty things, all I learn is that protestors are doing shitty things. I don't have context for making sense of what I see.

    I found extremely interesting your explanations about how the PRC is trying to contain the violence in HK without going all Tiananmen Square on the protestors because of its need for HK as a sort of capitalist valve. I wonder how -- or if? -- they foresee maintaining that valve in 25 years when the one-nation-two-systems thing is supposed to go away. I found the SCMP editorial writer's stuff about the professional classes supporting the protesting mob kind of baffling -- a majority of people "are fine with mob rule and anarchy," he says. Really?!? I'd have thought that most people want to go about their lives without having their transit routes blocked and without having to avoid parts of the city overrun with people throwing fire bombs.

    And despite having following this thread from when it started and re-reading all of it this evening, plus following the links, plus reading the Wikipedia page about the protests, plus consuming news about this for months (mainly NY Times, Washington Post, and NPR) I don't understand what's going on with the protestors/rioters themselves -- their objections to the extradition law kinda/sorta made since if looked at in the right light, but that law is off the table, and the protests have apparently intensified. They're regularly characterized in American news media as "pro-democracy protests," and of course that always sounds great to American ears, so I figure there's gotta be some spin there, but I have no way of knowing how much spin there is and what direction it's going.

    So please disabuse yourself of the notion that your links speak for themselves.
  • Here is a Reuters post summing up China's need of Hong Kong.
  • HK cops are not angels but their restraint compared to US or French cops is remarkable. If people are routinely throwing bricks and Molotovs at cops in any American city, or slashing officers with knives there would have been a massacre within the first week or two.

    The presence of Ted Cruz in Hong Kong just further signifies the ties of the protests to regime change projects in Western governments. John Bolton, Mike Pence, and other US officials have all come out supporting the protestors and meeting leaders like Joshua Wong. Imagine if violent riots had been going on for weeks in an American city, and foreign leaders flew in to support them. And imagine if leaders of the protests were allowed to travel abroad, publicly meeting with foreign politicians and calling for the overthrow of the government.

    The “pro-democracy” spin is, IMO, belied by the fact that dissenting voices are routinely silenced, often with violence, combined with an extreme nativism directed not only at mainland workers and visitors but Hong Kong citizens with personal or familial roots in the wrong parts of China. There are many protestors who reject violence on principle yet refuse to condemn the mob violence and intimidation. Often the excuse they make is that the police are the ones provoking violence first or that all these violent incidents are by police provocateurs.

    The attitude of Hong Kong professionals is quite strange. The shutdowns of the MTR due to rampant vandalism have elicited plenty of complaints but usually they blame the government instead of the protestors destroying train stations. Likewise there are many incidents of protestors destroying traffic lights. Then other protestors come out to direct traffic and their supporters are like, “Why isn’t the government doing its job to direct traffic?” There may be a rational explanation for this behavior out there but I haven’t seen it.

    What PRC’s ultimate plan is for one country, two systems I don’t know. I would guess they have a wait-and-see attitude. If they ever want to get Taiwan back, though, they need to demonstrate that it can work. Right now anti-PRC voices are dominant in Taiwan but there are many who are cautiously open to the prospect of reunion. The PRC needs to be careful not to make them look foolish.
  • RuthRuth Admin Emeritus
    Thanks! And wow. So if the powers that be in the PRC send in troops, they could tank the Chinese economy, and if they don't ... then what? They'd be perceived internally as not being able to keep HK in line, as being weak on law and order?
  • The PRC is really hoping that regular HK people get sick enough of the chaos that they start turning against the protestors. That’s why so much PRC propaganda talks about a “silent majority” that may not exist.
  • RuthRuth Admin Emeritus
    So the SCMP columnist talking about the professional classes supporting the protestors/rioters might be correct?
  • Ruth wrote: »
    Thanks! And wow. So if the powers that be in the PRC send in troops, they could tank the Chinese economy, and if they don't ... then what? They'd be perceived internally as not being able to keep HK in line, as being weak on law and order?
    The Chinese government are in a predicament. They would rather completely control Hong Kong, but it is not practicable. ISTM, the amendments to the fugitive bill that instigated the protests, stirred the very real fears of China wishing to erode Hong Kong's level of autonomy.
  • BroJamesBroJames Purgatory Host
    edited October 14
    I think incidents of arrests/disappearances like this and this and this lie behind the anxiety about the extradition law that was proposed. There was suspicion that PRC was seeking a legal framework to enable similar actions. That was an initial catalyst for the protests fuelled in addition by real distrust about what happens to people when they are taken to the mainland.

    Some of the police response to the initial, largely peaceful protests seems to have been excessively violent according to Amnesty International.

    It also stirred up the long-standing (and probably unrealistic) desire for full democracy, and fears about how the PRC wants to move Hong Kong in view of the end in 2047 of the agreement made at the time of the British handover in 1997.

    Since the protests back in June, things have become more violent and more polarised, with the usual lack of discrimination and actions by opportunists that mass violence tends to generate.
  • RossweisseRossweisse Shipmate, Hell Host
    Here's a long but fascinating story about the efforts to maintain a free press in Hong Kong in the face of government opposition. It's from Nieman Lab, which is trying to figure out journalism in today's world, and is a trustworthy source if you're interested in the news media today.

  • RossweisseRossweisse Shipmate, Hell Host
    An anthem for Hong Kong, as chronicled in the Guardian. It's pretty stirring. (Imagine singing and playing in gas masks.)
  • Nice song! I'm curious if they still plan to import 70% of their water from the mainland after independence.
  • RossweisseRossweisse Shipmate, Hell Host
    Who knows? Freedom comes at a cost, but it's usually worth it.
  • Yeah, just ask Libya.
  • Libya hasn't been free since the Vandals arrived. Pax Romanum FTW.
  • RossweisseRossweisse Shipmate, Hell Host
    Why was I surprised to learn that HK police are raping female protesters?
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