Hong Kong Chinese Resist Having their Brains Laundered

UPDATE: You can see some wonderful photos of the demonstrations here.

Hong Kongers are demonstrating en masse as the CCP tries to shove down their throats a new student curriculum larded with Mainland propaganda. This is worse than the Creationist-modeled school curriculum instituted by the Texas Board of Education.

The new curriculum would be similar to the so-called patriotic education taught in mainland China. The materials, including a handbook entitled “The China Model,” describe the Communist Party as “progressive, selfless and united” and criticize multiparty systems, even though Hong Kong has multiple political parties.

Critics liken the curriculum to brainwashing and say that it glosses over major events like the Cultural Revolution and the Tiananmen Square crackdown. It will be introduced in some elementary schools in September and be mandatory for all public schools by 2016.

Talks between the education minister, Eddie Ng, and the National Education Parents’ Concern Group broke down on Saturday. Mr. Ng later denied that the curriculum was akin to brainwashing.

One demonstrator, Elaine Yau, who was there with her 7-year-old daughter, said that people wanted a say in what was taught in the schools. “We feel like we have no choice,” she said.

One point of contention is that many of the city’s governing elite send their children to the West or to expensive foreign-run international schools, which will be exempt from the national education. The curriculum will be mandatory for the public schools used by most of the working and middle classes.

This part then took the cake. Leave it to a pro-Beijing official to say exactly the wrong thing.

Before the protest, Jiang Yudui of the pro-Beijing China Civic Education Promotion Association of Hong Kong added fuel to the fire when he told Hong Kong’s residents that the curriculum should “wash their brains.”

“A brain needs washing if there is a problem, just as clothes need washing if they’re dirty, and a kidney needs washing if it’s sick,” he said, according to the local news media.

In response, protesters waved flags showing a cartoon brain with a line crossed through it. “No thought control! Preserve one country, two systems!” they chanted, referring to the agreement that gives Hong Kong political rights that are not allowed on the mainland.

So there we have it. The dirty brains of Hong Kong kids need a little washing. At least he admits it. Big congratulations to the 32,000 HKers who care enough to demonstrate in public over it. Of course, the pro-Beijing leaders are saying their decision is irrevocable no matter how many citizens take to the streets. I see this as ominous, vile and dictatorial. I can’t imagine Hong Kong ever cooperating, even if it becomes the law.

Some of us really believed there would be one country and two systems. We seem to have been wrong, though we knew that many years ago.

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Richard Burger is the author of Behind the Red Door: Sex in China, an exploration of China's sexual revolution and its clash with traditional Chinese values.

The Discussion: 64 Comments

I fear that over the coming decade we will see a lot more of Beijing using its power to influence Hong Kong. After all, if I wanted HK to be united with the mainland with by 2040, I would also start with the education system: that is one of the biggest ways in which a national identity is created.

July 30, 2012 @ 7:22 am | Comment

Someone thinks this story is hao-tastic…

This story was submitted to Hao Hao Report – a collection of China’s best stories and blog posts. If you like this story, be sure to go vote for it….

July 30, 2012 @ 8:22 am | Trackback

Thanks for the link to my article, Richard. There was so much more to say that I didn’t have time or room for.

I was surprised by the number of small babies (it was a 3-hour walk in 33-degree heat) and the elderly. When I asked them why they were there — almost none had school-aged children — they said they were worried for society in general, even if the decision didn’t immediately affect them.

I didn’t want to go into too much local detail for international readers. But Hong Kong already has national education and “civic education” that teaches Chinese politics and issues.

The problem with this particular curriculum is that the government spent a big pile of cash (I heard 12 million HKD per year) on a Beijing-backed group to create it, and the result was materials that cite almost entirely mainland sources. As a sort of sub-theme running through this is criticism of what is seen as a mis-use of state funds and back-room financial dealings.

July 30, 2012 @ 11:26 am | Comment

This is worse than the Creationist-modeled school curriculum

No, just no. There is nothing worse than religious indoctrination in school curricula, especially Creationist school curricula.

July 30, 2012 @ 11:37 am | Comment

I worry about the future of Hong Kong as it increasingly turns into a PRC colony. If the PRC is hoping to woo Taiwan, this seems like a really bad way to do it.

July 30, 2012 @ 11:57 am | Comment

I travelled to Hong Kong a few month ago, spent a little time brushing up on my rusty cantonese. It was as beautiful as always, and the people just as lovely.

Asked a few of the older generation whether they preferred life under British rule or Chinese rule, the answer was universally “British, but we make the best of what we’ve got with the PRC.”

I fail to see how religious indoctrination is any worse than political indoctrination, both have unbreakable commandments. In fact, the only difference between the Ten Commandments of Christianity and the CCP is the caveat suffix “and get caught” e.g. “Thou shalt not steal, and get caught”.

Equating love of the Party to love of the state is a sad affair – I think it was Valerie M. Hudson who made the point that totalitarian regimes made themselves “The State” in order to advance their own interests above those of the people, whom “the state” is supposed to serve.

July 30, 2012 @ 1:03 pm | Comment

My kids are studying in the local curriculum in Hong Kong, and there is obviously already some level of “let’s learn about the glorious motherland” in there. But on the other hand, at the beginning of June my P1 son’s GS teacher spent a whole lesson explaining to the kids what happened in Beijing 23 years ago. This happened in my P3 son’s class too, with a different teacher. So no matter what the official curriculum says, there seem to be teachers who have the right idea.

July 30, 2012 @ 3:38 pm | Comment

This reaction is just clumsy. Educational bureaucracies in any country are usually considered backwaters for civil servants, and the PRC is no exception. Throw the overcentralized CCP model of situational management into the mix and… well, there are some things which a slow-footed Party bureaucracy does not necessarily to do well–coming up with and doing sufficient PR on history/politics curricula is one of them.

Right now, they should go for a climbdown, while also making sure that organizers behind the marches are properly tagged and identified (not for arrest, mind you, just to make sure that they can be consulted on the next round of history textbooks, so that the parent community as a whole can feel as if their voices are heard). Also, the civil servants responsible for this cock-up should be tossed to the wolves–preferably older ones who have earned their pensions already, so as to maintain some degree of departmental morale.

July 30, 2012 @ 4:46 pm | Comment

I’ve been following this story for a little while on the Big Lychee blog. The guy who writes that blog (Hemlock, who’s been blogging since practically forever) thinks the problem with this new policy is mostly one of presentation – no specific content has been mandated for this course, but the only content that has been put forward is that put forward by a government-funded pro-Beijing group. Had similar funding been offered to other groups to produce syllabuses there wouldn’t have been a problem. Is this actually the case?

I also agree with his take on the nostalgia amongst some Hong Kongers for the pre-1997 regime in Hong Kong. Whilst it may have been freer in some ways, it was not by much. The Hong Kongers you see marching with colonial-era flags and waving pictures of the queen are mostly too young to remember the colonial era, and are probably just trying to rile the ‘patriot’ faction in Hong Kong. This is a dangerous game – some of the people they are thumbing their noses at would happily unleash tanks on them.

July 30, 2012 @ 7:41 pm | Comment

“Educational bureaucracies in any country are usually considered backwaters for civil servants, and the PRC is no exception.”

Obviously, the military matters more in the CCP politburo’s permanent committee – but contrary to diplomacy, “education” is represented there: Li Changchun heads the CCP’s central guidance commission for building spiritual civilization.

July 30, 2012 @ 7:46 pm | Comment

Obviously, the military matters more in the CCP politburo’s permanent committee – but contrary to diplomacy, “education” is represented there: Li Changchun heads the CCP’s central guidance commission for building spiritual civilization.

Right, important people are picked to head it, but the educational apparatus as a whole is not how to get into the Politburo in the first place.

July 30, 2012 @ 10:15 pm | Comment

All of you have to go now and watch this animation from Taiwan on the HK brainwashing scheme.

July 31, 2012 @ 1:44 am | Comment

Well, that panda belongs to every Next cartoon espisode, just as the cookie monster does to every Sesame Street episode (and to every Peking Duck thread, of course.

t_co, you seem to see a nexus between the career prospects a bureaucracy does or doesn’t offer, and their astuteness or clumsiness, am I getting this right?

July 31, 2012 @ 1:54 am | Comment

t_co, you seem to see a nexus between the career prospects a bureaucracy does or doesn’t offer, and their astuteness or clumsiness, am I getting this right?

Yep. Part of the reason why China has gotten soft power wrong so much in the past two decades is because the soft power apparatus is a) not a route to wealth and b) not a route to power either.

It should come as no surprise that the most competent and aggressive Chinese institutions are banks like CICC and ICBC and select SOEs, as well as MOFCOM, the PBOC, and the NDRC. Those are organs which take in the best and brightest, so to speak.

July 31, 2012 @ 2:46 am | Comment

narsfweasels -
how are the Ten Commandments and the CCP “commandments” (whatever they are) even remotely similar? Neither is instruction in religious matters necessarily “indoctrination”. It can be taught along the lines of “here are the religions, this is what they teach”.

July 31, 2012 @ 5:11 am | Comment

Tennessee
Substitute God for Mao. Mao’s just a modern version of the Pharaohs or Roman emperors in that he’s been deified. The CCP is his party and thus assumes his mantle – bit like the Catholic church.
Indoctrination is indoctrination – saying all good is because of religion is indoctrination (mainly because no religion claims the opposition is as good as it is…). It isn’t, you know. Good and bad are not due to external influences or sky fairies with lightning bolts or even their agents on earth like Mao or that bearded dude in Palestine. Altruism is a natural thing, genetic in nature and nurtured by environmental stimuli (hence god fearing Catholics didn’t see any qualms about gassing and burning Jews or Muslims with pilot licenses….well, you get the picture).
Religion isn’t generally taught as you portray. Generally, there’s the “right” way and the others. The others will probably burn in hell because they’re wrong. Same with political indoctrination. There’s the current state’s way and there’s the other ways. The other ways lead to economic decline and eventual slavery because they’re wrong… ‘;-)

July 31, 2012 @ 5:52 am | Comment

I would love to see HK goes independent.

Then again, the population are too worried about their ‘rice bowls’ to have the balls to go independent.

HK have to
- spend billions to buy water from Shenzhen rivers used as bathroom and garbage dump
- spend millions to buy food from mainland china contain extra-circular industrial chemicals
- spend billions more providing for locusts while getting zero in tax revenue from them
- ripped off billions from the global community as mainland PRC firms listed in HK.

July 31, 2012 @ 6:56 am | Comment

You should all see Custer’s new post on his run-in with Yang Rui. I wanted to blog about it at the time, but was afraid any new publicity would have been counterproductive and even harmful for Custer. I’m glad to see it’s over.

July 31, 2012 @ 9:59 am | Comment

the most competent and aggressive Chinese institutions are banks like CICC and ICBC and select SOEs, as well as MOFCOM, the PBOC, and the NDRC

To me, this reads like “China’s political system is very effective, except when it’s about politics”, t_co. Who of the politburo’s standing committee members has risen through the ranks of the institutions you mention here? Possibly Zhang Dejiang (in that he’s an economist), Zhou Yongkang (for having worked in the petroleum industry as a geologist), and Jia Qinglin (industrial enterprise planning).

When it comes to who would be more likely to rise to the politburo, the biographies of the incumbents, but also the “fifth generation” or – rather speculatively – the “sixth generation” (from here (see further links from there, too) still don’t seem to suggest that the institutions you mention will be represented there. In the sixth generation, there are more party members who have work experience at big companies, but there, their party functions were at least as important as their management functions, and none of the candidates listed under the above link hails from the institutions you mentioned.

As for the soft-power issue, I’d probably agree with you.

July 31, 2012 @ 12:42 pm | Comment

Nulle — I beg to differ.
Tens of thousands keep hitting the streets, whether to commemorate massacre victims, to ask for democratic reform, or to block ‘patriotic education,’ even though they know it will upset Beijing.
When China is your lifeline for business, food, water, even electricity, that takes balls.
All those families out there with their young kids — after the last demonstration ended up with awful volleys of tear gas — that takes guts.

Honestly, I don’t know if Hong Kong wants to go independent.
The feelings about the handover are mixed. People here feel culturally Chinese. And there are much greater, positive ties when it comes to business, travel, schooling and marriage.

Hong Kongers have specific grievances and worries — which is different than not wanting to be part of the whole country.
Most of the protesters I talked to stressed that they are not anti-China.
They simply want the government — both Chinese and HK — to maintain basic rights. And they want a say in local governance.

I think most Hong Kongers hope that these rights will eventually be extended to our fellow Chinese on the mainland. If and when that happens, integration between the two places will be much easier.

Of course, that is a very optimistic way of thinking.

July 31, 2012 @ 10:06 pm | Comment

Perhaps a Hong Kong educator will feel inspired to prepare a complementary curriculum recounting episodes of history that are underreported in the official version, and presenting as an inspiration to patriotism a Hall of Fame consisting of rights’ champions, persecuted authors, etc. The tone (toward the Chinese people and culture) could be very positive. Instruction would take place in community associations or in the home.

Vying with Beijing for control of the official channels is a losing proposition. The only hope is to protect and multiply the unofficial channels.

August 1, 2012 @ 12:03 am | Comment

Joyce, “very optimistic” is quite an understatement. I don’t see any reason for such optimism at the moment.

Gray Hat, I like your solution, but I wonder how practical it is. Will the powers that be really permit a duplicate curriculum as you describe?

August 1, 2012 @ 1:38 am | Comment

Maybe they can serve up the PRC’s curriculum unedited under a course titled “Chinese propaganda: Understanding how our mainland cousins think and why.”

August 1, 2012 @ 1:39 am | Comment

Year 15, and 1-country 2-systems has already given way to open acknowledgment of the need to “wash brains”. That doesn’t bode well for the next 35 years. And if the ccp is still around at that point, it’ll completely go down the crapper for hkers after that.

August 1, 2012 @ 5:39 am | Comment

As someone originally from Hong Kong , I gotta say mainlanders are really a plague, a group of locusts on hong kong. Everyday, these loud, unkempt, smelly, nouve riche mainlanders stampede across the islands, turning an otherwise orderly and fashionable place into a pigsty. Can’t they stay back in their people’s communes and villages, with their Mao badges and green uniforms?

What happened to Hongkong since 97 is a tragedy beyond words. We used to be proud citizens of her Majesty, and 100 years of colonization almost completely de-sinicized us, given us the institutions, freedom, and civility of a westernized society. And the mainlanders had to come and take over, and re-sinicize us. Why didn’t the British resist back in 97? I’m sure they could’ve taken on the Mainland, nuke’em if you have to!

Anyway, sorry for the rant. It’s just sometimes to see my kids and future generations losing the Western elegance and civility, and forced to speak mandarin and eat Chinese food.

Good thing we got out of there.

August 1, 2012 @ 8:38 am | Comment

As someone originally from Hong Kong , I gotta say mainlanders are really a plague, a group of locusts on hong kong. Everyday, these loud, unkempt, smelly, nouve riche mainlanders stampede across the islands, turning an otherwise orderly and fashionable place into a pigsty. Can’t they stay back in their people’s communes and villages, with their Mao badges and green uniforms?
What happened to Hongkong since 97 is a tragedy beyond words. We used to be proud citizens of her Majesty, and 100 years of colonization almost completely de-sinicized us, given us the institutions, freedom, and civility of a westernized society. And the mainlanders had to come and take over, and re-sinicize us. Why didn’t the British resist back in 97? I’m sure they could’ve taken on the Mainland, nuke’em if you have to!
Anyway, sorry for the rant. It’s just sometimes to see my kids and future generations losing the Western elegance and civility, and forced to speak mandarin and eat Chinese food.
Good thing we got out of there.

As someone originally from San Diego, I gotta say Mexicans are really a plague, a group of locusts on LA. Everyday, these loud, unkempt, smelly, drug money wetbacks stampede across the border, turning an otherwise orderly and fashionable place into a pigsty. Can’t they stay back in their favelas and shantytowns, with their farmer hats and tequila?

What happened to LA since 1950 is a tragedy beyond words. We used to be proud citizens of White America, and 100 years of Californication almost completely de-humanized us, given us the institutions, freedom, and civility of a consumerist society. And the damn spics had to come and take over, and re-humanize us. Why didn’t the LAPD resist back in 1950? I’m sure they could’ve kicked all the bums out, use live ammunition if you have to!

Anyways, sorry for the rant. It’s just [blank] sometimes to see my kids and future generations losing the Western elegance and civility, and forced to learn spanish and eat Beaner food.

Good thing we moved to Phoenix.

August 1, 2012 @ 9:46 am | Comment

Perhaps a Hong Kong educator will feel inspired to prepare a complementary curriculum recounting episodes of history that are underreported in the official version, and presenting as an inspiration to patriotism a Hall of Fame consisting of rights’ champions, persecuted authors, etc. The tone (toward the Chinese people and culture) could be very positive. Instruction would take place in community associations or in the home.
Vying with Beijing for control of the official channels is a losing proposition. The only hope is to protect and multiply the unofficial channels.

Tilting unofficial channels in the opposite direction of the official line is not the best way to get them to multiply and thrive. If you want the unofficial channels to grow, they should start from a position of neutrality.

August 1, 2012 @ 9:57 am | Comment

As someone originally from England, I gotta say Normans are really a plague, a group of locusts on Albion. Everyday, these loud, unkempt, smelly, nouve riche froggies stampede across the islands, turning an otherwise orderly and fashionable place into a pigsty. Can’t they stay back in their people’s castles and villages, with their William badges and chain mail?

What happened to England since 1066 is a tragedy beyond words. We used to be proud citizens of his Majesty, and 600 years of colonization almost completely de-Celticised us, given us the institutions, freedom, and civility of a Germanic society. And the Normans had to come and take over, and re-Latinise us. Why didn’t Harold resist back in 1064? I’m sure they could’ve taken on the Normandy, arrowed’em if you have to!

Anyway, sorry for the rant. It’s just sometimes to see my kids and future generations losing the English elegance and civility, and forced to speak Norman French and eat Norman food.

Good thing we got out of there.

August 1, 2012 @ 11:01 am | Comment

Vying with Beijing for control of the official channels is a losing proposition. The only hope is to protect and multiply the unofficial channels.

If you want the unofficial channels to grow, they should start from a position of neutrality.

Neutrality has its place in education, but the draft discussed here is about moral and national education. Provided that this is the approach, it will frequently rule neutrality out. That’s the point of wanting to introduce it. The bickering is a built-in feature, either way.

A more positive – and more autonomous approach, really, would be a curriculum about, say, civic duties and rights.

August 1, 2012 @ 12:16 pm | Comment

PKD really does attract all kinds, as evidenced by #25.

August 1, 2012 @ 1:59 pm | Comment

@Mike. Totally concur. French letters and that inter-species (sheep-homo sapien) frog curse VD. As I noted on my penultimate post, they also left a bit to be desired in the physical hygiene department. I also long for racial purity, but it is a hard gig in this age of cheap trans-national air travel.

August 1, 2012 @ 5:14 pm | Comment

“As someone originally from Hong Kong , I gotta say mainlanders are really a plague, a group of locusts on hong kong. Everyday, these loud, unkempt, smelly, nouve riche mainlanders stampede across the islands, turning an otherwise orderly and fashionable place into a pigsty. Can’t they stay back in their people’s communes and villages, with their Mao badges and green uniforms?”

As a neanderthal, I gotta say human beings are really a plague, a group of locusts on the face of the planet. Everyday, this loud, unkempt, smelly, nouve riche species stampedes across the continents, turning an otherwise orderly and fashionable place into a pigsty. Can’t they stay back in their trees?

PS – LOL “citizens of Her Majesty”. If you know your history, you’ll know that actually the correct term is “subjects of Her Majesty”. The Queen (whom God preserve) is not a country, she is a monarch.

Now go back to spray-painting “大69″ on adverts in simplified Chinese.

August 1, 2012 @ 5:57 pm | Comment

As someone originally of the dinosaur persuasion, I gotta say humans are really a plague, an infestation on mother earth. Everyday, these loud, unkempt, smelly, nouve riche bipeds stampede across her green fields, turning an otherwise orderly and fashionable place into one big urban sprawlathon. Can’t they just shoot off into space and colonise another planet or go back to their caves (with their iphones and bloggs)?

What happened to mother earth since 65 million years ago is a tragedy beyond words. We used to be proud dinousaurs that answered to no one (except his honourable T-ness), and 65 million years of heat and pressure almost completely fossilised us, given us the strength, durability and overall hardness of, well, stone. And the homo-sapiens had to come and take over, and dig us up? Why didn’t his honourable T-ness resist? Freedom for fossils!

Anyway, sorry for the rant. It’s just sometimes to see my fossilised eggs and future generations losing their prehistoric elegance and civility, and forced to be analysed by human ‘scientists’.

Good thing we’re extinct.

August 1, 2012 @ 5:59 pm | Comment

Some of us really believed there would be one country and two systems. We seem to have been wrong, though we knew that many years ago.

Remember that China’s promises were made to the United Kingdom, not just the people of Hong Kong. America should be very wary of that and think twice before trusting Chinese promises over matters like Taiwan or the disputed (Japanese) islands in the west Pacific.

August 3, 2012 @ 5:21 am | Comment

Some of us really believed there would be one country and two systems. We seem to have been wrong, though we knew that many years ago.

Richard, that’s a bit hyperbolic, don’t you think?

August 4, 2012 @ 1:26 am | Comment

Nope. Why do you think it is?

August 4, 2012 @ 6:49 am | Comment

I propose a very easy solution for the island:

On a bright sunny afternoon, PLAAF, unannounced, sends a squadron of J10′s from Guangzhou military district, and have them perform A low flyover across the harbor, buzzing over the office buildings of Central and the slums of Mongkok. That’s enough to ensure the lifelong impotency and mental tameness of those British colonial scum.

What do you guys think?

August 4, 2012 @ 9:48 am | Comment

I remember Hu Jintao once said, if people don’t understand human language, maybe we shall try the roar of the engines of fighter jets, of submarines. Maybe they understand THAT, you never know.

Gotta try overcome the language barrier, you know?

August 4, 2012 @ 9:51 am | Comment

Nope. Why do you think it is?

Hong Kong and Mainland China still operate under extremely distinct political and economic systems.

August 4, 2012 @ 10:24 am | Comment

Does anyone have a link to what this new curriculum actually covers?

If it’s simply “socialism is good” or “practical application of the three represents” then it can go in the trash.

If it’s more “The Anglos are rat bastards and the West is not to be trusted” then that is an improvement.

August 4, 2012 @ 10:39 am | Comment

To THe Dunce Clock,
I guess the 2-systems arrangement that the CCP themselves negotiated doesn’t amount to much, eh? Though I suppose trusting the CCP is never a smart move.

But yes, I’m sure a show of force over a school curriculum will really convince HKers that the CCP is “progressive”. You guys just make me laugh.

August 4, 2012 @ 10:51 am | Comment

The CCP is progressive, HK’ers are regressive. Hoping for your old colonial masters back is progressive? Calling mainlanders as ‘locusts’ is progressive?

As the previous hk colonial scum said in an earlier post:

‘What happened to Hongkong since 97 is a tragedy beyond words. We used to be proud citizens of her Majesty, and 100 years of colonization almost completely de-sinicized us, given us the institutions, freedom, and civility of a westernized society. And the mainlanders had to come and take over, and re-sinicize us. Why didn’t the British resist back in 97? I’m sure they could’ve taken on the Mainland, nuke’em if you have to!’

That’s very representative a portrayal of the thoughts of many HK’ers – they WANT to be re-colonized and de-sinicized. They WANT to be, in the words of Liu Xiaobo, ‘colonized by a western power for 300 years’.

What’s progressive about that? Frankly, it reeks.

August 4, 2012 @ 11:14 am | Comment

There are frequent ‘dinner with foreigners’ events organized in HK:

http://badcanto.wordpress.com/2012/05/05/dinner-with-foreigners-in-hong-kong-ladies-pay-4800-and-free-for-foreign-gentlemen/

For a group of people to be this self-hating, self-denial of their identity, it’s a rare phenomenon in this world.

August 4, 2012 @ 11:16 am | Comment

@ The Clock #37

Better still why not intimidate the democratically inclined citizens of HK with that mammoth pile of floating junk the Shi Lang. What a joke! The Star Ferry could send it to Davy Jones locker.

http://thediplomat.com/the-naval-diplomat/2012/08/01/help-china-name-its-carrier/#respond

I bet you spend all your time reading those j….o military magazines sold by press shops found outside every apartment complex on the Mainland.

August 4, 2012 @ 11:19 am | Comment

Democratically inclined? Colonially, Slavishly wanting a foreign master inclined?

Could the HK’ense ppl vote back when governed by the British? Could they decide who their governor is? Could they decide how the laws are written? Do they have an independent judiciary from the UK?

Did those slaves complain? No, they were happy to be f***’ed everday in the rare, and scream with the utmost pleasure.

Now, CCP comes in, starts to be gentle. And they complain ‘ Oh, you are so rough! You are so uncivilized! I want my old master back, I want my old daddy back! I don’t want to be a Chinese!’

The only way to resolve it is to f*** them harder.

August 4, 2012 @ 11:23 am | Comment

“The CCP is progressive, HK’ers are regressive.”
—man, when a CCP apologist starts to use words, they rapidly lose all their meaning.

To be sure, #25 was ridiculous. But to say ‘that’s how Hkers thought’ is also rather ridiculous.

It’s true that HKers didn’t have democratic rights during colonial rule. So it might be time to start to ask yourself why they might perceive the CCP to be worse, enough to spur on large restless crowds on multiple occasions. Of course, that assumes you have two functioning neurons to rub together to engender some semblance of logical thought.

And seriously, if your only recourse is to conjure up base imagery at the drop of a hat, stop being such a pussy and actually use the words. It never ceases to amaze me that there are people who are too dumb to make a point without such language, but then lack the balls to actually use it.

August 4, 2012 @ 12:27 pm | Comment

I’m pretty sure that By the Clock has his difficulties in understanding human language. And his utterances here show that he understands the language of violence and repression very well. That’s why he submits to them, and defends them.

I think it’s been said elsewhere before: rather than having discussions with his kind of people, one study their character. It may also be of some help to understand the political system they are trying to sugarcoat. If you want to debate issues with people who actually want to repress a debate, you are wasting your time.

August 4, 2012 @ 2:54 pm | Comment

Hong Kong and Mainland China still operate under extremely distinct political and economic systems.

It’s 1.5 systems at best. When a trade unionist and Executive Council member in HK urges demonstrators not to “startle” Beijing by assaulting Beijing’s liaison office, and that this would be harmful for the development of HK’s political system, it should be obvious that there are two systems that define Hong Kong’s.

When Cao Erbao at Beijing’s liaison office in HK put this rather bluntly, Jie Cheng, an associate professor at Tsinghua University, showed that this had built “overtime” (and probably wished to imply by that that this was nothing dramatic. In fact, her article (of 2009) is a nice journey through the past fifteen years of “a high degree of autonomy”.

Hong Konger’s are understandably wary of Beijing’s concept of autonomy – “autonomy” is practiced in Tibet and Xinjiang, plus several other areas, too. And understandably – I second Raj here -, Taiwaners, even if Chinese- rather than Taiwan-minded, will be wary when looking at both those areas within mainland China, and HK.

To suggest that things are still different is a try to apply sleeping pills to a mouse, while the snake is approaching.

August 4, 2012 @ 3:16 pm | Comment

It’s 1.5 systems at best. When a trade unionist and Executive Council member in HK urges demonstrators not to “startle” Beijing by assaulting Beijing’s liaison office, and that this would be harmful for the development of HK’s political system, it should be obvious that there are two systems that define Hong Kong’s.

Actually, I read those comments to be pretty neutral in tone (although fairly boneheaded and probably best delivered privately.) This is reasonable because it’s not like he was saying they shouldn’t demonstrate–rather, he was just saying they shouldn’t be physically aggressive, which is no different from the mayor of Chicago telling demonstrators to remain peaceful while the NATO summit is going on. Fairly standard stuff from a municipal government member.

When Cao Erbao at Beijing’s liaison office in HK put this rather bluntly, Jie Cheng, an associate professor at Tsinghua University, showed that this had built “overtime” (and probably wished to imply by that that this was nothing dramatic. In fact, her article (of 2009) is a nice journey through the past fifteen years of “a high degree of autonomy”.

This is where things are getting a little strange, and I think the problem is that some in the mainland government act like they can lord it over HK, when for the average HK citizen, the system hasn’t changed that much, and those cadres are ineffectual anyhow. Most of the management of the city happens at a higher level than the liason office. Several HK tycoons sit on the CPPCC, after all. Nonetheless, this issue reflects some serious insensitivity going on at the office (and probably in some other mainland-HK dealings), and should be (rightfully) called out on by the HK side.

Hong Konger’s are understandably wary of Beijing’s concept of autonomy – “autonomy” is practiced in Tibet and Xinjiang, plus several other areas, too. And understandably – I second Raj here -, Taiwaners, even if Chinese- rather than Taiwan-minded, will be wary when looking at both those areas within mainland China, and HK.

This is quite true. HKers would be extremely unhappy if the PRC government applied the Tibet/Xinjiang formula to Hong Kong. But that’s not likely. Tibet has a full government in exile whose raison d’etre is to take over Tibet from China, while Xinjiang has an indigenous independence movement which is not above bombings, plane hijackings, and jabbing random non-Uighurs on the street with hypodermic needles. And both Tibet and Xinjiang are vital to China’s national security–Tibet so that India can never threaten the Chinese core, and Xinjiang for its window on Central Asia’s energy resources.

In contrast, HK is not an essential interest of China, sentimental value aside. Having an independent or confederated HK is purely a soft power/face issue. The island is far too small (and dependent on China for drinking water) to be either a naval base or a staging point for a land invasion. The resources of HK (its function as a trade entrepot and source of legal/banking services for Chinese megacorps) would still be there for China should HK become independent. And HK’s independence talk is mostly just that–talk. There aren’t any stakes, and there isn’t any urgency, for China to clamp down on Hong Kong.

As for Taiwan, I think the reason they look upon Hong Kong with distaste is due to the economic “trivialization” of Hong Kong. From a strategic standpoint, I think it was a mistake to try and build Shanghai and Beijing into heavy finance/legal centers for China. The PRC would have been much wiser to pump more money into improving the lives of average HK folks rather than pumping money via corrupt officials into the HK housing market while hollowing out the island’s traditional industries. The money spent there would have been repaid in multiples with money (and lives) saved when Taiwan becomes more disposed to political union (or at least a mil-mil alliance.)

August 4, 2012 @ 4:35 pm | Comment

Speaking of Taiwan, by the way, there are two interesting things to note.

1) I’m not sure the KMT really can be considered “pro-unification”, since the CCP would have a natural incentive to make the DPP and KMT constrain each other on the island after unification (so as not to let the KMT spread back to the mainland.)

2) China’s military evolution suggests that taking Taiwan is no longer the main goal of the PLA. In fact, the entire PLA seems to have shifted to a “post-Taiwan” mode of thinking. Every single PLA R&D project makes sense only after Taiwan is acquired.

The long-range C4ISR and deep-strike platforms (DF-21 missile, CJ-10 cruise missile, and J-20 stealth fighter-bomber) are gross overkill for a Taiwan invasion. Taiwan is only 190km away from the mainland. Each of these weapons platforms has a combat range of over 1500km. The new C4ISR systems give China detailed vision all the way up to Guam. None of this is necessary if the PLA needs to take Taiwan. But once Taiwan is removed as a convenient staging platform for US/Japanese assets, then the “see deep, strike deep” capabilities of China can be redirected to completely nullify the Japanese military. Every single ship that sailed out of a Japanese harbor could be tracked and bombed or missile’d within 10 minutes, and there wouldn’t be much Japan could do about it short of invading mainland China. The same would go for any US bases or ships west of the International Date Line.

An aircraft carrier also would be useless in a Taiwan invasion scenario. The extra sorties it could contribute from an unexpected attack vector would be outweighed by the extra air and naval assets it would suck up in trying to defend itself from the US Seventh Fleet. However, once the PLA can base the carrier at Taiwan, then that single ship can put every single one of Japan’s or Korea’s Middle Eastern sealanes at risk. China would have complete authority over Japan’s and Korea’s energy security. Unless the US 7th Fleet forward deployed to Okinawa, then US treaty obligations to Japan would have to rely on a nuclear first-strike to retain credibility. China could gain its regional hegemony over East Asia without ever confronting Japan or the United States.

Indeed, if I was planning an invasion of Taiwan, I’d be investing a lot more in short-range fighter-bombers (and lots of them), attack helicopters, swarms of UAVs, marine landing ships, naval mines, and submarines. All of these have become relegated to the second-echelon of Chinese military development.

This suggests that China, somehow, [b]already knows it can get its basing rights or mil-mil relations or “grand bargain”[/b] with Taiwan by the time its aircraft carrier and see-deep strike-deep systems go live. Given how the Taiwanese citizen feels about reunification, and the near-term trends for that sort of feeling, I find it highly unlikely that any “grand bargain” that happens in time would include political reunification. So Taiwan has already won its de facto independence. But why do so many Taiwanese citizens still act as if China wants to occupy their island?

August 4, 2012 @ 5:17 pm | Comment

he was just saying they shouldn’t be physically aggressive, which is no different from the mayor of Chicago telling demonstrators to remain peaceful while the NATO summit is going on. Fairly standard stuff from a municipal government member

Hang on, t_co – the Chicago mayor would hardly add that any other behavior would “startle” NATO and turn it into an enemy of the city’s development. I can’t see how Chicago would belong in this HK topic.

this issue reflects some serious insensitivity going on at the office

What makes you believe it would be an insensitivity? It’s a political claim, and, after all, backed up by actual policies.

HKers would be extremely unhappy if the PRC government applied the Tibet/Xinjiang formula to Hong Kong.

Sure. But to avoid misunderstandings, that’s not my point. My point is that the CCP can’t leave civil society to itself – nowhere within its jurisdiction, be it on mainland China, be it, under different formulae, in Hong Kong.
As Joyce said earlier in this thread, there is probably no significant number of Hong Kongers who would want “independence”. But a significant number of them keeps documenting – by their presence in the streets -, that their ideas are very different from Beijing’s. These are no insensitivities – these are differences.

August 4, 2012 @ 9:04 pm | Comment

One thing which I think will have an impact on comparable situations around the globe is the upcoming referendum on Scottish independence (should be sometime before 2014).

It’s a challenge for democracy in the UK and the whole world will be watching.

It would be ironic if the potential break-up of the UK had a lasting impact on the modern world.

August 4, 2012 @ 9:10 pm | Comment

I agree with JR. I think HKers would be satisfied with “2 systems” if the name reflected reality. After all, it would provide the benefit of being in CHina without the baggage and crap associated with being a mainlander. That said, I suspect the CCP is unwilling to leave good enough alone, for fear of mainlanders chirping up with requests for “me too” sooner or later. And the CCP can’t have that…

As a result, we start getting creep…yeah sure it’s two systems, nudge nudge wink wink, but we’re just gonna get started on this “washing brain” process on the side.

August 5, 2012 @ 5:24 am | Comment

@Xilin – Barring some great movement in opinion, an actual referendum on independence should return a ‘no’ – polling consistently shows a solid 65% in favour of continuing the union. More likely the referendum will be on ‘increased independence’ – greater powers to the Scottish parliament.

It’s likely that Scotland will follow a similar arc to that travelled by Quebec, where BQ rode the pro-independence sentiment right to the end of line, and were then wiped out by a unionist party.

August 5, 2012 @ 5:27 am | Comment

You’re right, the Bloc was eviscerated in the last federal election. But the PQ (provincial version of the same thing) are poised to unseat the current Liberal government in the province, and they’re on record as planning more referendums if they win the election. It’ll be the first time since 1995 if we see independence referendums in Quebec again.

August 5, 2012 @ 5:49 am | Comment

@Gil

I completely agree, that is the most likely outcome, as things look now.

But, like elections, you never know what might happen on the day.

The point is that the Scottish people will be given the chance to vote on the issue of indepence. I think that will be news. Maybe other people around the world will see that issues such as this can be resolved peacefully.

August 5, 2012 @ 8:06 am | Comment

HK should be given the freedom to develop their own curriculum. Keep the curriculum reasonable so kids don’t have to drill endlessly like many kids do in China. Check out this interview of a recent high school graduate from China. These kids have to study 90 hours a week, more than twice as many hours as the average adult works!

http://hopewelljournal.com/2012/07/profile-a-recent-chinese-high-school-graduate-from-the-city-of-gaobeidian/

August 5, 2012 @ 10:48 am | Comment

Gil, I seem to remember that Cameron wants the referendum to be about either Scottish independence, or union – and nothing in between. Has that changed, or do you expect that the wording be different, once there is a referendum?

I believe that Cameron – if I remember his comments correctly – would be right. Continuous devolvement of sovereign functions, but all under the name of a “union”, would spell “independence by getting the Scots into the habit” (my name for what I believe would be Salmond’s recipe).

That said, I’m only loosely paying attention to the process, and I may well have missed something.

August 5, 2012 @ 11:38 am | Comment

@JR – That’s about right, and the wording of the referendum was the reason why there was so much debate was about who had the power to hold the referendum. Also Cameron wanted to avoid vote-splitting in the Unionist bloc between those in favour of greater autonomy and those not.

@Xilin – I doubt a vote on Scots independence would have that much effect. Canada’s vote on independence for Quebec could well have spelt the end for Canada as well, and it went very close, but I can’t remember it making much of an impression outside Canada.

The UK also held a referendum in Northern Ireland on continued membership of the UK or unification with the Irish Republic in the 1973, but it was boycotted by Republicans when they realised that there was no way that they could win it (small problem of 60-70% of the population voting Unionist at every single election). Again, this didn’t make much of an impression even on the people of Northern Ireland, and the Troubles dragged on.

August 5, 2012 @ 6:25 pm | Comment

@Gil

The votes in Canada and Northern Ireland were a long time ago now. Thanks to the internet and social media the world has got smaller (and it will get more so). This has already had a huge impact on the modern world.

I’m not saying this referendum is going to change the world, but it could be a catalyst.

August 6, 2012 @ 1:23 am | Comment

@Richard. Re the thread which you just closed.

I don’t remember Deng Yujiau being a karaoke waitress.

I recall that she was the laundress in the establishment (but I may be wrong.)

Look forward to your advice.

August 6, 2012 @ 5:42 am | Comment

http://www.globaltimes.cn/content/725326.shtml

btw, take a look at this article. Baidu employees censor posts for cash.

basically the tip of the iceberg, imo.

August 6, 2012 @ 10:24 am | Comment

KT, let’s not split hairs. I believe she was either a waitress or an attendant at the karaoke bar — either way, she was an employee there. Not a performer or a masseuse or a “hostess.” If you go here, she’s described as a “waitress.” But what’s the difference?

August 6, 2012 @ 10:38 am | Comment

@Gil, re Scottish/Quebec independence. I thought they’d just keep having referenda until the people finally voted correctly ;-)
Mind you, wonder what the Scottish independence results would be if all of Britain (especially England…given there’s more people living there than there) was allowed to vote on the matter….
Given the results of Czechoslovak splitting and Slovenia breaking away (things got ugly when Croatia started down that path, mind) from the Yugoslav union, I too can’t see England and Scotland going their separate ways as being too big a deal in world wide geopolitical terms.

TickTock – learn the meaning of colony and the implications for democracy into that….

August 6, 2012 @ 12:13 pm | Comment

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