Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Ich bin ein Hongkonger

A Hong Kong businessman named Jimmy Lai hopes our political leaders will support Hong Kong. He even suggests politicians consider flying to Hong Kong. Like JFK flew to Berlin during the Cold War, calling himself a Berliner.

  1. I suppose Trump could fly to Hong Kong and do the same. That would be a bold move if Trump did that. Politically speaking, it'd be a big gamble. He could win big or lose big.

    If Trump did that, he might sway a lot of Asian-Americans to vote for him. In fact, he might sway a lot of moderates in general.

    Not to mention Trump might sway other nations if he took the lead in supporting a democratic movement in Hong Kong. He might be able to move a lot of the international community to take action as well.

    On the negative side, it could end up igniting an international crisis or something along those lines. This in turn could impact his political fortunes.

  2. Of course, it would sorely anger China. However, why would Trump care about angering China? For one thing, he's already angered China with the trade war. Yet the trade war has brought China to the table to discuss fairer trade practices and so on. That's because the trade war hits China where it hurts most, i.e., their economy. Otherwise the next decades could see the Chinese economy overtake ours and all that that would entail. At least to my knowledge, even a majority of Democrats support Trump attempting to stem China's global ascendancy.

  3. I suppose the major problem would be this would signal to Hong Kong that we support them, but if push comes to shove I'm not sure what we could do to support Hong Kong against China. After all, if China did invade Hong Kong, then I don't know what we could actually do about it short of going to war which of course no one wants.

    At least as far as I can see, the best option is if we can convince other nations China is currently doing business with to stop doing business with China, then that would hurt China's economy. If the threat of this is viable, then it might dissuade China from touching Hong Kong. However, this doesn't necessitate Trump flying to Hong Kong. It could be accomplished behind the scenes, as it were.

  4. The issue for China is that they regard Hong Kong as theirs, along with other places like Taiwan, which China argues European colonial powers took away from them. Of course, China likes to push this narrative because they know it often works on guilt-ridden Westerners.

    However, above and beyond politics, and in terms of "moral authority", it comes down to democracy vs. communism. If we believe in democratic ideals, then why not support democratic movements (though that's not to imply we should always do so)? Indeed, China supports spreading communism abroad.


  1. Isn't "Hongkonger" Mandarin for "filled donut"?

    1. That'd be funny if I wasn't triggered by your use of Mandarin (rather than Cantonese) in the context of Hong Kong! :)

    2. I'm sorry!! -- I don't know my Chinese geography!

    3. Just in case you might be curious... :)

      1. Officially Hong Kong speaks Cantonese. Many Hongkongers also speak English thanks to the British. If you go to Hong Kong, and only know English, you can get by fairly well. Anyway Cantonese is the native language in Hong Kong and indeed across most of Southeastern China (e.g. Hong Kong, Macau, Guangzhou aka Canton).

      2. Mandarin is originally from Northern China (e.g. Beijing).

      3. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) mandated Mandarin for all of China. However the CCP mandated a simplified form of Mandarin, not the older or more traditional Mandarin. China (like India) has hundreds of dialects, many of which are unintelligible to one another. Hence it more easily unifies the nation to have a single simplified language.

      4. Despite both being Chinese "dialects", Cantonese and Mandarin are mutually unintelligible to one another.

      5. Mandarin isn't mandated to learn in Hong Kong. Hong Kong is "free" in that regard. They're still allowed to speak Cantonese.

      6. However, the CCP does want Hong Kong to eventually learn Mandarin. However Hongkongers view Mandarin as part and parcel of mainland China creeping into Hong Kong. Gradually eroding Hong Kong's autonomy. After all, many Hongkongers believe if you replace their language, especially with a language mandated by the CCP, then they'll lose much of their identity. Hence Mandarin vs. Cantonese is a flashpoint for Hongkongers.

      7. Among native Chinese speakers, Cantonese seems to be regarded as a much more beautiful language than simplified Mandarin. A more poetic language and so on. In fairness, I don't know how Cantonese compares with traditional Mandarin.

    4. Thanks Hawk, I knew I could count on you to help me understand all the nuances!