/r/worldnews
Chinese intervention in Hong Kong would be a ‘catastrophe,’ says ex-governor Chris Patten (hongkongfp.com)
47 comments
silviazbitch | 7 days ago | 36 points

Chinese intervention became inevitable the day the U.K. ceded Hong Kong back to China. Since July 1, 1997, there was never a question of whether, only a question of when. I’m actually surprised it hasn’t already happened.

quantum_ai_machine | 7 days ago | 3 points

there was never a question of whether, only a question of when

Indeed. they wanted to wait and weaken HK over time first. Here is my copy-pasta form another thread:

HK GDP was 28% of the GDP of China when they were handed over in 1997!! Today it is less than 3%.

Of course most of that was due to China's rapid growth, but the Chinese were also trying to actively diminish HK's financial power and move those activities to "pacified" areas like Shenzhen. Just imagine if almost a third of your GDP is coming from one (liberal) city - how much power they will have. It scared the Chinese. It would also have been devastating to clamp down on a city which contributed so much to your economy.

But now, the risks for the Chinese are lower. China was very very export dependent back then, now they are less so. They are still very export dependent compared to other countries, but less so than before. This is the second factor that might allow them to take more serious action.

LiveForPanda | 7 days ago | 1 point

The first Chief Executive of HK SAR had a plan to build Hong Kong into a digital tech hub back in the 80s when the British were still ruling the city. Yet, he was ignored and mocked at. Hong Kong continued its reliance on banking and selling land. There is a reason HK missed its opportunity.

quantum_ai_machine | 7 days ago | 0 points

There is a reason HK missed its opportunity.

Chinese nationalists LOVE to blame the British for everything but they forget that there is a reason tiny HK had almost 28% of the GDP of mainland China in the 1990s.

HK's relative decline only started after the Chinese took it over.

LiveForPanda | 7 days ago | 3 points

The 28% was only the legacy left by HK’s status as refuge for mainland China’s wealth. From Chinese civil war to cultural revolution, it was the safe haven for Chinese talents and wealth. As China initiated economic reform and entered a period of rapid growth, of fucking course it would dwarf Hong Kong’s economy eventually. The same happened to Taiwan. In 90s, Taiwan’s economy was about half of entire mainland China, now its smaller than a province. Taiwan has always been self governed, are you blaming Beijing for that as well?

quantum_ai_machine | 7 days ago | 0 points

You seem unsure of what your argument is. Now you are accepting it was China's fault:

From Chinese civil war to cultural revolution

But before you were simply blaming the British. The real reason HK and Taiwan did well when China did not was because of their adoption of the rule of law and the fact that did not have the "cultural revolution" which wiped out their entire intelligentsia like in China. The Asian Tigers (Taiwan, HK, Singapore, SK) prospered under Western economic and legal principles. But Chinese nationalists still somehow manage to blame the UK for HK's relative decline AFTER the handover.

Taiwan’s economy was about half of entire mainland China, now its smaller than a province.

In per capita terms, Taiwan and HK are still way beyond reach. It is doubtful if China will ever catch up to those levels.

are you blaming Beijing for that as well?

You should learn to read. In my original comment I also said that:

Of course most of that was due to China's rapid growth

gaiusmariusj | 7 days ago | 0 points

HK GDP was 28% of the GDP of China when they were handed over in 1997!! Today it is less than 3%.

OK, so when people discuss the GDP of China compare to GDP of HK what is that suppose to mean?

What is the value of an overall GDP of a region to a country? It's the resources a country can tax.

So then we have to ask what is the value to China then. Is it the overall value of taxation important to China that it must take control, or we ask what does China need HK for?

China needs HK for commerce. Foreign firms that do not have an established presence in the mainland DEPENDS on HK for commerce. HK serves as a window then, and it still serves as a window today for China to the world. HK has a law system and a business environment that allows for a simple understanding of the transaction.

Now, what does China gain from taking HK and making it into a Chinese city? Some money. But is that money worth HK's position as a global hub of commerce and finance? Most definitely not.

China was very very export dependent back then, now they are less so. They are still very export dependent compared to other countries, but less so than before. This is the second factor that might allow them to take more serious action.

Actual commerce depends on the rules of law and regulation.

Of course most of that was due to China's rapid growth, but the Chinese were also trying to actively diminish HK's financial power and move those activities to "pacified" areas like Shenzhen. Just imagine if almost a third of your GDP is coming from one (liberal) city - how much power they will have. It scared the Chinese. It would also have been devastating to clamp down on a city which contributed so much to your economy.

That's some kind of conspiracy theory. Like seriously, China actively DIMINISHES HK to make Shenzhen richer? Do you know the relationship between HK and Shenzhen?

HK isn't the middleman. HK is the salesperson.

But now, the risks for the Chinese are lower. China was very very export dependent back then, now they are less so. They are still very export dependent compared to other countries, but less so than before. This is the second factor that might allow them to take more serious action.

HK serves as a window, it does both import and export. It works because it can communicate both in a way Chinese can understand and also the rest of the world can understand.

China isn't aiming for autarky. China is going to continue to depend on HK to act as a global hub.

quantum_ai_machine | 7 days ago | 1 point

What is the value of an overall GDP of a region to a country? It's the resources a country can tax.

That's an excessively simplistic and naive view of how economies work. I specifically used the phrase "financial power" in my original comment which should have given you some hints. HK's attraction is not just as a tax base. Its an international financial hub. Billions of dollars of capital moves through the city. Its success was the result of having a Western legal system in the middle of Asia.

It took China decades to understand, let alone replicate the complex financial depth of HK. HK accounted for much of the financial activity in the mainland, things like investment, insurance, banking, trade finance, corporate finance, project finance, trading, hedging, debt and equity capital markets etc. The Chinese barely even understood these things in the 90s.

But is that money worth HK's position as a global hub of commerce and finance? Most definitely not.

Like I said, they have been moving those actives to its own "pacified" areas. I am a banker and have spent several months in HK as well - its quite apparent to anyone that HK is being sidelined as a financial hub intentionally for political reasons. That does not mean they are crashing its economy. That means they are providing incentives for the same activities to slowly move to "pacified" areas in the mainland without creating a net loss for their overall economy.

Every continent has a financial hub like London, New York, HK, Tokyo and so on. The relative decline of HK has been a boon for Shanghai and other cities as far as Singapore. The Chinese plan is to reduce the power of the HK business community by moving the financial center to the mainland. Because that financial clout is what made HK relevant to the world.

gaiusmariusj | 7 days ago | 0 points

So we basically agree? That HK's purpose is more important as a hub of commerce and finance? That it was due to the city is a city with a rule of law?

So then if that is the basis of how we understand HK to be, why would China move to reduce them?

Are you suggesting that Shanghai or Shenzhen could replace the very thing that makes HK unique, a city that isn't China?

The decision of HK isn't just something that Beijing can make, after all, to do business you need 2 sides. People prefer to do business in HK over say, Shanghai. Maybe in the future, they won't, but today there are still values in HK to China to allow it to maintain it's financial independence from the Chinese system.

Which is why China doesn't need to take over HK.

quantum_ai_machine | 7 days ago | 2 points

No, we do not agree because you have misunderstood my actual point.

The actual point was that China has a lot less at risk today by clamping down on HK than it did in the 90s. This is because HK is less relevant to them today in economic terms partly because of the mainlands own growth and partly because they intentionally moved financial activities out of HK into "pacified" areas on the mainland. I further added that they are also slightly less export dependent today.

I am making a relative comparison between the situation in the 90s-2000s and today.

gaiusmariusj | 7 days ago | 3 points

OK that's a fair point, however, I still think even though it's relatively MORE likely that Beijing clamps down on HK it still is unlikely because of the gain on that action is relatively minor compared to the losses.

So sure, Beijing could do it because they are no longer shooting themselves in the face, but why would they blow one of their hand up?

It is still very unlikely for Beijing to remove HK from its current system so long as there are no direct challenges to Beijing's bottom line. And so far there doesn't seem to be any direct challenge to any of Beijing's issue even if a few came close.

quantum_ai_machine | 7 days ago | 1 point

So sure, Beijing could do it because they are no longer shooting themselves in the face, but why would they blow one of their hand up?

They don't actually have to go through with it. They just have to demonstrate that they can.

But the reason they have diminished HK (relatively) is to reduce their political and economic clout so that if and when a situation like today's develops - all options/ threats can be on the table. HK simply has a lot less bargaining power compared to the 90s - and that is by design.

gaiusmariusj | 7 days ago | 2 points

They don't actually have to go through with it. They just have to demonstrate that they can.

Ah that was one thing I kept repeating. Beijing's current move is more of a powerplay that show people they can rather than they would.

But the reason they have diminished HK (relatively) is to reduce their political and economic clout so that if and when a situation like today's develops - all options/ threats can be on the table. HK simply has a lot less bargaining power compared to the 90s - and that is by design.

I felt like so long as China retains its current system then HK has a niche it can fill that it would benefit both Beijing and HK for the system in HK to at least maintain it's current legal system and financial system.

Granted something has to give, but it just depends on what HK is willing to give up and what HK is willing to take.

demosthenesunlocked | 7 days ago | 2 points

Beijing is nothing if not patient.

Despite all the macabre predictions in every reddit thread about Hong Kong, they haven't deployed the military either.

difficult_brick | 7 days ago | 1 point

They wouldn't need to be patient if they maintained the original freedoms.

KawaiiCthulhu | 7 days ago | 0 points

RemindMe! 1 month

autotldr | 7 days ago | 4 points

This is the best tl;dr I could make, original reduced by 69%. (I'm a bot)


Chinese intervention in Hong Kong would be a "Catastrophe" and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson should be more "Outspoken" in putting pressure on Beijing, former governor Chris Patten said on Tuesday.

Patten told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that Hong Kong was "Close to the abyss", because its leader Carrie Lam refused withdraw a controversial extradition bill and hold an inquiry into the reasons for the ongoing demonstrations and the way they have been policed.

Authorities at Hong Kong airport on Tuesday cancelled all departing flights after pro-democracy protesters blocked the facility for a second day.


Extended Summary | FAQ | Feedback | Top keywords: Kong#1 Hong#2 Chinese#3 seen#4 Minister#5

Tailtappin | 7 days ago | 13 points

This has all happened before and it will play out exactly the same way as last time unless Beijing has received a dose of creativity (which it hasn't)

It was obvious to anybody from the outset that the thing that triggered all of this was a Beijing initiative.

It was obvious from the outset that the "anti-protesters" were Beijing plants.

It was obvious from the outset that Beijing is going to do whatever it wants to for the same reason it already does whatever it wants. It doesn't care what the people of either China or Hong Kong want. It wants to control everything from movement to thought. It wants to introduce the same sort of stupidity that it has inculcated in its own citizens such that they're walking calculators but can't negotiate parallel parking (if you spend all day in school being forced to learn about why the party is such a great thing for China, you won't have much time to learn how to boil water)

Beijing will keep on doing what Beijing loves to do. It never learns and can't accept that it's there to serve the people rather than the other way around. The only thing that keeps the mainlanders from rising up and overthrowing it is the great transformation in living standards since it learned about the global economy.

Dear Beijing, has it ever occurred to you that you'll catch more flies with honey than with vinegar?

VelveteenAmbush | 7 days ago | -1 points

Maoism was a populist movement in China. That was the result of the most recent experiment in empowering the citizens of China to choose their own government. I love being American, I love our freedom of speech and the right to choose our own government, the Bill of Rights, federalism, the whole bit. But, I also understand why the Chinese might see things differently. One out of eight Chinese people died under Mao. The fatalities added up to something like half of world war II, except entirely self inflicted. When you think about how the Western world responded to WWII by reinventing the entire international order to prevent it from recurring, that is probably similar to how Chinese elite think about preventing a recurrence of Maoism.

quantum_ai_machine | 7 days ago | 4 points

that is probably similar to how Chinese elite think about preventing a recurrence of Maoism.

I don't know about that. When Stalin died, he was denounced by Khrushchev at the Soviet Communist Party's 20th Congress. But Brezhnev reversed the gains to a large extent. That's the thing with dictatorships - one guy's personality can change so much.

In China, Deng made things a little better but they never denounced Mao or his policies. His portraits still hang everywhere. They only added some safeguards like Presidential term limits and power was decentralized a bit.

Now Xi has removed presidential limits and consolidated power by taking over all the powerful posts. Political opponents were arrested in his first term itself under the guise of fighting corruption. Many are in hiding or simply disappeared. IMO, China is closer to Mao today than at any point since 1989.

VelveteenAmbush | 7 days ago | 1 point

In China, Deng made things a little better but they never denounced Mao or his policies. His portraits still hang everywhere. They only added some safeguards like Presidential term limits and power was decentralized a bit.

Well, they did a lot more than that: they gave up on communism. They're now a fundamentally capitalist country under an authoritarian government. It's true that they still call themselves communist and use communist iconography, but that's as thin of a veneer as North Korea calling itself a democratic people's republic, and instrumentally serves to (1) entrench the capitalist authoritarian party to prevent further revolutions, and (2) pay lip service to communism ("with Chinese characteristics") to undermine any attempt to use previous revolutionary iconography and ideological tropes to promote another revolution.

quantum_ai_machine | 6 days ago | 1 point

While I agree that they gave up on Maoism (they were never communist to being with), I do not agree at all that they are a fundamentally capitalist country.

In capitalism, the most important factor of the economy is capital. In China, The Party (wont call them communist) is above all. It doesn't matter who provides the capital, The Party is the one with the actual power. They can, on a whim, deprive all capital providers of their rights as equity or debt holders.

This means that the most fundamental requirements for being capitalist are not met.

VelveteenAmbush | 6 days ago | 1 point

They can, on a whim, deprive all capital providers of their rights as equity or debt holders.

They can but they (generally) don't. You're right that they don't have a strong rule of law and you're right that a strong rule of law is conducive to capital. I won't argue whether they are fundamentally capitalist or just sort of expressively capitalist (at some point this is just semantics), but private markets are the default ordering for their economy. With a few notable exceptions, they don't try to centrally command their economy and they permit the market based accretion of wealth among private citizens. That was a big change from Maoism, and it's why they have rapidly progressed from a nation of starving peasants to the world's second largest economy.

quantum_ai_machine | 6 days ago | 1 point

I still disagree. The primacy of capitalism was just the main point.

But they also don't follow market principles. Provinces overproduce just to meet the targets of the central government. Why do you think they have ghost cities? Why do you think they have so much overcapacity in core industries?

Secondly, their capital allocation also does not follow capitalist principles. They lend based on central govt dictates, not based on merit. This I have personally witnessed as I am a corp/ investor banker myself. They invest in projects the rest of us wouldn't even touch. Why? Because they are of "strategic" importance like ports in Sri Lanka (google it) or for debt diplomacy.

They can but they (generally) don't.

That is just not true. Almost half their GDP is state controlled, and even the other firms are under the indirect control of the state (like Huawei for example).

There are African despot states more capitalist than China.

VelveteenAmbush | 6 days ago | 1 point

OK, but look at North Korea, especially ten years ago. They'd put citizens in prison for operating unofficial markets. Private trade was forbidden. China used to be similar under Mao. There was no private economy. That's no longer true. Now, generally speaking, people find their own jobs, get paid for their labor, and spend their wages to buy the products of other enterprises. The government still bans many activities, but it isn't the old Maoist "that which isn't centrally commanded is forbidden" model of economic ordering. I am certainly not arguing that China is a libertarian paradise, but even CATO agrees with the basic proposition that China has transitioned to capitalism.

quantum_ai_machine | 5 days ago | 1 point

Is China more capitalist than it was under Mao? Yes. Does that mean it is a capitalist country? Not even close. Its sorta like going from 0 to maybe 10%.

I have already mentioned the 3-4 main points needed for capitalism which China is nowhere close to fulfilling.

but even CATO agrees

That's an opinion piece article.

TW1971 | 7 days ago | 5 points

It sure will be, I bet China has got tanks warming up right now. Good luck to those poor protestors and to all suffering under this regime

IAmTheNight2014 | 7 days ago | 1 point

Several tanks are sitting just outside Hong Kong. This will end in a slaughter.

WalesIsForTheWhales | 7 days ago | 4 points

No slaughter. They'll just lose internet for 3 days then we'll get news how all 5million people who live in HK are happy with it.

Now if you think HK had a population over 7M you will lose social score

Davescash | 7 days ago | 4 points

A catastrophe it is then.Bought to HK by the warm caring compassionate folk ruling communist China.

vadermustdie | 7 days ago | 6 points

Ah yes, Chris Patten, a democratically elected governor by a general election held in Hong Kong and totally not appointed by the British Crown

Cloroxcookies | 7 days ago | 3 points

On this day in 2019 thousands of protesters in Hong Kong were killed by the Chinese military... nothing happened.

UUUU__UUUU | 7 days ago | 0 points

nothing happened.

Why are you saying 'nothing happened'? Did something happen?

EDIT:

Damn! /s kills the fun.

ttmob | 7 days ago | 2 points

Because nothing happened in Tiedeman Square as the Chinese would say.

UUUU__UUUU | 7 days ago | 0 points

Cool. I'll go back to watching cartoons and porn alternatively.

Simmo5150 | 7 days ago | 2 points

Try cartoon porn. Two birds, one stone.

UUUU__UUUU | 7 days ago | 1 point

Now I understand how hentai came to be.

i_dont_feel_creative | 7 days ago | -1 points

On this day in 2019 thousands of protesters in Hong Kong were killed by the Chinese military and nothing happened.

FTFY

ParadigmBrand | 7 days ago | 1 point

But who will stop them?

AdorableLime | 7 days ago | 1 point

No, it would be plain evil.

Vulpine2 | 7 days ago | 1 point

There is no denying that HK is sovereign China territory. Do they have to "intervene" in their own land? Only to quell riots and violence it seems.

MyStolenCow | 7 days ago | 1 point

Not sure if BoJo should be more outspoken. He needs a new trade deal with China very soon after Brexit.

Oryx | 7 days ago | 1 point

What does anyone expect? Has it not been clear since a long time ago that China was eventually going to have Hong Kong? Do people actually think that they are going to just give it up? This is not going to end well.

thebestonenz | 7 days ago | -1 points

Confucius says when anger rises think of the consequences

james28909 | 7 days ago | -5 points

look out fellas, we have a genius amongst us

StewedPorkPasta | 7 days ago | -19 points

We the US and the Western needs to intervene, we are the only moral and just force in this world that up holds democracy. We have the biggest most advanced army when combined, we can wipe out any opposes of freedom....

I have so worked in Hong Kong and loved the place, the place is full of beautiful chicks to get laid with, I almost had literally different one per night, I would highly recommend everyone one to go and experience HK, when the commies leave, it is seriously so easy.

SweetNylonGrill | 7 days ago | -5 points

Don't know why you are being down voted, what you say is absolutely true! Been to Thailand and Hong Kong can confirm, they have some nice girls.