Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Comments on the Hong Kong Free Press Article Comparing Hong Kong to Northern Ireland

From the Hong Kong Free Press: What Hong Kong can learn from Northern Ireland: three steps to avoid 30 years of tragedy By Brian Dooley, 15 December 2019

There is at least a very superficial similarity in the broad fundamental concept of one nation annexing another people who have their own separate ethnic or even national identity but the analogies really end there. I can agree with the author that the pro-democracy demonstrations will most likely continue for many years to come but I should add only absent Beijing not taking any different actions or utilizing new tactics other than those that they already employ. Further, Dooley's description of the situation in Ireland was very superficial, almost specious, in leaving out population demographics and the history and more controversial aspects of the IRA.

It must be noted that the IRA was or still is an armed militia that can construct its own explosives with deadly results and that received funding and weapons from Irish supporters in other countries. Judging from the makeshift nature of their signs and and protective gear, the pro-democracy demonstrators in Hong Kong have no apparent foreign funding and are not so well funded, only what they themselves can scrounge up or given by local supporters. Moreover, they have no firearms or explosives larger than a firework (assuming that was not a PRC false flag). Even the molotov cocktails (petrol bombs) are makeshift with whatever flammables are near to hand.

Comparing the pro-democracy and Demonsistos movement in Hong Kong to the IRA in Ireland may seem similar on the surface but in even a slightly closer look, it is an invalid comparison.

To break it down:
-The first point to note is that the United Kingdom is a democratic society with a free press that the government can be eventually embarrassed into conducting a legitimate investigation due to media and public pressure.

-The second point of note is that the U.K. as well as other western democracies will learn a lesson from the debacle and work to prevent it again in the future.

-The third point is that democracies are willing to negotiate and compromise with an aggrieved minority.

To compare with the People's Republic of China, on the first point, is a totalitarian government controlled by the Chinese Communist Party who refuses to admit any wrongdoing in the 1989 Tiananmen Square demonstrations and in some quarters, whose supporters have even praised Zhao Ziyang for his admirable restraint. There will never be any honest accounting because the CCP has a sort of Papal infallibility and the same can be expected for Hong Kong. There is no free press in the PRC to question government actions, no democratic process to vote leaders out of office. The Hong Kong Police will investigate themselves and find they did nothing wrong.

As the CCP on so far only admitted making the mistake of the Cultural Revolution although more for Deng Xiaoping's political purposes, they are highly unlikely to admit any future mistakes and even if so, will not feel any shame or embarrassment over it. It's all politics and tactics.

On the second point, rule number 1: The Party and the people are one and the Party never makes mistakes, only individuals in the Party make mistakes. The CCP will either simply be more careful and handle the Hong Kong Pro Democracy demonstrations sub rosa- using informants and kidnapping people active in the movement to Beijing for trial as well as employing plants doing outrageous things to discredit the movement. Or failing that, what would stop the CCP from re-locating masses of Hongkongers throughout the mainland empire and replacing the population with loyalist mainland Chinese people. This would seem to me the most likely scenario.

Even if the PRC were to use more forceful methods, the main thing to remember is that in a one party dictatorship, the Party can do whatever it damn well pleases and doesn't give a shit what anyone or any other nation has to say about it. 1989 Tiananmen Square really didn't bother the international community all that much for all their words as they still all queued to do business with the PRC. There's no reason to believe it will be any different if the People's Liberation Army were to move in and crush the Hong Kong demonstrations.

If international economic sanctions as punishment for the PRC are what supporters want to hang their hat on, for the foreseeable future, too many western nations and corporations like PRC money way too much for any such sanctions to be anything more than symbolic gestures.

On the third point: We are not dealing with a western liberal democracy here. The CCP considers itself to be the people of China so enemies of the CCP are the enemies of the Chinese People. And enemies of the people deserve no mercy. There will be no negotiations, only submission to the will of the CCP.

In summary it would be naive and foolish to believe that the old PRC leopard has changed its spots, the "Socialism with Chinese characteristics" rhetoric as anything more than good ole "Socialism with Communist characteristics". Or rather communists taking one step backwards, allowing some semblance of state-controlled capitalism, to take two steps forward of obtaining money, technology and economic control of capitalist nations and keep the PRC from economic collapse. One would do well to recall the concept of "normalization" such as was done in Hungary in 1956. When the PRC's flirtation with "capitalism" has served its purpose, the situation will be normalized back to either direct state operated industry or a de-facto state ownership with high ranking party officials acting as CEOs of corporations. It's back to Papa Mao's old-school PRC.

A bit of a digression here but to better illustrate the nature of the PRC and that some aspects of comparison with past situations in western liberal democracies may be valid but one must avoid over-reliance on superficial comparisons as too reductionist to yield valid conclusions.

Donald Cavaioli

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