China’s political Two Sessions just finished. It is good to see concern for responsibility, enforcement, growth, and grace within China’s governance. Clean air was on the agenda. 300,000 soldiers have been cut from active duty, mostly non-infantry. The military did not get the 2.5% budget increase it wanted, only 1.5%. A number of generals are disgruntled. President Xi’s decisions related to a slow in economic growth. Macau and HK SARs were underpinned as mostly autonomous and will receive extra priority and money, raising questions about an increase in gentrification. All the while, Beijing’s Taiwan policy remains unchanged: peace, trade, but, above all, no independence; the term “family” is being thrown around.
Interestingly, China has stated it will not talk with the new president, Tsai, until her party alters its bilaws about Tiawan’s independence. China has little understanding of the difference between a party and a government since, via Beijing, they are one-in-the-same. While China remains a “frenemy” of the free world, there are lessons to be learned and 5,000 years to understand. Even a deer hunter understands the nature, instinct, and thought processes of deer. The West has not displayed the same with China, only disdain. This is probably why China wins against the West on so many fronts and will continue to do so until the West learns a valuable lesson to the wise: Never hate your frenemies, study them.
The US Navy has dispatched what has been called a “small armada” to China’s troubled waters in the South China Sea. The USS Stennis group, including the flagship Blue Ridge, are making rounds. Experts anticipate more sail-by’s.
Meanwhile, Taiwan examines its past. The most recent scandal involved questions about use of military for a warrantless search and seizure of documents relating to the “White Terror” era of genocide and tyranny of Chiang Kai-Shek’s KMT-Nationalists in Taiwan, recently defeated in elections. One man was said to be given 15,000NT$ in “hush money”, the equivalent of $450USD. Military officials claimed to have signed permission and to have followed due process. If true, perhaps the military’s purpose was to remind the Taiwanese of the past by appearing to repeat it in the eyes of some.
A Chinese official, Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi (王毅), has become the first to recognize Taiwan’s Constitution. He says that the president elect, Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), should “abide by it”. Tsai has promised to declassify documents about the 228 Massacre, which the Taiwanese observed in memory this past weekend. The three day weekend of Feb 28 (2/28) stands as a blight on the face of Chiang Kai-shek, who founded the recently defeated KMT-Nationalist party and slaughtered 10,000 to 30,000 people in Taiwan, depending on who you ask, during the time of his flight from the revolting Communists. Statues of the “Hitler of Taiwan” were defaced throughout Taiwan over the weekend. Officials are “not yet” pressing charges.
While Taiwan exposes more truth and topples statues of tyrants, China is finding vengeance on booksellers. The times are ripe with contrast. Nations in the region see anything but peace in our time.
China is deploying weapons. The US is responding with pressure—mostly economic, some political, always involving alliances. Money and trade are atop the list.
China’s unusual manipulation of its money is documented and under more scrutiny than ever.
According to Chinese State-run media, China has weapons on disputed islands by right. According to the government, US concern over militarizing those islands is “hype”. Still, Asean is watching the Pacific and so is Bloomberg.
Ri Yong-gil was said to be executed in Korea. He wasn’t seen in his usual place in public with Great Successor Un. This just after the satellite launch, which led to more sanctions approved by the Senate.
Hong Kong cracked down on some unlicensed food vendors in the streets of Mong Kok. People responded by throwing and burning things. Their view is clear, as is the view of Hong Kong’s government. China remarked about “terrorist tendencies”. Hong Kong’s finance minister, Tsang (曾俊華), implied the Biblical story of Solomon’s judgment of two women in writing, “A mother who truly loves her son would not saw him in half and would never themselves be the executioner.” It is good to see that China did not rebuke a government leader for studying the Bible.
China is losing money. It also lost a bank. But, so what. China is oblivious to its own past with which it haunts itself. HSBC has reviewed Hong Kong again, for a possible location. HQ-ing in HK could save $14B. But, again, no. Tienanmen scared them too much. Even after 25 years, old fears don’t die easily, especially when they don’t have a reason to.
It’s somewhat ironic, though. Asia is responsible for much of HSBC’s revenue. Or, maybe it’s not ironic since that “is” seems to be changing into more of a “was”. Asia “was” responsible for much of HSBC’s revenue. It seems that the West has profited and, now, has picked up, packed up, and isn’t coming back. And, what should that tell us?