Chinese Crisis Management

I honestly don’t know what to make of the Chinese authorities’ decision effectively to abandon the “one country, two systems” policy now. The editors of the Washington Post are dismayed:

There’s every reason to expect that once the legislation is in place this summer, Beijing’s thugs will employ it to behave as they do on the mainland — crushing dissent by subjecting those who criticize the regime to disappearance, torture and lengthy prison sentences. First in line could be those Hong Kong leaders, such as Martin Lee and Joshua Wong, who have traveled to Washington and other Western capitals to lobby for pressure on Beijing to fulfill its commitments on Hong Kong, including for universal suffrage and free elections. Both are already facing prosecution.

Such a crackdown would compound what is already a crisis in U.S.-Chinese relations and present Washington with some difficult choices. It doesn’t help that President Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo have been heaping abuse on the Xi regime in recent weeks as a way of distracting from the Trump administration’s abysmal response to the covid-19 pandemic; in fact, the mounting U.S. hostility may have persuaded Mr. Xi that he had little to lose by smothering Hong Kong.

On Friday, Mr. Pompeo issued a blistering statement saying the pending People’s Congress action would “be a death knell” for Hong Kong’s autonomy and would “inevitably impact our assessment of One Country, Two Systems and the status of the territory.” That was an unmistakable reference to the special trading privileges Hong Kong has enjoyed under U.S. law since 1992. Under an amendment Congress adopted last year, the State Department must issue a report on whether the territory remains “sufficiently autonomous” to justify the measures, which include exemption from tariffs applied to mainland exports.


The assault on Hong Kong requires a robust U.S. reaction — but one that is carefully calculated and not driven by election-year demagoguery.

Not satisfied by imagining that China is a country different than it is, they insist on imagining that the U. S. is a country different than it is.

Are the Chinese authorities eager not to let a crisis go to waste? Think the rest of the world is too busy with its problems, which they had a hand in creating, to notice what they’re doing? Think it’s now or never? Or have they just decided that the present arrangement has outlived its usefulness? Perhaps Taiwan should watch its back.

5 comments… add one
  • walt moffett Link

    Week or so ago, there was a report of a war of the op-eds in the Chinese press, where the younger generation presses for action now, while a retired general asks for them to clam down. So, who knows.

  • CuriousOnlooker Link

    Taiwan is absolutely watching its back.

    This week China also removed references to “peaceful reunification” as its policy for Taiwan.

    China raised tensions with its borders with India.

    China also got into a nasty fight with Australia, a major supplier of food and other commodities.

    I am at a loss at who is doing the risk benefit analysis of these actions.

    On HK, my view on what the US should follow its laws, do things in its interests, and focus on doing and less on saying. Start with does continuing to treat Hong Kong as a separate customs, immigration territory become a risk in foreign policy? I think the answer is yes — it is being used as an escape from tariffs, and technology transfer restrictions, and money laundering restrictions.

  • Guarneri Link

    Bad government Covid death data reporting:

    Wife: Did I get fat during the Covid quarantine?
    Husband: I don’t recall you were that skinny to begin with.

    Time of death: 11pm. Cause: Covid……

    C’mon, people. Have a sense of humor…….

  • bob sykes Link

    “The assault on Hong Kong requires a robust U.S. reaction…”

    Could our leadership be more asinine? Hong Kong is a city in China, and it is being treated like any other city in China. Its special status is over. The US has no interest there.

    As to Taiwan, we (Nixon) agreed that Taiwan is a province in China in the 1972 Shanghai Communique. We interpret that communique to mean that reunification with be a gradual organic process. The Chinese had, have other ideas.

    A large fraction of our Ruling Class, viz. the Post, a CIA outlet, want a war with China or Russia or Iran or Venezuela or just about anyone. They actually profit from such wars, and their children are immune from serving in the military. The Ruling Class wrecked our economy, and someday they will wreck our country. We need lots of guillotines or rope and lamp posts.

  • CuriousOnlooker Link

    The US has an interest that HK does not have the special status it currently has if China doesn’t care to give it special status either.

    Read the 1972 communique. The US position is “The United States acknowledges that all Chinese on either side of the Taiwan Strait maintain there is but one China and that Taiwan is a part of China. The United States Government does not challenge that position. It reaffirms its interest in a peaceful settlement of the Taiwan question by the Chinese themselves”.

    The US never accepted Taiwan is a part of China — it merely acknowledges all “Chinese” maintain that Taiwan is part of China. At present; the incumbent Taiwan government and the majority of citizens do not believe they are “Chinese”.

    The US does not have an obligation to defend Taiwan under international law. But the US cannot treat Taiwan as a thing it owns and can give away either — no more then the U.K could give away Czechoslovakia to Germany.

    The U.K. did have an international obligation to give HK back to China (dating back to 1898) and that is the difference.

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