In short, trust your own eyes. Anybody who says trust me, should not be trusted. Any party that says they are to be trusted, should not be trusted.
TRUST YOUR OWN EYES
Since you can’t be in Hong Kong (HK) and see everything, what you can do is look at YouTube. Yes, seriously YouTube. If you live in HK, on weekends, Ch31 and 32 will turn to a live-stream mode where they show embedded camera crews following the riots/protests. This is live uncut footage. It cannot be edited well, and it can’t be cropped to fit a narrative.
Check out Voice of America’s video.
Looks bad! A cop beaten up for no reason!
A longer video from Singapore media, but the start point is the same
Search around and you can find an even longer video. It shows a cop pushing over a woman. OMG, the narrative just changed to policeman attacks a completely innocent woman.
Keep searching, and you can find a ridiculously long four-hour video showing the woman isn’t so innocent after all.
Exactly the same thing happened with the (alleged) ‘innocent man in grey’ kicked by a cop. The short, edited video shows the policeman with a drawn gun kicking the man in grey for no reason.
Then there is the longer six-minute video showing the man in gray attacking the police, and an even longer 25-minute video where it shows a police van being smashed and the police being surrounded by a mob.
The next link will take you to an example of an HK news stream. It’s an eight-hour video covering four news channels. You can watch events from start to finish rather than much shorter edited versions (edited to mislead opinions).
Before I focus on the current protests in Hong Kong, first, a small history lesson.
China never willingly gave Hong Kong to the British Empire in 1842. Instead, China lost Hong Kong during the Opium Wars, and later leased adjacent territories to the British under pressure in 1860 at the end of the Second Opium War when the UK gained a perpetual lease over the Kowloon Peninsula that’s across the strait from Hong Kong Island.
This agreement was part of the Convention of Beijing that ended that war, a war started by England and France. In each case the British Empire, France, and sometimes the United States, were victorious and gained commercial privileges and legal and territorial concessions from China.
These conflicts over the opium trade was the start of the era of unequal treaties.
Then in 1898, the British and Chinese governments signed the Second Convention of Peking and “Britain was granted an additional 99-years of rule over the Hong Kong colony.”
Fast forward ninety-nine years and on December 19, 1984, British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and Chinese Premier Zhao Ziyang signed the Sino-British Joint Declaration, and Britain agreed to return not only the New Territories but also Kowloon and Hong Kong itself when the lease term expired on July 1, 1997. China promised to implement One Country, Two Systems policy, so for fifty years, Hong Kong citizens could continue to practice capitalism and political freedoms forbidden on the mainland.
However, for most of its history under British rule, executive power in Hong Kong was concentrated in the hands of the colony governor, a position appointed by the British crown without any democratic input from Hong Kong citizens. The introduction of elected representatives determined by local elections was limited to the role of advisory councils, and that didn’t start until after the 1984 agreement by the British to hand Hong Kong over to China.
Today, since Hong Kong has never been a democracy, who fears being extradited to mainland China?
Number One: Murder or manslaughter, including criminal negligence causing death; culpable homicide; assault with intent to commit murder.
Click the previous link and discover the other thirty-six crimes. You might want to also read the nine that were removed like “offenses involving the unlawful use of computers” or “offenses against the law relating to environmental pollution or protection of public health”.
For hundreds of thousands of Hong Kong citizens to be out in the streets protesting and holding thousands of printed signs that all look the same (really), there must be a lot of frauds and crooks in that city fearing they are going to lose their freedom to commit crimes.
China is one of the oldest continuous civilizations in the world. In fact, while older civilizations around the world crashed, burned and vanished, every time a Chinese dynasty collapsed, China picked itself up, started a new dynasty and continued on. Some have argued that the Chinese Communist Party and its republic is just another dynasty with a twist.
Bloomberg even said, “This Chinese Dynasty Needs a Name. This Communist Party of China, it is frequently asserted, is a misnamed organization. That’s because, since the party began experimenting with private enterprise in the 1970s, it has shed much of the intellectual baggage associated with Marx, Lenin and that ilk.”
The Chinese culture features an abundance of values, unchanged over millennia. In spite of the influence from outside of China and numerous invasions, the Chinese culture preserved its unique identity.
Rebecca Graf points out 13 of the major cultural differences between China and the world.
Graf says, “These differences do not make either culture better or worse than the other one. It just shows their differences which has been created through centuries of history and development. China can trace its traditions and customs for thousands of years. America is still a small babe of a nation that has had very few traditions of its own but has become such a melting pot of cultures that there is almost no specific American culture that can be said is applied across the board. This makes both cultures unique and worthy of study and respect.”
Three of the 13 differences Graf mentions in her piece on Owlcation are: Respect for Elders, Humility, and Collectivism. She says, “The Chinese looks more at the group collective than at individualism. … A person from China is more prone to look at how their acts affect the whole instead of how it affects them personally. They are more willing to give up and sacrifice for the greater good. For the Chinese, each person fits into the greater body of the nation, so individual accomplishments are downplayed.”
To hold on to those unique differences, during the Ming Dynasty, China experienced isolationism motivated by a desire to prevent foreign influences from undermining Chinese values. Study.com reported, “After being ruled by Mongol emperors for almost 100 years, Ming society was obsessed with restoring a sense of absolute Chinese culture. Chinese arts rejected foreign influences, and the emperors restricted trade with foreign nations for much of the 14th and 15th centuries.”
However, the BBC reports, “In the 19th Century, European nations used military power to pry open China’s market. To earn hard currency from China, the British and Americans even smuggled opium into China and basically drugged its people.”
The result was two Opium Wars (1839-1842 and 1856-1860). When China lost those two wars that eventually led to the Boxer Rebellion of 1899-1901, another failed attempt by the Chinese people to rid China of foreign influence.
Even the Chinese Civil War (1927-1950) was a result of foreign meddling in China’s affairs, and Mao’s Cultural Revolution (1966-1976) was another attempt to rid China of foreign influences that had been forced on the country starting in 1839 with the first Opium War. In fact, it was under Mao that China ended illegal drug use in 24 hours. The People’s Liberation Army rounded up and executed about a million drug dealers and forced more than 20-million Chinese addicts into compulsory treatment with a warning that if they were caught using again, they would suffer the same fate the dealers did.
China stayed fairly drug free until Deng Xiaoping opened China to foreign trade again even with China’s existing strict laws concerning illegal drug use. Today, sentencing for drug trafficking could include capital punishment. For example, the seizure of 50 grams or more of heroin or crystal methamphetamine might result in the use of the death penalty by the Chinese government.
One summer while we were in Beijing, a friend of my wife told us about an incident her neighbor was involved in. The neighbor was a single man in his forties. His former girl friend was in her early twenties, who called the police from his apartment.
“He raped me. Arrest and punish him,” she said to the officer. The neighbors crowded the hall outside the open door to witness what was happening. The officer heard both sides. There was no rape. It turned out that the woman had discovered he had two other girlfriends.
“He asked me to strip,” she said. “He is corrupt.”
The officer studied her and then the man—the woman was taller and twenty pounds heavier. “You have legs. You could leave. But you stripped. Is that correct?”
Chinese Police in court with a Murder Suspect
There was the sound of laugher from the hallway audience. My wife’s friend was one of them.
The soon-to-be former girl friend nodded.
“No laws have been broken,” the police officer said. “He is a single man and can date anyone he likes. You could have said no. If you feel that you have been abused, there’s a woman’s organization that will help you. Do you want the phone number?”
“I already went to them. They won’t punish him either.”
The officer shook his head. “You will never come to this apartment again,” the officer said, as he wrote his verdict in a notebook.
China’s police do not have to read a suspected criminal his or her Miranda rights. In China, the police have more power. We often hear about China’s human rights violations. Read China’s response in China chides U.S. on rights record.
Maybe that difference helps explain why the United States has a prison population of 743 for each 100,000 of national population (total of 2,293,133) and China has 122 per 100,000 (1,650,000). The only country close to the United States is the Russian Federation with 568 in prison of each 100,000.
Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.
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Growing up in a rural, slate-roofed village deep in the countryside of southeast China, the only English books my Chinese wife had to read back then were a brittle copy of Tess of the d’Urbervilles and a set of Harlequin novels.
Yes, I’m talking about Harlequin, those pulpy paperbacks found on revolving wire racks at supermarket checkout aisles across North America and the UK. Their enticing cover art – usually, nay, always featuring shirtless, square-jawed men hovering millimeters away from the glistening-red lips of a damsel in distress – and formulaic flirt/fight/fall-in-love storylines mercilessly targeted housewives and secretaries longing for a 200-page escape from the dirty diapers and pot-bellied husbands of their mid-life realities.
As it turns out, it was by reading books like “Stormy Voyage” by Sally Wentworth and Roberta Leigh’s “Two-Timing Man” (bought used for 7 RMB out of a sidewalk vendor’s book cart), amongst other Harlequin classics, that my wife managed to teach herself English (which explains her tendency to throw her head back dramatically whenever we kiss).
Curious how Harlequin, the forbidden fruit of literature, could be found anywhere in a Communist republic that has the world’s most strict state-sponsored vetting process for publications, I was surprised to learn that in 1995 (about when my fiancée found her copies) Harlequin received official, red star-stamped permission to place half a million copies of twenty titles in Mandarin and a quarter-million copies of ten English versions on the shelves of Xinhua.
Harlequin’s stated goal: “to bring romance to millions of Chinese Women.”
A China.org article on the increasing popularity of romance books in the P.R.C. concurred with Harlequin’s audacious move: “Chinese women today have new demands for their Prince Charming: first, he must be powerful and distinguished…next, he must have unlimited financial resources.”
Wosai! No wonder China has become home to the world’s highest surplus of single men!
Harlequin, which puts out 1,500 new titles annually in over 100 international markets, has yet to think up a romance set in present-day China (Possible storyline: wealthy, second-generation Beijing businessman seduces sexy xiaojie with his shiny black Audie, pleather man-purse and a thick stack of redbacks; he agrees to save her Anhui village from being bulldozed by corrupt cadres if she will become his kept woman.).
Until that day, we will have to entertain ourselves with stories set in China’s olden times starring princesses and concubines.