Generational Dynamics: Forecasting America's Destiny Generational
 Forecasting America's Destiny ... and the World's


Generational Dynamics Web Log for 4-Jul-2019
4-Jul-19 World View -- UK-China war of words escalates sharply over Hong Kong riots

Web Log - July, 2019

4-Jul-19 World View -- UK-China war of words escalates sharply over Hong Kong riots

Did China set a trap for the protesters?

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from

UK-China war of words escalates sharply over Hong Kong riots

Protesters install an old British colonial flag in the Legislative Council chamber on Monday (SCMP)
Protesters install an old British colonial flag in the Legislative Council chamber on Monday (SCMP)

Although it's still only a war of words, tensions and acrimony have risen sharply in the last three days, following the pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong.

On Monday, hundreds of thousands of Hong Konger made peaceful pro-democracy protests. However, a small group of protests smashed the thick glass in the exterior glad doors and walls of Hong Kong’s Legislative Council (LegCo) building, and entered and vandalized the building.

This has infuriated Chinese Communist Party (CCP) officials, some of whom are calling for a get-tough policy in Hong Kong that removes some of freedoms granted to Hong Kong in the "one country, two systems" policy that distinguishes Hong Kong's governance from that of the rest of China.

But apparently nothing infuriated the CCP officials in Beijing more than seeing the British colonial flag installed at the head of the Legislative Council Chamber, as shown in the picture at the beginning of this article.

Starting on Tuesday, CCP officials have been talking in a manner much harsher than they've talked in the past. One CCP official suggested that Hong Kong's "one country, two systems" should be brought to an end:

"Yet, some extremists on the pretext of opposing the amendments to the relevant Bill of the special administration region government, attacked the Legislative Council building in an extremely violent manner and deliberately damaged its facilities.

This serious illegal act tramples on the rule of law in Hong Kong, undermines Hong Kong's social order and undermines the fundamental interests of Hong Kong. It is a blatant challenge to the ‘one country, two systems’ bottom line."

A number of people on Chinese social media are being quoted as supporting the government position:

"There's definitely a problem with the policies towards Taiwan and Hong Kong. Why does the central government think that as long as it gives enough benefits and special rights, the people will be loyal to you?"

Here's another:

"One country, two systems is too lax, and this is the result. If Hong Kong wants to return to normal, it should start with decolonization and change the name of Victoria Harbour to Oriental Pearl Harbour."

On the other hand, many of the young protesters on Monday were expressing concern that the "one country, two systems" policy is scheduled to end in 2047, well within the expected lives of the protesters. This is leading many young protesters to demand that Hong Kong be returned to Britain.

Nearing a repeat of the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre

This is not the end of the story. After Monday's "victory," the protesters are only going to become more bold in pro-democracy protests. Pro-independence activists in Taiwan will also be emboldened. The CCP thugs are seeing the pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong as a repeat of the 1989 pro-democracy protests in Tiananmen Square, which ended with the mass slaughter of thousands of peacefully protesting college students.

This is the danger that many in the international community fear. The paranoid, delusion people in the high ranks of the CCP consider democracy to be not a form of government but an ideology, and ideology opposed to Communism, Socialism and Marxism, and they see a pro-democracy demonstration as threatening the CCP's very existence. That reasoning led to the massacre of thousands of peacefully protesting college students in Tiananmen Square in 1989, and many analysts fear that the CCP will do a repeat if there's another huge pro-democracy protest in Hong Kong, last the the last three in the past couple of months.

For the CCP, the anxiety and hysteria is particularly acute, since Hong Kong is in southern China, and CCP officials fear a new massive anti-government rebellion in the south, as happened in the past with the Taiping Rebellion (1852-64), and Mao's Communist Revolution (1934-49). (See "22-Jun-19 World View -- Hong Kong protests show historic split between northern and southern China")

Britain and China exchange threats in escalated war of words

China's president Xi Jinping has said that if it hadn't been for Britain's 1840s invasion of China, the Opium Wars, then China would be a great nation today. It was as a result of those wars that Britain acquired Hong Kong as a colony, which it returned to Chinese rule in 1997.

Under the terms of the 1984 Joint Declaration on Hong Kong, signed by China and Britain, Hong Kong is to be a "Special Administrative Region" of China, having its own laws, freedoms, financial system and judicial system, for 50 years, from 1997 until 2047. This is known as "one country, two systems."

Britain's government claims that even though Hong Kong is part of China, Britain still has some responsibility to protect Hong Kong freedoms under the terms of the Joint Declaration that China and Britain signed in 1984.

Britain's Foreign Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, began the war of words:

"My heart goes out to those worried they’ll lose their precious way of life. I don’t support violence in any circumstances but I understand their worries about changes happening in Hong Kong.

The Chinese government say this is an internal affair and it’s not for Britain to meddle in this, but we signed an agreement ensuring ‘one nation, two systems’ for 50 years, so I hope there are not changes which undermine that legally binding agreement."

CCP officials have described this statement as "very offensive." China's position is that the Joint Declaration is an old document that is no long relevant. China's Foreign Ministry spokesman said:

"Let me reiterate, the Joint Declaration resolved the Hong Kong issue, which was left over by history. As Hong Kong returned to the motherland and work relating to the transitional period came to an end, the rights and obligations of the British side under the declaration were completely fulfilled. On July 1, 1997, China resumed sovereignty over Hong Kong and the Chinese government started administering it in accordance with the Constitution and the Basic Law. The UK no longer has any responsibility for Hong Kong. Hong Kong affairs are purely China's internal affairs that brook no foreign interference.

I would also like to stress that China deplores and strongly rejects the frequent British interference in and criticism of Hong Kong affairs. We advise the UK to know its place, stop meddling in Hong Kong affairs in any form and do more for its prosperity and stability rather than the opposite."

China’s ambassador to London, Liu Xiaoming, appeared on British television and accused the British government of meddling:

"The U.K. government chose to stand on the wrong side, it has made inappropriate remarks, not only to interfere in the internal affairs of Hong Kong but also to back up the violent lawbreakers. [Britain has tried to obstruct Hong Kong officials from] bringing the criminals to justice, which is utter interference in Hong Kong’s rule of law."

I heard several commentators express the fear that the war of words could escalate into something more serious. The last sentence in the preceding paragraph shows one possible scenario.

Let's suppose that Britain takes some action to help Hong Kong activists escape via ship from Hong Kong to avoid prosecution. China could then block the ship on the high seas, and things could escalate further.

In my book, "War between China and Japan," I discussed at length how world wars are triggered by trivial events, as the hatred and vitriol grows during a generational Crisis era. China repeatedly whines that China would be a great nation if it hadn't been for Britain's Opium Wars, and nostalgia in Hong Kong for the days when Hong Kong was a British colony seems to be growing, which clearly infuriates the CCP officials.

As I described in my book, in this febrile atmosphere even a simple event could trigger tit-for-tat escalations back and forth, and lead to a major military crisis.

In a previous protest, girl holds British flag and placard reading 'Make Hong Kong Great Britain Again' (SCMP)
In a previous protest, girl holds British flag and placard reading 'Make Hong Kong Great Britain Again' (SCMP)

Did China set a trap for the protesters?

When the protesters were breaking into the Legilative Council (LegCo) building, they had to smash through doors and windows with thick glass, designed to withstand terrorist explosions. It took several hours to finally break through.

During all this time, there were riot police nearby, but they did nothing to stop the vandalism. In fact, when the small group of vandals approached, they turned away.

As midnight approached, the protesters finally left the LegCo building, and all that were left were reporters. The BBC reporter wondered why he was being allowed inside the building, and was allowed to broadcast these scenes to the world. He raised the question about whether the government was setting some kind of trap, so that they could be called rioters and terrorists.

That seems to be exactly what happened. The riot police were right there, and could have stopped the smashing of the LegCo building doors and windows, but just stood aside and them the vandals proceed. Now the Chinese government will be able to use this incident as a reason to impose stricter laws and procedures on Hong Kong residents.



(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the Generational Dynamics World View News thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (4-Jul-2019) Permanent Link
Receive daily World View columns by e-mail
Donate to Generational Dynamics via PayPal

Web Log Pages

Current Web Log

Web Log Summary - 2019
Web Log Summary - 2018
Web Log Summary - 2017
Web Log Summary - 2016
Web Log Summary - 2015
Web Log Summary - 2014
Web Log Summary - 2013
Web Log Summary - 2012
Web Log Summary - 2011
Web Log Summary - 2010
Web Log Summary - 2009
Web Log Summary - 2008
Web Log Summary - 2007
Web Log Summary - 2006
Web Log Summary - 2005
Web Log Summary - 2004

Web Log - December, 2019
Web Log - November, 2019
Web Log - October, 2019
Web Log - September, 2019
Web Log - August, 2019
Web Log - July, 2019
Web Log - June, 2019
Web Log - May, 2019
Web Log - April, 2019
Web Log - March, 2019
Web Log - February, 2019
Web Log - January, 2019
Web Log - December, 2018
Web Log - November, 2018
Web Log - October, 2018
Web Log - September, 2018
Web Log - August, 2018
Web Log - July, 2018
Web Log - June, 2018
Web Log - May, 2018
Web Log - April, 2018
Web Log - March, 2018
Web Log - February, 2018
Web Log - January, 2018
Web Log - December, 2017
Web Log - November, 2017
Web Log - October, 2017
Web Log - September, 2017
Web Log - August, 2017
Web Log - July, 2017
Web Log - June, 2017
Web Log - May, 2017
Web Log - April, 2017
Web Log - March, 2017
Web Log - February, 2017
Web Log - January, 2017
Web Log - December, 2016
Web Log - November, 2016
Web Log - October, 2016
Web Log - September, 2016
Web Log - August, 2016
Web Log - July, 2016
Web Log - June, 2016
Web Log - May, 2016
Web Log - April, 2016
Web Log - March, 2016
Web Log - February, 2016
Web Log - January, 2016
Web Log - December, 2015
Web Log - November, 2015
Web Log - October, 2015
Web Log - September, 2015
Web Log - August, 2015
Web Log - July, 2015
Web Log - June, 2015
Web Log - May, 2015
Web Log - April, 2015
Web Log - March, 2015
Web Log - February, 2015
Web Log - January, 2015
Web Log - December, 2014
Web Log - November, 2014
Web Log - October, 2014
Web Log - September, 2014
Web Log - August, 2014
Web Log - July, 2014
Web Log - June, 2014
Web Log - May, 2014
Web Log - April, 2014
Web Log - March, 2014
Web Log - February, 2014
Web Log - January, 2014
Web Log - December, 2013
Web Log - November, 2013
Web Log - October, 2013
Web Log - September, 2013
Web Log - August, 2013
Web Log - July, 2013
Web Log - June, 2013
Web Log - May, 2013
Web Log - April, 2013
Web Log - March, 2013
Web Log - February, 2013
Web Log - January, 2013
Web Log - December, 2012
Web Log - November, 2012
Web Log - October, 2012
Web Log - September, 2012
Web Log - August, 2012
Web Log - July, 2012
Web Log - June, 2012
Web Log - May, 2012
Web Log - April, 2012
Web Log - March, 2012
Web Log - February, 2012
Web Log - January, 2012
Web Log - December, 2011
Web Log - November, 2011
Web Log - October, 2011
Web Log - September, 2011
Web Log - August, 2011
Web Log - July, 2011
Web Log - June, 2011
Web Log - May, 2011
Web Log - April, 2011
Web Log - March, 2011
Web Log - February, 2011
Web Log - January, 2011
Web Log - December, 2010
Web Log - November, 2010
Web Log - October, 2010
Web Log - September, 2010
Web Log - August, 2010
Web Log - July, 2010
Web Log - June, 2010
Web Log - May, 2010
Web Log - April, 2010
Web Log - March, 2010
Web Log - February, 2010
Web Log - January, 2010
Web Log - December, 2009
Web Log - November, 2009
Web Log - October, 2009
Web Log - September, 2009
Web Log - August, 2009
Web Log - July, 2009
Web Log - June, 2009
Web Log - May, 2009
Web Log - April, 2009
Web Log - March, 2009
Web Log - February, 2009
Web Log - January, 2009
Web Log - December, 2008
Web Log - November, 2008
Web Log - October, 2008
Web Log - September, 2008
Web Log - August, 2008
Web Log - July, 2008
Web Log - June, 2008
Web Log - May, 2008
Web Log - April, 2008
Web Log - March, 2008
Web Log - February, 2008
Web Log - January, 2008
Web Log - December, 2007
Web Log - November, 2007
Web Log - October, 2007
Web Log - September, 2007
Web Log - August, 2007
Web Log - July, 2007
Web Log - June, 2007
Web Log - May, 2007
Web Log - April, 2007
Web Log - March, 2007
Web Log - February, 2007
Web Log - January, 2007
Web Log - December, 2006
Web Log - November, 2006
Web Log - October, 2006
Web Log - September, 2006
Web Log - August, 2006
Web Log - July, 2006
Web Log - June, 2006
Web Log - May, 2006
Web Log - April, 2006
Web Log - March, 2006
Web Log - February, 2006
Web Log - January, 2006
Web Log - December, 2005
Web Log - November, 2005
Web Log - October, 2005
Web Log - September, 2005
Web Log - August, 2005
Web Log - July, 2005
Web Log - June, 2005
Web Log - May, 2005
Web Log - April, 2005
Web Log - March, 2005
Web Log - February, 2005
Web Log - January, 2005
Web Log - December, 2004
Web Log - November, 2004
Web Log - October, 2004
Web Log - September, 2004
Web Log - August, 2004
Web Log - July, 2004
Web Log - June, 2004

Copyright © 2002-2019 by John J. Xenakis.