Showing posts with label freedom. Show all posts
Showing posts with label freedom. Show all posts

Saturday, April 08, 2023

The Hammer Of Peaceful Activism

Putin, in his speeches, falls to the gender topic as a reflex action. I need to stay in power or they will come and turn your children into transvestites! I needed to go to war or they might have come and dressed your children into drag queen attires! Send 300,000 men to the front or they might come and turn men into women, and women into men! It is bizarre logic.

Alexei Navalny was safe. He did not have to go back to Russia. It was certain they would jail him and worse. But still he went. And he has indeed been subjected to jail and worse.

Zelensky fights for Navalny.

One man suffers so his country might not have to suffer indefinitely. Navalny chose to go. He was safe abroad.

But the thing about the moral fiber of someone like Alexei Navalny is it is a rope. It ties him to you, and it ties him to me. There is no escape route. You don't have the option to be quiet. You don't have the luxury of inaction. This is the spiritual reality. Just like your soul is a spiritual reality. It is true. It exists. It is indestructible. It is not the pancreas that a surgeon might dig out. But it is much more real. Your soul is more real than heaven and earth.

By choosing to go to jail and suffer Alexei Navalny communicates with the rest of us at the level that souls talk to each other. You can not look the other way. This man speaks for a nation.

Russians are not a different species. Or they might not have been able to produce the world class literature they have. Russians are long accustomed to the life of the mind. They are one of the best suited for this knowledge economy.

I am a friend of Russia. I want the best for Russia. I want a Russia that is richer, more secure, and yes, I want a Russia that is a power. Major powers like the United States and even China need other power centers. The global system needs a strong Russia to provide a counterbalance. How can there be freedom of thought and freedom of speech and freedom of conscience if truth can not be told to power? Be that to powerful America or to a powerful China?

The fight is inside Russia. The fight is in Moscow. All it will take is for one million Russians to take over the streets and not leave until Putin resigns.

I am not liking the war in Ukraine. I want peace. The path to peace is not this talk or that talk. The path to peace is a mass movement for democracy inside Russia that installs Navalny as the country's interim president who steers the country to elections to a constituent assembly. A democratic, federal Russia will make NATO irrelevant, keep Russia one, and shift the center of gravity in Europe to Kyiv.

Putin is a blight on the Russian conscience. Navalny is Russia's Mandela.

The Kremlin throws cold water on China mediating peace in Ukraine as Macron urges Xi to 'bring Russia to its senses' "So far there are no prospects for a political settlement," the Kremlin said. ....... The Kremlin on Thursday said there were "no prospects" for China to play the role of mediator in Moscow's unprovoked war against Ukraine at present, as French President Emmanuel Macron met with Chinese leader Xi Jinping and urged him to "bring Russia to its senses." .......... Peskov said there were "no other ways" forward for Russia aside from continuing its offensive in Ukraine, signaling that Moscow has no interest in negotiations in the foreseeable future. ....... This came after Macron in Beijing said that Russia had dealt a blow to international stability by invading Ukraine, and called on Xi to push Russia to see reason and "bring everyone back to the negotiating table." ......... Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has invited Xi to visit Ukraine and repeatedly expressed a desire to speak with him. The two leaders have not spoken since Russia invaded over a year ago. ........ China has claimed that it's neutral in the Ukraine war and unveiled a peace plan in February on the one-year anniversary of Russia's invasion. ........ The war in Ukraine has made Putin a global pariah and isolated Russia economically and politically, but the Russian leader on Wednesday insisted that his country remains a "respected center of world politics." .

China’s Ambassador to the E.U. Tries to Distance Beijing From Moscow The ambassador, Fu Cong, said China was not on Russia’s side in the war in Ukraine. “‘No limit’ is nothing but rhetoric,” he said, referring to a statement from last year about the countries’ relationship......... China tries to present itself as a mediator, insisting that it respects the territorial integrity of Ukraine while endorsing some of Moscow’s narrative about the war. ...... China had not provided military assistance to Russia, nor recognized its efforts to annex Ukrainian territories, including Crimea and the Donbas. ........... Beijing has not condemned the invasion, he said, because it understood Russia’s claims about a defensive war against NATO encroachment, and because his government believes “the root causes are more complicated” than Western leaders say. ......... In her speech, Ms. von der Leyen described the E.U.-China relationship as having become “more distant and more difficult,” and endorsed the view of China as an assertive global player seeking to become “the world’s most powerful nation.” ............. the bloc should “de-risk” its relationship with China by setting new ground rules rather than “decoupling” or withdrawing. ........... China was the third-largest destination of E.U. exported goods in 2022, and the largest exporter of goods to the bloc ......... He said Europe should carve out its own policies and develop more “strategic autonomy,” instead of following Washington’s lead. ......... the backdrop to Mr. Macron’s visit, as it was to the visit of Germany’s chancellor, Olaf Scholz, in November, with both accompanied by businessmen eager to continue to do deals with China. ...... “E.U. claims to be a big center, a power center in the world, an independent power center in the world, as much as the United States, as much as China,” Mr. Fu said. “So why does it have to listen to the United States all the time?” .

Brooke Shields and the Curse of Great Beauty “Pretty Baby,” a new documentary on Hulu, explores the toll that sexual and commercial objectification takes on women....... Ms. Shields was a generational touchstone of the 1970s and ’80s, an omnipresent vision — in magazines, television ads and films — of astonishing natural beauty. Luminous deep-blue eyes under those famous dark brows, delicate features, dimpled smile and a glossy brunette mane. By the time she was a preteen, her look had developed — or rather, been groomed into — an improbable blend of Renaissance angel and vamp. ....... We use beautiful young women’s sexuality to sell products (including films); we conflate the women with the products; we imagine women need to be ever newer, younger and shinier — like products. As a result, we grow inured to seeing barely pubescent girls presented as “things,” as erotic commodities. (Driving the point home, the film features an old television ad for toys made in Ms. Shields’s likeness, with the tagline “Brooke Shields: She’s a real living doll.”) ....... The film offers many examples of the exploitation and abuse (including one outright sexual assault) suffered by Ms. Shields ........ a loving but troubled (and alcoholic) single mother, Teri Shields, who also served as her manager, and Ms. Shields understood early that her career provided the family’s sole income. ........ Ms. Shields’s uncannily adult persona remained as impeccable and serene as her appearance. But there is a static quality to her in these clips, a blankness suggesting the practiced deflection of disturbing emotion, as if being treated constantly as an object had nearly turned her into one. ......... Recounting the director Franco Zeffirelli’s attempts to extract from her, 16 and a virgin, a scene of erotic “ecstasy” in the film “Endless Love,” Ms. Shields recalls: “I just dissociated.” (Off camera, to try to simulate passion, Mr. Zeffirelli repeatedly twisted Ms. Shields’s toe, causing her to cry out and contort her face in pain.) In such moments, she says she was “zooming out, seeing a situation but you are not connected to it. You instantly become a vapor of yourself.” ......... Eventually Ms. Shields overcame this vaporous existence, largely through the saving grace of a college education. Encouraged by her professors at Princeton to voice her own opinions, Ms. Shields says she “learned I could think for myself,” which “morphed into this big rebellion.” ........... She set boundaries with her controlling mother, discovered her untapped talents for comedy and dance (with which she could break free of those beautiful blank-slate roles) and, for the first time, found a boyfriend. .........

the story of the terrible toll that sexual and commercial objectification takes on women

....... When Ms. Shields’s image is on the screen, it’s almost impossible to look away. It’s that magnetism that everyone wants to bottle and sell. It’s what launched her career.

‘It Was Not Love at First Sight’ It took Samantha Weinstein and Philip Della Noce a few years to form a friendship, and another few more to become romantic......... “I got to Toronto, and the first person I called was Samantha,” Mr. Della Noce said. “We FaceTimed every single day.” .

U.S. Economy May Be Heading to a Place That Must Not Be Named A hard landing? A banana? Euphemisms for recession have a long history in Washington. Whatever the Fed is stating, it seems to be expecting something ugly, our columnist says. .

@dasha_navalnaya Пошли на аквадискотеку (?) #дашанавальная #навальный #navalny #dashanavalnaya #навальная #partygirl #parents ♬ how would they know bad girls club - Chris Gleason

Saturday, November 16, 2019

Hong Kong: What Would Dialogue Look Like?

I want the two sides in Hong Kong to talk: the protestors out in the streets, and the Carrie Lam side. That dialogue is not going to be a grand ideological debate about the two warring ideologies of the past century: capitalism and communism.

America does not have capitalism. Capitalism is a market economy where there is near perfect competition. In the American economy, you can find large pockets of monopoly power. Why do you think Americans pay so much more for their internet access and mobile data? Because there is not enough competition. That is only one example of many.

China has relentlessly injected the market into its economy since 1990. China has been the biggest beneficiary of the collapse of communism in the former Soviet Union. It allowed them to gradually ditch the command economy. China is not communism the way Leonid Brezhnev understood communism to be.

I believe the two ideologies are moving towards a fusion. And it does not have to be bloody fusion. There need not be war, only civil debate, and discussion. I look at the 2020 election campaign in the US and I look at what China has already started in Shenzen in the form a political experiment, and I see we are moving towards a fusion. And the protestors in the streets of Hong Kong are hardly best equipped to lead that conversation. They can be part of the conversation, but they are not in any position to lead. For one, they have not been talking much.

Chinese Troops Invade Hong Kong (NOT)
Is Hong Kong Moving Towards A Showdown?
Hong Kong Police Losing Its Mind
I Read Don Junior's Book
The Hong Kong Shenzen Political Song And Dance Could Benefit The World
Hong Kong: The Situation Escalates
China Has Already Started Political Reforms: In Shenzen
Thoughts On The Middle East

I read somewhere, in response to the last protests, Beijing reportedly said, okay, you can elect your own Chief Executive as long we get to decide who those two will be. It is said in America about 50,000 people participate in the "money primary." And once somebody passes that hurdle then the race is opened to the ordinary American voters. What Beijing wants in Hong Kong, the 50,000 money people already seem to have in America.

In recent weeks I have taken great interest in the Middle East as a region, and in the UAE in particular, for business reasons. And being a political person that I am, I have also taken much interest in the politics. I knew the UAE was a monarchy, but there was a lot that I did not know.

But I have also had intimate knowledge at another level: people from my home village, for instance.

When I was attending high school in Kathmandu, at a school founded and run by the British, the best school in Nepal, we were taught there are rich countries and there are poor countries, but thank God for all the aid the rich countries give, the poor are catching up. Then I attended college in America. And the talk gradually shifted to, aid will not do it, we need trade, not aid. And we ended up with Donald Trump, who thinks the entire world is being unfair to America. But remittance from the Gulf countries is the only thing that has really mattered to the people in my home village. Aid and trade have been close to zero as factors.

And that makes me think. I open-mindedly ask questions.

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Hong Kong: Endgame Scenarios

Endgame 1: The Protestors Get Tired

One weekend they simply don't show up. Because they got tired. I don't see this happening. If anything, like a hurricane in the Bahamas, this thing seems to only gather further momentum.

Endgame 2: Beijing Sends In The Force

The PLA crosses the border and marches in. I don't see this happening. Beijing is smart enough to realize it will face major international sanctions. The tariffs that only the US has imposed, many major countries will impose. This act should be the least palatable to Beijing. This route chosen leads to a collapse of the communist party inside China because it starts a chain reaction.

Endgame 3: Inaction

Which is what is happening right now. Carrie Lam will not move the needle. Beijing will not move the needle. They basically hope for endgame 1, even though they do not so spell it out.

Endgame 4: The Protestors Get Better Organized, Locally As Well As Globally

Unless they want to also play the tire you out game, the protestors have no choice but to get better organized. Join this or that political party in the millions. Have elected leadership. Hold regular meetings. Pass resolutions after debate and discussion. Organize globally. Although the movement has been local to Hong Kong, it is only a matter of time before some questions will arise. Why are your demands good only for Hong Kong? What about the rest of China? In China, there might be fear. But what about the global Chinese diaspora? Why are you not winning the debate among the global Chinese diaspora? An interesting part of this development will be that the protest leaders will have to face the fact that they don't necessarily want a copycat political system to what America has. The political and economic system in the US is right now undergoing serious internal questioning. But unless the movement is capable of that debate and discussion, it is not a mature movement.

This last option seems to be the only available option.

Hurricane Hong Kong, will you hit Alabama?

Saturday, September 28, 2019

Hong Kong: The Protest Looking For A Safe Landing?

Of course, I can’t say that in five years later Hong Kong will have free elections suddenly, and that [a member of] the pro-democracy camp can be the leader of Hong Kong. But at least freedom from fear is what we hope for.
--- Joshua Wong, Hong Kong democracy leader

Look at what the most visible face of the movement is saying. The guy is already resigned to the fact that the fifth demand will not be met. And that posture matters.

A Criticism Of The Hong Kong Protestors
I Worry For The Hong Kong Protestors
The Hong Kong Protest Lacks Political Sophistication

Friday, September 27, 2019

A Criticism Of The Hong Kong Protestors

I attempt a criticism of the Hong Kong protestors because they are fighting for democracy, and it is a democratic act to criticize. I hope this is considered constructive criticism.

First of all, let me make it clear. Mahatma Gandhi said at one point, if it is a choice between protesting injustice violently and nonviolently, I'd prefer you protest nonviolently. But if it is a choice between protesting violently and not protesting at all, I'd prefer you protest. What are a few blocked roads or burnt railings between friends!

But having said that, I'd like to emphasize, if there are even only a few acts of vandalism, a few acts of property damage, a few acts of violence, that shows the movement lacks internal discipline of the highest degree. That internal discipline is what gives you moral authority.

It does not matter what the police do. The Hong Kong police have crossed the line a few times, true. The Hong Kong police protected vigilantes have crossed the line many times, true. But if you respond in kind, you lose some of your moral authority. The right political thing to do is to not react, to maintain internal discipline. And to create and maintain that internal discipline, you need internal political organization, internal dialogue.

"If we burn, you burn" is not a political program. I have been hearing more and more of that lately. That line of thought has to be consciously abandoned. Beijing is trying hard to tell the world, this is like the yellow vest protests in France or the forest fires in California. It will burn and die out on its own.

Unless the Hong Kong protest movement makes the extra effort towards that internal discipline and away from the "if we burn you burn" mantra, the movement might break all records in terms of how long it might last, but it might not see the success it seeks.

That is one thing I have to say about the method.

Another thing is dialogue. The Hong Kong protest movement needs to engage Carrie Lam and Beijing in an intense dialogue. Beijing has put out comment after comment on the protests in the global media. Those comments have gone unanswered. They need to be answered. Every such utterance needs to be answered.

You can not be fighting for democracy and say, Carrie Lam, we don't want to talk to you. Dialogue is basic to democracy.

Why do you want to talk to Carrie Lam?

The top of the five demands has already been met. The final demand, that of a directly elected Chief Executive, and a fully directly elected legislature is most important to me.

But there is room for compromise on some of the other demands. I agree that all protesters who have been detained should be released and their charges dropped. But when you ask for an independent inquiry of the police behavior, one has to ask, to what end? So the police officers might face disciplinary action? The room for compromise is to forgive and be forgiven.

A good outcome of a direct dialogue with Carrie Lam will also be to get her to say that it is simply not in her powers to meet the final demand. It is above her paygrade level. And that is true.

So, she has met one demand. I think she can meet another, that of releasing the 1,000 plus protestors that have been detained. But the protest movement has to be willing to compromise on two others. And the final demand has to be taken to Beijing. How do you do that?

There is a protest path. And there is a dialogue path.

If you only partially shut the city, you might have to do it a long time. But if you shut the city down 100%, the movement might win in a few short weeks. But the risk is those tanks in Shenzen might roll.

The dialogue path is, is Beijing even talking? It is not even at the table. Beijing big, Hong Kong tiny. That is the Beijing thinking. You already have Carrie Lam. That is what they say.

Creating a credible threat to independence might be the only way to get Beijing to budge. That is one thing Beijing does care about. On the other hand, if you can not build that credible threat, you perhaps should be willing to compromise.

Carrie Lam was basically appointed by Beijing. That makes an administrator. I hear a few years ago Beijing offered an arrangement whereby it would offer two candidates and Hong Kongers will get to pick one through direct vote. I wish that is how they elected the president of China every five years. The CCP offered two candidates to the billion-plus Chinese.

A compromise position between what Beijing was willing to give a few years ago and what Hong Kong wants today might be, okay, so Beijing gets to offer two candidates, but Hong Kong will also offer two candidates. There would at first be a primary. And the top two vote-getters will go into the final round. And the four candidates would contest.

Even that Beijing might not go for. But the beauty of being in constant dialogue mode is you force them to take positions. Dialogue is not just sitting across the table, or Xi Jinping giving one of you a call. Dialogue is already happening. Beijing has been issuing statement after statement. The movement has not been responding.

That is a political slam dunk for Beijing.

For example, when Joshua Wong showed up in Berlin, Beijing said, the west can not solve its own problems, how is it going to solve your problems? What did Joshua Wong say in response? Crickets.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Trying To Understand Hong Kong And China

While I have been trying to understand Hong Kong and China, this blog post of mine has been of great help: Racism. The history and persistence of racism in the United States should help us understand mindsets elsewhere that we might find exotic and offensive.

I can not talk of Hong Kong, without also talking of Kashmir.

I would like to talk of China, but also of Andrew Yang and Bernie Sanders, and all the race and class bias the two face. Looks like Bernie also faces what can only be called the Great Wall Of Capital.

To be clear, I don't believe the status quo is okay, in Hong Kong or Beijing. But where is the status quo okay?

Hong Kong, like every city out there, is sexist. The female protesters experience it on both sides. And so I have at times wondered if this whole movement is not some sexist rebellion against a female Chief Executive. Of course, that is rhetorical. The ball is clearly in Beijing's court. Carrie Lam has not much wiggle room.

Hong Kong, I believe, is taking the lead, not just for Hong Kong, but also for mainland China, not just for mailand China, but also for the 100 biggest cities in the world.

News: Hong Kong, Kashmir, Vigilantism, Curfew, Terrorism, Diaspora

Carrie Lam can defuse the Hong Kong protests by taking on the property tycoons

Hong Kong is in India, Kashmir is in China. Right? Hong Kong and Indian Kashmir. One is administered by the world’s biggest democracy and one is the democracy-craving outlier of an authoritarian state...... Which is which? These days, it’s hard to tell … flying in from India this time, amid dramatic developments in the country’s restive Kashmir region, I could use a refresher on the virtues of democracy. ....... Like Hong Kong, the province of Jammu and Kashmir – till recently – was an autonomous region with special privileges defining its relationship to the republic holding its sovereignty. The princely state acceded to a newly independent India in 1947 in return for guarantees of its autonomy, including having its own constitution. ....... A rough, local equivalent of Modi’s move would be President Xi Jinping suddenly scrapping the Basic Law and declaring Hong Kong as a full-fledged province of China right away, rather than give it the stipulated three more decades as an autonomous territory. ...... focus on the opticality of it, which is what makes Kashmir such a striking contrast to Hong Kong........ a total lockdown, which is what is in place in Kashmir today ........ A fact-finding team of activists that has just returned from Kashmir describes it as “a prison under military control”, where underage boys are being arrested to pre-empt protests. And no one has heard from Kashmiri leaders since August 5....... estimated numbers ranging from 500 to 1,300. Its three top leaders, all former chief ministers, are in solitary confinement, with no contact with their families, lawyers or party members.........

Even stranger for a democracy is the way Kashmir is being covered by India’s mainstream media, especially when compared with supposedly quasi-democratic Hong Kong’s telling of its own story.

The months-long movement has been reported extensively and unhindered by the local and international media alike, making it one of the biggest international news stories this year. The protests are often beamed real-time and live-blogged by the city’s top media brands, increasing the scrutiny of government conduct......... The last two questions faced by Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor at her most recent press conference were, “do you have a conscience?” and “when will you die?”. ........ Most Indian mainstream media outlets, on the other hand, evidently under pressure from a headline-obsessed Modi administration, are more or less following the government narrative of peace and calm in Kashmir despite the abrogation of its special status. This is of a piece with the current trend in India, where a once-proud and independent media landscape is now littered with a host of news outlets eager to please the powers that be, rather than speak truth to them. The Press Club of India in Delhi even denied permission to display photos and videos brought back by the fact-finding team returning from Kashmir..........

India this year fell two more places on the World Press Freedom Index compiled by Reporters Without Borders. From 80th in 2002, it now ranks 140th out of 180 territories, right behind South Sudan (139), Myanmar (138) and Palestine (137), and far behind Hong Kong (73).

.......... Nowhere is this precipitous drop in journalistic standards and reporting climate more evident than in prime-time news and talk shows, where government spins are faithfully belted out by loud anchors eager to prove their patriotism and score brownie points with the government.

Some of them would easily give the Chinese state media an inferiority complex.

The dominant media narrative established in these shows and newspaper headlines is how Modi’s “masterstroke” will improve the lot of Kashmiris. Only, neither the Kashmiri people nor their leaders are anywhere in sight to vouch for this magical transformation of their lives. .......... Organisations like the BBC and Reuters have reported the rage bubbling up in Kashmir, impromptu protests and police firings to quell the mobs. Delhi has dismissed the reports as “fabricated”, much in the manner of an authoritarian state warding off prying foreign media.......While the image of one pellet injury has animated Hong Kong, reports and photos of at least half a dozen new pellet injuries that have surfaced in India’s plucky news websites and international media have had little impact in India. ........ A people who say they do not have democracy and are demanding elections can stand up and be counted, while those who took part in the world’s biggest election just three months ago are living under an undeclared martial law imposed by their own government and silenced. It’s almost as if Hong Kong and Kashmir have miraculously switched geographies – as if Hong Kong is part of India’s disputatious and diverse democracy, and Kashmir, an aberrant Muslim province in monolithic China.

On the ground in Kashmir, feelings of loss, betrayal and helplessness as Srinagar remains in lockdown
Have Singaporeans misunderstood the nature of Hong Kong protests?

One China, two different worlds: how the great political divide is on full show overseas amid Hong Kong chaos Hong Kong students abroad have described an atmosphere of fear, intimidation and vitriol in dealing with ultra-nationalistic mainland Chinese since the city’s anti-government protests broke out........ With the gulf in understanding showing little sign of narrowing, universities are now grappling with concerns about freedom of speech ........ she found her picture circulating on WeChat. She believes it was snapped by one of the dozens of mainland Chinese students who turned up to counter the protest on August 16......... Even more disturbing, someone photographed her while she was shopping at a Costco store the next day, and put that picture on WeChat too.......... It rattled her, and left her looking over her shoulder everywhere she went. “Who knows what they are going to do?” Wong said. “I keep feeling they will follow me home.”.......

The Australian citizen, originally from Hong Kong, made a police report.

........ Campus clashes and other incidents have occurred recently in cities including Adelaide, Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane in Australia, and Vancouver and Montreal in Canada........In Vancouver, police escorted worshippers out of a prayer meeting for Hong Kong last Sunday after flag-waving mainlanders surrounded the church in what one organiser described as an attempt at “bullying” and “intimidation”........

The incidents have almost always been initiated by a small number of ultra-nationalistic pro-Beijing Chinese, often students, who oppose demonstrations supporting Hong Kong’s anti-government protests, Taiwan independence or calling for investigations into Uygur detentions in China’s westernmost province of Xinjiang.

........ an expansion of tension that has periodically flared between Hong Kong and mainland students on Hong Kong university campuses, over issues such as separatism......... Overall, there were 1.2 million people of Chinese descent in Australia in 2016, according to the census that year. Of the total, 41 per cent were born in mainland China and 6.5 per cent in Hong Kong. Canadians of Chinese descent make up 1.76 million people, according to 2016 census data, of whom about 753,000 are mainland-born, and 216,000 were born in Hong Kong.............. Hongkonger Eugenie Wong, 19, an organiser of the Melbourne protest, said she was worried about being recognised on the street by the pro-Beijing group.......... “That makes me feel like Australia is not even safe – or that nowhere is safe – for a Hong Kong student,” said Wong, a La Trobe University student. ....... At the University of South Australia, a student who requested anonymity said a mainland student followed him to his apartment after he attended the anti-government protest at the university....... Simon Fraser University, where a Lennon Wall of messages supporting the Hong Kong protesters has been repeatedly vandalised........ While mainland students overseas have mobilised to counter voices critical of Beijing for decades, Cheuk Kwan, the former chairperson of the non-profit Toronto Association for Democracy in China, said they were now increasingly resorting to outright intimidation. ....... many mainland students he encountered struggled to adjust to the liberal norms of Australia because of a sense of grievance over past wrongs against China by Western powers combined with an inferiority complex towards Western countries. ........“They spend all their 20 years of life on studying but nothing else, and have little understanding of how democracy or freedom works in the West,” Gao said. “These students are laughingly naive about political and social issues.............. “But they become more defensive of China after they come to Australia because all they see and hear in the media is a one-sided, negative framing of China, if not outright China bashing.”....... most mainland students steer clear of disciplines such as international relations in favour of subjects such as commerce and accounting....... mainland Chinese students in Hong Kong, however, where 12,000 of them are enrolled at the city’s eight universities............The recent clashes between those supporting the Hong Kong protesters and the pro-Beijing group have sparked calls for greater scrutiny of Chinese influence at universities, including through the Chinese Students and Scholars Association, a Beijing-funded organisation that purports to help students adjust to life abroad and has about 150 branches on campuses worldwide.........

Media in Canada and the United States have published evidence that mainland students belonging to the association have coordinated with Chinese consulates to counter perceived anti-China activity abroad.

....... In Australia, the Chinese consulate in Brisbane issued a statement after the campus chaos at the University of Queensland praising the “spontaneous patriotic behaviour of Chinese students”. It drew a warning from Foreign Minister Marise Payne who said diplomats in Australia should not interfere with the right to free speech, even on contentious issues.......... universities had been caught off guard by the recent clashes and were yet to wake up to the “problems inherent in having

Chinese student groups effectively run and funded by PRC embassies and consulates”

......... the “excessiveness” of their reliance on mainland Chinese students for revenue........ this group makes up approximately 10 per cent of all Australian university students, with almost 153,000 mainland Chinese enrolled in higher education in Australia as of December 2018......... At seven universities, including the University of Queensland, course fees paid by these students form anywhere between 13 to 23 per cent of the institutions’ revenue....... concern that proactively defending people in Canada from coercion by the PRC regime could impact negatively on other aspects of the Canada-China relationship....... What Australian universities could do, Laurenceson said, was to “make it clear that physical altercations, tearing up pamphlets and ripping the megaphone out of the hands of those with opposing views, blocking other students from posting to Lennon walls, and so on, impinge on the fundamental value of freedom of speech and will draw consequences.”.......

A Hongkonger who recently graduated from McGill University in Montreal said universities needed to respond to the new reality that many Hong Kong students now felt afraid to express themselves freely.

....... “If nationalist mainlanders can threaten Hongkongers, they can threaten anyone who they do not agree with.......... the city’s supporters overseas are bracing themselves for more displays of patriotic fervour from pro-Beijing supporters.

Hong Kong protests: man seriously hurt after attack by anti-government demonstrators as street fights between rival groups erupt
Hong Kong protests: three months on and the anti-government activists want their enemies to burn with them. Is there any end in sight? They are strangers in a crowd. They do not know each other’s real names and have little clue how the other looks under the gas masks they call snouts, the 3M goggles and hard hats. But they regard each other as sau zuk, which means “hands and feet”, a Cantonese idiom to refer to how close they are that losing the other is like having a limb amputated......... For Kelvin, the image of a fellow protester whom he had just met on the frontline being hauled away by police and leaving a trail of blood stains in his wake left him feeling helpless. He says: “I keep awake thinking of it, and I blame myself.” ....... Over in Central’s Edinburgh Place on September 2 as thousands of secondary school pupils gather for a school boycott rally, a 15-year-old student surnamed Pang laments: “I can’t sleep and can’t eat, my heart is tired.”........ The disciplined service quarters in the working-class district – where police families such as hers live – have been besieged several times by angry protesters throughout the summer holiday. A window in her flat was struck and cracked by one of the many projectiles hurled at the quarter. Her parents shrugged off the attacks. Her younger brother, in Primary Two, cried....... The gamut of emotions felt by Katie, Pang and Kelvin reflects what the wider society is reeling from as Hongkongers try to comprehend how their city has changed from one renowned for its stability and orderliness to a place that has almost nightly protests in one corner or another.......

many admit they have no answer to when and how it will all end.

....... Lam has refused to entertain the remaining four demands, which are for the independent probe, amnesty for arrested protesters, a halt to categorising the protests as riots and genuine universal suffrage.......

Three months on, the young protesters have come to believe the movement offers them a now-or-never chance to fight for genuine democracy, or, for the extreme radicals, even breaking away from the control of the Chinese Communist Party. “If we burn, you burn with us,” they say. Many believe this is the denouement of their demand for democracy and appear prepared to risk everything.

........ The impasse looks set to harden, with further concessions unlikely from both sides.........But if the government’s strategy is to wear the protesters down, it is not working........ The psychological support offered to the protesters by the vast swathe of society, the moderate and middle-class ranks, is the political vitamin keeping the momentum going...... “It is a call to restore ‘one country, two systems’ and to defend their civil liberties and the way of life.” ...... Kelvin’s mother and sister used to be politically indifferent, but now they constantly monitor live broadcasts of the clashes. They know the drill if Kelvin disappears: trash all his belongings that could be linked to the protests and hide his laptop at a secret place no one can reach........ Over the three months, police have fired more than 2,382 canisters of tear gas, more than 776 rubber bullets, beanbag rounds and sponge grenades as of September 10 and arrested 1,359 people. At least 70 of them have been charged with rioting, an offence carrying a penalty of 10 years in prison........... As the protests have continued, demonstrators and police have clashed in pitched battles, each weekend encounter more bitter and seemingly surpassing the level of violence seen the weekend before. Police have been accused of using excessive force while protesters have now not just used bricks but also petrol bombs, some 100 of them a fortnight ago........

“Snape said, ‘the Dark Lord isn’t resting’. So we can’t rest.”

........On LIHKG, the Reddit-like site which acts as a virtual command centre for the movement, users have begun responding to recent talk the government might invoke emergency powers to end the unrest with slogans that they are ready to do battle and “want to perish together”....... most protesters, according to an academic survey, consider themselves to be from middle-class backgrounds. The ratio falls to half middle-class and the other half from lower middle-class when it comes to those on the front lines........ such sentiments reflect the total breakdown in trust between those in power and those on the streets......

Government insiders say it is almost a “mission impossible” for the administration to offer further concessions, especially after Beijing has spelt out some clear bottom lines.

....... the government is struggling to find solutions to the unrest and expects it to go on “for a very long time”....... between August 21 and 27 found that 68.3 per cent of 716 respondents expected the clashes to continue or become even more serious in the coming month........ While nearly half agreed both protesters and the government should make concessions to seek common ground, almost two-fifths of the respondents thought the opposite and argued the protesters should stick to their five key demands and not compromise....... In recent weeks, the police appear to have changed their strategy by going after mass arrests, apparently targeting hard core protesters and prominent pro-democracy activists........

the crackdown will galvanise rather than gut the movement.

........ To break the impasse, one needs to understand the defining spirit behind the movement....... Hongkongers’ anxieties if not anger at what they perceive as the local government’s bid to push the city towards being “one country” and eroding the city’s own identity........ Beijing, he says, should learn from how the tightening up post-Occupy through various actions, including the disqualification of six pro-democracy lawmakers, would only cause grievances to fester and grow again....... A lot of people still miss the old days of ‘the well water does not mix with the river water,’” he says, referring to a Chinese idiom once quoted by former Chinese president Jiang Zemin to suggest Hong Kong should not interfere in the affairs of mainland China and vice versa. .......

The US-China trade war has set in motion an unstoppable global economic transformation