China sanctions US over Hong Kong


The Chinese Foreign Ministry announced the first wave of countermeasures against the US on Monday since the US passed and signed the so-called Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act and continued its interference in China’s domestic affairs in the city.

The move includes suspending visits of US warships and aircraft to the city and sanctioning multiple US-headquartered non-governmental organizations, including the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and Human Rights Watch. Chinese experts said that some US diplomats at the US Consulate General in Hong Kong and Macao who have connections with the targeted NGOs could be expelled as these organizations’ activities in Hong Kong could be deemed illegal in the future.

From a logistic perspective, suspending visits of US warships and aircraft will force US military forces to find other ports in the region for resupply, which could cost more, experts noted.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry announced the first wave of countermeasures against the US on Monday since the US passed and signed the so-called Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act and continued its interference in China’s domestic affairs in the city.

The move includes suspending visits of US warships and aircraft to the city and sanctioning multiple US-headquartered non-governmental organizations, including the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and Human Rights Watch. Chinese experts said that some US diplomats at the US Consulate General in Hong Kong and Macao who have connections with the targeted NGOs could be expelled as these organizations’ activities in Hong Kong could be deemed illegal in the future.

From a logistic perspective, suspending visits of US warships and aircraft will force US military forces to find other ports in the region for maintenance, which could cost more, experts noted.

Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying said at a routine press conference on Monday that China would suspend its reviews of applications made by US military aircraft and naval vessels to make port calls in Hong Kong after US President Donald Trump signed the so-called Hong Kong act, which allows Washington to impose sanctions on individuals over alleged human rights violation in Hong Kong.

Hua said China will also sanction NGOs including NED, the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI), the International Republican Institute (IRI), Freedom House and Human Rights Watch for their “horrible activities in the months-long turmoil in the city.”

“A great amount of evidence proving that these NGOs have supported anti-China forces to create chaos in Hong Kong, and made utmost efforts to encourage these forces to engage in extreme violent criminal acts, and also hyped separatism activities in Hong Kong,” she said.

“They have a huge responsibility for the current chaos in Hong Kong, and deserve to be sanctioned and pay the price.”

“NED is a notorious organization that plays a major role in funding color revolutions and training political activists worldwide to create trouble for many non-Western states,” said Lü Xiang, a research fellow on US studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing.

“The NDI and IRI are two organizations that mainly receive funding from NED, and the NDI follows political line of Democrats, while the IRI follows Republicans. Sanctioning these two NGOs sends the message that the two major parties are being targeted for initiating and passing the Hong Kong act,” said Diao Daming, a US studies expert at Renmin University of China.

A masked rioter is standing out among his group in a standoff with police outside the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, November 17, 2019. Photo: Xinhua

Expulsion from HK

On questions as to what extent China can sanction these NGOs, Chinese experts said that due to the “one-country, two systems” policy, these organizations are allowed to operate in Hong Kong without restrictions, but since they are using this to harm China’s national interests, their activities and cash flow in Hong Kong could be frozen.

Diao said “These NGOs could be identified as illegal organizations, so not only their personnel, but US diplomats at the US Consulate General in Hong Kong and Macao could be affected.”

Staff member of those NGOs will be restricted from entering Chinese territory, including the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR), and those NGOs’ operations in HKSAR will also likely be limited, said Fan Peng from the Chinese Association of Hong Kong and Macao Studies.

Fan said that imposing restrictions on those organizations’ operations hits external forces to the very core and helps to ward off their influence in Hong Kong, as those organizations support the rioters.

If the US government uses the authorization provided by the US Congress to conduct further interference in Hong Kong, China will surely raise its retaliation, Lü said.

China could investigate US diplomats connected to the listed NGOs, or even directly involved with their local funding targets and provided training and assistance, and these diplomats could be expelled if they don’t stop making trouble in the city, Diao noted.

Military ties harmed

China, in the past, allowed the US vessels and aircraft to visit and resupply in Hong Kong since the coastal city is a perfect port in the West Pacific region, and serves as a strategic hub. But now, due to US intervention in the Hong Kong situation, US military forces will lose their right to use this hub and need to spend more resources to get supplies in other ports in the region, Chinese experts said.

Song Zhongping, a military expert and TV commentator, told the Global Times on Monday that whether China allows US warships to conduct port visits in Hong Kong has been a barometer of the two countries’ political and military relations.

Now that China has decided to suspend the port visits, it means China and the US have suffered a significant decline in political and military ties, which have been caused by US violations of China’s sovereignty and interference in China’s internal affairs, as it is challenging the one-China principle by publicly supporting Hong Kong secessionists, Song said.

A US warship port call to Hong Kong now will send a very wrong signal to Hong Kong rioters, and China is absolutely right to turn down visit requests, take resolute action and counter the US for its provocation, Song said.

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Shocked! Najib’s actions showed personal interest beyond that of public office — judge


KUALA LUMPUR (Nov 11): Justice Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali took an hour to deliver his decision today that the prosecution has successfully established a prima facie case against former premier Datuk Seri Najib Razak on all seven charges in the SRC International Sdn Bhd trial.

What was significant was that the judge devoted half an hour to just one charge, namely abuse of power.

Najib also faces three criminal breach of trust charges and three money-laundering charges in relation to the alleged embezzlement of RM42 million from SRC in 2014 and 2015.

On the power abuse charge, Justice Nazlan said evidence adduced by the prosecution showed that the series of actions taken by Najib in respect of SRC showed personal interest beyond that of public office.

Najib, who is also the member of parliament for Pekan and former Barisan Nasional chairman, had agreed to the recommendation made by the Economic Planning Unit to approve a RM20 million launching grant for SRC when the company initially applied for a RM3 billion grant, the judge noted.

“Before SRC was placed under 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB), SRC’s Articles of Association under Section 67 stipulates that the accused as PM has the power to appoint and remove the members of the board of directors of the company,” the judge said.

More importantly, Justice Nazlan said Najib responded to a letter dated June 3, 2011 from SRC’s former chief executive officer (CEO) and managing director, Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil, who sought a RM3.95 billion loan.

“Najib made a notation on the letter addressed to the Retirement Fund Inc (KWAP) CEO Datuk Azian Mohd Noh stating in fact that he was agreeing to it, and wanted Azian to look into it.

“It should be highlighted that KWAP is a statutory institution which in effect reports to the finance minister and KWAP board members and whose investment panel members are appointed by the finance minister, under Section 6 and 7 of the KWAP Act,” the judge said.

Najib the ultimate boss

Justice Nazlan said Najib had informed then Treasury secretary-general and KWAP chairman Tan Sri Dr Wan Abdul Aziz Wan Abdullah to expedite the approval of the SRC loan, and that this happened after Wan Abdul Aziz and Azian had briefed Najib that KWAP was initially considering extending a loan of only RM1 billion.

“Crucially, Wan Abdul Aziz testified under cross-examination that he did not consider the said communication with the accused as an instruction from Najib. In addition Azian, the former KWAP CEO, testified there was no legal compulsion. She could not deny that there was a certain amount of influence in the notation directed to her in the June 3, 2011 letter.

“This was due to the fact that Azian felt Najib was the PM and the minister in charge of KWAP and her “ultimate boss”,” the judge said, adding that before KWAP approved the loan, SRC had written to the finance ministry seeking a government guarantee in anticipation of the RM2 billion loan.

The judge also noted the deputy secretary-general of Treasury, Datuk Mat Noor Nawi, had testified that the transfer of the share of ownership of SRC from 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) to Ministry of Finance Incorporated was executed by Najib, who was also the finance minister.

Justice Nazlan said the series of conduct and involvement of Najib with regard to SRC, if viewed in totality, cannot be construed as purely being a lawful exercise of his official duty as either the prime minister, finance minister or advisor emeritus of SRC.

“This is because such conduct and involvement was beyond the ordinary and outside the usual conduct or involvement expected of a prime minister and finance minister, similarly circumstanced.

“Such conduct and involvement exhibited by the accused instead serves only to demonstrate the existence of private and personal interest on the part of the accused in SRC, which interest, in my judgement, is in the nature that is envisaged under the law to fall within the ambit of Section 23 of the MACC Act,” the judge ruled.

Justice Nazlan further reasoned that the argument that Najib had not given any instructions or directions but merely made requests and had no role to play in securing the KWAP loan cannot withstand the court’s scrutiny.

He said if these were couched as mere requests it is manifest that they were made by Najib because they were meant to be obeyed.

“Everyone else in the picture was in a position subordinate to the accused. These included the secretary-general of the Treasury and the (then) Second Finance Minister (Datuk Seri Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah),” he said.

Justice Nazlan said the prosecution has also showed that Najib participated in the decision-making process at the meetings of the Cabinet, which the ex-premier chaired and where the two government guarantees for the loans extended by KWAP to SRC were approved.

This, he said, is clearly is a decision or action taken by Najib in relation to the government guarantee, which was to guarantee KWAP the repayment of the loan by SRC, in which Najib had an interest of a nature that is caught under Section 23 of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Act 2009.

“In fact the accused himself, as the PM who chaired the meetings, had tabled the Cabinet paper on the second government guarantee at the meeting which approved the same on Feb 8, 2012.

“There was no disclosure, let alone any attempt to excuse himself from the deliberation on the Cabinet papers at the either of the said meetings,” he said, adding that Najib also subsequently chaired a cabinet meeting where a short-term loan was approved when SRC nearly defaulted KWAP payment.

“Given the accused’s control over SRC, he could cause the transfers of RM42 million which were through intermediary companies credited into his personal accounts and eventuality utilised and spent to his own advantage. This is gratification to the accused pure and simple,” he said, in ruling that Najib has to enter his defence on the abuse of power charge.

Najib is charged under Section 23 of the MACC Act for allegedly using his position as the prime minister and finance minister to commit bribery involving RM42 million when he participated in or was involved in the decision to provide government guarantees for loans from the Retirement Fund Inc to SRC amounting to RM4 billion.

He is alleged to have committed the offence at the Prime Minister’s Office in Putrajaya between Aug 17, 2011 and Feb 8, 2012. If convicted, he faces a jail term of up to 20 years, and a fine of not less than five times the amount or value received or RM10,000, whichever is higher.

The Edge is reporting the proceedings of the SRC trial live.

Users of The Edge Markets app may tap here to access the live report.


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China in the Asian century, Is the future truly Asian?



As China continues to develop, so does its global influence. What would the future be like for South-East Asia with a ‘risen China’?

Rising together: No, Chinese imperialism is not simply replacing US imperialism, as China emphasises win-win partnerships, says Prof Zhang. — Handout

 

China in the Asian century

PROF Zhang Weiwei is among the most respected scholars in China today. He is a leading expert on China’s “reform and opening up” policies and its status as a “civilisational state.”

As director of the China Institute at Shanghai’s elite Fudan University, he is also professor of International Relations and had served as English interpreter for China’s Paramount Leader Deng Xiaoping. In an exclusive interview earlier in the week, Prof Zhang spoke to Sunday Star about future prospects with China.

As the leading authority on China’s civilisational state, how would you define it, as distinct from a nation state?

With China, it’s a combination of the world’s longest continuous civilisation and a super-large modern state. A civilisational state is made up of hundreds of states amalgamated into one large state.

China is a modern state respecting international law like a nation state, but culturally diverse, with sovereignty and territorial integrity.

There are four features of China’s civilisational state: a super-large population of 1.4 billion people, a continent-size territory, significant culture, and a long history.

If we are returning to an East Asian tributary system, what changes can we expect in China’s policies in this region today?

The tributary system is a Western name for China’s relations in this region (in the past). China is a “civilisational” – as an adjective – state, a modern amalgamation of many (component communities).

During the Ming Dynasty, China was a world power – but as a civilizational state more than a nation state – and did not seek to colonize other countries, unlike Western powers that were nation states. Since then, China’s status and capacity as a nation state has grown significantly. Will it then become more like Western powers now?
China today is a nation state, but different from European (nation) states. It is also still a civilisational state.

The Chinese people are not just Han, although the Han majority is 92%. There are 56 ethnic groups in China, (mostly) minorities.

But China rejected the Permanent Court of Arbitration’s ruling on the South China Sea, initiated by the Philippines, which found China’s claims insupportable.

The tribunal was illegal; it had no right to make such decisions. The Permanent Court of Arbitration is not part of the United Nations.

How can countries in South-East Asia be convinced that the rise of China will not simply result in Chinese imperialism replacing US imperialism?

China emphasises win-win partnerships, such as in the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). It encourages discovering, building, and benefiting together.

Countries in South-East Asia join the BRI out of their own interest. It is not something imposed by China.

Some countries have described the Second Belt and Road Summit this year as being more consultative than the first. As for the future?

The future Belt and Road Summits will be even more open and consultative.

Is the current US-China trade dispute only a symptom of much larger differences, such as a historic divide in the reshaping of a new global order?

It is more than about trade. With the United States especially, it is zero-sum, but for China it is win-win.

The Chinese economy is larger than the US economy, or soon will be. (In PPP or purchasing power parity terms, China’s economy grew larger than the US economy in 2014.)

The United States is trying to decouple its economy from China’s. How can China ensure that it would not only withstand these efforts but also triumph?

The attempt to decouple the two economies will fail. About 85% of US companies that are already in China want to stay.

Looking at the trade structure, most Chinese exports to the US are irreplaceable. No other place in the world gives a better price-quality ratio in manufactured goods.

So the US cannot win in this decoupling because there are no alternatives (as desirable producing countries). China has the world’s largest chain or network, or factory clusters, for all kinds of goods.

How likely do you see a hot war – more than a trade war or a cold war – breaking out between a rising China and what is perceived to be a declining United States?

The US knows that it won’t win (a hot war). No two nuclear-armed countries will go to war. It would be very messy.

So far no two nuclear-armed countries have fought. There may be a small likelihood of direct confrontation, but not a war situation.

No commercial shipping has been interrupted by China. So the US need not worry.

Can Asean, or an Asean country like Malaysia, help to bring the United States and China closer together as partners rather than as rivals?

Possibly. Malaysia perhaps can help, as it is friendly to both China and the US.

As China continues in its rise, what steps is it taking to provide for more cooperative and consultative relations in this region?

Trade between China and Asean countries, for example, has grown, and has now exceeded China-US trade.

Generally, China’s relations with Asean countries are quite promising, with Free Trade Area relationships as well.

By Bunn Nagara, who is Senior Fellow at the Institute of Strategic and International Studies (ISIS) Malaysia.

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Poised for growth: Shipping containers sit stacked next to gantry cranes at the Yantian International Container Terminals in Shenzhen, China. — Bloomberg

 

Is the future truly Asian?

The Region, while growing fast, faces issues such as youth joblessness, climate change and income gaps

THIS is a question that is at the heart of the tensions across the Pacific.

To Parag Khanna, author of The Future Is Asian (2019), the answer is almost self-evident.

However, if you read his book carefully, you will find that he thinks global power will be shared between Asian and Western civilisations

For the West, the rise of Asia has been frighteningly fast, because as late as 1960, most of Asia was poor, agricultural and rural, with an average income per capita of less than US$1,000 in 2010 prices.

But 50 years on, Asia has become more urban and industrialised, and is becoming a challenge to the West in terms of trade, income and innovation.

Global management consulting firm McKinsey has just published a study on “The Future is Asian” that highlights many aspects why Asia is both attractive to businessmen and yet feared as a competitor.

Conventionally, excluding the Middle East and Iran, Asia is divided into North-East Asia (China, Japan and South Korea), South-East Asia (mostly Asean), South Asia (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh) and Central Asia.

But McKinsey has identified at least four Asias that are quite complementary to each other.

First, there is Advanced Asia, comprising Australia, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea and Singapore, each with per capita incomes exceeding US$30,000 (RM125,600), highly urbanised and rich, with a combined GDP that is 10% of global GDP.

This group provides technology, capital and markets for the rest of Asia, but it is ageing fast.

Second, China is the world’s largest trading economy, second largest in GDP after the United States, and a growing consumer powerhouse. By 2030, the Chinese consumer market will be equal to Western Europe and the United States combined.

China is also an increasing capital provider to the rest of the world.

Third, the 11 countries of Emerging Asia (Asean plus Bhutan and Nepal, excluding Singapore) have young populations, fast growth and cultural diversity.

Fourth, Frontier Asia and India – covering essentially South and Central Asia including Afghanistan – which have 1.8 billion in population, still rural but young.

Taken together, these four Asias today account for one-third of global GDP and 40% of the world’s middle class.

But what is remarkable is that while the region grew from trading with the rest of the world, intra-regional trade has grown faster, to 60% of total trade, with intra-regional foreign direct investment (FDI) at 66% of total inward FDI, and 74% of air traffic.

Much of Asian growth will come from rapid urbanisation, amid growing connectivity with each other. The top 20 cities in Asia will be mega conglomerates that are among the largest cities in the world with the fastest-growing income.

A major finding is that America First-style protectionism is helping to intensify the localisation and regionalisation of intra-regional connectivity in terms of trade, finance, knowledge and cultural networks.

Furthermore, the traditional savings surpluses in Asia basically went to London and New York and were recycled back in terms of foreign direct investment and portfolio flows.

But no longer.

Increasingly, Asian financial centres are emerging to compete to re-pump surplus capital from Advanced Asia and China to fund the growth in Emerging and Frontier Asia.

In short, intra-regional finance is following intra-regional trade.

In a multipolar world, no one wants to be completely dependent on any single player but prefers network connectivity to other cities and centres of activity and creativity.

As Khanna puts it: “The phrase ‘China-led Asia’ is thus no more acceptable to most Asians than the notion of a ‘US-led West’ is to Europeans.”

But are such rosy growth prospects in Asia predestined or ordained?

Based on the trajectory of demographic growth of half the world’s young population moving into middle income, the logical answer appears to be yes.

But there are at least three major bumps in that trajectory.

First, Asia, like the rest of the world, is highly vulnerable to global warming.

Large populations with faster growth mean more energy consumption, carbon emissions and natural resource degradation. Large chunks of Asia will be vulnerable to more water, food and energy stresses, as well as natural disasters (rising seas, forest fires, pandemics, typhoons, etc).

Second, even though more Asians have been lifted out of poverty, domestic inequality of income and wealth has increased in the last 20 years.

Part of this is caused by rural-urban disparities, and widening gaps in high-value knowledge and skills. Without adequate social safety nets, healthcare and social security, dissatisfaction over youth unemployment, access to housing, and deafness to problems by bureaucracies has erupted in protests everywhere.

Third, geopolitical rivalry has meant that there will be tensions between diverse Asia over territorial, cultural and religious differences that can rapidly escalate into conflict. The region is beginning to spend more on armaments and defence instead of focusing on alleviating poverty and addressing the common threat of climate change.

Two generational leaders from the West have approached these threats from very different angles.

Addressing the United Nations, 16-year-old Swedish schoolgirl Greta Thunberg dramatically shamed the older generation for its lack of action on climate change.

“People are suffering. People are dying. Entire ecosystems are collapsing. We are at the beginning of a mass extinction and all you can talk about is money and fairy tales of eternal economic growth. How dare you, ” she said.

The young are idealistically appealing for unity in action against a common fate.

In contrast, addressing the UN Security Council, US President Donald Trump was arguing the case for patriotism as a solution to global issues. Climate change was not mentioned at all.

Since the older generation created most of the carbon emissions in the first place, no wonder the young are asking why they are inheriting all the problems that the old deny.

This then is the difference in passion between generations.

Globalisation occurred because of increasing flows of trade, finance, data and people. That is not stoppable by patriot-protected borders.

A multipolar Asia within a multipolar world means that even America First, however strong, will have to work with everyone, despite differences in worldviews.

All patriots will have to remember that it is the richness of diversity that keeps the world in balance.

The writer ANDREW SHENG is a distinguished fellow with the Asia Global Institute at the University of Hong Kong. This article is part of the Asian Editors Circle series, a weekly commentary by editors from the Asia News Network, an alliance of 24 news media titles across the region.

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China in the Asian century – Chinadaily

 

 

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‘We lied, we cheated, we stole’, ‘the glory of American experiment’ by US Secretary of State/Ex-CIA director Mike Pompeo



https://youtu.be/DPt-zXn05ac

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo: “I was the CIA director. We lied, we cheated, we stole. We had entire training courses. It reminds you of the glory of the American experiment.”

Pompeo said this at an event at Texas A&M University on April 15, 2019. Here is the official State Department transcript:https://www.state.gov/secretary/remar…. https://thegrayzone.com

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‘Glory of American experiment’: What did Pompeo mean by that?

 

 

 

 

 

Mike Pompeo is loved by the Koch brothers, big oil, Islamophobes, people against  marriage equality, and of course, Donald J. Trump. Narrated by Judy Gold. » Subscribe to NowThis: http://go.nowth.is/News_Subscribe
With business ties to foreign governments, connections to the defense and oil industries, nonchalance towards torture, and hatreds of entire cultures, it’s no surprise Mike   Pompeo’s run as Trump’s CIA Director was short lived – but his time in the White House continues on as U.S. Secretary of State and head of all U.S. diplomatic relations.

Pompeo: ‘I was the CIA director. We lied, we cheated, we stole’

 

 

 

 ‘I was the CIA director. We lied, we cheated, we stole. It’s – it was like – we had entire training courses. It reminds you of the glory of the American experiment’ – Pompeo

Mike Pompeo says, “Lying, cheating and stealing reminds you of the glory of the American experiment”

 

Pictured above: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, telling it like it is: lying, cheating and stealing are the glory of the American experiment. It’s what the capitalist West does best. He was adored by the audience like a success guru.
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Hong Kong in decline


Losing ground: China’s spectacular rise has affected Hong Kong’s thriving financial services industry, along with development of port services. – Reuters

https://youtu.be/elH1PrASTAU

 

TWO generations ago cheap goods from Hong Kong were labelled simply “Made in Hong Kong,” but their poor quality soon made that embarrassing.

For marketing reasons they were then labelled “Made in the British Empire” or “Empire Made.” Britain, home of the First Industrial Revolution, was better regarded than any Far Eastern outpost.

However, manufacturing could never suffice for Hong Kong’s economy because of limited land and rising property prices.

Enter the space-efficient financial services industry, along with development of port services. Then a generation ago Hong Kong began to face its biggest challenge: China’s spectacular rise.

But if Hong Kong would be part of China again, wouldn’t it also enjoy the mainland’s rising fortunes?

Hong Kongers always had a problem with the first part ever since Britain’s takeover in 1841.

From the late-1970s the West was all for China’s “opening up” policies. Hong Kongers looked across the water to see Shenzhen’s phenomenal rise from old market town to bustling modern metropolis.

Shenzhen had twice Hong Kong’s population and a much faster rate of development. As just one cog in China’s production behemoth, Shenzhen soon buried Hong Kong’s prospect as a manufacturing centre.

In global references Hong Kong-Shenzhen-Guangzhou is the world’s biggest productive mega region, demographically twice the size of the next biggest in Nagoya-Osaka-Kyoto-Kobe.

But Hong Kongers still regarded themselves as a breed apart from the mainland – a “Made in the British Empire” attitude dies hard.

Surely Hong Kong still had superlative status as a leading port and financial services centre?

Not quite, especially when Shanghai would soon outclass it on both counts.

Hong Kong slipped to fifth place among the world’s busiest container ports. Among the world’s Top 10, six are now on China’s mainland.

The Shanghai Municipality’s population is 3.5 times Hong Kong’s, with an area 5.7 times as large, meaning a more relaxed population density of just 62% of Hong Kong’s.

Shanghai’s 2018 nominal GDP was US$494bil (RM2.04 trillion), which was 136.1% of Hong Kong’s. Even Shenzhen is catching up with Hong Kong, falling short by just 3.3%.

Business is Hong Kong’s business, but the mainland is doing better in both performance and prospects.

The Hong Kong stock market is not necessarily stable. Since the 1960s it has experienced a dozen market crashes.

Shanghai’s Stock Exchange market capitalisation of US$5.01 trillion is larger than Hong Kong’s by 26.5%. Hong Kong’s exceeded Shenzhen’s by only 12.8%.

Hong Kong as business enclave has been eclipsed and outdone by the mainland. At the same time its future increasingly depends on the mainland.

Since 1997, Hong Kong dropped from representing 20% to just 3% of China’s GDP.

For China today Hong Kong is just another Chinese city, meaning it is dispensable. Shenzhen and the rest of the mainland do not need a nettlesome Hong Kong for China’s continued rise.

Hong Kong protesters have committed at least a dozen strategic errors.

  1. One, they assume Hong Kong is essential to the mainland’s future when only the reverse is true. There is no equivalence between Hong Kong and the mainland in any way that works for Hong Kong.
  2. Two, protest appeals to mainlanders for support mistakenly attempt to rekindle the spirit of Tienanmen Square protests a generation ago. Those protesters are now part of the system in a prosperous new China, actively engaged in business or government. Their original 1989 complaint of corruption in high places is keenly addressed by Beijing.
  3. Three, attempts to solicit mainlanders’ support are badly confused with prejudice against them. Within days of trying to spread the protest message to mainlanders in July, protesters attacked mainland traders, shoppers and tourists.
  4. Four, protesters violently attacked police personnel, alienating many Hong Kongers including most protesters. It signalled a slide towards civil disorder.
  5. Five, vandalising the Legislative Council building established illegal conduct and further alienated everyone else.
  6. Six, more violence was targeted at the liaison office when sympathisers had thought protesters would never do that. It confirmed the criminality discrediting the protests as a whole.
  7. Seven, besides disrupting traffic and commerce, harassing passengers at the airport and train stations. It did nothing to promote their cause to the general public but quite the opposite.
  8. Eight, protests did not subside even after Hong Kong’s Executive backed down on the extradition Bill. It revealed the unreasonable nature of the protests.
  9. Nine, no protester had demanded democracy for Hong Kong in 156 years of British colonial rule. If they had, they may have a legitimate basis for demanding democracy today.
  10. Ten, it was foolish to unfurl the Union Jack and call for reverting to British rule. Seeking the denial of democracy by a foreign hand exposes the hypocrisy of the protests.
  11. Eleven, it was foolhardy to unfurl “Old Glory,” calling for US intervention during a US-China trade war. With trade a major basis of Hong Kong’s survival, it was politically suicidal.
  12. Twelve, protesters fail to understand that no other country can or would do what is necessary to boost Hong Kong’s fortunes. Only the mainland can do that if it wants to.

Young protesters still to find employment amid poor conditions and rising costs may think they have legitimate grievances.

Yet all the solutions – more investment, better job prospects, even improved governance – can come meaningfully only via the mainland.

Beijing can deploy troops to Hong Kong, but to what end?

Hong Kong’s worst punishment is getting exactly what the protesters want – isolation. That will leave it further behind as the mainland prospers, surging ahead.

Hong Kong can stew in its own juices until tender. Beijing may let the anger fester and rot until then.

Hong Kong’s strength as money-making hub is also its weakness. Its stock market can crash again, which can also send a message to Taiwan.

Hong Kong tycoons are already looking for more places abroad to stash their fortunes. Without decisive mainland investment, the economic enclave can die a natural death.

What’s left of Hong Kong’s Establishment will then surely discipline rowdy mobs. The triads have already shown leadership here, symbolising the decline.

By Bunn Nagara, a Senior Fellow at the Institute of Strategic and International Studies (ISIS) Malaysia. The views expressed are entirely the writer’s own.

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Trump is the biggest threat


Not much help: Despite his use of
tariffs to help skew the playing field in favour of US firms, the very
industries Trump has tried to help have become the weakest links in the
otherwise solid economy.

WASHINGTON: At rallies and whistle-stop campaign tours, President Donald Trump proclaims a renaissance in US factories rebuilding the nation with “American steel”, “American heart” and “American hands”.

But in reality, despite his relentless use of punitive tariffs to help skew the playing field in favour of US companies, the very industries he has tried to help have become the weakest links in the otherwise solid economy.

With just over a year to go before he faces re-election, Trump takes credit for the most vigorous economy in the industrialised world, with the expansion entering its 11th year and historically low unemployment.

But while services and office jobs dominate the US economy, Trump continues to promote the factory and mining jobs that were the lifeblood of the economy in the last century.

“American steel mills are roaring back to life,” he declared last month in Florida – the same day US Steel announced it would idle plants in Michigan and Indiana until “market conditions improve”.

And to West Virginians he said, “The coal industry is back.”

But in fact each of the sectors Trump has championed – coal mining, steel, aluminium and auto manufacturing – have been buffeted by a combination of market forces and changing technologies – factors beyond his control – or damaged by the very things he did to protect them, economists and analysts say.

Last month, a national survey of manufacturing activity hit its lowest level in nearly three years – narrowly avoiding slipping into contraction – while regional surveys have also seen record declines.

In March, the number of workers in US manufacturing shrank for the first time in nearly two years and it is now growing more slowly than the rest of the American workforce.

Trump has imposed tariffs on hundreds of billions in imports, renegotiated trade agreements and dangled the threat of worse over China and Europe and Mexico – all while publicly browbeating companies that close US factories or move production offshore.

But weak foreign demand, a strong US dollar and a decades-long evolution away from domestic manufacturing have progressively shrunk America’s industrial sector, said Gregory Daco, chief US economist at Oxford Economics.

Trump’s world trade war has not helped either.

“The policies that have been implemented in terms of protectionism have hurt the very sectors they were meant to protect. There’s no escaping that,” Daco said. – AFP/The Star

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China can effectively sanction US companies who sell weapons to Taiwan: experts

The US is deploying a double standard by calling China’s proposed sanctions on US companies for arms sales to Taiwan a “foolish action,” Chinese mainland analysts said on Sunday, pointing out that the sanctions could not only cut base material supply to these companies including rare earths but also block their non-military products from entering Chinese markets.

 

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China takes moral high ground in face of US power play


The Sino-US trade dispute is not only a game between representatives of the two countries at the negotiating table, but also a contest between the two sides in the field of international public opinion. In this dispute, which may evolve into a protracted confrontation, China has no choice but to take international justice and law as the criterion. While striving to safeguard its own core interests, China is also committed to international morality.

Over the past year and more, the tactics used by China and the US in the trade war have drawn a sharp contrast, highlighting the new trend of the strategic game between emerging powers and already existing powers in the new era.

China is actively opening to the outside world to reduce trade restrictions, while the US frequently imposes tariffs on other countries. China never threatens other countries, but seeks common interests through negotiations. The US frequently resorts to a maximum pressure approach. China respects the international system and acts in accordance with the principles of justice. The US does not obey rules, and uses what is appropriate and discards what is not. China respects each other’s concerns about economic interests, while the US only considers its own interests. China has resolutely defended and safeguarded the basic principles of the WTO and put forward a reform plan. The US threatened to withdraw from the WTO to act according to its will. 

Welcome to America Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

Uncle Sam, which prides itself on international justice, has arrogantly put “America First” above international justice and law. Closing the door for selfish gain, Washington is slipping from the moral high ground. China adheres to principles, is calm and rational, pursues fairness and justice, opens the door to common prosperity and cooperation, and presents itself as a responsible major country. 

Theodore Roosevelt once said, “If we are to be a really great people, we must strive in good faith to play a great part in the world.” The use of unilateralism to force opponents to surrender has caused the biggest blow to the international free trade system since the end of the Cold War.

At this time, it has become the common responsibility of the international community to work together to consolidate and improve the existing international economic and trade system so that it is fairer and more reasonable and not hijacked by the US.

It appears that the US is decoupling with China, in fact, the US is decoupling with the world. As the largest developing country and the world’s No. 2 economy, China has the responsibility and wisdom to play a bigger role in promoting globalization.

The conflict between China and the US tests the level of political governance, the potential of economic development, the unity of the people and the global influence of the two sides. The future depends more on who can be a positive force for world peace and development.

China’s economic and trade links with the rest of the world have never been so extensive and deep as they are today. The further development of globalization and the progress of the world political and economic governance system need China’s contribution.

China is an emerging power. The rise of any big country in history will not be smooth. A great power that can truly stand firm on the world stage may start out lonely, but in the end, it becomes more and more cohesive. The trade war has put China through the test that a rising power must endure. It has strengthened our confidence to firmly occupy the international moral high ground.

China’s past success lies in its ability to accurately grasp the convergence between China’s “potential” and the world’s “potential.” China’s sustainable development in the future depends on how we take advantage of the trend of world development to develop ourselves, and use our own reform and opening-up to promote world development.



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