Next week will take place in Taiwan – a country that’s so nice it attracts almost mawkish adoration. One of the many great achievements of China’s Chairman-of-Everything-for-Life Xi Jinping and his last-seen-comatose Hong Kong punchbag Carrie Lam is to bring about more mutual awareness between the traditionally distant Hong Kong and Taiwan peoples.
And they are socially and culturally apart. Hong Kong has its Cantonese heritage with British-colonial and international influences, while Taiwan is Austronesian and ex-Fujianese, with Japanese-colonial influence and more recent Mainland-colonial/KMT-police-state imprints. Apart from the basic Sinic characteristics like religion and written script, there’s not much overlap (consider the contrast between Hong Kong’s frenzied obsession with wealth and Taiwan’s plainer appreciation of real life).
The irony is that it’s the CCP’s intolerance and dictatorial insistence that both places are identical and uniform extensions of its sterile Leninist Mainland empire that’s bringing the two closer.
OK – so next week will probably be mainly about food.
Some links in the meantime…
In Foreign Policy: Ich Bin Ein Hongkonger – is the city becoming the West Berlin of the new Cold War? Good headline!
How an independent enquiry into protests and police could help Hong Kong restore harmony and government legitimacy (hey – worth a try). The problem is that Beijing is clearly in charge now, and even if the local administration had the brain cells to do ‘reconciliation’, it wouldn’t be allowed to. See also calls for let’s-get-real-this-time action on reforming the political structure or addressing livelihood issues: the more glaringly obvious the solutions to Hong Kong’s problems, the less compatible they are with Beijing’s big-picture absorption agenda.
And so we wait to see which can outlive the other: the CCP, or free HK/Taiwan.
Here’s the latest in a succession of articles concluding that China’s problems are greater than Western observers realize. As growth slows, China’s strategy for contending with the middle-income trap has been to try to gnaw off its civil society limb.
An extract from Richard McGregor’s Xi Jinping: The Backlash on how the West misinterpreted Xi’s attitude to the private sector. And a review of the book that doesn’t totally agree with the idea of Xi as sole and prime mover.
Probably back on Friday. I declare the weekend open with Meme of the Day…