Two Years Later, The Morning Call Wonders...

NOTE: We were traveling again yesterday, on short notice.  This trip should, however, be kinda fun.  Details to follow.

We’re a week early, but we were reminded over the weekend that next Monday will be the second anniversary of the famous/infamous tweet sent by Daryl Morey, then the General manager of the NBA’s Houston Rockets, that carried a simple and seemingly uncontroversial message “Fight for Freedom.  Stand with Hong Kong.”

As it turned out, that message was VERY controversial – or at least it was in the People’s Republic of China and in all its satellites and colonies around the globe, including the NBA.  Overnight, Morey became a moral monster among men who fight fans, fight each other, fight referees, fight their coaches, beat up women, pull guns on one another, father seven children by six mothers, and so on.

In retrospect, Morey’s tweet seems kinda quaint, if for no other reason than the idea that anyone would or COULD “stand with Hong Kong” is meaningless.  In just two short years, Hong Kong has changed dramatically.  The once vibrant home of the world’s freest markets has become…well…just another polluted, overcrowded Communist Chinese city.  In a tweet-thread (and article) from this past June, the New York Times detailed the death of Hong Kong as follows:

Children are taught to identify traitors. Neighbors are urged to report one another. Officials are pressed to pledge their loyalty.

One year after it imposed a national security law, China has remade Hong Kong. This is how the city’s freedom was taken….

Armed with the sweeping national security law it imposed one year ago, Beijing has pushed to turn Hong Kong into another mainland megacity, where dissent is immediately smothered. The very texture of the city’s once vibrant daily life is under assault.

Teachers are told to imbue children with patriotism through 48-volume books called “My Home Is in China.” Libraries have removed dozens of books, including one about the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Nelson Mandela. Police officers goose-step in Chinese military fashion.
Lo Kit Ling, who teaches a high school civics class, is now careful to say only positive things about China. She had always tried to offer multiple perspectives on any topic, she said, but she now worries that critical views could be taken out of context by a student or parent.

When Beijing purged political candidates it deemed disloyal, it called it “perfecting Hong Kong’s electoral system.” When Apple Daily, a pro-democracy newspaper, was forced to shut and its leaders were arrested, the party said the paper abused “so-called freedom of the press.”

Sounds pretty awful, eh?  Well…no worries.  Democracy still lives in Hong Kong!  After all, the city held elections just two weeks ago, as Reuters reported at the time.  Hooray!

Fewer than 5,000 Hong Kong people from mostly pro-establishment circles began voting on Sunday for candidates to an election committee, vetted as loyal to Beijing, who will pick the city's next China-backed leader and some of its legislature.

Pro-democracy candidates are nearly absent from Hong Kong's first election since Beijing overhauled the city's electoral system to ensure that "only patriots" rule China's freest city.

"The whole objective of improving the electoral system is to ensure patriots administer Hong Kong," Carrie Lam, Hong Kong's chief executive, said on Sunday morning.

"I doubt very much that another government or country will allow the public election to their local legislature of people whose mission is to undermine the national interest or national security."…

Police have ramped up security across the city, with local media reporting 6,000 officers are expected to be deployed to ensure a smooth vote, in which about 4,900 people are expected to cast ballots.

Changes to the political system are the latest in a string of moves - including a national security law that punishes anything Beijing deems as subversion, secession, terrorism or collusion with foreign forces - that have placed the international financial hub on an authoritarian path.

Most prominent democratic activists and politicians are now in jail or have fled abroad.

Ah.  6000 police.  4900 voters.  Out of a population of 7.5 MILLION people.  Activists in prison or exiled.  That sounds about right for a “police state” – which is what Hong Kong now is. 

So…the question is, “how did this happen?”  Who enabled the destruction of a once-great city possible, with only a very few shots fired and no military takeover of note?

The list of culprits is, unfortunately, quite long.  But we’ll start with the two most obvious: Xi Jinping and Carrie Lam.  Xi, of course, is the opposite of Mikhail Gorbachev.  He’s the guy who looked at the corruption and destruction he inherited and said to himself: “Screw it.  I’m doubling down.”  Whereas Gorbachev is revered in the West today for the (mistaken) idea that he saved the world by resigning himself to the fate determined by Communist corruption, Xi’s legacy will be something different, something far uglier and globally destructive.

As for Lam, there’s a term for people like her, one we cannot use in a family publication such as this one.  She was raised in Hing Kong.  She enjoyed all the benefits and privileges of a citizen of the British Commonwealth.  And she sold this legacy, her soul, and her city for a few baubles and trinkets.  Today, she is the pink-jacket-wearing, smiling face of Chinese fascism. 

A third culprit, much as we hate to say it, is Boris Johnson, the British Prime Minister, who has sat and watched as the CCP wantonly flouted an international treaty signed between his country and theirs.  Now, we know that no one should expect Johnson to have the cojones Margaret Thatcher had.  And we know that there’s something of a difference between 1980s Argentina and the present-day, nclear-armed PRC.  Still, Johnson could have done something, could have said something, could have raised a stink about the utter disregard shown by Xi and Lam for the international agreement their predecessors signed.  Or perhaps he was too busy scrounging up the cash for child support.  Who knows?

Finally, no list of Hong-Kong-killers would be complete without the names LeBron James and Adam Silver, the social justice warrior extraordinaire and the NBA Commissioner, respectively.  James, recall, heard of Morey’s tweet and immediately soiled his jockstrap, whining that the Rockets’ GM might have put him and other very large, very wealthy freak athletes in danger by daring to suggest that people might want to oppose the imposition of totalitarianism on what was once the “freest” city in the world.  The man who spends his days playing a children’s game and complaining about police brutality from the comfort of his 13,000 square-foot, $37 million mansion in Beverley Hills (which, he “will likely tear the house down and build a new, larger estate”), was concerned that, perhaps, Xi Jinping had trained alongside Jackie Chan (another culprit, though much farther down the line) and would jump up and punch him in the nuts.

Or he was worried about his pocketbook.  You know, $850 million doesn’t go as far as it used to….

It’s difficult to overstate the impact that people like James, Silver, and James Harnden had in legitimizing the CCP’s position with the American Left.  By taking the CCP’s side, they associated, in the minds of many observers, the CCP with the American “social justice” movement.  By extension, then, they also turned the Hong Kongers being murdered, deported, and imprisoned for their political beliefs into the equivalent of American “reactionaries.”  After LeBron et al. ran their mouths, there was no chance whatsoever that the Democratic Party or anyone else to the Left of Donald Trump would ever fight for freedom and stand with Hong Kong.

That’s not to say that Hong Kong’s end was James’ fault.  As we say, the list of culprits is long and starts with Xi and Lam.  Nevertheless, James contributed significantly to the muting of the international response.

The whole matter is a modern tragedy of massive proportion.  And that it only took two years should give us all pause at the speed with which freedom can be lost, never to return.  

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