Xi Jinping Replies to Elsa (3) Nothing Will Stop Us

Dear Elsa:

I am glad to hear from a person interested in world affairs and with a specific interest in our country.

There are some thinking mistakes that you make, but it is understandable because your people lack the political education we have.

China is fond of America. How can we forget your great victory in WWII? And you are right. We have learned much from you and will continue to do so. We have learned more from you than you from us.

We understand that we have to borrow from the West to expedite our development. All Chinese know that. We do not see it as stealing. We see it as the price outsiders must pay for doing business with us and profiting from our great markets.

Now and then we will sign a trade agreement saying that we will not insist that a foreign country establishes a partnership with a local one, but that is just to get you to come over. Once you are here and see the benefits of working with our superb labor force, then you will not complain when we start copying your techniques to establish our own enterprises. Eventually, our own companies will outcompete you because we will make the product better and cheaper.

China is a much older country than America. You have not suffered like we have at the hands of foreign powers that came to repress and abuse us. And it is not only foreign powers that have brutalized us, we have been brutalized too by our own internal divisions.

But we have learned.

The world now knows that Chinese labor is the best in the world. The world also realizes that we are very creative. You mentioned our going to the moon. Did you know that we didn’t get help from any nation? That is right. We did it all on our own.

You mention censorship. The Chinese understand that this is simply part of a phase of development and they are willing to sacrifice.

The Chinese people also understand that human beings’ tendency to disorder – which I call human entropy – is at the root of individualism and its inevitable excesses. To counter this negative tendency, we created a collective system that is fast becoming the envy of the world. Our collective system works because it leads to greater creativity and a sense of national purpose. And it is this, along with our political discipline, what gives vigor to our common purpose and one day will make us the strongest nation in the world.

Yes, you are right. China wants to do that. And Elsa, there is nothing that can stop us.

America will not be able to. You love our products. You want more, not less.

Businesspeople from everywhere want to come here to work and invest. Like you say in America, this is where the money is.

In time, the Yuan will replace the dollar as the premier reserve currency for the world. That will be a great day. I may not see it but you will, for you are much younger than me.

I am proud to be China’s leader. Proud to lead a nation willing to sacrifice for our children and grandchildren as we march together toward an ever brighter future.

We can do it and will, for we have learned the power of patience and hard work.

May serenity and bliss be always with you.

Xi Jinping

Chairman

People’s Republic of China.

Founded October 1, 1949

oscarvaldes.net oscar valdes@widehumr oscarvaldes.medium.com

Elsa and Xi (2) Autocracies Don’t Work

Xi didn’t answer Elsa’s letter. She doesn’t even know it had reached him. Still, she decides to write again.

Dear Xi:

I trust you will get this letter. The previous one is probably stuck somewhere in traffic but I don’t give up easily. I just keep trying.

The rise of China has been fantastic. In a very short time, since WWII, you have steadily improved and become a powerful nation. Your people have reason to feel very proud of their accomplishments, same as the Japanese, the South Koreans and the Taiwanese (more on the last in another letter).

Before you came to power, there were many leaders before you that directed your nation’s growth. They deserve a share of the credit. Deng Xiaoping was of great relevance.

At this time you are speaking of China’s quest for world dominance. You may not use those words but your actions point to that.

This worries me.

You have altered China’s constitution so you can be reelected again and again. That is not good.

Autocracies don’t work. Just look at Russia. No one doubts that Russians are smart people but they have consented to a system of government that has hindered their political evolution. Boris Yeltsin deserves much blame for this, for it was him who chose Putin as his successor. Sadly, Yeltsin drank too much and that affected his judgment. Why else select the chief of the KGB, the secret service at the time, to be the leader of a nascent democracy? Ah, life is full of errors like that. If a man with a belief in democracy had been chosen instead, Russia would have been a different nation today.

Autocracies atrophy the potential of nations. In your own country, had Mao believed in the importance of the transfer of power, he would not have committed the grave blunder that was the Cultural Revolution, and China would have been spared years of much pain and suffering.

You went through that, as did your family, but here you are choosing to ignore the lessons of history. Unbelievable, isn’t it? How we humans make the same mistake again and again.

Autocracies keep leaders from speaking the truth, because the truth will threaten their power.

Democracy is an imperfect system, but it beats autocracy.

At present you are letting your desire for personal power to corrupt your thinking and mislead your people. You are letting your personal failing interfere with the wellbeing of your nation.

Nowhere is that more evident than in your persistent effort to censor free speech.

No one, Xi, no one, has a monopoly on the truth, which is why we need to encourage everyone’s opinion.

All those people who assembled in the hall that voted for you to be the leader of China until you die, did so out of intimidation, because they were afraid to speak the truth.

Democracies are filled with lies and deception also, but not as much as autocracies.

And you, having lived through the Mao period, should know it well.

The good news is that you still have time to reverse course and set your nation on a path to democracy.

Xi, imagine for a moment that you were to do that. Just imagine your restoring the right of people to express themselves. Then, the entire world would be grateful. Nations would ask for your advice and look to China as an example to follow. Wherever you went you would be greeted with enthusiasm.  

Which brings me to another point. You must be fully honest.

There is no doubt of your country’s multiple accomplishments, but China’s rise has benefitted from technologies created in the West and China has stolen much of it.

Level with your people. Tell the truth. Yes, you are a creative nation with much potential. You are hard working and ambitious. It is amazing, for instance, that you have gone to the moon already and have plans for further space exploration. But you have stolen and hacked plenty of intellectual secrets.

Just think about it.

Xi, I think I’ve said enough for today.

I hope it hasn’t upset you too much.

On another topic: I was glad to see Boris Johnson and the EU finally come to an agreement for Britain’s exit. Britain was never much into it, but they most definitely benefitted from the partnership with Europe, particularly by letting in so many foreigners who have enriched their genetic pool. I’m sure they will do well.

One final note: today, 1/6/2021, became a special day for America for two reasons. The state of Georgia elected two democratic senators, one Black, one White, which will give Joe Biden a majority in the Senate. And today also, a mob of Trump supporters, angry because their leader lost the election, burst into congress in protest before they were thrown out. So, yes, in a democracy abuses of power happen, but nations that are strong enough correct them.

Will you help China find its strength?

Hope you get his letter. Have a happy new year.

Elsa

Elsa and Xi – The Importance of Free Speech

Elsa W., an American woman based in Eugene, Oregon, USA., concerned about the way the Chinese government has used the WeChat app as a means to monitor and censor speech throughout China, sets about finding a way to communicate directly with the leader of that nation, Xi Jinping.

After much effort and frustration over a period of three months, she is able to finally breach the super secure fire walls protecting Xi’s communications and leaves him a personal note.

Xi is very upset when he finds her email in his private inbox. How could that happen?

He immediately calls the chief of cybersecurity for all of China wanting an explanation and asks that the matter be rectified immediately. But will he delete her message?

Here’s Elsa’s text:

Dear Mr Xi:

I have been much troubled by the way you are interfering with free speech in your nation. Human nature, in its infinite wisdom, is constantly creating more and more variety so that we will have more and more talent available to address our many problems. All of us, must be free to express ourselves so that, through our many interactions, we can find new ways to enhance our development and so benefit others.

When people are able to speak freely, then there will be more thought to deliver better ideas.

Free speech comes, of course, with responsibility, and that is fostered through education.

The major responsibility of governments everywhere ought to be to educate, that way every country’s productivity will be the greatest possible.

It is true that freedom can be perverted, but the more widely educated a nation’s citizens, the less likely that will happen.

Here in America, we are now emerging from a very dark four years under Mr Trump, who managed to persuade millions of voters that it was White America who had to be given priority.

But our nation is very varied and, in that variety, lies great strength. To think otherwise is to do ourselves great harm.

We Americans made a grave mistake when we were not sufficiently critical of Mr Trump as he campaigned for President. He was elected because vast sections of our citizens showed poor judgment. If they had paused to think, then they would have seen that Mr Trump was only a tribal leader, a man who had much difficulty reflecting on his emotions and, thus, could not manage the emotions of his tribe.

It is clear that we have paid a dear price for electing him.

And just like in America, so in China today.

I do not think you are the right leader for your country. I must be blunt because you may choose to delete me and not see another one of my letters.

To attempt to restrict free speech is to restrict and retard the civic and scientific development of China.

Your nation is filled with talent and the full expression of it will be a great boon to the entire world.

Don’t be like Trump. Think broadly and do not be afraid of letting Chinese people be all they can be.

Thank you.

Elsa W.

Xi read Elsa’s email and was upset that she compared him with Trump. He was about to hit delete but then changed his mind and kept it. He would reread it at another time

Will he eventually answer Elsa?

Oscarvaldes.net   oscarvaldes.medium.com   oscar valdes@widehumr

China’s Impact on US

Looking at China, we should be asking ourselves, ‘look how far they’ve got, how brazen they’ve been, how daring? And in such a short time. Why, just after WWII they didn’t amount to much, did they?’  

Theirs had been a land which had been dominated by foreign nations, then became ruled by a communist party. And look where they are now.

A world power.

We can also look at them and say, ‘sure, but they are not free. They are a censored country. Cameras everywhere.’

True, but their economy is strong and getting stronger. Which means that there’s more to spread around and their standard of living has been rising steadily.

China seems very clear about something.

They need the world. They want the world. And they will do what they must to get it. Even if it means stealing technology or spying on other countries.

They will do anything at all.

Ruthless.

But they are creative, too. Very talented. Gifted. Otherwise they would not have become the factory of the world during globalization.

The job was offered by the nations of the West and they jumped on it and did something with it. And they grew up.

And they will keep growing, even if they are barred from stealing or spying. That’s right. Stealing and spying accelerates the process of growth but the absence of it does not prevent it.

China, fellow Americans, has arrived.

And we have got to accept it.

The sooner we do, the sooner we will begin to learn from them.

Learn from them?

Absolutely. They have much to teach us, if we pay attention. If we are not too proud to look at the facts.

What stands out clearly about China? Their sense of purpose.

They are filled with it. They have agreed on the need to improve their material existence. For now, the leadership of the communist party will do. Later on, it will constrain them. But it works for now.

The Chinese have taking the long view. They say something like this to themselves, ‘These rules imposed on us are irritating but they are forcing a discipline on us that is helping our material growth.’

Did we, here in the USA, lose our sense of purpose as a nation?

I believe we did.

World War II was a great example of when we did have it. And the nation shined.

So there’s no doubt that the country has got what it takes.

Here’s another example. October 4th 1957. The Soviets launch the Sputnik satellite. It shot up over the earth’s atmosphere and began going around the planet every 90 minutes. Our nation was shocked. Russia had done it.

Did we lament our situation and cry about it? No, we got to work on it.

And soon enough we launched Explorer 1 on 1/31/1958. The Soviets would get another victory on 4/12/58 when Yuri Gagarin became the first man to travel around the earth in outer space but then we followed with the historic landing on the moon on July 20th 1969.

Both in war time and peace time we answered the challenge.

That last challenge was only 50 years ago.

Now comes China.

They are saying to us, ‘We will soon become the largest economy in the world. Period. You will be the second. Second, as in number 2. Don’t like the sound of it? Get used to it. We are 1.4 billion people with a sense of purpose that you lack, so we will beat you.’

And they are saying it looking us straight in the eye, with complete confidence in their abilities. And we’re thinking, ‘no they can’t… or… can they? How did they get up there so fast?’

With hard work. Stealth. Cunning.

Don’t think they can do it? Then we’re in la la land. Deep into it.

What is amazing is how we’re handling their challenge. We’re using denial. Yes, Denial.

Denial as in, thinking that tariffs will deter the Chinese. Denial as in believing that leaving social injustice unaddressed in our land will not undermine our collective strength and resolve. Denial as in insisting that the cry Make America Great Again carries a true spark of creativity and determination.

In the process, China has become the biblical David to our Goliath.

Don’t like the comparison?

Then let us look at leadership.

Across the Pacific, whether you and I agree with him or not, a leader has risen that unites a country and marshals it into action.  

Here, in this vast land of ours, with an abundance of good people, of riches and inventiveness, we end up praising leaders that divide rather than unite.

There’s something very wrong.

Think about it.

Anyway, as you do, today, September 11th, our death count from the coronavirus has gone up to over 191,800 versus 4634 for China. And they’re much farther along reopening their economy than we are.

Hello?

Anyone out there?

Hello?

Oscar Valdes is the author of Psychiatrist for A Nation and other books. Available on Amazon.

Oscarvaldes.net

US China Relations. The Big Picture. The Challenge.

Are we better than them? No, we’re not.

Are they better than us? Not either.

Are they dynamic, hard charging, smart, ambitious? Yes.

And so are we.

It would take doing the ostrich number, burying our heads in the sand, to not allow for the possibility they may surpass us in the near future.

They are moving up in the world, not by committing to security issues but by doing business. In Africa, the Middle East, Latin America, Europe, the rest of Asia, Australia.

While we’re battling racial issues, they’re pushing ahead with their plans to rise as fast as they can in every dimension. Space exploration? They’re already there and moving confidently.

Liabilities? Yes. Their autocratic regime. The intrusive governmental vigilance.

It has to be suffocating. But at this point, their fast rise in world standing allows the Chinese people to say to themselves, ‘we’re getting something for our sacrifices.’

Have the Chinese stolen intellectual property? They have and probably will continue to do so. But to think their rise is owed to their theft of knowledge from the West is to miss the fact that they have enormous scientific, technological and industrial capacity of their own.

It’s there in plain sight.

To deny it is to do the ostrich number.

We have not had an adversary of such stature since the Soviet Union in the Cold War. We went on to win that war because of our stronger economy. But China is clearly different.

The Chinese are not tying up their economy building nuclear weapons like the Soviets did. No, they’re making things, and selling what they make to a world eager for their products.

We pride ourselves with our ability to compete. Now the Chinese are saying to us, ‘let’s compete.’

They are saying to us, ‘you brag about your ability to compete. Well, we say to you, we will out compete you, and move past you.’

They are daring us and the whole world is watching.

Do we take them on?

Sure, they took advantage of preferred status in the World Trade Organization and even tried to rig the rules. But there they are. Strong and ambitious. Not willing to bow to anyone. Period.

It has to be exhilarating for their citizens. A nation that has been ruled by western nations and Japan, now standing tall and saying, ‘we have arrived!’ “We’re here on earth and we’re out there in space, too!’

So what are we going to do?

We can complain that they’re ungrateful, as if American companies didn’t make and keep making plenty of money from the vast Chinese markets.

We can and should decry their human rights abuses, their treatment of the Uighurs in Xinjiang, and the violation of their accord with the British in Hong Kong. 

But that doesn’t address the main issue, the fact that their star is rising faster than ours.

And we either confront it or let them move past us.

Our pride is too strong to go with the second option. But to confront China’s rise we have to do some major work in our nation. Long overdue work we thought we could ignore and it would go away by itself.

Let us first consider leadership.

We don’t have any at present. A person who divides is a tribal leader. America has no use for that now. Never did.

The fact that we elected one is a sad chapter in our political history.

But a leader, man or woman, who is able to sit down and talk to us, will have a powerful healing effect. In our hearts and minds, right now, today, we’re all hoping for such a person to step up.

It could well be Joe Biden.

If he has it in him, then he would have to address every sector of this country, address it and say, ‘we can’t do this alone. We’re all part of the solution, we have to come together. Everyone has something to contribute, no one is better than the other. If we don’t pull together, we’ll fall behind. The task for the nation is clear. We must act now.’

To do that we have to forgive. Yes. Forgive that in the matter of race we’ve made blunder after blunder. And so, too, in the matter of growing inequality.

Of course, every group will have complaints and grievances, and every group will feel they should be first in line.

Our leader, will need to hear all of it, to understand and then use it to start down the road to compromise. We’ll have to go down that road because without compromise we won’t get ahead.

We can look at China and say they’re not free. But neither are we. There’s no freedom in disrespect of others, no freedom in systemic racism, no freedom in institutionalized unfairness, no freedom in not having access to proper education and health care, no freedom in living in a dangerous neighborhood without clean and safe water and proper lighting and housing.  

The Chinese are saying to us, ‘we’ll move past you because you can’t get your house together.’

They’re saying to us, ‘you can’t manage your differences.’

And they have a point. That is the Chinese challenge to us. They are telling us, to our faces, ‘dare to be more productive than we are’.

Can we do it?

I think we can. And as we learn to do so we’ll discover great riches. Human and creative riches. Riches that lie trapped in differences not understood.

For instance, how we address immigration will be key. Immigration has contributed enormously to who we are. We should be open to it.

The genetic pool from which China draws talent is enormous, nearly three times ours.

But we have always been a magnet for people from all over the world wanting to improve their lot. There are riches in staying open to the world.

A strong, compassionate leader will help us work with our differences to come together.

Renewal is essential to survival. China is challenging us. We are more than capable of taking them on. And also capable of botching the opportunity.

Oscar Valdes is the author of Psychiatrist for a Nation. Available on Amazon.

Oscarvaldes.net

American Factory. The Documentary. A Review.

In 2010, a plant that had been vacated two years earlier by General Motors in Dayton, Ohio, was taken over by Fuyao, a Chinese manufacturer of glass for automobiles. ‘American Factory’ is the story of what transpired as two cultures came together to make the enterprise successful.

It wasn’t easy. Each side had to work hard to try and understand the other.

A group of experienced Chinese workers is brought in to teach the work to the Americans. The Chinese do the complicated technical job effortlessly as the Americans look on. It will take time for them to come up to speed.

Some Chinese are skeptical or scornful.

‘Their fingers are fat,’ says one Chinese supervisor. ‘They are lazy’ says another. ‘In China the workers do six (12 hour) shifts a week, with two days off per month. The Americans do only 8 hours a day and don’t like to work the weekends.’

One Chinese executive, after explaining the best approach to working with the Americans, ends by reminding his Chinese audience that they are better than their hosts.

And yet, there is kindness on both sides.

An American worker speaks warmly of his Chinese supervisor and all that the man has taught him. In turn, he invites the supervisor and fellow Chinese to his farm.

We hear a Chinese worker showing admiration for the American lifestyle. He’s had to make sacrifices in coming to the US, like not seeing his family for long periods at a time.

A group of American supervisors invited to China to see the company’s factories witness the enthusiasm of their people, but also are struck by the strict regimentation of the workers. Is that what it has taken for their country to rise so quickly?

Like with their Chinese counterparts, the pressure of factory production on the Americans is demanding and unforgiving, requiring an enormous amount of attention to detail. A mistake and you’re injured. A little slow and you’re out.

American managers have their problems too. At the beginning we’re shown one such manager enthusiastically advocating for Fuyao. At the end he’s been sacked. He’s bitter.

Transplanting to the US the Chinese company’s style leads to mounting grievances and eventually the Americans try to unionize, but the majority vote against it. They want their jobs. ‘All the union will do,’ says one worker – a woman, ‘is keep the bad workers…’

The film is many things, and one that is plain is the contrast between the managerial and worker classes.

We’re told that Fuyao did not become profitable until 2018, all the while paying its employees $14 and hour. When General Motors was the employer, some workers were making $29 an hour. But Fuyao was now the only option available.

Think of the car you drive and the clear and sturdy windshield that helps you cruise smoothly at 80 miles per hour or more, your hair unruffled by the wind. The film shows us the complexity and skill involved in making possible that experience, the many steps necessary to deliver a light panel of glass that will not blow up in your face. And think then of how little the workers are paid.

Thought provoking and humane, we come away from the viewing of the film with a sense of how much needs to be done to build bridges across nations, and across social classes.

Hong Kong and the Tariff war.

There they are, week after week, the residents of Hong Kong protesting the mainland’s suppression of their liberties, in violation of the agreement China signed in 1997 with England which would guarantee the territory keeping their rights for another 50 years. Week after week the protesters continue to fight, and week after week the police and armed thugs push them back.

Is the rest of the world taking a firm stand against the mainland’s repression of the protesters?

No.

The US could be summoning international support to tell China not to mistreat the protesters but it is not. And it is not because Mr Trump has not valued our alliances.

Our president may think he has achieved a great victory in getting China – through his imposition of tariffs – to drop from being our number one trading partner to becoming our third largest, behind Canada and Mexico, but that is no victory at all. Instead, what the tariffs have done is increase animosities and hurt the global economy.

As Trump has carried on with applying tariffs on China and threatening them on our allies, our stature in the world has diminished.

As Trump has carried on against immigrants, our moral standing has suffered too.

Meanwhile, with each protest, the people in Hong Kong keep sending out a call to the nations of the world to take a stand with them in the fight for freedom. We used to be able to hear those calls but gone is our moral leadership.

Can we ask China not to repress the protesters in Hong Kong when we are bashing them with tariffs? They would laugh at us.

Can we ask the rest of the world to take a stand with us? The likely answer, ‘aren’t you all about making America great again? That doesn’t include us, does it?’

The courageous people of Hong Kong will fight on because that is their precious land. They are fighting for their freedom. They are also fighting for the freedom of all Chinese, even those in the mainland whose voices are harshly suppressed.

One day China will be free, and they will do so fueled by the memories of the sacrifices of their brothers and sisters in Hong Kong.

What Mr Trump doesn’t get, is that China’s drive for becoming a great nation cannot be stopped.

Yes, they have traded unfairly and stolen technology, but they have it in them to learn from it and create their own. Didn’t they already travel to the other side of the moon without our help?

A different approach to the trade problem was available, and still is, one that includes cooperation with our allies who are also affected. But our myopic president dismissed such option. The complexities of the world dwarf him.

Had he not started a tariff war, we, and the rest of the world, could well have been in a better position to stand together in defense of Hong Kong.

And yet, still we hope, that Hong Kong doesn’t turn into another Tiananmen.

Tariffs and The Entertainer in Chief

It is the beginning of the end.

By now it should be clear to our president, like it is to most of us, that the tariff war with China cannot be won. Trade with China needs fixes, of course, but the way our president has gone about it has been self-defeating. His style is aimed more at playing to the world and propping up his fragile ego than to secure a favorable deal.

In the excitement of his impulsive tweets and the frenzy of his contradictions, he has revealed his style to China and they have taken notice.

Sure, he can say one thing now and stocks go up, another thing later the same day and stocks go down, but the market is not the economy.

Gradually, through his erratic ways, he has proven himself unsteady, eroding business confidence and doing real damage to the economy.

The economy can still recover – after a period to make the adjustment – but it would take for Mr Trump to see it as a priority and to focus on stability.

There is nothing to suggest that precious quality lives in him.

Curiously, he knows that a sound economy is essential to keeping alive his hopes of being reelected, but his need to see himself as Entertainer in Chief overpowers his better judgment.

And that’s who we’re stuck with.

A man who one moment wants to buy Greenland (which could be a sound idea if approached sensibly instead of in a capricious tweet), another moment wants Netanyahu in Israel to bar two US congresswomen from visiting the West Bank, then wants to invite Putin to the next G7 meeting – never mind his power grab of Crimea in the Ukraine, and the shooting down of a commercial airliner killing everyone on board, including distinguished scientists – and why not have the meeting at Mar-a-Lago and play a round of golf? Putin, who interfered in the 2016 election and will surely interfere again. Or as Robert Mueller said recently before congress, it is already happening.

Meanwhile, China watches.

China knows to wait out our president. They have taken the measure of the man.

They are willing to endure whatever hardship the trade war will bring for they will not bow to Trump and his swashbuckling style.

Trump doesn’t get that. And we and the world will pay the price.

Maybe that is what it will take for us not to make the same mistake again.

Dear Xi Jinping

I would like to ask that you not repress the protesters in Hong Kong. They are not threatening your reign in China.

The protesters do stand, however, as examples of what China should and could become, a first class society where freedom of speech and assembly are essential to the wellbeing and creativity of the population.

It took fundamental economic reforms for China to rocket into prominence in the last 40 years. And more is to come. But it won’t happen without freedom.

It is tempting for some to say that the enormous progress China has made, is primarily the result of the rule of the Communist Party.

You know that that is not true.

You have certainly provided guidance and structure, but without the fundamental economic reforms introduced by Deng Xiaoping, and the enormous talent and determination of the Chinese people, the country would not be where it is today.

Autocracy, tight governmental control, the system you represent, will eventually become an obstacle to the continued growth of the nation.

The world, Mr Jinping, needs China’s valuable contributions. Your nation should not be held back.

To your north and to your east, by contrast, Russia and North Korea stand as examples of all that goes wrong with autocratic systems. The productivity of their people has been long stymied.

While China has benefitted in part from the regimentation it has lived under and the openness to America and the West, it now needs to move to another phase of development, a new phase that requires freedom of speech and assembly as its essential ingredient.

So let Hong Kong and Taiwan stand as showcases of what is possible.

Have the wisdom and courage to allow different systems to evolve alongside your autocracy.

And learning from their experience and yours, allow for the gradual transformation that is essential for China to continue its rise to affluence and prominence.

Learn from tolerating difference right next to the mainland and use what you learn to prepare the mainland for the challenges that lie ahead.

History will not be kind to men like Putin and Kim Jong Un. They will be remembered as mere tyrants. You, on the other hand, have the option of another outcome.

And it could start right now, with you not repressing and persecuting the courageous and idealistic Hong Kong protesters.

It could start with you showing tolerance, kindness and wisdom, and by doing so signaling to the world that your nation has the power of compassion that other nations should strive to emulate.

History will forever remind us of Tiananmen. We should never repeat it.

It’s up to you, Mr Jinping.

Your choice.

Thanks

The Hong Kong Protests: A View From Afar

It has been impressive, the courage of the protesters, the tenacity and creativity which with they have organized. The spark that set things off, the law that would have allowed for the extradition to the mainland of criminal suspects from Hong Kong, has been pulled back, and yet the protests have continued, making more demands from the Beijing appointed authorities governing Hong Kong.

Today, the protesters occupied the airport forcing the cancellation of flights.

How will it end? is the question in everyone’s mind.

What seems clear is that Xi Jinping will not make any concessions that jeopardize his control over the territory. He would prefer for the protests to die out and for the violence to cease but the dissidents are not giving any signs that that is their intention.

No one, Xi or anyone else, wants to see the repeat of Tiananmen Square 30 years ago this last June 4th.

Does the leadership of the movement have the capacity to redirect the energies of the protesters? If it does this is the time to use it so that the violence is turned down. Could they, for instance, change strategy and aim for concessions allowing political bodies run by the mainland to grant greater representation to the people of Hong Kong?

The protest organizers’ surely realize that continued violence will not advance their cause and instead invite brutal repression.

Should that happen the world may stand in solidarity with the protesters but the victims will remain victims.

Trade with China may pause briefly but eventually will continue, and the dead will not be brought back.

Hong Kong today retains economic value to the mainland – it has the 4th richest stock market, right behind Japan – but eventually that value will be transferred to the mainland. It’s a matter of time.

But there’s something unique about the struggle of the protesters. And it’s their yearning for a voice, their thirst for their freedom.

The rest of China, under the thumb of Xi Jinping and the party, must be looking at Hong Kong and, in the recesses of their minds and hearts, realize that one day they would like to have the freedom to express themselves. In the recesses of their heart and minds, they must be envying the courage of the protesters from Hong Kong, even if they may deride them in public, because deep down, every Chinese person, like every man or woman on this earth, wants to have the choice to be free.

Trump and Xi will continue with the trade war but Hong Kong should not be part of it.

Hong Kong’s protests are about the aspirations of every human being.