Good morning class.
Today we're going to talk about China, and why you never, never should.
For the people of Hong Kong, the story of their strife with China began in March of 2019, when the introduction of the Fugitive Offenders amendment bill by the Hong Kong government triggered widespread panic over
concerns that China could subject Hong Kong to its draconian laws and crippling human rights record. Some more.
Hong Kong and China… It's complicated! The British gave Hong Kong, a formerly British-controlled territory as part of the aftermath of (throws a dart at history) the Opium Wars, back to the Chinese government in 1997, which everyone's regretted ever since. I'll put aside my lack of confidence in Vox's editorial standards to let them explain this mess:
But for most of the Western world, the story of Hong Kong began in October of 2019, when an e-sports contestant going by the handle of "Blitzchung" took the opportunity of winning a game of Hearthstone to make a political statement in support of the Hong Kong protests.
Blizzard Entertainment, which owns Hearthstone and which I've covered before on these very august pages, responded with a heavy-handed punishment against not just Blitzchung, but the hosts too. This playful flash of rebellion on the occasion of a video game competition caused Blizzard to kick Blitzchung out of the tournament, forfeit his $4K prize winnings, ban him for a year, and also suspend the two stream-caster hosts, even though they make it clear in that video that they weren't a part of Blitzchung's stunt, but were letting him get away with it anyway.
That's when the western world's Normie Video Game Guys got involved. After a massive boycott against Blizzard, they barely caved and softened the suspension and prize money forfeit, while publishing an official response that was a thin apology painted over the message that everybody but China can get stuffed.
Why wasn't Blizzard more chill about this? While it's true that technically making a political statement during Blizzard channel broadcasts is a tournament rules no-no, Blizzard could have hit Blitzchung with a light reprimand, with the understanding that tensions are high concerning this situation. Better to have one guy blow off a little pressure for a second than have worldwide outrage drawn to the issue. We get it, you can't encourage political soapboxing during a game event because that turns it into a Miss USA pageant, but you can't control everything all the time.
Why did Blizzard smash the tiny flash of dissent with an iron fist?
Because China Wants It That Way.
This little episode is an example of something that's happening every day, all over the world, in every industry, affecting every living human being. Every time any global-scale company which does business in China does something China doesn't like, China threatens the company with an embargo, and the company always buckles to China.
A point which was taken up shortly after the Blizzard incident by the satirical cartoon South Park. That episode underlines the point that China has taken on the role of global bully, and one company after another just keeps taking a pounding and giving China its lunch money. Let us now all bow our heads and wave our asses in the air to thank Libertarian free-market Capitalists for putting us in this situation.
The list of companies bowing to militant Chinese censorship is growing all the time. When China throws a temper tantrum, Apple bans apps, Audi changes its maps, Disney censors sportscasters, Gap censors it T-shirts, Tik Tok censors social media posts, and Viacom-Paramount censors movie trailers. The list goes on. All of us, right now, are denied the freedom to read something, hear something, download something, or even wear something just because China doesn't want us to do that.
A Global Dictator Waiting To Strike
China can afford to throw its weight around because it constitutes something like a fifth of the whole world's population. Which makes it a bigger mistake when the rest of the world keeps its head down while China quietly continues to exhibit one of the most brutal authoritarian regimes in history. I've said on these very august pages before that I don't like loose comparisons with Orwell, but China is just the kind of country that gives books like Nineteen Eighty-Four validation.
Tiananmen Square alone puts a pin in the map of global historic massacres, an incident which China to this day suppresses the very mention of, and hence is obviously not the least bit sorry for. Thousands of people were slaughtered there for making exactly the same kind of protest that Hong Kong is making today, and with this year marking its 30-year anniversary, China's suppression of this incident goes on forever.
The Human Rights Watch record on China continues to document fresh atrocities committed in the country on a daily basis.
- President Xi Jinping got to rewrite the constitution to make him dictator for life.
- A secret police system, "liuzhi," has been established.
- Political opponents have been "disappeared."
- Turkic Muslims in China have suffered mass arbitrary detention, torture, and imprisonment.
- Government control keeps a tight fist on the Internet, mass media, and academic literature.
- Privacy violations have extended to DNA samples and a "social credit system" to punish people for stepping out of line.
- China has sought to manipulate the United Nations via attempts to block its critics.
All this is barely scratching the surface. Behold:
If you thought to imitate Orwell was bad, there are worse science fiction dystopias out there to copy! Take Larry Niven, author of The Jigsaw Man, about the involuntary harvesting of organs from prisoners, which causes people to vote the death penalty for more and more trivial offenses. Guess who's implementing this sick little policy? Yes, it's China. In fact, they go a step further into harvesting organs from political prisoners while the prisoner is still alive!
Every time China is caught committing these sickening atrocities, they just tell the world, "Oops, our bad, we'll stop." But actually, they just keep on doing it, while censoring and suppressing any attempt to get news of what's going on to the outside world.
Dig even a little bit into China, and you will find a modern-day holocaust to match any committed by Germany, Cambodia, or the Ottoman Empire. Dig a little in the past and discover incidents like the "Great Leap Forward," estimated to have starved up to 55 million people to death through famine caused entirely by nothing but stupid government decisions. This was only in the 1950s under Chairman Mao Zedong, who also operated on the premise that censorship solves everything. China hasn't learned a thing form that either.
Getting the Chinese to revolt against their own Fascism is futile at this point since the media bubble of Chinese censorship convinces so many of its citizens that everything's hunky-dory. We're talking, after all, about a country where 30 million people still live in actual caves - no really, it's called a "yaodong." And while we're concerned about Russian trolls influencing American elections and distorting the public's perception of reality, China makes it an industry.
We're Not Pushing Back Hard Enough
Armchair activists of the Internet, thank you all for your kind recognition of the suffering of the world under China and your continued razzing of Xi (it's pronounced "she") Jinping.
But kids, we're not doing enough.
The entire world will have to start asking itself how long we can let this go on. We can do something about China now and suffer some minor inconveniences, or wait another few decades and take action then on pain of getting marched into gas chambers (after our organs have been harvested, of course). It is inevitable that the world will rebel against dictators that want to take over the world. It's just a question of when.
China has a plan to do something about YOU, right now. In Document Number Nine, leaked in 2014, it outlines a list of threats it sees from nearly every other country. The threats it proposes to extinguish our democracy, universal values, civil society, and journalism.
It has started already. In the global marketplace, China's long bootheel is in all of our faces right now, preventing us from saying what we want, reading what we want, and even wearing what we want.
It has already begun.