On October 1, 2009 there was a big old party in Hong Kong to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the People’s Republic of China. Hong Kong big-ups their Chinese-y-ness for stuff like this. [The same happened during the Olympics when Hong Kongers forgot about their rampant disregard for, disparagement of, and disgust with “Mainlanders” and everyone was “Chinese” for two weeks.] Still, National Day was particularly ironic in my mind. The bastion of Beyond-Free Enterprise that is the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region celebrating 60 years of Communism? What? I suppose it was as good a reason as any for a kick ass fireworks display, but the reality of paying homage to Mao’s October 1, 1949 declaration of the People’s Republic seemed totally transparent. [Like the finest silk, some may say.]
As a result of all the pomp and circumstance I found myself thinking a lot about the PRC and how they view the world. I considered their efficiency and secrecy and thought, “Hey, maybe they are onto something.” I contemplated the “One Country – Two Systems” explanation for the HK-PRC connection, the way that China can make Hong Kong a part of the PRC without “fixing what is not broken.” [It is a tenuous explanation – at best. But one thing I have noticed since I have been in East Asia is that tenuous is good enough for Beijing. Consider the Taiwan issue, or Tibet, if you are not afraid of complete censure. Frankly, based on the arguments China uses for both of those regions, they should also incorporate Mongolia and Vietnam… The thing is China, like most modern governments it seems, firmly believes in and employs the practice that if you say something often enough it will become true. The difference between China and a lot of other places is that they are less concerned with it actually becoming true; saying it is enough. And in that way they seem to have a special kind of integrity.] I thought about how Beijing believes that if they block the internet it is not there. How if they say there is no financial crisis, there is no financial crisis.
And in the whole build up to the 60th Anniversary and in the weeks after, I just kept singing this song:
Mao Tse Tung said change must come
Change must come thru the barrel of a gun
Not thru talkin’ and not through waitin’
And sittin’ around just contemplatin’ the facts
‘Cos we know what they are…
And one thing you have to give Beijing credit for, they are not into sitting around and waiting. They get shit done. In fact they let nothing stand in the way. Not even the weather. Fast forward one month. It is no secret that China has been suffering a drought, (or maybe it is since it could be interpreted as some sort of failure on behalf of China – [mind that Mandate of Heaven, yo… even Mao didn’t dis’ the Emperors – only the Capitalist Pigs.] Anyhow, drought. It has been pretty bad, and so (though it is probably somehow Mongolia’s fault,) China decided to take action and on or around the 1st of November they seeded the clouds above Beijing. China v. The Weather, Round One. China got the victory.
Then the weather changed.
Global Climate Change FTW. And so it seems, even Beijing knows when to acknowledge that the weather may be in China, but like Hong Kong, it is gonna do its own thing.
The actual point here, is that Hong Kong /= China. I have said it before, and I will say it again: HONG KONG and CHINA no son iguales. And so what made me finally sit and write this one more month later? I read a blog by someone I used to know ranting about his current situation. Granted his situation does suck, but when I hear stuff like this:
I know I talk about Hong Kong like it’s the greatest thing ever… I live in China and when I come home it feels like a police state… the [US] Immigration department detained me for 4 hours and asked me if I’m a terrorist because I’d been traveling for so long…
I feel compelled to answer: If you “live” in Hong Kong, you do NOT live in China. And though it is a complete pain in the ass for Chinese nationals to secure entry to the US, this is completely and totally NOT the case for Hong Kongers – they are from that other system, remember? And I have been away from home longer than this guy and I have never been asked if I am a “terrorist” – I am not even sure how that works, or if that was just hyperbolic for effect.
Mao Tse Tung said a lot of stuff… but in the end, even he had to admit some of it was maybe not the best way forward and so, while lip service would continue to be paid, he did encourage people to please do what was necessary to actually get paid… Not thru talkin’ and not through waitin’, And sittin’ around just contemplatin’ the facts, ‘Cos we know what they are, So let Mao Tse Tung be your guidin’ star… Do what you need to do but please, just do not make a scene.
<<DISCLAIMER: This post was just a collection of random thoughts that seemed to somehow go together at 5 a.m. this morning. I am not actually vested in a particularly consistent position regarding Tibet, Taiwan, Mongolia, Communism – “or any -ism for that matter. -Ism’s in my opinion are not good. A person should not believe in an -ism, he should believe in himself” – nor am I particularly vexed by anyone’s personal need to rant vent on their blog. I just want to reiterate: HONG KONG IS NOT CHINA. That is all.>>