edward.luce@ft.com on ‘The Hong Kong Test’ . Old Socialist comments

Headline: America is failing the Hong Kong test

Sub-headline: Indifference to pro-democracy protests highlights degeneration of US foreign policy

Mr. Luce frames his lament, maladroitly, in the deeply held notion of American Exceptionalism. Except that this version of exceptionalism renders the execrable facts offered by Hiroshima Nagasaki ,carpet bombing and Agent Orange in Indochina, the betrayal of the Kurds by Bush The Elder, the use of white phosphorus in Fallujah, Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay, and the ‘War on Terror’ that has metastasized to at least eight fronts, that we know about: in sum, Mr. Luce lives and works in The United States of Amnesia, so the record that Mr. Luce finds politically irresistible, is one of self-willed  forgetfulness.

Hong Kong’s political position , has since its June 30/July 1, 1997 reversion to Chinese sovereignty, and the mass exodus before and after this ‘reversion’, establishes in the thought of the reader, a conflict conceived in terms of a political melodrama, at least according to Corporate Media.

The long democratic tradition of Hong Kong as a ‘Crown Colony‘: the demonstrators have every reason to openly rebel against a dictatorial Beijing:  the long tradition of Hong Kong is democratic, and its citizens will not be bullied! What  role do Western NGO’s  have in exacerbating this crisis, is an absolutely valid question. Where are, what could only be called ‘mediators’, in what China might call an internal political matter?  This melodrama is being played out in full view of the world, by way of Smart Phones produced in the sweatshops of Asia/China. I’m conflicted about the protests, as portrayed in Corporate Media, as a political melodrama that features Chinese thugs beating protesters, that evolves, in its telling, into a political morality play.

Trump is not the betrayer of the toxic myth of American Exceptionalism, nor is he  its fulfillment, but one of its many denouements !

Old Socialist



@naoyb @StephenKMackSD

Thank you Bea sam for your comment: on the ‘Democratic Tradition’ as viewed by the demonstrators, which is what is central to this political crisis, as viewed by Luce :‘Hong Kong would continue its capitalist system and way of life for 50 years after 1997.’ To Thatcher Capitalism and Democracy were synonymous.

The Basic Law was drafted on the basis of the Sino-British Joint Declaration signed between the Chinese and British governments on 19 December 1984, represented by Premier Zhao Ziyang and Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher respectively. The Basic Law stipulates the basic policies of China regarding the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. As stipulated in the Joint Declaration and following the “one country, two systems” principle, socialism practised in mainland China would not be extended to Hong Kong. Instead, Hong Kong would continue its capitalist system and way of life for 50 years after 1997.[4]

The Hong Kong Basic Law sets out the sources of law, the relationship between the Hong Kong SAR and the Central Government, the fundamental rights and freedoms of Hong Kong residents, and the structure and functions of the branches of local government, and it provides for the amendment and interpretation of the Basic Law. The courts of Hong Kong are given the power to review acts of the executive or legislature and declare them invalid if they are inconsistent with the Basic Law.

The source of authority for the Basic Law is disputed. Chinese legal scholar Rao Geping argues that the Basic Law is a purely domestic legislation deriving its authority from the Constitution of the People’s Republic of China,[5] while some legal scholars arguing that the Basic Law derives its authority directly from the Sino-British Joint Declaration.[citation needed] The argument is relevant in that it affects the level of authority that the PRC has in making any changes to the Basic Law. It is also essential in determining the Hong Kong courts’ jurisdiction in issues related to the PRC domestic legislations.


On the vexing question of (Did Beijing hand down a dictate to HK)? The demonstrators view themselves as the victims of Beijing, so the point provides the ‘why’ of Luce’s lamentations about an ebbing Pax Americana! These demonstrations provide the fertile ground for his polemic against Trump as betrayer of a hallowed American Tradition.








About stephenkmacksd

Rootless cosmopolitan,down at heels intellectual;would be writer. 'Polemic is a discourse of conflict, whose effect depends on a delicate balance between the requirements of truth and the enticements of anger, the duty to argue and the zest to inflame. Its rhetoric allows, even enforces, a certain figurative licence. Like epitaphs in Johnson’s adage, it is not under oath.' https://www.lrb.co.uk/v15/n20/perry-anderson/diary
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