I’m imagining a discussion that might have taken place in Baidaihe at some point this month at the annual CCP summer offsite.

“Getting ugly in Hong Kong, and I’m not sure our Ms Lam is moving things in the right direction.”

“I hear from the people on the spot that what the good people want is just peace and quiet, this is just a bunch of teenage assholes making trouble.”

“Nobody wants to give their boss bad news. Haven’t you watched the BBC coverage? Maybe you’re hearing good things from your staff, but let’s suppose the gweilo TV is right? What are we going to do?”

“We’re doing one thing that’s working, going after the troublemakers’ bosses. We took down Hogg at Cathay Pacific. That’ll make every ambitious manager in HK go on the warpath to keep their employees in the office and off the damn streets. Hong Kong, it’s about three things: Money, money, and money.”

“Except for, the bad guys are getting 20% of the population out in the streets. That’ll include people who work for every fucking bank and real-estate developer and shipping company, are we gonna get every CEO in South China fired?”

“But the police say there were only 128,000 people out!”

“The HK police are idiots and in case you hadn’t notice, they’re losing in the streets.”

“I think they’re winning. There haven’t been any arrests or violence at the last three days of protests.”

“You think that’s good?! If the word starts going around that you can get away with large-scale activism as long as you keep it peaceful… do you like the idea of four million people out on the streets of Shanghai? Or a couple of million in Guangzhou?”

“What do you mean about the word getting around? The people of China are well-protected from dangerous foreign ideas, they’re not going to watching those shitty BBC liars.”

“Don’t you look at tourism figures? Fifty one million people from our side visited Hong Kong last year. They’ll all be talking to their friends and relations.”

“Yeah, well that’s maybe ten million people, a lot of them visiting every week on business. And, let’s be honest, they’re the same ones who travel overseas and already have lots of exposure to fake news from people who hate the Party. They probably all have VPNs already.”

“On top of which, those people are making good money and they owe it to us and they know it. They’ll bloody well watch what they say.”

“You guys, this is the same kind of thinking that got our 1989 leadership into trouble, letting those ‘innocent’ students stay in Tienanmen until they thought they owned it and we had to go in with the tanks and machine guns!”

“He’s right. We have the muscle all built up in Shenzen, they can be holding down Central and Tsim Sha Tsui in 72 hours and there’ll be no more of those fucking umbrellas. On top of which, the good people there will throw flowers at our guys and go back to making money in peace and quiet.”

“Suppose they don’t. Suppose there are a quarter million assholes dressed in black yelling ‘Gaa Yau!’ at each other and ‘Two Systems!’ at us and, flashing lasers and the real fringe throwing molotovs, and all with masks so we can’t ID many, and fading away into the MTR, and then another quarter million out the next day?”

“Brother, if it really comes down to them versus us, it’ll be us. Just like in 1989. It’s not just riot-control equipment waiting there in Shenzen. And any solo hero standing in front of a PLA tank this time is going to be ashes before he gets on CNN.”

“Screw CNN. It’ll be live on YouTube and Instagram and Twitter with a couple of billion people watching, and highlights of PLA tanks squishing Hong Kong patriots waiting for people who were asleep at the time.”

“So what? The people who matter need to do business with us, what do they care what kids watch on Instagram? Are they going to walk away from the chance?”

“Well, Google did.

Here’s another thing. Suppose they’re holding out in Mong Kok and every other skeezy neighborhood away from Central and there are people in all those buildings throwing shit at us from the 3rd through 20th floors, and they turn trucks sideways in those awful little streets, how are we going to get them out?”

“The PLA is not going to be stopped by a bunch of acne-faced cockroaches! Whose side are you on?”

“Western politics is weird. They eventually turned their backs on people from their own tribe in Rhodesia and South Africa in favor of a bunch of black people!

“We have our people getting our side of the story out in every Western capital; the right kind of students marching, shouting down the local HK troublemakers.”

“Give me a break, those clueless princelings haven’t the vaguest what they’re living among. I see their latest brilliant idea is to drive around in their Lambos and McLarens waving Chinese flags. Are you really really sure you want to make that bet?”

“Look, our economy is less about imports and exports every year. If the world doesn’t want us any more, then we don’t need them! We’ll just turn our backs and China will be China for Chinese, and it’ll be great.”

“Yeah, well I don’t want to miss aprés-ski in Zermatt or my place with that view in West Vancouver.”

“You might have to, because if those HK cockroaches prove they can tell us to fuck off and go on having a decent life and making money… you talk about bringing in muscle from Shenzen, what I worry about is people there starting to dress in black.”

“Yep, let’s just keep the PLA ready to roll, and hope it doesn’t have to.”

“Hope is not a strategy.”



Contributions

Comment feed for ongoing:Comments feed

From: Rob (Aug 21 2019, at 07:00)

Your Chinese social credit score is probably pretty tanked now. Condolences.

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From: Aleks Totic (Aug 21 2019, at 11:01)

Not really a contribution.

This was my favorite post of yours in a long time. I'd totally buy tbray's fiction books once you leave tech.

And I was like "comments on this will be crazy". I've been reloading for days, and still no replies. It's a mystery!

a@totic.org

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author · Dad · software · colophon · rights
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August 18, 2019
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