China news 15th June 2020
The USA’s failure
After World War II, no country in the world was more important than the United States. Today, the United States is still the leading country in terms of total GDP, the level of technological innovation, the success of education and scientific research, and the sophisticated strength of its manufacturing industry. However, its potential to harm the world order and the prospects for human and economic growth now also greatly surpass that of other countries.
Today’s ruling Republican government and Republican right-wing political forces are typical of conservative nationalism in American history. The core of their political concept is the religious belief of the “Heavenly America”. This extremely conservative concept of nationalism not only believes that everything the United States has done is correct, but also believes that the world today “owes” the United States. The United States needs to be “tougher” by changing the world in accordance with its own interests, standards and needs.
In dealing with the issue of the World Health Organization, for example, the extreme nationalism of the United States is unrelenting. WHO was persistent and firm to warn the world about the new epidemic. On January 30, WHO declared a state of emergency in world public health; on March 11, WHO announced that the new coronavirus epidemic had entered a global pandemic. However, the Trump administration blamed WHO repeatedly after the US epidemic worsened. On April 12, it announced that it would stop contributing to WHO; on May 29, it announced its withdrawal from WHO.
Furthermore, in March, Trump praised China’s anti-epidemic actions 15 times in Twitter and speeches, praising China’s “transparency” in anti-epidemic activities. But as the US epidemic became more severe, Trump encouraged the Republican right-wing forces to first use racist terms such as “Chinese virus” or “Wuhan virus”. He then began to accuse China of being “opaque” and “hiding” the epidemic before it came to the United States.
The “China noise” of American politicians is to transfer domestic criticism of the Trump administration’s inadequate anti-epidemic earlier. The noise also creates a political cause for the November election by speculating on Chinese topics. The various Chinese conspiracy theories made by the Trump administration have long been a joke.
2020 is destined to be a stormy year in the history of Sino-US relations. Domestic politics in the United States must reflect on these extreme nationalist sentiments, or there will be no peace in Sino-US relations and the world situation.
(The author is the dean of the Institute of International Relations of Nanjing University)
The new Hainan Free Trade Port
Hainan Free Trade Port is China’s first free trade port built to international high-level open standards. Hainan Free Trade Port plan consists of the whole island of Hainan. The plan proposes that by 2025, Hainan will establish a free trade port focusing on trade and investment facilitation. By 2035, it will become a new high spot in China’s open economy. By the middle of this century, it will have a strong international influence.
This is another major development opportunity for Hainan following its establishment as a province and a special administrative region in 1988.
Will Hainan Free Trade Port replace Hong Kong?
Singapore, Hong Kong, China, and Dubai are world-class, regional financial centres. There are many banks, funds are free to enter and exit and foreign exchange is open. However, Hainan’s free trade account has limits and regulations, and exchange rates cannot be freely converted yet.
Hong Kong will continue to develop, and Hainan will expand. It is hoped that in the context of the coordinated development of the Greater Bay Area, Hainan and Hong Kong will cooperate in development and achieve a win-win situation.
Hong Kong legend created by baby boomers
A new generation appears every two decades, and the 1980s happened to contain the reigning(governing/ruling) cycle of four generations. They are the founders, followers, rebels and repairers of the system, one comes after the other. The contemporary American system was created after the Second World War in 1950s and was inherited by followers in the 1960s. It has been questioned by new rebels. Since the 1980s, social divisions have become more and more serious. In the 21st century, the breaking of the old system is eventually happening.
According to analysis in The Fourth Turning by Neil Howe and William Strauss, rebels and creators change the course of history; followers and repairers play supporting roles. The previous rebels were the baby boom generation (born in the 1940s and 50s), who grew up in a materially rich and prosperous world but played the role of criticism and destruction. They had extraordinary dreams and ambitions. Generation X, born in the 1960s and 1970s, has lived under the shadow of baby boomers all their life and can only make repairs instead of destroying the system.
Looking at the situation in Hong Kong, we see similar traits as in the US. Hong Kong’s political and economic life is still dominated by baby boomers. Gen X has almost no role at all. As for generation Y born in the 1980s and 1990s, many of them are also children of the baby boomer generation, they play the most important role in challenging those in power.
The baby boomer elite emerged as early as thirty or forty years ago. Judging by the shape of the population pyramid, they are not only the first generation born and raised in Hong Kong, but also the most populous generation. In the poor and difficult days after World War II, many people experienced the “a family of eight staying in one bed.” But the common experience of collective upward mobility also made them able to leave Public Rental Housing and build their own lives.
Even though baby boomers quickly assume social responsibilities, most of them are not entrepreneurs. Unlike the founders of earlier generations (such as Dr. Stanley Ho, who just passed away), they lack the domineering temperament. With the opening and expansion of educational opportunities, they had access to the best colonial training. The rapid expansion of government and corporate bureaucracy created a lot of opportunities for promotion within the establishment. These turned them into uncompromising organisational men. The biggest quality of baby boomers is that they have high team spirit and can accomplish all tasks assigned by seniors.
Although the baby boomers tasted the benefits of the British era, they never reached their peak. They were technocrats who single-mindedly paid allegiance.
Dr. Allen Lee Peng-fei, who has just passed away, was the first person who had the courage to act as a political figure in the business community and defend some vested interests through his own efforts. Yet he went too far, and inevitably could not achieve much of what he wanted.
Anson Chan, who was a government insider, was not essentially different from Dr. Allen Lee Peng-fei; she argued against her boss in various ways. Antony Leung Kam-chung, when promoting education reform and serving as the Financial Secretary was nothing like a bureaucratic figure. Compared with Trump-style characters, Leung Chun Ying, Anson Chan and Antony Leung Kam-chung were quite gentle. These trends did not change until June 2019, when everyone was dumbfounded. The most thorough and ultimate rebel, Carrie Lam, only needed a short while to dismantle Hong Kong’s existing system and core values.
However, we have not yet reached the climax of the plot. What is truly eye-opening is that more than 90% of the baby boomers, while rebelling, still do not forget discipline. Even in the revolution, they are still full of team spirit and perfectly blend the two seemingly contradictory values.
Just look at their overwhelming commentary on the National Security Law. They explain what it means to implement “one country, two systems”, and that what it says does not violate the spirit of the Basic Law. The propaganda team can be so neat and consistent, like the Red Guards shouting slogans. No wonder they have been so lucky for their whole life, from 20-30 years old, to the time of speedy promotion, to being 70-80 years old, they can still fully utilize themselves.
In contrast, Generation Y is the creator of the new establishment. They are still under 40 years old, but they will be the founders of a new system for the next ten to twenty years. They are exposed to information technology as soon as they are born, and they will probably be founders based on big data and artificial intelligence. They grew up in an era full of crises. They have long been tested and trained by experience of the world, but they are the backbone of building a new grand vision.
The baby boomers, more than forty years ago, also had a young and crazy student movement “The Red Age“, which had a fierce confrontation with the British Hong Kong government. That did not prevent them from quickly entering the establishment and become rebels hidden in the system.
Generation Y (and even Generation Z) will be the creators of the new Hong Kong system in the future. Hong Kong still has a future in them.
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