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Updated on Monday, September 29

#19869

OMG: So I'm reading about these riots in HK and thinking, is Portugal gonna use the confusion to swoop in and take back Macao? Idk

29 comments

  1. If they'd recapture Goa, I might move back there...

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  2. your understanding of geopolitics is shit, OP

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    1. i was drawing a comparison with russia's annexation of crimea, you dumbass

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    2. It's a poor comparison.

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    3. not as poor as your moma, son

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  3. Portuguese military power is vestigial and stands absolutely no chance in what is essentially China's back yard. Lisbon simply cannot even exercise even nominal control on a territory across the planet from it even if China were to give it up without a fight.

    As an aside, the HK protest thing's pretty dumb. It'll fizzle out soon.

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    1. @3: do you even know what the fuck is happening in hk? if our right to vote for a prime minister was taken away from us in canada i'm pretty sure it would start an outrage here as well.

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    2. 3a, we don't have the right to vote for a prime minister in Canada. Just local representatives. Then the Queen (or her representative the Governor General) chooses a Prime Minister based on who can hold the confidence (read: majority vote) of those local representatives. Responsible government suggests she select such a person from AMONG those representatives, though this isn't always the case (twice in Canada's history, the Prime Minister has been a member of the unelected Senate).

      That aside, your original point is ENTIRELY valid! I would say a more accurate example would be "what if, no matter what party you are a member of, in order to run for MP a panel of current cabinet ministers have to screen you first?"

      The answer: it'd be corrupt, it'd be anti-democratic, and there would be mass outrage. HK's protest is totally justified, and hopefully leads to an eventual reform of their system.

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    3. Like I said 3a, pretty dumb.

      'Democracy' is not a magic cure-all for society's ills. I'll note by the way that British administered Hong Kong wasn't quite so democratic either.

      As such, I'm totally okay with 'aithoritatian ' measures like candidate screenings and minimum qualification levels in our political system as well. It would go a long way to weed out the unqualified.

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    4. 'authoritarian'

      Fucking phone keyboard

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    5. 3c there are so many problems with that statement, I don't even know where to begin.

      Who gets to do the screenings? Who gets to decide what makes an individual 'qualified' to lead?

      The residents of HK were told they'd have the authority to govern themselves, using a system of representative government. But that system is a sham, a farce, if they're TOLD who to vote for.

      Saddam Hussein had elections in Iraq where he was the only candidate on the ballot. This is ultimately no different in principle than that.

      Democracy isn't a cure for all ills - but it gives the people a voice in the government decisions that directly affect them. And it gives them the ability to step up and vote in someone new when they feel their existing government has failed them. That is the essential principle of a responsible, representative government.

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    6. 3c in a fair and open society, only the electorate should be able to decide who is qualified to run and who isn't. And they decide that through their votes. Anything else invites corruption, nepotism, and the oppression of fundamental universal rights.

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    7. 3c it's not that they'd necessarily be better off if they had free democratic elections. It's that they'd be responsible for their own successes and failures, and they'd have the ability to better their society on their own terms. They - the people living there - would be the masters of their own fate. They wouldn't be looking to some foreign land to decide what kind of fate they deserved.

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  4. @3e

    Point 1: Naturally people who have demonstrated either through service in the civil, private, or military world to have the qualifications necessary to vet future government administrators.

    Point 2) The residents of HK were told no such thing. They were allowed a limited level of self governance and autonomy somewhat exceeding that offered to the local governments of other Chinese provinces and territories, but it was made explicitly clear that the real power rested in Beijing

    Point 3) Yes. So? Up until 2003 Saddam was actually a net beneficial force for Iraq.

    Point 4) Democracy also allows the ignorant, bigoted, and otherwise incapable segments of society to bend the government to their interest, to the detriment of /all/. A caretaker authoritarian system of governance, which HK is now and was under the British is quite superior.

    The great Asian economic tigers: Taiwan, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, they were all authoritarian 'Illiberal Democracies' or even outright dictatorships. They now have the highest standards of living in Asia. Contrast 'Democratic' Thailand.

    @ 3f) What makes you think that the electorate is able to make the distinction between who is qualified and who isn't? I'll give you a hint: The average person is quite stupid.

    I'll also have you know that the 'fundamental Human Rights' you espouse aren't quite as fundamental as you think.

    @3g Hong Kong was never an independent country. They were never 'masters of their own fate'. Beijing isn't some foreign land, but the capital of the country they belong to.

    yeezus.

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    1. 4, our fundamental disagreement here is one of basic principle. You believe that, regardless of system of government, overall quality of life in a society is to be given the highest value (at least, that is how I'm reading your posts), and as such imposing strict criteria for who can be in charge is fine.

      I believe that, regardless of quality of life, any society where the government isn't (gonna be cliche and paraphrase the American Declaration of Independence here) "of the people, by the people, and for the people," in some way shape or form (I actually prefer the Westminster system to the American one, for instance) lacks the most essential freedom of self-determination that makes life worth living.

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    2. 4 (4a here again), what I meant to add on to that was, quite simply, I don't think it'd be productive to continue this discussion. If you don't understand the value that human beings place on their own individual and collective freedoms, then you can't possibly hope to understand what it is that tens of thousands of people in HK are out on the streets fighting for. And no amount of talking by me is going to make you understand.

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    3. I think 4a/b raise some good points, but lack in some important detail.

      People give up their individual sovereignty in small and large amounts all the time. In an authoritarian state, they surrender it to the government. In a representative democracy, they surrender it to their elected representative.

      The question here is: when are free and open elections a necessity? The answer I give is a very old one (one which Western society can trace all the way back to the Magna Carta): when governments are collecting public funds (i.e. taxes) to pay for their initiatives. This collection should never be done without the general consent of the people. And (since it's unwieldy and expensive to ask the people to consent to every decision) it makes sense in these situations to have the people select a representative (or set of representatives) who have the power to determine government priorities and tax collection accordingly. To do otherwise is the detestable practice of taxation without representation, wherein a government takes money from the people without consent, to do things that are not necessarily in the people's interest.

      Now, if the government (i.e. the body who is asking for the money) gets to decide who is allowed to stand for election as a representative (i.e. the body who approves/disapproves the use of the money requested), that is an obvious conflict of interest. Therein lies HK's problem.

      In a responsible government, not only must the public purse be controlled by fairly and openly elected representatives of the people - the executive management of the government itself must fall to those representatives.

      Is such a system efficient? No, never. Is it neat and tidy? No, it's political and unwieldy. BUT - by and large it works regardless. Either someone qualified is elected, or the unqualified person screws things up enough that they aren't re-elected. Rinse and repeat until something good happens. And something good WILL happen, because human potential is a marvellous thing, surpassed only by the power of a Society coming together to act in its own self-interest.

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    4. To 4a/b:
      The assumption that freedom for individuals is the most important thing is a flawed assumption and no where near universal. In order for governments to maintain social order and act on the best interest for its people, it inevitably needs to limit freedom of indiviuals and to make the people's lives better, on the whole. Freedom is important, but should not be given the highest priority without an universally accepted justification, and as far as I know, such a justification does not exist.

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    5. 4d, yes this is certainly true. The act of HAVING a government is by definition the secession of certain individual freedoms to be held in trust by a group who will make decisions in the people's best interests.

      What I'm saying is, the people who have the power to limit those freedoms must be selected BY and FROM the people whose freedoms they are limiting. In doing this, they are beholden to those people, and their best interests. It also means that a failure to act in those people's best interests will result in a loss of trust and their replacement (again, BY the people).

      ...why are we rehashing political debates that are now centuries old and long-settled? You sound like someone who's been paid to spread propaganda by an authoritarian government.

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    6. 4d here. To 4e:
      I'm not paid by authoritarian government, and authoritarian governments won't be intersted in spreading propoganda on websites like this. Your point is valid, but an average person from the general public is easily manipulated with propoganda and usually won't do too much in depth research. Having a team of professionals (perhaps a large team with diverse social roles) to filter out a candidate list for election is a good way to solve that problem.

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  5. HK's protest is only supported by the wealthy, the poor and elderly do not support it, which is pretty telling in itself. Also China doesn't need elections, more than 50% of the country is part of the ruling party, so they automatically win every election. HK loses its sovereignty soon anyways, so you should have remained a British colony. STFU and accept being run by he Chinese, or declare independence and become your own nation, or go back to the Brits.

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    1. 5:

      1) "The wealthy" is the average HK citizen. On average, personal wealth and quality of life is higher there than it is in Canada. Also, most of the 30000+ people going out to these protests are the young, the students, people in their 20s who want a freer society.

      2) Just because a certain party "will probably always win" doesn't mean you don't need elections. Giving people the choice, the freedom, and the power to change a government they become discontent with, is a pretty fundamental thing.

      3) HK people have never had a say in this. First they were occupied by Britain as a colony in the days of the Empire. Then they were handed over to the Chinese as part of a treaty. They have never been given the opportunity to govern themselves, and now they are demanding that right - if only in a limited fashion.

      -Going back to the Brits isn't an option, the Brits don't want to go near that can of worms.
      -Declaring independence isn't an option, it just begs for military intervention from China, which will only end badly for HK.
      -Only option left is to fight for limited autonomy, in a peaceful and democratic way that the rest of the world can support, thus putting pressure on China to respond in an equally peaceful and democratic way, or else face global sanctions.

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    2. 1) I'm not saying I know more about the situation that other people, but past similar events have shown Western media are very biased. They will usually under report, or censor the side that they deem wrong. In the news right now it's all about one side, the other side did not get any publicity. Also if you do a little research you will know that the other side accounts for a significant portion of the population. So before denouncing the chinese government maybe you need a more comprehensive view.

      2) Mainland China DO have elections, just indirect elections. In Canada there is 2 "layers" (public -> MP -> Prime minister), in China there are many more layers which makes it easier for the governing party (the Communist party) to greatly influence the election in its favor. Not saying the chinese elections are fair, but they do exist and democracy in china has improved a lot in recent decades. (Certainly a huge improvement from the imperial era or Mao's time)

      3) HK has never been a separate country, and therefore they have no reason to have more "say" than people of any ohter provinces. In Canada and US people have a lot of "say" in local government because of our federal system, but in a lot of unitary states (some of them very democratic, btw; also include China) people don't have much say in local government and that is not weird. If you look at it, HK people have a lot of freedom and in my opinion, too much.

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    3. 5b:

      1) Not all sides in an argument are always equal. Sometimes it IS a matter of 'moral right' vs. 'absolute wrong,' and in those situations media bias is absolutely acceptable.

      2) People in HK don't have too much freedom, people in the rest of China have too little. In an ideal situation, this political unrest would spread to the rest of China... but perhaps that's too much to hope for.

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    4. 1) But why do you, or anyone, or the UN, have the authority to determine something is "absolute wrong"? Right and wrong differ across cultures and there is few examples of universally accepted right/wrong things. Importance of freedom is not among one of them.

      2) If it indeed spread to the rest of China like you hoped for, there will be serious destablization of social structure and perhaps leading to the fall of the government. You might think it's a good thing since you wish people in China to have as much freedom as people in the West, but you should realize that this probably means civil war that last can last for a long time, and the newly established government might be even worse than the current one. Example of this are readily found throughout modern history.

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    5. 5d, as was said elsewhere on this page, we disagree at a fundamental level about what is important to a human existence. I believe that an individual and collective right to self-determination is important above all else, and is what makes life worth living. As a result, I believe that the people of HK are more qualified to govern themselves than a foreign entity, and I reject the notion of any government that can't be easily replaced by the people at regular intervals, by any person who the people judge to be a suitable replacement.

      You appear to reject the notion of 'fundamental' rights and freedoms in favour of stability and a reasonable *average* quality of life. That's fine, that's your opinion. But we won't be able to find common ground if that is, unless one of us changes our most fundamental worldview.

      TL;DR We're speaking to each other in two completely different languages, and it is better that we stop.

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    6. 5d, there are several centuries of rhetoric that clearly identify certain human rights as not only fundamental, but also self-evident in their importance. What right does any government or individual (ESPECIALLY a non-representative one) have to tell someone they aren't entitled to those rights?

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    7. As a Hong Konger, the points raised by 5a are valid. In addition, there has been a lot of pent up rage building up between HKers and Mainlanders that come to visit. Sure financially, HK is dependent on China, but culturally, HK has its own identity and although you can consider HK citizens Chinese, which is true, we then identify as HKer or Cantonese, and this is due to differences in history, language, political views/upbringing, and media. China has done a lot to assimilate HKers and that was unwelcomed. Eg. banning the use of Cantonese - predominate language in HK, trying to add a Love China Course into the education curriculum - thank god that did pass due to protesting.

      tldr; Cantonese people don't want to be ruled by Mainlanders

      this is very similar to how the native Tibetan people feel, not the influx of Mainlanders that moved into Tibet after the 2008 purge and called themselves tibetan

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  6. Portugal didn't even wanted to keep Macau. The British was very unwilling to give Hong Kong back. The negotiation did not get anywhere until Deng Xiaoping (Chinese leader) threatened war, whereas the negotiation with Portugal went fairly smooth.

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