The 235 days that rattled China and shook the world
With this year’s revelations about the million, or perhaps millions, swept into the gulag archipelago in northwestern China, it is possible to hope that in 2020 we will hear less from American businessmen who are as obtuse as they are cocksure. Just 51 days before The New York Times published more than 400 pages of documents on China’s concentration camps, presidential aspirant Michael Bloomberg said the CCP’s leaders “listen to the public,” and “Xi Jinping is not a dictator.”
Not content to just “listen to” the public, the CCP, using ever-more-sophisticated technology, surveils almost everything done by almost everyone. Perhaps 2019 foreshadowed the day when today’s Bloombergs will be remembered as Charles Lindbergh and others are remembered because they thought dictators in the 1930s were “the wave of the future.”
Would that America’s serial grovelers had the gumption of the creators of “South Park.” When China, a supposedly great power that was actually discombobulated by this animated TV series, banned it, the creators said: “We welcome the Chinese censors into our homes and into our hearts . ... Xi doesn’t look just like Winnie the Pooh at all . ... Long live the Great Communist Party of China! May this autumn’s sorghum harvest be bountiful! We good now China?”
“We have to stand with Hong Kong, but I’m also standing with President Xi,” said America’s president, who also said of Xi: “He’s a friend of mine.”
North Korea’s Kim Jong Un does not have to settle for mere friendship — in 2018 Trump said “we fell in love” — but in 2019 the romance seemed unreciprocated. Kim ended a 522-day self-imposed moratorium on ballistic missile tests, but Trump minimized their importance because the missiles could not reach the continental United States — just South Korea, Japan and the 80,000 U.S. forces in both places. However, North Korea has given Trump until right now — the end of this calendar year — to make additional U.S. concessions, beyond the scaling back of joint U.S.-South Korean military exercises, to avoid “shocking punishment.” Fresh concessions are North Korea’s price for resumption of negotiations that will lead, if the future is like the last 25 years, to other concessions.