Summer Palace – Beijing
I write regularly about China on X and from time-to-time receive responses from people who take my fascination and comments as a bias towards China. I want to be briefly address this.
I have known China since being 21 and travelled to Hong Kong and then at 24 crossed the border at Lo Wu into a country I had never dreamed could exist.
I wish though to distinguish that I do not write on X as a journalist but any comments I make are simply comments and observations off perhaps the world’s greatest nation. Certainly, the most impressive in the past 100 years as 700 million people were taken out of abject poverty and starvation to create the middle class which was the launching of the China we see today.
I enjoyed living and working in Hong Kong, I loved the year I spent in Beijing and some ten separate visits to China since the first.
I find the achievements of the party and its government astonishing with regular catastrophes like the Cultural Revolution. But the sum total of the China game is a miracle economy built by a strong and clever population.
Visiting China is to meet among the most friendly people in the world. They are not menaced by the authorities or organs of the state unless they go looking for trouble, and to be, the result will not be good.
Re Democracy: I believe in Democracy as a system which provides – at its best – individual freedoms and expression and of opinion, fair play, a transparent judicial system, a clear understanding of law and order and the right of appeal and repeal judicially and to hold government accountable to its word at every level. I speak of Australia, in America democracy includes the right to bear arms and where Presidents can flout the law and years later run again for office whilst face hundreds of charges and speaking of ‘eradicating human scum’. The price of freedom to say what you want… and yes I believe in that right. Guns, no way, no sense but I am not an American and was never a fan of cowboy movies…
Re: Hong Kong. I watched the 2019 riots in Hong Kong in horror as Asia’s most beautiful city was destroyed by forces perhaps we will never know… It was more than a bunch of disenfranchised kids and the organisation and sophistication was considerable. How would China deal with it? I have seen fewer sadder sights than live coverage as I sat in my living room in Sydney watching thugs enter the smash their way into the Hong Kong Parliament and trash the building, and in doing so, destroyed what was the purest democracy in South-East Asia. As people were set on fire for not agreeing to the radicals views and visitors from the mainland and those who work in Hong Kong were assaulted by ‘flash mobs’ as they trashed the cities magnificent transport system, the MTR. How would China react? The media predicted a ‘Tiananmen-2’ but not one soldier crossed the border from the Mainland into Hong Kong nor did the ten thousand strong garrison leave their base. What would happen? Pure anarchy – referred to by Nancy Pelosi and, ‘democracy at its purest’ had taken over the streets of Asia’s greatest city. I knew that as I watched these events that the place I fell in love with at 22 would never be the same again. As we know, a draconian law known as the National Security Act was introduced and those calling for separation from China and other secessionists would face arrest and trial and ‘could’ be tried on the Mainland. Many of the perpetrators were bought to justice. It continues. It brought the violence to an end and forever more the ‘pure democracy’ that was enjoyed by all. What else could China have done?
Re: The West and China: European powers speaks of a China that seeks global domination. But in fact it was in 1979 that China last acted against a neighbouring country, that being Vietnam and for a brief but bloody period. We then need to go back to the Korean war where China supported the North. Their modern history does not involve multiple-invasions nor expansionist ideology. The Americans oddly seem attracted to the idea that China will forcibly take Taiwan after it is emboldened to call for independence. But since endless predictions of an apocalyptic war as China was insulted and provoked by the West under the mad rule of Donald Trump, nothing happened. The South China Sea will settle and the nations which claim the South China Sea together with China will find their way, if left alone from western interference to do so.
Churchill said: “Democracy is the worst system of governance ever attempted in our history, except the others which have been tried before’….
I love our Western values and our way of life! I love it and I live it and I have benefited from it hugely. But I wonder if Churchill today would agree that more than one system of governance is possible in a world based of harmony and shared wealth and global influence?
By-the-way, I love the United States, I have visited so many times over so many years, I have no count, I have worked for US based networks and the best breaks given to me professionally have come from Americans. I anchored globally for the exceptional US-based global network CNBC, one of the most credible voices of real news, real journalism and opinion in the world today. As good as ever! I don’t dislike America nor Americans but I dislike the current climate coming out of Washington by both parties – as it is not based on the fair play which is the notion I associate with the great United States, and with ’the American way…”
PS: However, much has changed with the most gruesome war between Israel and Gaza and by extension Hezbollah and Lebanon and Iran. As thousands die, the Russian Ukraiine war rages though the media’s focus as moved certainly from what had occupied the first two minute sof every news bulleting for two years. Indeed, my own country Australia is leading a re-engaging with China and the West under the auspices of the newly minted centrist government after the disgraceful far-Right government which preceded it.