|© Larry Catá Backer 2019 (Patti Warashima, Amazed 1984 (Tacoma Art Museum)|
|©Larry Catá Backer 2019|
These are the questions that tend to be avoided. They are inconvenient precisely because of the convenience (for politics) of a well managed program of the application of the four great errors. In this sense, this underlines Nietzsche's ironic sub textual point--that what is error is the belief that one is actually seeking truth rather than objective aligned to ideological frameworks. As Nietzsche suggested, these are the sorts of questions that expose the soul of a system, and that of those who drive them. And not just them. It exposes as well the view form below (the many below) the leadership core which appears to be the only collectives worth considering as animated abstractions with a collective will. And yet to do that ignores the agency (or its lack) in popular collectives from below. If only as an act of "criticism/self criticism (itself redolent with error), the exercise of distilling discourse within these structures of error may provide an antidote to the managed reaction that is expected of those subjected to a carefully guided interpretation of official text.
My brief observations and the relevant statements by Chinese and other (mostly US) officials follow. Consider this an invitation to an exercise in approaching these statements as walls of words in which the Four Great Errors may be hidden. And then consider--to what end?
The Four Great Errors are not ideological in the sense of deviation from an all around way of seeing the world. Indeed, to understand the insight of the errors it is necessary to start at the opposite pole--that ideological frameworks produce the conditions for the construction of causal relations which are consistent with ideology, but incomprehensible outside of the rationalizing system of that ideology. That connection between the systematic interpretation of the world applying ordering principles and causality then suggest the contingency of ordering frameworks and the fragility of meaning.
At bottom, then, these errors are inherent in the failings of individuals and human society both of which are still captive to an obsession to rationalize everything around them. That obsession hides another--the obsession for control. To rationalize, to order events, objects, and signs--to invest each with a meaning within a rational order proceeding from a unified center of meaning making, is to maintain the illusion of control. Everything in its place and a place for everything. . . . if everything is placed it can be abstracted and modeled. And if it can be abstracted and modeled it can be controlled. The essence of modern predictive analytics is an ancient as the human drive to organize reality within systems of religion, science, psychology, race, class, etc. And rationalization, in turn, is bound up in fear--the fear of chaos. But chaos is now understood in a substantially precise way--not as the absence of order, but in the absence of an order (rationalization) system that can be controlled by those who would make meaning of the world around them and the people within it. In this sense its approaches its etymological origins in the Greek khaos "abyss, that which gapes wide open, that which is vast and empty." What cannot be perceived cannot be understood, what cannot be understood cannot be controlled, what cannot be controlled must be surrounded with the ritual elements of control--expiation, sacrifice, bargaining, sign reading and intermediation. It is the pursuit of the illusion of control that sometimes drives religion, ideology, and simulation.
That leads one to a central insight was of the will to rationalization at the heart of Nietzsche's Four Great Errors--the insight that the basis for rationalization is inversion.
|Pompeo: Hong Kong No Longer Autonomous From China|
|China's Security Law sends Hong Kong Residents Dashing for Exit|
Of the Four Great Errors (Stratagems), in the context of the situation in Hong Kong, it is the last that is the most powerful. Neither of the two great Empires can proceed except as they have proceeded. Even a US under a democratic administration would come to a similar place (though by a quite different and likely more circuitous route). Both are prisoners of their ideology, and of their increasing commitment to the meaning of that ideology in the current era. Both leadership cores, as well, are deeply trapped within the logic of the administrative and ideological framework over which they appear to head. But here two things: First, to think that the leadership core by heading the apparatus of political and administrative power can impose their will on events misses the power of the first great error by inverting cause and effect. Both leadership cores lead because the institution over which they preside have permitted them to lead in these directions. They lead, in other words, by permission of those who are led, and the power of their leadership is closely aligned to the tolerance of the institutional collectives over which they have been given over lordship (discussed at greater length in Backer, Larry Catá, The Fuhrer Principle of International Law: Individual Responsibility and Collective Punishment. Penn State International Law Review, Vol. 21, No. 3, pp. 509-567, 2003. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=410460 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.410460).
Second, it is only by inverting cause and effect that it is possible to construct the narrative of the leadership core itself as something autonomous and superior. Chinese Marxist Leninist theory makes that quite clear, though its practice has been cloudy of late. The same is true for the primary of liberal democracy, where the indulgence in the error of the great leader detached and above, has served the interests of the leaders enemies more than the value of the construction of the leader cult to its object.
Third, the error of a false free will is compounded, especially in the text of the back and forth between the United States and China since the issue of the National Security Law arose, by the resort to strategic use of the other great errors (especially that of imaginary and false causes) as triggers for the exercise of discretion over which there was little discretionary space at all. Thus, Hong Kong was put in play not because of the exercise of the will of the leadership core, but the ideology that drove each of these empires made the situation in Hong Kong inevitable--and the textual ecology created around Hong Kong (from the handover documents through recent legislation) provided the ground on which such stratagems could be cultivated effectively.
Last week, the People’s Republic of China (P.R.C.) National People’s Congress announced its intention to unilaterally and arbitrarily impose national security legislation on Hong Kong. Beijing’s disastrous decision is only the latest in a series of actions that fundamentally undermine Hong Kong’s autonomy and freedoms and China’s own promises to the Hong Kong people under the Sino-British Joint Declaration, a UN-filed international treaty.
The State Department is required by the Hong Kong Policy Act to assess the autonomy of the territory from China. After careful study of developments over the reporting period, I certified to Congress today that Hong Kong does not continue to warrant treatment under United States laws in the same manner as U.S. laws were applied to Hong Kong before July 1997. No reasonable person can assert today that Hong Kong maintains a high degree of autonomy from China, given facts on the ground.
Hong Kong and its dynamic, enterprising, and free people have flourished for decades as a bastion of liberty, and this decision gives me no pleasure. But sound policy making requires a recognition of reality. While the United States once hoped that free and prosperous Hong Kong would provide a model for authoritarian China, it is now clear that China is modeling Hong Kong after itself.
The United States stands with the people of Hong Kong as they struggle against the CCP’s increasing denial of the autonomy that they were promised.
China voices firm opposition to US report on Hong Kong
- Xinhua, March 22, 2019
China on Friday expressed strong dissatisfaction with and firm opposition to a recent U.S. report on the Hong Kong Policy Act, urging "prudent words and acts" on issues related to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.The remarks came as Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang commented on the annual report released by the U.S. Department of State concerning the Hong Kong Policy Act.Geng said at a press briefing that since China resumed the exercise of sovereignty over Hong Kong, the principles of "one country, two systems" and "Hong Kong people governing Hong Kong" with a high degree of autonomy have been earnestly carried out. The entitled rights and freedom of Hong Kong residents have been fully guaranteed according to law."The Chinese government will stay resolutely committed to administering Hong Kong in strict accordance with the Constitution and the Basic Law and implementing the 'one country, two systems' principle in a comprehensive and accurate manner," said Geng."Hong Kong is a special administrative region of China. Hong Kong affairs are China's internal affairs and no foreign country is entitled to meddle in them," said the spokesperson.Geng said that China is strongly dissatisfied with and firmly opposes the U.S. side's making irresponsible remarks on Hong Kong affairs and making groundless accusations in its report against China's central government and the government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region."We demand the U.S. side cease their wrongdoings and practice prudence on words and acts over Hong Kong-related issues," he added.
The text of the following statement was released by the Governments of the United States of America, Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom.__________
Signatories to this statement reiterate our deep concern regarding Beijing’s decision to impose a national security law in Hong Kong.
Hong Kong has flourished as a bastion of freedom. The international community has a significant and long-standing stake in Hong Kong’s prosperity and stability. Direct imposition of national security legislation on Hong Kong by the Beijing authorities, rather than through Hong Kong’s own institutions as provided for under Article 23 of the Basic Law, would curtail the Hong Kong people’s liberties, and in doing so, dramatically erode Hong Kong’s autonomy and the system that made it so prosperous.
China’s decision to impose a new national security law on Hong Kong lies in direct conflict with its international obligations under the principles of the legally-binding, UN-registered Sino-British Joint Declaration. The proposed law would undermine the One Country, Two Systems framework. It also raises the prospect of prosecution in Hong Kong for political crimes, and undermines existing commitments to protect the rights of Hong Kong people – including those set out in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.
We are also extremely concerned that this action will exacerbate the existing deep divisions in Hong Kong society; the law does nothing to build mutual understanding and foster reconciliation within Hong Kong. Rebuilding trust across Hong Kong society by allowing the people of Hong Kong to enjoy the rights and freedoms they were promised can be the only way back from the tensions and unrest that the territory has seen over the last year.
The world’s focus on a global pandemic requires enhanced trust in governments and international cooperation. Beijing’s unprecedented move risks having the opposite effect.
As Hong Kong’s stability and prosperity are jeopardized by the new imposition, we call on the Government of China to work with the Hong Kong SAR Government and the people of Hong Kong to find a mutually acceptable accommodation that will honor China’s international obligations under the UN-filed Sino-British Joint Declaration.
China expresses firm opposition to foreign countries' joint statement on NPC decision on national security legislation for Hong Kong
- Xinhua, May 30, 2020BEIJING, May 29 (Xinhua) -- China on Friday expressed strong dissatisfaction with and firm opposition to "irresponsible comments and unwarranted accusations" by some countries over China's National People's Congress (NPC) decision on national security legislation for Hong Kong.Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian made the remarks in response to a joint statement issued Thursday by foreign ministers of the United States, Britain, Australia and Canada, which claimed the NPC decision has breached the international obligations under the Sino-British Joint Declaration, and undermined the "one country, two systems" framework."It is totally China's internal affair for the NPC to adopt the decision on establishing and improving the legal system and enforcement mechanisms to safeguard national security in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR), and no foreign country has the right to interfere," Zhao told a press briefing.Nevertheless, certain countries have made "irresponsible comments and unwarranted accusations" against the NPC decision, meddling in Hong Kong affairs and China's internal affairs, Zhao said, adding the Chinese side has lodged stern representations with the countries.Zhao said for any country in the world, following either a unitary or federal system, legislation related to national security belongs to the legislative power of the state. Safeguarding national security falls within the purview of central authorities, just as it is practiced in all countries, he added."Not a single country in the world allows activities endangering national security including secessionist activities in its territory."Since China resumed the exercise of sovereignty over Hong Kong in 1997, the central government has administered the HKSAR in accordance with the Constitution and the HKSAR Basic Law rather than the Sino-British Joint Declaration, the spokesperson said, hence the countries have neither the legal basis nor the right to cite the Joint Declaration to point fingers at Hong Kong affairs.Zhao said Hong Kong is China's Hong Kong, nobody cares more about the city's prosperity, stability and its residents' fundamental well-being than the central government, and nobody is more determined than the central government to fully and sincerely implement the "one country, two systems" policy and the Basic Law."We'd like to urge relevant countries to respect China's sovereignty, abide by international laws and basic norms governing international relations, be cautious with their words and deeds, stop interfering in Hong Kong affairs and China's internal affairs in any form, and contribute more to Hong Kong's prosperity, stability and the development of bilateral ties, rather than the other way around," Zhao added. Enditem
Remarks by President Trump on Actions Against China
National Security & Defense
Issued on: May 30, 2020
May 29, 2020
2:48 P.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much. Good afternoon. Thank you. I’m here today to talk about our relationship with China and several new measures to protect American security and prosperity.
China’s pattern of misconduct is well known. For decades, they have ripped off the United States like no one has ever done before. Hundreds of billions of dollars a year were lost dealing with China, especially over the years during the prior administration. China raided our factories, offshored our jobs, gutted our industries, stole our intellectual property, and violated their commitments under the World Trade Organization. To make matters worse, they are considered a developing nation getting all sorts of benefits that others, including the United States, are not entitled to.
But I never solely blamed China for this. They were able to get away with a theft like no one was able to get away with before because of past politicians and, frankly, past presidents. But unlike those who came before, my administration negotiated and fought for what was right. It’s called: fair and reciprocal treatment.
China has also unlawfully claimed territory in the Pacific Ocean, threatening freedom of navigation and international trade. And they broke their word to the world on ensuring the autonomy of Hong Kong.
The United States wants an open and constructive relationship with China, but achieving that relationship requires us to vigorously defend our national interests. The Chinese government has continually violated its promises to us and so many other nations.
These plain facts cannot be overlooked or swept aside. The world is now suffering as a result of the malfeasance of the Chinese government. China’s cover-up of the Wuhan virus allowed the disease to spread all over the world, instigating a global pandemic that has cost more than 100,000 American lives and over a million lives worldwide.
Chinese officials ignored their reporting obligations to the World Health Organization and pressured the World Health Organization to mislead the world when the virus was first discovered by Chinese authorities.
Countless lives have been taken, and profound economic hardship has been inflicted all around the globe. They strongly recommended against me doing the early ban from China, but I did it anyway and was proven to be 100 percent correct.
China has total control over the World Health Organization, despite only paying $40 million per year compared to what the United States has been paying, which is approximately $450 million a year.
We have detailed the reforms that it must make and engage with them directly, but they have refused to act. Because they have failed to make the requested and greatly needed reforms, we will be today terminating our relationship with the World Health Organization and redirecting those funds to other worldwide and deserving, urgent, global public health needs.
The world needs answers from China on the virus. We must have transparency. Why is it that China shut off infected people from Wuhan to all other parts of China? It went nowhere else. It didn’t go to Beijing; it went nowhere else. But allowed them to freely travel throughout the world, including Europe and the United States.
The death and destruction caused by this is incalculable. We must have answers not only for us but for the rest of the world.
This pandemic has underscored the crucial importance of building up America’s economic independence, reshoring our critical supply chains and protecting America’s scientific and technological advances.
For years, the government of China has conducted illicit espionage to steal our industrial secrets, of which there are many. Today, I will issue a proclamation to better secure our nation’s vital university research and to suspend the entry of certain foreign nationals from China who we have identified as potential security risks.
I am also taking action to protect the integrity of America’s financial system — by far, the best in the world. I am instructing my Presidential Working Group on Financial Markets to study the differing practices of Chinese companies listed on the U.S. financial markets, with the goal of protecting American investors.
Investment firms should not be subjecting their clients to the hidden and undue risks associated with financing Chinese companies that do not play by the same rules. Americans are entitled to fairness and transparency.
Several of the most significant actions we’re taking pertain to the deeply troubling situations unfolding in Hong Kong.
This week, China unilaterally imposed control over Hong Kong security. This was a plain violation of Beijing’s treaty obligations with the United Kingdom in the Declaration of 1984 and explicit provisions of Hong Kong’s Basic Law. It has 27 years to go.
The Chinese government’s move against Hong Kong is the latest in a series of measures that are diminishing the city’s longstanding and very proud status.
This is a tragedy for the people of Hong Kong, the people of China, and indeed the people of the world. China claims it is protecting national security. But the truth is that Hong Kong was secure and prosperous as a free society. Beijing’s decision reverses all of that. It extends the reach of China’s invasive state security apparatus into what was formerly a bastion of liberty.
China’s latest incursion, along with other recent developments that degraded the territory’s freedoms, makes clear that Hong Kong is no longer sufficiently autonomous to warrant the special treatment that we have afforded the territory since the handover.
China has replaced its promised formula of “one country, two systems” with “one country, one system.”
Therefore, I am directing my administration to begin the process of eliminating policy exemptions that give Hong Kong different and special treatment.
My announcement today will affect the full range of agreements we have with Hong Kong, from our extradition treaty to our export controls on dual-use technologies and more, with few exceptions.
We will be revising the State Department’s travel advisory for Hong Kong to reflect the increased danger of surveillance and punishment by the Chinese state security apparatus.
We will take action to revoke Hong Kong’s preferential treatment as a separate customs and travel territory from the rest of China.
The United States will also take necessary steps to sanction PRC and Hong Kong officials directly or indirectly involved in eroding Hong Kong’s autonomy and — just if you take a look, smothering — absolutely smothering Hong Kong’s freedom. Our actions will be strong. Our actions will be meaningful.
More than two decades ago, on a rainy night in 1997, British soldiers lowered the Union Flag, and Chinese soldiers raised the Chinese flag in Hong Kong. The people of Hong Kong felt simultaneously proud of their Chinese heritage and their unique Hong Kong identity. The people of Hong Kong hoped that in the years and decades to come, China would increasingly come to resemble its most radiant and dynamic city. The rest of the world was electrified by a sense of optimism that Hong Kong was a glimpse into China’s future — not that Hong Kong would grow into a reflection of China’s past.
In every decision, I will continue to proudly defend and protect the workers, families, and citizens of the United States of America.
Thank you very much. Thank you.
2:58 P.M. EDT
- Xinhua, May 30, 2020China on Friday urged the U.S. government to stop using excuses to restrict and suppress Chinese students studying in the United States.Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian made the remarks as the U.S. administration reportedly plans to cancel the visas of thousands of Chinese students.Zhao told a press briefing that the U.S. leadership has said that the American people respect and love the Chinese people very much and that Chinese students are of great significance to the U.S. educational business.In the field of the two countries' cultural and people-to-people exchanges, the U.S. side has committed a series of negative and wrong words and deeds, which completely go against its self-proclaimed values of "openness and freedom," the public opinion of the two peoples, and the trend of times in international talent exchanges, Zhao said.This has gravely impacted the normal cultural and personnel exchanges between the two countries, jeopardized the social foundation for bilateral ties, and exposed the deep-rooted Cold War mentality and zero-sum game mindset of some American people, the spokesperson stressed."People cannot help but ask whether the notorious McCarthyism in American history is returning," Zhao said.If the United States would take measures harming Chinese students' lawful rights and interests, it would be nothing but political persecution and racial discrimination, and severe violation of the Chinese students' human rights, Zhao said.He urged the U.S. side to abide by the relevant commitments of its leadership and immediately stop using all sorts of excuses to wantonly restrict and repress Chinese students in the United States."We support Chinese students' efforts in safeguarding their lawful rights and interests in accordance with law," Zhao said.
China to take all necessary measures to hit back if U.S. insists on harming China's interests: spokesperson
- Xinhua, May 29, 2020Adjust font size:BEIJING, May 29 (Xinhua) -- China urged the United States on Friday to stop interfering in Hong Kong affairs and China's internal affairs, saying China will take all necessary measures to hit back if the U.S. side is bent on harming China's interests.Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian made the remarks at a press briefing when asked to comment on reports that U.S. President Donald Trump said he would announce measures against China for its national security legislation for Hong Kong.On Thursday, Chinese lawmakers at the third session of the 13th National People's Congress (NPC), the top legislature, voted overwhelmingly to approve the NPC Decision on Establishing and Improving the Legal System and Enforcement Mechanisms for the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) to Safeguard National Security.The NPC decision is completely China's internal affairs, in which no foreign country has the right to interfere, Zhao said. "We will take necessary measures to resolutely counter the wrong acts of external forces interfering in Hong Kong affairs."Zhao said Hong Kong is an important area for investment and operation of the U.S. business circles.He said the United States has 85,000 citizens, more than 1,300 companies, nearly 300 regional headquarters and more than 400 regional offices in Hong Kong. Almost all major U.S. financial companies operate in Hong Kong. The U.S. trade surplus with Hong Kong has accumulated to 297 billion U.S. dollars in the past decade, ranking first among U.S. global trading partners."A safe, stable and prosperous Hong Kong is in the interests of the United States," Zhao said."We welcome all parties of the United States to continue development and achieve greater success in Hong Kong," said Zhao.The United States has important interests in Hong Kong, Zhao said, urging the U.S. side to have a clear understanding of the situation and stop interfering in Hong Kong affairs and China's internal affairs."China will take all necessary measures to hit back if the U.S. side is bent on harming China's interests," Zhao said. Enditem
Lijian Zhao 赵立坚
Lijian Zhao Zhao Lijian
Pompeo said on Twitter that he was standing with the people of Hong Kong. He was flattering himself! He is standing with those "Hong Kong independence" elements and violent elements! Pompeo's remarks completely violated the basic norms of international relations and seriously interfered in China's internal affairs. China expressed strong dissatisfaction and firm opposition. Any action that undermines or obstructs the National People's Congress on Hong Kong-related national security legislation is a trifling matter and is doomed to failure.