Wednesday, August 04, 2021

Frank S. Ravitch and Larry Catá Backer Talk Pedagogy and Approach as they Introduce the 4th Edition to their Casebook, Law and Religion: Cases and Materials (West Academic, 2021)

 


Frank S. Ravitch and I have been finishing up the 4th Edition to our casebook, Law and Religion: Cases and Materials (West Academic, 2021; ISBN 978-1-64708-764-7). The Preface nicely describes our aims for the book:

This book focuses on Law and Religion. The book covers three general topics: 1) Church/State Law (issues arising under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution and statutes such as the Religious Freedom Restoration Act); 2) Religious Law (the role and substance of law in various religious traditions); and 3) Comparative Law and Religion (the law relating to religious freedom in other countries). Most books in this field have little or no material on the latter two topics. The bulk of this book is devoted to First Amendment Law, but the book also provides an overview of Jewish Law (Halakha), Islamic Law (Shari’ah), Buddhist conceptions of law, Catholic Canon Law, Protestant conceptions of law, and Hindu law as well as significant background on comparative Law and Religion. The discussion of First Amendment law integrates cases, questions and narrative to provide an in-depth understanding of the Religion Clauses of the United States Constitution.

Each topic in this book begins with a brief narrative discussion of the topic, followed by relevant cases and articles, and finally notes and questions. The goal of the narrative is to provide students with context (the forest) so that they can grapple with the many complex issues that are raised in the cases and articles (the trees). The sections on religious law and comparative law will follow a similar format.

We have tried to add a comparative law element to the study of the jurisprudence of religious liberties in the United States by tying that study to the broader global conversations and currents in the development of legal frameworks for the protection of religious liberty. We hope all of this can be accomplished in ways that are useful for law students not just in the US (though US students are our principal audience) but elsewhere as well. 

To enrich the casebook materials Frank and I have started producing a series of video discussions of key cases from the jurisprudence.  These may be used by faculty and students to enrich their consideration of the casebook materials or as a springboard to deeper discussion of themes and complications raised in the cases.  

In this video Frank S. Ravitch and I introduce the 4th Edition to our casebook, Law and Religion: Cases and Materials (West Academic, 2021; ISBN 978-1-64708-764-7) which is being published August 2021. The Preface nicely describes our aims for the book. Here we discuss the organization of the book and its pedagogical approach. We offer suggestions to students and faculty considering adopting the book for they class based on our (sometimes different) approaches to teaching the cases, our focus (for example Frank focuses on context and I focus on themes and intersections), and the value of the materials on religious and foreign systems to enrich the analysis of US religion clause jurisprudence.

We are also producing conversations about some of the germinal cases in the US Law and Religion jurisprudence.  To date we have videos discussing the following cases: 

1.  Fulton v. City of Philadelphia, 593 U.S. -- (2021)

2. Everson v. Board of Education of Ewing Tp., 330 U.S. 1 (1947)

3. Engle v. Vitale, 370 US 421 (1962), and Sch Dist Abington Twnshp v. Schempp, 374 US 203 (1963).

The Video recording of  this conversation may be accessed HERE.

It is also available on the Coalition for Peace & Ethics YouTube Channel HERE.

Tuesday, August 03, 2021

European China Law Studies Association 15th Annual Meeting Program

 


I am delighted to share with you the program (delayed a year because of COVID) of the European China Law Studies Association Annual Meeting. The Conference will be undertaken in hybrid form (again given COVID and the difficulties of travel). The conference combines a “live” in-person meeting with a “virtual” online component (ZOOM platform). The venue for in-person participants is the Collegium Iuridicum II building (Faculty of Law and Administration University of Warsaw) at Lipowa 4 street in Warsaw.

This year tt is sponsored by the University of Warsaw, the Polish Research Center for Law and Economy of China, and the School of Law and Economy of China at the UNiversity of Warsaw. Great thanks for the organizational genius of Piotr Grzebyk, dr hab., Vice Dean for Legal Research and International Cooperation, Faculty of Law and Administration University of Warsaw; and to Björn Ahl ECLSA President for his unshakable patience and persistence in the face of conditions of pandemic.

This year there are some very interesting papers  and for those interested please reach out to the authors. Panels include: (1) China's new structure of Party and State; (2) Blockchain, big data and AI in China; (3) Developments in Chinese constitutionalism and Chinese positions on international law; (4) The law and governance of China's smart state; (5) China's impact on the international rule of law; (6) China's social credit systems: Vehicles for enforcement and legal limitations; (7) Legal aspects of the Belt & Road Initiative: (8) Margins of criminal justice--Systemic choice and individual assessment; (9) Methodological approaches to Chinese law; (10) COID-19; (11) Dispute resolution, arbitration an conflict of laws; (12) New developments in labor law and legislation protecting privacy and human dignity; (13) New actors and dynamics in transnational law--moving borders and changing concepts of borders, demos and territory; and (14) young scholar's formats.

The program follows below.

 

Monday, August 02, 2021

求是网评论员:牢牢把握“九个必须” [Qiushi Commentator--Firmly grasp the "Nine Musts"] A Brief Observation of the Fundamental Principles of Leninism in the New Era Distilled for Popular Consumption

Pix Credit:  习近平:在庆祝中国共产党成立100周年大会上的讲话



We live in an age of the vanguard. The core insights of Leninism--the need for a professional revolutionary class to propel forward the mission of the leading forces of society, and the legitimacy of vanguard leadership and guidance of society and its productive forces toward a specific set of goals pursuant to a specific set of principles--have now permeated virtually all advanced systems. It lives in public and private organizations. It finds expression in boards of directors of the largest liberal democratic multinational enterprises and within the organizational leadership structures of traditional Marxist vanguard collectives. It is the essence of the academy and the working style of its cores of public intellectuals in alliance with their counterparts in the press, enterprise bureaucracies, the think tanks, and the political classes. Yet its essence, as a set of normative premises about the authority and legitimacy of collective leadership within collective organizations, has become more rather than less powerful as the technologies for the management of all of society's productive forces becomes not merely more rationalized but now easier to implement. It is an essence that in its operational characteristics is as home in liberal democratic organs as it is in Marxist spaces. And yet that essence is itself an expression of the transitive nature of democratic organization (under any of these political systems) since, like the Messianism of Abrahamic religions, it suggests that perfection lies somewhere in the future and that the collectives that are vanguard organization (the fundamental character of Leninism) are the critical spaces within which a forward moving democratic culture can most legitimately be expressed until eventually society is transformed and the masses re- or trans-formed.

Certainly, it expresses itself differently in the two principal political systems each seeking to drive the normative discourse and naturalize its values and mechanics as the foundation of collective governance sensibilities. Liberal democratic vanguards exist in societal space (as least formally), and increasingly within drivers of markets; both then seeking to leverage their normative projects through influence over or control of the state apparatus (through the driving of elections of representatives that share their views; or within the operation of the state's administrative apparatus). The networks through which liberal democratic Leninism works are subtle, polycentric, cultural, social, economic, and political. They also assume a high tolerance of fracture and of the operation of competing sub-communities of vanguards. Traditional Marxist Leninist systems operate in equally subtle ways, but their vanguard's organizational relationship to societal, economic and political organs is formally more straightforward. More importantly, Marxist Leninist political theory does not require meaning making and a discursive style that must work around power relationships and the politics of the master narrative with euphemisms that purport to better align what is occurring with the acceptable interpretation of core normative systemic principles.

Those differences have driven the efforts, in the run up to the celebration of the centenary of the Chinese Communist Party, to refine and differentiate Chinese (Marxist) Leninism from other systems. It is this project of differentiation, of course, that is one of the defining characteristics of Chinese Leninism as developed under the leadership of Xi Jinping. Chinese New Era theory is framed not just in the development of a historically forward moving development within its particular context, but also a project of differentiation from oppositional variations of Leninist vanguard frameworks--particularly those of liberal democratic states.  Those differences are important, to be sure, but they also point to the common sources from which divergence begins and the parallel development of the taste for and the expression of vanguardism in the construction of global leadership communities today.

This is much in evidence in some of the essays that have recently been published in the official theoretical journal Qiushi (《求是》), the leading official theoretical journal of the Chinese Communist Party, published bi-monthly by the Central Party School and the Central Committee. This post considers one of them: 求是网评论员:牢牢把握“九个必须” [Quishi Commentator--Firmly grasp the "Nine Musts"]. The "Nine Musts" nicely frame emerging Chinese New Era Leninism:. Each is set out with very brief comment here:

1.  “必须坚持中国共产党坚强领导”。["We must uphold the strong leadership of the Chinese Communist Party."] The identification of a hierarchy of vanguard organizational legitimacy is the primary building block of Marxist Leninist approaches. The vanguard is not a passive but an active and engaged apparatus--the professional revolutionary  as a metaphor for the working styles of vanguards irrespective of the systems in which they have been naturalized.

2. “必须团结带领中国人民不断为美好生活而奋斗”。 ["We must unite and lead the Chinese people to continuously strive for a better life."] The connection between the vanguard and the people is a central element of its legitimacy usually subsumed in either liberal democratic or Marxist systems as inherently democratic; but democracy is defined by the relationship between the vanguards and the masses rather than existing in some sort of exogenous form   which shapes that vanguard-masses relationship.

3. “必须继续推进马克思主义中国化” ["We must continue to promote the Sinicization of Marxism"] Leninism is context oriented.  Generalized principles of Leninism are inoperable except as a function of the context (national and historical) in which they operate.

4. “必须坚持和发展中国特色社会主义”。["We must uphold and develop socialism with Chinese characteristics."] At some point Marxist vanguards will have to become clearer about their use of the term socialist.  In some contexts Marxist socialism is an acknowledgement of the stage of development  of the state and its masses which has not yet been able to establish a communist society (and thus socialism is understood as a pre-communist stage but always temporary in the long run). In others it serves as a euphemism for a permanent stage of pre-commuism that then permits substantial latitude to the Leninist vaguard.  This latter positin is the more troublesome and in some cases for example in Cuba, can produce ideological difficulties that then contribute to error.

5. “必须加快国防和军队现代化”。["We must accelerate the modernization of national defense and the army."] Vanguards are always under siege. It is the nature of Leninism to construct the notion of a vanguard as an oppositional and transitive object, condition, or force.  That state of being necessarily posits a great enemy against which societal, political, and in this context, violent forces must be deployed. But it also carries with it the notion--also expressed by liberal democratic vanguards of the primacy of the vanguard over the forces of violence t creates (and at least ideologically) must direct.

6. “必须不断推动构建人类命运共同体”。["We must continue to promote the construction of a community with a shared future for mankind."] Communist internationalism has become a more prominent feature of Chinese Marxist Leninism; it shares that ambition with liberal democratic internationalism.  The consequence is the need to dveelop Leninist approaches to relationships with competitors, enemies, and potential adherents.  Leninism is a proselytizing force--the way the Abrahamic faiths, each in their turn were (sometimes more and sometimes less) aggressively proselytizing.  Internationalism is the arena where contests among vanguards may be undertaken for the conversion of souls and the advance of vanguad normative projects  while avoiding violence.

7. “必须进行具有许多新的历史特点的伟大斗争”。["We must carry out the great struggle with many new historical characteristics."] All vanguards struggle.  One sees it in the Great Societal Cultural Revolution in the United States that has accelerated since 2008 and which is still unfinished.  It is a feature of all professional revolutionaries before their triumph, as well as the core feature of the revolutionary responsibility after victory.  It in that guise  serves as the discursive framework for manifesting the normative structures of relationships between the vanguard and the masses--whether one deals with masses in liberal democratic or Marxist contexts.

8. “必须加强中华儿女大团结”。["We must strengthen the unity of the Chinese sons and daughters."] The core of the vanguard's responsibility is reflected in its relationship to its masses.  The obligation to its masses, its principal leadership role, is to naturalize the sensibilities, beliefs, and practices of the vanguard within the masses.  In this context education is the key.  It is the core lesson that the Chinese central authorities learned the hard way from the situation in Hong Kong in 2019-2020; and one that the liberal democratic vanguard is relearning now through its aggressive projects of narrative control in schools and within the streams of societal discourse.

9. “必须不断推进党的建设新的伟大工程”。["We must continue to advance the great new project of party building." ]. Vanguards are self-reflexive projects.  They always wind up where they start--in and with themselves.  his is not so much a criticism as a principle of organizational integrity. Vanguard autonomy, its self-reflexive sense of mission and its development in the face of a historically and contextually driven progress toward a goal necessarily require the principal focus of vanguards to be on themselves. That poses two great challenges--challenges that in the Western context were nicely underscored by great sociologist system theorists thinkers (the organic machine) and those  that saw in the body politic an organism of a different sort (the biology of politics and its expression as "statistics").  The first touches on communication (with and eventually absorption) of the masses (which sit outside the vanguard body)--this is the core of the vanguard's "party work" and its operation the rules of its working style. The second touches on interactions with other vanguards.  It is to the second element that neither liberal democratic nor Ner Era Marxist Leninist vanguards have yet succeeded in organizing consistent with their values and the realities of the world in which thy operate. 

And thus the central contradiction of Leninist vanguard theory in this historical era--the contradiction between vanguard internal integrity and external expression of its core legitimating duty with respect to the masses on the one hand and with autonomous vanguards on the other.    

All vanguards pay attention to its own internal integrity first--to change with the times and to ensure that as a unified though differentiated organism, it is disciplined enough and its vision clear enough to do what it must to bring the masses closer toward the normative goals for which it has been established and form which it  believes its mandate derives. And that is the essence of Leninism--the conviction that society must be led, that its leadership is normatively grounded and scientifically expressed (fides et ratio under a distinctive set of normative objects), that social prosperity, stability and advancement to a higher state is dependent on the work of the vanguard collective, that this vanguard collective works best  through interlocking systems of leadership and collectives up to the smallest core of leadership at the top, and that the vanguard must do what it can to ensure the preservation of itself, its mandate, and the progress toward its objectives against all who oppose--internally (the unpatriotic, the unreformed) and externally (the infidel, and systems).  The "Nine Musts" provides an important example of the articulation of Leninism within its Chinese and Marxist context in the contemporary age.  One can, as well produce similar sets of "Musts" for other Leninist systems, though of course, one could not use the word Leninist to describe  its framework, nor "musts" as its principles--but that goes to discourse rather than meaning. 

 The essay follows below in the original Chinese and in a crude English translation.

 

 

Sunday, August 01, 2021

"Law and the Janus-Faced Morality of Political Correctness:" Announcing Publication of Inaugural Issue of the Coimbra Journal for Legal Studies, Undecidabilities and Law

 


 

I am delighted to announce the publication of the inaugural  issue of Undecidabilities and Law, The Coimbra Journal for Legal Studies.   Congratulations to its remarkable Coordinator, José Manuel Aroso Linhares Full Professor at the Faculty of Law of the University of Coimbra, Portugal and Coordinator at the University of Coimbra Institute for Legal Research, Portugalas well as to to its Executive Board: José Manuel Aroso Linhares, Maria José Oliveira Capelo Pinto de Resende, Inês Fernandes Guerreiro Godinho, Ana Margarida Simões Gaudêncio, Dulce Margarida de Jesus Lopes. As they describe it, "Each volume of our Journal will be dedicated to one of these societal problems and this context of resistance to unique languages and solutions, seriously taken in a reflective horizon that crosses dogmatic and meta-dogmatic legal discourses with the challenges of extra-legal perspectives and approaches."

 The theme of Issue 1 (2021) is Law and the Janus-Faced Morality of Political Correctness, which consists of a number of quite interesting articles that examine the theme. The Issue theme was nicely described by its editors:

In a situation such as ours, involving the paradoxical challenges of both a homogenizing globalization and a self-celebrating plurality, several major juridically relevant societal problems firmly resist the predetermination of a unique solution (i.e. the possibility of an algorithmic yes-or-no answer or the plausibility of a unity-generating language) and open up a huge spectrum (if not a whole web) of perspectives, arguments and operatories. The title Un-decidabilities and Law is a direct allusion to this resistance, as well as to the contextual instability which permanently renews questions and answers.

Our first volume, developed in an exceptionally short period of time, explores one of those problems: the culture and/or the morality of so-called political correctness. Having benefited from a generous and diverse set of contributions, this initial volume privileges a thematic concentration: sufficiently closed to guide an always difficult selection, sufficiently open however to give the selected sequence the transparency (and the dynamics) of an “arch-form” in seven chapters, the extreme panels of which (less focused on the main topic) expand the required contextualisation. The first chapter is by Professor James Boyd White, our sole invited Author, whose participation is certainly a wonderful privilege! Whilst anticipating the plurality of approaches and the perplexing argumentative reversibility which wound the story about Law and Political Correctness, the Introduction which follows also clarifies the sequence selected and the choices which build it (infra, “Law and the Janus-faced Morality of Political Correctness: an Introduction”, 3.).

Issue 1 touches on some of the most sensitive issues  that have embroiled academics and policymakers in liberal democratic orders (and which to some extent drive debate in the political and societal spheres).  These include speech rights and the control of language taboos, the politics of pronouns, the ideologies of sexual assault and the regulation off sexual interaction, and theories of law and "correctness." They each center on an interrogation of political correctness in its various manifestations as as metaphor for systems of taboos in a variety on contexts in which the issues have become contentious.  The notion of "correctness" touches not merely on the re-construction of linguistic taboo structures, but on contests among vanguards for the power to imposed these taboos--to project them  beyond the vanguard to displace alternative taboo-meaning structures.  In the process, of course, linguistic taboos are meant to shape behaviors and cultural expectations that then may be naturalized and embedded in collective governance structures--formal and informal. 

 Authors of the inaugural issue include: (1) José Manuel Aroso Linhares (Law and the Janus-faced Morality of Political Correctness an Introduction); (2) Jame Boyd White (Keep Law Alive); (3) Larry Catá Backer (The Semiotics of Consent and the American Law Institute’s Reform of the Model Penal Code’s Sexual Assault Provisions); (4) Silvia Niccolai (The risky temptation of wanting to be the Legislator of the Language); (5) Macario Alemany (Should we say "functional diversity" to refer to "disability"? A critique of the new postulates of political correctness around disability); (6) Pablo de Lora (Political correctness and the right to free speech: the case of preferred pronouns); (7) Barbara Sgorbati (Political Correctness and the Law); and (8) Eduardo C. B. Bittar (Consonances and Dissonances Between Legal Realisms a comparative study of the Theory of Law).

Links to the articles follow below along with links to downloading the entire issue. 

Saturday, July 31, 2021

Domingo Amuchastegui «Cambiamos o nos hundimos» ["We Change or We Sink"]--The Current Central Contradiction of Cuban Society Under Current Conditions

 

Cambiamos

Like all things that have even the slightest connection with Cuba, the popular protests of the Cuban masses that erupted in globally noticed form on 11 July 2021 have presented the situation in Cuba in very specific and ideologically conscious forms. It is one given particularly pointed discursive form in the shadow of the intensifying disagreements between the Cuban state and its artistic and intellectual communities since the reinforcement of Leninist discipline on their work, and spiced by the divisions among the U.S. intellectual left (the U.S. right is divided but its discourse does not drive policy in the US at the moment),  The same is true of the countermeasures--discursive and physical--of the Cuban state apparatus. Both discursive approaches tend to skew analysis if only because analysis has bee aligned with political and ideological objectives at least since the ate 1950s. In all of this Cuba continues to play its critical global role as an abstract terrain into which other materialize their own fantasies about idealized political normative realities.

It is in this quite lively and heated context that Domingo Amuchastegui has published a clear eyed analysis that is worth reading. I agree substantially with its viewpoint and assessments. I particularly appreciated the subtext: that the reason that things remain unchanged for the last 40 years or so is because it is in the interests of the major players (and their intellectual servants) to ensure that everyone is committed to change but that change does not occur. The bottom line, as it always tends to be in these erupts of popular protest, revolves at a conceptual level around battles for control of the narrative of representation, of oppression, and of legitimacy offering solutions (abstract or concrete.  Domingo notes that this narrative remains up for grabs.
On the other hand, both parties claim the monopoly of embodying "the people" [its demos]. Big mistake. Vast segments of the polity populate both sides of this conflict. There are thousands of Cubans protesting and thousands still loyal to the government; a scenario that recalls that of "masses against masses." Such polarization stems from the current situation of hardships, extreme shortages, total lack of incentives (both material and socio-cultural), dollarization (beyond what is usual in the Cuban context) and, in particular, the reaction to the effects of the so-called «Ordenamiento».
That is, of course, less obvious to most people than I would have thought possible, but people tend to be blinded by their desires—and so both left and right (and especially in this country what passes for its intelligentsia) can be easily managed with the appropriate inducements. And Cuba has been an ideological fetish object for consumption by global intellectuals (of all political schools) since 1959. The current situation in Cuba has produced a stability (with the appearance of dynamic possibilities) that serves those who have made careers or fortunes or achieved positions of prominence on their maintenance.  The cultivation of hope, and the jabbing of the status quo at the margins is a very profitable endeavor for everyone on all sides of the  conflict.  The overarching themes are frustration.  And the undertones of that frustration tend to be avoided precisely because of the ideological investment in the resolution of the "problem" of Cuba by the antagonists on both sides of the Straits of Florida. Those undertones underline the constant disjunctions between what the antagonists say (their discursive positions) and what they do (their performance of meaning).

On the other hand, and here Domingo and I end to disagree, I still believe the Cuban state apparatus will follow some contextually appropriate variant of the Hong Kong playbook (because that is what they want and because the utility of that approach is likely being whispered in the ears of those with authority over such matters in Cuba by those whose whisperings tend to be influential). That playbook involves patience, provocations on the ground to change the optics, a strong focus on discourse and optics (the listening sessions with local academics was a nice touch); and then discipline of everyone identified as a "troublemaker" or "instigator" certainly since 11 July, especially those who it may be worth making an example (and those who have not made some sort of accommodating arrangement with the state or PCC).  And the efforts of intellectuals to foment some sort of "internationalism form below" will meet the same fate as the similar movement toward international autonomy within sovereignty movement at the heart of the Hong Kong street protests--especially given the anemic support from international actors "from above." But again ideology and the fantasy-fetish that is the "ideal-ideal" of Cuba drives these actions on both sides.
 
I think that Domingo's objection that might be made to this line of reasoning also has power: that Cuba is not HK and the local conditions and historical circumstances will not produce a similar result. That also is correct I think—but it will not prevent people from trying the HK approach—especially those very panicked members of the Cuban nomenklatura who refuse to face the changing economic and social conditions that their lack of vision since the VIth Congress has produced. For them this is personal, ironically in the same way that it has become personal for the masses on the streets (once one wades through the post hoc ideological discourse that is packaged for the consumption by prospective allies). And it ia always worth remembering that Raul Castro and the Cuban military establishment (FAR) have not yet disappeared.  Domingo is absolutely correct in noting that this is a problem brought on by the stubborn intransigence of the Communist Party itself--not merely one of implementation, but of a deliberately rigid dogmatism that refused to acknowledge the emerging realities even as other Marxist Leninist states showed that this was not merely possible but power reinforcing in ways appealing to the sensibilities of developing states (discussed at length HERE).  What made this intransigence tragic was that any number of officials have understood this since almost the beginning of the 21st century but have been unable to move the core Party leadership. U.S. policy provides the cover. . . and the excuse (echoed by nomenklatura sympathizers in the US Congress and the social movement intelligentsia in the US. . . an ironic pity) . . . but is it its cause. That lies squarely with the leadership whose choices and ideological risk aversion has brought current conditions to this point. 
 
Domingo's discussion of this point is worth careful consideration. His closing suggestion, that "The short term will be decisive, and it will be undertaken on the basis of the forgotten premise that: 'We change or we sink'" is nicely juxtaposed against the action of decades by the state and other actors.  It is a reminder that explosions occur in an instant, but that its character is the product of layers of decisions, of personal and institutional politics, of changes caused by or exogenous to, the society now confronted by the central contradictions all of this actions finally bring to their decisive stage. In this case the central contradiction  is not those critical to the development of Chinese Marxist Leninism (class struggle to the development of productive forces to the more equitable distribution of social goods). It is instead this: the alignment of the political vanguard with its people, and of its ideology with the conditions of the present historical era.The failure of the Party's leadership to do either (or to do them well, even though its leaders know very well what must be done) will contribute to the factors that will determine a decisive outcome in the short term.

The essay was originally published in Spanish in the blog La Joven Cuba, auspiciously enough on the 26th July 2021 (a very important date in the Cuban revolutiobary calendar which marks this year the 68th anniversary of the Fidel Castro led raid on the Moncada Barracks that marks the start of the revolutionary movement).  La Joven Cuba was started by students at the University of Matanzas in 2010. It describes itself as "un proyecto de análisis e incidencia política en Cuba con más de una década de historia. Sus miembros y colaboradores se extienden por varias provincias de la isla, América Latina y Estados Unidos." (a project of analysis and political events in Cuba with more than a decade of history. Its members and collaborators can be found in several provinces of the island, Latin America and the United States. LJC emerged in 2010 as a blog based at the University of Matanzas). 

 
It is republished here with permission, along with my translation of the original Spanish into English. 
 
Domingo Amuchastegui has had a long and distinguished career. He has served as Cuba's Chargé d'Affaires in Guatemala, was Department Head of Socialist Countries at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Department Head of the Organization Departament at the Tricontinental Organization (1960s-70s), Chief Analyst in the Intelligence Directorate and "Liberación", and a Professor of Contemporary History and Regional Conflicts at the Universidad Pedagógica and the Instituto Superior de Relaciones Internacionales (Cuba). He is the author of Historia Contemporánea de Asia y Africa (4 volumes), Palestina: Dimensiones de un Conflicto, Angola in the XX Century (1988)and the co-author of Intelligence and the Cuban Missile Crisis. In addition he has written hundred of articles and essays for Cuba News, Cuba Standard, and various Cuban publications. He participated in fact-finding missions throughout Africa, Asia and Chile, served as Chief analyst during Fidel Castro's visit to Chile and adviser to the Angolan Government (1986-1988). He has resided in the United States since 1994.

 
 


Friday, July 30, 2021

16. Conversations About the Book "Hong Kong Between 'One Country' and 'Two Systems': Chapter 15 (Tuesday 18 September 2019) “Two Systems” Internationalism: Congressional-Executive Commission on China Hearings on "Hong Kong’s Summer of Discontent and U.S. Policy Responses"


 
Pix Credit HERE


“言有尽而意无穷” [Words and meanings are endless]. 

In the run up to the book launch scheduled for 13 July 2021 (registration required but free HERE), the folks at Little Sir Press have organized a series of short conversations about my new book, "Hong Kong Between 'One Country' and 'Two Systems'." 

About the Book: Hong Kong Between “One Country” and “Two Systems” examines the battle of ideas that started with the June 2019 anti-extradition law protests and ended with the enactment of the National Security and National Anthem Laws a year later. At the center of these battles was the “One Country, Two Systems” principle. By June 2020, the meaning of that principle was highly contested, with Chinese authorities taking decisive steps to implement their own understanding of the principle and its normative foundations , and the international community taking countermeasures. All of this occurred well before the 2047 end of the 1985 Sino-British Joint Declaration (中英联合声明) that had been the blueprint for the return of Hong Kong to China. Between these events, global actors battled for control of the narrative and of the meaning of the governing principles that were meant to frame the scope and character of Hong Kong’s autonomy within China. The book critically examines the conflict of words between Hong Kong protesters, the Chinese central and local authorities, and important elements of the international community. This decisive discursive contest paralleled the fighting for control of the streets and that pitted protesters and the international community that supported them against the central authorities of China and Hong Kong local authorities. In the end the Chinese central authorities largely prevailed in the discursive realm as well as on the streets. Their victory was aided, in part by the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020. But their triumph also produced the seeds of a new and potentially stronger international constitutional discourse that may reduce the magnitude and scope of that success. These essays were written as the events unfolded. Together the essays analytically chronicle the discursive battles that were fought, won and lost, between June 2019 and June 2020. Without an underlying political or polemical agenda, the essays retain the freshness of the moment, reflecting the uncertainties of the time as events unfolded. What was won on the streets of Hong Kong from June to December 2019, the public and physical manifestation of a principled internationalist and liberal democratic narrative of self-determination, and of civil and political rights, was lost by June 2020 within a cage of authoritative legality legitimated through the resurgence of the normative authority of the state and the application of a strong and coherent expression of the principled narrative of its Marxist-Leninist constitutional order. Ironically enough, both political ideologies emerged stronger and more coherent from the conflict, each now better prepared for the next.

The book may be purchased through AMAZON (kindle and paperback), 

I am delighted, then, to make available the next in the series of video recordings of conversations about the book with my former research assistant Matthew McQuilla (Penn State International Affairs MIA 2021). Today we discuss Chapter 15 (Tuesday 18 September 2019) “Two Systems” Internationalism: Congressional-Executive Commission on China Hearings on "Hong Kong’s Summer of Discontent and U.S. Policy Responses."

Pix Credit HERE

This Chapter marks the first real emergence of something that begins to loo like a coherent counter discourse to the discursive narratives developed by the Chinese central authorities since June 2019. It was odd for a number of reasons. First it was driven by the United States rather than by the U.K. Second, it was grounded on internationalism and the conception of international treaties imposing constitutional constraints on the exercise of national sovereignty (even when that sovereignty was undisputed). And it was driven as well from the oddest of sources, the Congressional-Executive Commission on China,rather than by the President of the State Department. Nonetheless, the CECC intervention represented the first time the sensibilities of the liberal democratic camp were (finally) exposed.  

These are the sensibilities that underlie both the international community’s approach to the protests in Hong Kong and to its own perceptions about the status of Hong Kong . It is grounded in a normative internationalism memorialized in hard and soft law produced by and through the U.N. and regional systems of state collectives that present both collective normative authority and a set of constraints on national action.That grounding is meant to produce the ideal toward which all states aspire and with respect to which all states have a duty to help one another attain. In some respects it provides the mirror image of the Marxist internationalism emerging in its forms in the New Era of Chinese historical development under Xi Jinping (sometimes referenced as “socialist internationalism”and more traditionally in Western Marxist thought as proletarian internationalism). For that reason it has produced--though very late given the transparency of this process, fear and caution on the part of vanguard elements of the liberal democratic camp. And perhaps more importantly, it made visible the connections between the discursive outlooks and perceptions of elements of the Hong Kong protest movement with those of the liberal democratic and internationalist camps.  The interventions of several protest leaders would have dramatic effects in the form of countermeasures eventually adopted by the central authorities.  But its framework is exposed here first.  


Pix Credt HERE

 


 

The video of the conversation about Chapter 15 may be accessed HERE.

All conversations are posted to the Coalition for Peace & Ethics YouTube page and may be found on its Playlist: Talking About the Book: "Hong Kong Between 'One Country' and 'Two Systems'." All conversation videos are hosted by Little Sir Press. I hope you find the conversation of some use. 
 

 

A pre-publication version of some of the book chapters may be accessed (free) on the Book's webpage (here). All videos may also be accessed through the Little Sir Press Book Website HERE.

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Posting New Discussion Draft: "Trust Platforms: The Digitalization of Corporate Governance and the Transformation of Trust in Polycentric Space"

 

Pix Credit HERE


I have been thinking about the way that digitalization has been transforming the institutional spaces through which humans operate and the cultural presumptions through which human collectives impose meaning on the world.  The transformations have been a long time coming, and they arrive unannounced. One of the most interesting areas of transformation touches on corporate governance in general, and the constitution of trust in particular.  Trust is an ancient concept intimately tied to perceptions of risk in interactions with institutions and institutional actors. It is also now aligned with fundamental cultural approaches to views of human nature and their transposition to institutional behavior. Where once those connections and alignments were personal and grounded in assumptions about character, now they are increasingly bound up in inferences (or judgments) derived from measurable actions, events or conditions that are judged against an ideal derived from standards that are relevant to assessing communities.
 
 
Pix Credit HERE
Digitalization has made that possible.  Compliance cultures and accountability regimes have made it acceptable. And trust remains a critical facet of effective corporate governance.  But it has become a critical aspect of inter and intra-institutional operations for a much wider constellation of communities, each of which approaches issues of trust, and the risk parameters that trust represents in their relationships with the institution and its activities. Trust has fractured as a concept, an object, and a framework for risk and relationship assessment. Compliance has also fractured, along with the standards used to measure governance and assess trustworthiness. Human rights due diligence, legal and business compliance, sustainability and climate change compliance each are grounded in standards of risk, mitigation and remedy that are distinctly centered on different data sets and affect different consumers of trust differently. 
 
 
Pix Credit HERE
 
In the process of these transformations, the components of corporate governance assessments, and the standards deployed to assess its effectiveness, have migrated. More than migrated, the conception of trust has shifted from trust in an enterprise or individual, to trust in the systems used to assess trustworthiness in that institution or individual for the functionally differentiated communities for whom this matters. Trust systems, then, appear to become more autonomous. And that autonomous system-object, now resides elsewhere; it resides in platforms. The components from which trust based assessments of 'good' corporate governance is made have become inputs and resources that are developed, utilized, produced and consumed not within an enterprise  but within platforms in which users--consumers, producers, and regulators of governance analysis factors can converge.  These platforms exist within and beyond the institution and the individuals who may be their objects. 

It was with the intent to work through some of these ideas that I produced an essay the discussion draft of which I am delighted to post here for comments. The essay is entitled "Trust Platforms: The Digitalization of Corporate Governance and the Transformation of Trust in Polycentric Space".

The ABSTRACT and INTRODUCTION follow below.  The discussion draft may be accessed HERE. 

Sunday, July 25, 2021

15. Conversations About the Book "Hong Kong Between 'One Country' and 'Two Systems': Chapter 14 (Monday 2 September 2019) ‘Two Systems’ Internationalism Against ‘One Country’ Nationalism--Reflections on the G7 Declaration and the (Re)Construction of New Era

 

“言有尽而意无穷” [Words and meanings are endless]. 

In the run up to the book launch scheduled for 13 July 2021 (registration required but free HERE), the folks at Little Sir Press have organized a series of short conversations about my new book, "Hong Kong Between 'One Country' and 'Two Systems'." 

About the Book: Hong Kong Between “One Country” and “Two Systems” examines the battle of ideas that started with the June 2019 anti-extradition law protests and ended with the enactment of the National Security and National Anthem Laws a year later. At the center of these battles was the “One Country, Two Systems” principle. By June 2020, the meaning of that principle was highly contested, with Chinese authorities taking decisive steps to implement their own understanding of the principle and its normative foundations , and the international community taking countermeasures. All of this occurred well before the 2047 end of the 1985 Sino-British Joint Declaration (中英联合声明) that had been the blueprint for the return of Hong Kong to China. Between these events, global actors battled for control of the narrative and of the meaning of the governing principles that were meant to frame the scope and character of Hong Kong’s autonomy within China. The book critically examines the conflict of words between Hong Kong protesters, the Chinese central and local authorities, and important elements of the international community. This decisive discursive contest paralleled the fighting for control of the streets and that pitted protesters and the international community that supported them against the central authorities of China and Hong Kong local authorities. In the end the Chinese central authorities largely prevailed in the discursive realm as well as on the streets. Their victory was aided, in part by the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020. But their triumph also produced the seeds of a new and potentially stronger international constitutional discourse that may reduce the magnitude and scope of that success. These essays were written as the events unfolded. Together the essays analytically chronicle the discursive battles that were fought, won and lost, between June 2019 and June 2020. Without an underlying political or polemical agenda, the essays retain the freshness of the moment, reflecting the uncertainties of the time as events unfolded. What was won on the streets of Hong Kong from June to December 2019, the public and physical manifestation of a principled internationalist and liberal democratic narrative of self-determination, and of civil and political rights, was lost by June 2020 within a cage of authoritative legality legitimated through the resurgence of the normative authority of the state and the application of a strong and coherent expression of the principled narrative of its Marxist-Leninist constitutional order. Ironically enough, both political ideologies emerged stronger and more coherent from the conflict, each now better prepared for the next.

The book may be purchased through AMAZON (kindle and paperback), 

I am delighted, then, to make available the next in the series of video recordings of conversations about the book with my former research assistant Matthew McQuilla (Penn State International Affairs MIA 2021). Today we discuss Chapter 14 (Monday 2 September 2019) ‘Two Systems’ Internationalism Against ‘One Country’ Nationalism--Reflections on the G7 Declaration and the (Re)Construction of New Era.

This Chapter considers the character of the way that the international law dimension of the situation in Hong Kong re-emerged as an internationalist constitutional counter-narrative. It starts from the fairly bland statement about the situation in Hong Kong issued by the G7--"The G7 reaffirms the existence and importance of the Sino-British Joint Declaration of 1984 on Hong Kong and calls for violence to be avoided"-- and then considers the response of the central authorities. The G7 in its own way sought to re-inject notions of international constraints on the constitutional dimensions of the "Two Systems" elements of "One Country-Two Systems". It began what would eventually become the outline of an international scope to the constraining of constitutional authority without challenging the territorial sovereignty of a government over the territory to which these internationally developed constraints applied. Here, those international principles were alluded to as the 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration. The G7 suggested that the document continued to have force. The Chinese response suggested a counter history in which the utility of that document and its international dimension came to a conclusion on the day that the lease to parts of Hong Kong lapsed and the rest was ceded back to China. It was the instrument, the bridge, through which absolute sovereignty was returned to China under an initial framework the implementation of which was left entirely to the discretion of Hong Kong's sovereign. The question is to what extent do the Hing Kong protestors think this possible, or think this at all; to what extent is the international community willing to make good on this promise with more than words uttered at fancy meetings of high stats people? The Chinese central authorities are banking on the likelihood that the protestors are incapable and the international community too timid, to make good on this. Are they right?

 

 The video of the conversation about Chapter 14 may be accessed HERE.

All conversations are posted to the Coalition for Peace & Ethics YouTube page and may be found on its Playlist: Talking About the Book: "Hong Kong Between 'One Country' and 'Two Systems'." All conversation videos are hosted by Little Sir Press. I hope you find the conversation of some use. 
 

 

A pre-publication version of some of the book chapters may be accessed (free) on the Book's webpage (here). All videos may also be accessed through the Little Sir Press Book Website HERE.

 

Friday, July 23, 2021

Leveraging the XXIV Winter Games in China Using Transnational Private Law Mechanisms Part II: Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC) Commissioners Ask IOC President To Postpone and Relocate the 2022 Winter Olympics


 The Congressional-Executive Commission on China was created by the U.S. Congress in 2000 "with the legislative mandate to monitor human rights and the development of the rule of law in China, and to submit an annual report to the President and the Congress. The Commission consists of nine Senators, nine Members of the House of Representatives, and five senior Administration officials appointed by the President." (CECC About). The CECC FAQs provide useful information about the CECC. See CECC Frequently Asked Questions. They have developed positions on a number of issues.

CECC tends to serve as an excellent barometer of the thinking of political and academic elites in the United States about issues touching on China and the official American line developed in connection with those issues. As such it is an important source of information about the way official and academic sectors think about China. As one can imagine many of the positions of the CECC are critical of current Chinese policies and institutions (for some analysis see CECC).

Recently CECC has begun to coordinate, in concert with administrative departs (see Human Rights Due Diligence Comes to the United States: Xinjiang Supply Chain Business Advisory), its focus on soft law efforts (that is on efforts to influence the decision making and risk calculations under transnational private law) aimed at the conduct of US companies (especially those managing global production chains) under private law managed regimes of international norms grounded in human rights and sustainability, including standards not recognized in the home country itself. To that end, CECC announced that it "has invited the U.S.-based companies who sponsor the Olympics through The Olympic Partner (TOP ) Programme of the IOC to . . . [July 27, 2021 10:00am] hearing to address how they can leverage their influence to insist on concrete human rights improvements in the People’s Republic of China and how they will manage the material and reputational risks of being associated with an Olympic Games held in the midst of a genocide." (CECC, Press Release: Corporate Sponsorship of the 2022 Beijing Olympics). For a discussion of this effort see HERE

Now CECC has invoked yet another lever--this time not international soft law frameworks that change risk calculations for business--but instead the mechanisms of international private organizations to add another layer of pressure on the Chinese central authorities.  The focus this time is on the troubled International Olympic Committee, an organization that is not n a position to lose friends at the moment. It is a Swiss entity that describes itself as the 

"the guardian of the Olympic Games and the leader of the Olympic Movement. A truly global organisation, it acts as a catalyst for collaboration between all Olympic stakeholders, including the athletes, the National Olympic Committees, the International Federations, Organising Committees for the Olympic Games, the Worldwide Olympic Partners and Olympic broadcast partners. It also collaborates with public and private authorities including the United Nations and other international organisations." (HERE).  

It is the locus of the IOC at the intersection of public and private, and as the guardian of the very popular Olympic games, that provides the CECC with another lever in its campaign to advance its position on Chinese policies in Xinjiang.  The object here is to engage with public soft power--the management of the Olympic games--in furtherance of the U.S. position by adding pressure touching on a highly visible prestige event.  To that end, in a Press Release of 23 July 2021, the CECC announced: 

Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Representative James P. McGovern (D-MA), the Chair and Cochair, respectively, of the bipartisan and bicameral Congressional-Executive Commission on China, released today a letter to Thomas Bach, President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) asking him to postpone the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics and to relocate them if the host government does not end its egregious human rights abuses, saying that “No Olympics should be held in a country whose government is committing genocide and crimes against humanity.” (CECC Press Release)

CECC, of course, is again focusing its energy on coordinated efforts, this time one that includes the uncoordinated but aligned efforts of other public and private actors. Some of these efforts have been long in the making: "More than 160 human rights groups around the world have signed a letter calling for the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to reverse its decision to hold the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, citing allegations of widespread rights abuses by the Chinese government."  (CNN September 2020). Some efforts are quite recent. "Members of Congress’ Human Rights Commission, in a rare display of bipartisan unity, on Tuesday called on the International Olympic Committee to remove the 2022 Winter Olympics from Beijing, accusing the IOC and its corporate partners of being complicit in human rights violations by the Chinese government. " (Orange County Register May 2021). The Congressional action is particularly interesting because it also folds back on an intimation of complicity with global business interests supporting Chinese Olympic efforts under current circumstances. (Ibid). Complicity appears to be the mechanism that is increasing utilized in the deployment of the markets sector for public ends, and represents another step forward in the alignment between market activity and public purpose. 

These are, of course, the techniques of aggressive counter-engagement well refined by American elites during the Trump Administration.  They are also an increasingly useful example of the way that states may use the techniques of the Second Pillar of the United Nations Guiding Principles for Business and Human Rights to good effect--and certainly to advance a normative-political agenda.  In a sense this represents the  fulfillment of some of the promise of the UN Guiding Principles for Business and Human Rights relating both to the obligations of state owned enterprises and to businesses from abroad that may have dealing with them and the state policies that they further (e.g., UNGP Principles 4-6, and 17).  Particularly relevance are two strategies that bear emphasis.  The first is the refinement of the use of complicity to drive risk calculations and to align business conduct in markets with state objectives.  The second is the importance for this effort of deploying multilateral institutions--and now especially private or hybrid institutions--to leverage aligned market-public policy objectives. In this context the Commentary to UNGP No. 10 is particularly relevant. "Collective action through multilateral institutions can help States level the playing field with regard to business respect for human rights, but it should do so by raising the performance of laggards. Cooperation between States, multilateral institutions and other stakeholders can also play an important role."

It bears noting, of course, that the Chinese central authorities are also fast learners.

 The text of the Press Release and the Letter follow:

Thursday, July 22, 2021

ESIL Interest Group on International Business and Human Rights Pre-Conference Workshop, "International Business and Human Rights: Changes in International Lawmaking" (8 September 2021)

 

With great thanks to its convenors--(1) Prof. Belen Olmos Giupponi, Kingston University, London; (2) Dr. Mara Tignino, University of Geneva ; (3) Dr. Mihaela Barnes, Visiting Fellow, Lauterpacht Centre for International Law, University of Cambridge; and (4) Prof. Angelica Bonfanti, University of Milan--I am delighted to pass along this announcement for a very exciting workshop organized by the ESIL Interest Group on International Business and Human Rights.  The Workshop, International Business and Human Rights: Changes in International Lawmaking, will be held on 8 September 2021.  The Workshop brings together academics and law practitioners to consider some of the most current issues in the field.  These include convergence, divergence and interconnectivity of domestic and international law; a closer look at private law ordering through the lens of the Palm Oil sector; a consideration of tipping points in regulatory principles; the role of intermediaries and investment treaties; and on complicity in the context of economic activities that produce both human rights wrongs and benefits.  

The announcement nicely frames the event:

On the occasion of the 16th ESIL Annual Conference on Changes in International Lawmaking: Actors, Processes, Impact the Interest Group on International Business and Human Rights invites its members and other interested academic and experts to join a discussion about recent changes in international lawmaking as applicable to international business and human rights.

BACKGROUND

The theme of the 16th ESIL Annual Conference retrospectively takes us to a time when international lawmaking and its national implementation was relatively easy to understand and control. At that time, international lawmaking took place primarily through international agreements that were initiated, negotiated and concluded via diplomatic channels and then submitted to national legislators for legislative approval or underwent though other processes of domestication. This status quo could not be more different now. Today international lawmaking includes not only new mechanisms, but also new actors such as international government organisations, inter-agency networks, non-governmental organisations, corporations and other private entities. Against this background, the Workshop organized by the ESIL Interest Group on International Business and Human Rights seeks to re- examine changes in international lawmaking, as applicable to international business and human rights. The aim of the Workshop is to assess how, and to what extent new forms of lawmaking, new mechanisms and new actors impacts on the field of international business and human rights in general.

 

The Program follows.  The event, originally scheduled as an  in person program has been converted into a virtual event out of an abundance of caution given the contemporary situation.

The Program follows.

 

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

14. Conversations About the Book "Hong Kong Between 'One Country' and 'Two Systems': Chapter 13 (Thursday 22 August 2019) Reflections on Zheng Yongnian: "The Capital of Protests" Who Controls Hong Kong?" [郑永年:“抗议之都” 谁主香港?]

 


“言有尽而意无穷” [Words and meanings are endless]. 

In the run up to the book launch scheduled for 13 July 2021 (registration required but free HERE), the folks at Little Sir Press have organized a series of short conversations about my new book, "Hong Kong Between 'One Country' and 'Two Systems'." 

About the Book: Hong Kong Between “One Country” and “Two Systems” examines the battle of ideas that started with the June 2019 anti-extradition law protests and ended with the enactment of the National Security and National Anthem Laws a year later. At the center of these battles was the “One Country, Two Systems” principle. By June 2020, the meaning of that principle was highly contested, with Chinese authorities taking decisive steps to implement their own understanding of the principle and its normative foundations , and the international community taking countermeasures. All of this occurred well before the 2047 end of the 1985 Sino-British Joint Declaration (中英联合声明) that had been the blueprint for the return of Hong Kong to China. Between these events, global actors battled for control of the narrative and of the meaning of the governing principles that were meant to frame the scope and character of Hong Kong’s autonomy within China. The book critically examines the conflict of words between Hong Kong protesters, the Chinese central and local authorities, and important elements of the international community. This decisive discursive contest paralleled the fighting for control of the streets and that pitted protesters and the international community that supported them against the central authorities of China and Hong Kong local authorities. In the end the Chinese central authorities largely prevailed in the discursive realm as well as on the streets. Their victory was aided, in part by the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020. But their triumph also produced the seeds of a new and potentially stronger international constitutional discourse that may reduce the magnitude and scope of that success. These essays were written as the events unfolded. Together the essays analytically chronicle the discursive battles that were fought, won and lost, between June 2019 and June 2020. Without an underlying political or polemical agenda, the essays retain the freshness of the moment, reflecting the uncertainties of the time as events unfolded. What was won on the streets of Hong Kong from June to December 2019, the public and physical manifestation of a principled internationalist and liberal democratic narrative of self-determination, and of civil and political rights, was lost by June 2020 within a cage of authoritative legality legitimated through the resurgence of the normative authority of the state and the application of a strong and coherent expression of the principled narrative of its Marxist-Leninist constitutional order. Ironically enough, both political ideologies emerged stronger and more coherent from the conflict, each now better prepared for the next.

The book may be purchased through AMAZON (kindle and paperback), 

I am delighted, then, to make available the next in the series of video recordings of conversations about the book with my former research assistant Matthew McQuilla (Penn State International Affairs MIA 2021). Today we discuss Chapter 13 (Thursday 22 August 2019) Reflections on Zheng Yongnian: "The Capital of Protests" Who Controls Hong Kong?" [郑永年:“抗议之都” 谁主香港?].

The chapter is particularly interesting for its development, in academic circles of the concept, first articulated by Xi Jinping, that the central authorities were "committed to the policy for the Hong Kong people to govern Hong Kong and the Macao people to govern Macao, with patriots playing the principal role. We will develop and strengthen the ranks of patriots who love both our country and their regions, and foster greater patriotism and a stronger sense of national identity among the people in Hong Kong and Macao." (18 October 2018). In a sense, the development of this concept of a patriotic front of governance is tied to the more ancient notions of 鼎 (Dǐng) (an ancient three legged bronze cauldron; the throne or leadership "core"; or more broadly the state apparatus). Hong Kong is not the cauldron itself, or figuratively the throne (as itself a symbol of the authority given to the leadership "core" by the mandate of heaven), but rather an element of its content. It is, however, an element of the cauldron that itself has upset the harmony that the cauldron represents--it has upset the order of things by its own fundamental disorder. “To put it bluntly, there is only one fundamental problem in Hong Kong, that is: Who is Hong Kong?” That question suggests two key elements for the analysis that follows. The first is the cauldron itself. If China represents the cauldron right side up, then Hong Kong illustrates the consequences when the cauldron is turned upside down. Underlying this is a sense not just of imbalance in the natural order of things, of fundamental harmony, but of inversion. The cauldron turned upside down contains nothing, it spills its contents. The second references the contents of the cauldron--the core of leadership that shapes the cauldron itself. Here the cauldron upside carries a different connotation--that which ought to be at the periphery appears to become the core and the core is emptied of content. A cauldron that is upside down, a cauldron with an empty core of leadership, cannot be sustained.

 

 The video of the conversation about Chapter 13 may be accessed HERE.

All conversations are posted to the Coalition for Peace & Ethics YouTube page and may be found on its Playlist: Talking About the Book: "Hong Kong Between 'One Country' and 'Two Systems'." All conversation videos are hosted by Little Sir Press. I hope you find the conversation of some use. 
 

 

A pre-publication version of some of the book chapters may be accessed (free) on the Book's webpage (here). All videos may also be accessed through the Little Sir Press Book Website HERE.