2019 Rockets: China Hates Us

benhogan

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Morey is too smart to have been naive about this. Either he secretly wanted out of Houston, or he cared so deeply about the situation in Hong Kong that he was willing to put his job at risk over it. Morey’s post hoc groveling won’t save his job, but should pave the way for another club with less of a direct stake in the Chinese market to hire him in a year or two.
He'll just have to dye his hair blond, grow a porn stache and change his name to Maury Darrells...the CCP will never catch on

smh, one tweet where he offered support to the people of HK, took it down quickly and apologized and the Chinese come down this hard? Yikes, pretty scary folks
 

Reverend

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I don't know if this is the right avenue for this, because maybe this is a little to V&N-esque, but this is a major danger for companies that want to continue to do business in China in the future. From the NY Times, China's social credit program for businesses is threatening to reduce the score for foreign airlines that refuse to label Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macau as part of China. So we're talking about the Chinese government literally reducing a score that is used to guide citizens towards or away from businesses because of the language that is used. 1984 was just 35 years too early.

It feels an awful lot like we're at a critical juncture where companies and individuals have to make a decision as to which way they want to go on this, because as China's influence grows, there won't be much choice at all. I think one of the key balances that needs to somehow be struck is differentiating between the Chinese government, which is pushing this, and Chinese citizens, both abroad and domestic, who could very easily end up on the wrong end of racist views for actions that have nothing to do with them.
You don’t happen to watch @KenTremendous ‘s The Good Place, by any chance, do you?

Man, that program sucks. China’s I mean; KM is cool.

There are 2.8 billion feet in China.
republicans wear shoes too.

China’s still a republic, right?
Silver could have made a statement that while the NBA welcomes its strong relationship with China, it also welcomes dissenting views from among its employees, even when those views do not represent the views of the NBA.

Not good enough for the China apologists, but at least would have made a stand against its executives and players being bullied.
I agree to an extent, but that statement would have almost no meaning in China.

It’s like when that shorty movie about Mohammad was made just to piss off Muslims in the Middle East. What many Americans had trouble grasping with that phenomenon is that many people in many other countries don’t understand that people and companies in America can, for example, make a movie without the acquiescence of the government because that’s not the world they know.

Separating Morey’s thoughts from the leavue’s as something that is normal and ok and not a problem doesn’t fly in China at the level of reason, basically.
The NBA would have done that if it thought for a second that statement would satisfy their partners in China, but it would not. If you're going to say that, you might as well double down on the tweet and come out in support of the protestors. Same effect.
Yup.

I'm not really suggesting that Silver become a "freelance political agitator". I'm suggesting that while I wished the NBA (owners, Silver, and players) would use their platform in the same way they've used it in the Erdogan-Kanter situation, the dollars unfortunately mean that they were swayed the other way here. And that's disappointing to me, because as more companies give into China's demands in order to gain access to the massive market there, in enables an authoritarian regime to propogate authoritarian characteristics overseas.

People and organizations cannot simply "stay clear of politics". The politics exist, whether one chooses to acknowledge them or not. If the GM of the Houston Rockets is unable to speak his mind on an issue that involves the fundamental human rights of millions of people, what does it say for our ability in the future to do the same thing as far less powerful individuals?
I think the issue of the league handling player promoting their views versus team officials is an interesting one.

Letting players let fly has become to some extent part of the product as a kind of competitive advantage with leagues that stifle player opinions; the fans like and approve of this expression of self by the players.

I suspect the personalities of the team officials do. It burnish the image of the product in the same way. As such, it’s not surprising that the league might treat statements of player and team officials very differently for business reasons.

Which yes, means choosing business over politics; I agree that choosing not to do politics isn’t a real thing in such situations. So they make choices.

That we're screwed. Welcome to 2019.

edit: to be less flippant...of course Daryl Morey can speak his mind on the issue. Or he can continue to work for the Houston Rockets. It's his choice. Everyone who works in any kind of public-facing position has to make these choices, whether they acknowledge it or not. But expecting businesses to make decisions on social or political issues that harm their bottom line would be naive. If all of America were threatening to stop buying sneakers and season tickets if the NBA didn't support the protestors, then the calculus on this issue would change. If the NBA acknowledged that it is a business and stayed out of all social and political issues, then it would be easier to swallow that they are following the money here. The owners and commissioner look like hypocrites because they have taken social and political stands in the past when it didn't cost them anything.
Yep...
I really savor these mask off type of moments.
You should totally read Mark Twain’s short story, “The Corruption of Hadleyburg.”

Like, obviously Twain basically arguably invented American fiction as a genre, but still: His grasp of these kinds of tensions that would be coming down the pipe in modern society is surpassed perhaps only by Vonnegut, who of course was basically his disciple and standing on his shoulders.

I think you’d enjoy it. I mean, if we’re impressed when a South Park hits it on the nose a week or a few months ahead of time... Twain nailed this shit from 150 years ago when it was still new. Just staggering.
I know some have been turned off by it, but I’ve really enjoyed their more recent evolution of the last few years.
 

Kliq

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Yes, but the feeling seems to be that Houston does a little moreso?

Or maybe he's counting on the weird logic where the Reds have to trade Aroldis Chapman and the Chiefs have to cut Kareem Hunt, but once that happens they've already been punished so it's OK for the Yankees and Browns to have them?
Houston in particular has a strong connection with the Chinese market; and while I'm not sure if it is still the case they were the most popular NBA team in China. Obviously being the team that drafted Yao is the major reason for that, and I remember at the time reading that Tracy McGrady was the second most popular player in China behind Yao. The Rockets even if their logo with the "R" is meant to be a nod to Chinese calligraphy. I've actually seen complaints from Houston fans about the franchise catering too much towards the Chinese fanbase, FWIW. Morey wasn't just any GM saying this, he was the GM with arguably the biggest presence in China.
 

PedroKsBambino

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Silver came out and did more or less what people here wanted him to:

NBA commissioner Adam Silver said Monday the league backs the free speech rights of Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey.

But Silver, speaking to Kyodo News in Tokyo, acknowledged the impact of Morey's recent tweet, which supported anti-government protesters in Hong Kong.

"There is no doubt, the economic impact is already clear," Silver said. "There have already been fairly dramatic consequences from that tweet, and I have read some of the media suggesting that we are not supporting Daryl Morey, but in fact we have.

"I think as a values-based organization that I want to make it clear ... that Daryl Morey is supported in terms of his ability to exercise his freedom of expression."
 

Jimbodandy

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NBA front-office executives earn a pittance compared to what the players earn, but they are executives nonetheless. I’m not aware of any business that permits executives to speak freely about matters of public concern and suffer no consequence if their words harm the business.

Morey is too smart to have been naive about this. Either he secretly wanted out of Houston, or he cared so deeply about the situation in Hong Kong that he was willing to put his job at risk over it. Morey’s post hoc groveling won’t save his job, but should pave the way for another club with less of a direct stake in the Chinese market to hire him in a year or two.
I worked for a ~2B company in about 12 years ago whose CEO was called to the carpet by the board of directors for making a public statement on a controversial political topic. He was surprised, but understood.

Most shareholders only care about the share value. Executives know this. They're not THAT surprised when they get their balls stomped, but they do lose themselves sometimes and end up in this situation. Guys with egos that big can forget that not everyone nods at their stories and laughs at their jokes.
 

ElUno20

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NBA front-office executives earn a pittance compared to what the players earn, but they are executives nonetheless. I’m not aware of any business that permits executives to speak freely about matters of public concern and suffer no consequence if their words harm the business.

Morey is too smart to have been naive about this. Either he secretly wanted out of Houston, or he cared so deeply about the situation in Hong Kong that he was willing to put his job at risk over it. Morey’s post hoc groveling won’t save his job, but should pave the way for another club with less of a direct stake in the Chinese market to hire him in a year or two.
A year or two? Are you saying after his contract is up? Because if the rockets are stupid enough to fire him (which im starting to think they are), he'll have a job by week's end. And im not even a fan of his as a gm but he wont be on the market long
 

IdiotKicker

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I will say, overnight Silver has been holding a way tougher line on this than I thought he would. These comments from him are effectively a direct frontal at CCTV's statement. Here's what CCTV said as they cancelled broadcasting preseason games:

“We are strongly dissatisfied and we oppose Silver’s claim to support Morey’s right of free expression. We believe that any speech that challenges national sovereignty and social stability is not within the scope of freedom of speech,” CCTV said in its statement in Chinese, which was translated by CNBC.
They literally said the problem was with freedom of expression. Yikes. And then here's Silver pretty much saying that we understand you're mad at us, but we're not going to sell out our people:

View: https://twitter.com/KevinOConnorNBA/status/1181527805970006016?s=20


Those statements are not going to go over well in China. Normally, with something like this, it would feel like we're being played, but it's kind of hard to walk back those statements with regards to how China does business. I think the NBA might actually be siding with Morey, which is exactly what I'd want to see.
 

DrewDawg

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We've found an issue that Steve Kerr needs more info about before he can comment.
 

Captaincoop

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"If that's the consequence of us adhering to our values..."

So, forcing Morey to take down the Tweet and then issue a humiliating apology was "adhering to our values"? The NBA seems to be trying to revise history now that the ChiComs have made what appears to be a final decision to cancel the TV contract.
 

The Social Chair

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We've found an issue that Steve Kerr needs more info about before he can comment.
This is the silly right wing media talking point of the day.

Steve Kerr is an employee of the NBA and he expresses his POV about Trump because the league gives him the green light to do that. Has Kerr ever expressed the desire to piss off the owners and Silver?
 

Devizier

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Like, obviously Twain basically arguably invented American fiction as a genre, but still: His grasp of these kinds of tensions that would be coming down the pipe in modern society is surpassed perhaps only by Vonnegut, who of course was basically his disciple and standing on his shoulders.
No love for Sinclair Lewis?

Main Street, Babbit, and especially Elmer Gantry could be written today, with a few words changed.
 

Doug Beerabelli

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"If that's the consequence of us adhering to our values..."

So, forcing Morey to take down the Tweet and then issue a humiliating apology was "adhering to our values"? The NBA seems to be trying to revise history now that the ChiComs have made what appears to be a final decision to cancel the TV contract.
Was it the NBA, or the Rockets ownership, who forced the take down of the Tweet?
 

luckiestman

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This is the silly right wing media talking point of the day.

Steve Kerr is an employee of the NBA and he expresses his POV about Trump because the league gives him the green light to do that. Has Kerr ever expressed the desire to piss off the owners and Silver?
Bros that take strong political positions when it is the popular thing to do are so brave.
 

Captaincoop

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Was it the NBA, or the Rockets ownership, who forced the take down of the Tweet?
I'm not sure it matters. The NBA issued a groveling statement calling the tweet "inappropriate" and apologizing for "hurting the feelings" of its fans in China. Is that supportive of his right to speak up?

Now that it's too late to salvage the TV deal, Silver is trying to recapture the "wokest league" crown as a consolation prize. At least that's how it looks.
 

OurF'ingCity

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Bros that take strong political positions when it is the popular thing to do are so brave.
I don't even think it's a question of popular vs. unpopular, really (although, I do think it's instructive to think about how Kerr would be portrayed by the media and thought of in NBA circles if he came out as unabashedly pro-Trump, or even just generically conservative) - it's more of a question of "this will cost me and/or my employer money" vs. "I can say this without costing me or my employer money."

But the overall point stands - it shouldn't be very impressive or noteworthy when an NBA player/coach/executive/owner says something that he or she knows will not result in any meaningful monetary or other backlash. (This, by the way, is why Kaepernick's protest WAS so noteworthy, because it clearly did cost him a ton of money even after you figure in his lawsuit settlement and his Nike endorsement, neither of which he was assured at the time he engaged in his protest.)
 

Apisith

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The NBA is the first American/Western business to not kowtow to the CCP. For that, it deserves a lot of respect, even if it took them 1 day of backlash to come around to it. The American public will be crucial in supporting/pressuring businesses. Well done to the NBA for being the first to do so and I respect Silver for taking this line. In another case today, Blizzard banned a HK player and released a statement in Chinese saying that the dignity of Chinese people will be protected. The NBA have done really well, and this kind of open defiance of the CCP will be what's needed if there's any chance that the CCP will be defeated.
 

Marciano490

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Is there no risk to the Chinese government for pushing too hard against American products? Maybe nobody will miss South Park, but if you take away the NBA, Nike, McDonald’s, etc. does that get the people there a little more agitated?

Also, random, but I wonder if modern technology and society makes authoritarianism more or less practical going forward. Kind of wondering what the world will look like in 25, 50 and 100 years.
 

Average Reds

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I'm not sure it matters. The NBA issued a groveling statement calling the tweet "inappropriate" and apologizing for "hurting the feelings" of its fans in China. Is that supportive of his right to speak up?

Now that it's too late to salvage the TV deal, Silver is trying to recapture the "wokest league" crown as a consolation prize. At least that's how it looks.
Your posts on this topic have been spot on.

Back in the day, David Stern justified the NBA’s nascent partnership with China by claiming that engagement would help export Western culture and values to China. The reality is that the $$$ from China are so overwhelming that the opposite was always going to be the case and for Silver to be this unprepared for a clash that was inevitable is really mind-blowing.

By trying to play it down the middle, Silver has pissed everyone off and badly tarnished the NBA’s brand. It’s a case study in incompetence.
 

Big John

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China needs the NBA almost as much as the NBA needs China. This kerfuffle will blow over-- but the ongoing civil disobedience in Hong Kong will not. Given China's new affluence and the relative mobility of educated Chinese (as compared to the 70's and 80's), I doubt of the current regime can afford another Tianamen Square.
 

sezwho

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China needs the NBA almost as much as the NBA needs China. This kerfuffle will blow over-- but the ongoing civil disobedience in Hong Kong will not. Given China's new affluence and the relative mobility of educated Chinese (as compared to the 70's and 80's), I doubt of the current regime can afford another Tianamen Square.
China needs the NBA in what universe?

They have blotted all recollections, news, and recordings of the Tiananmen Square massacre and current Chinese citizens don’t even know it happened. Seriously.

Imagine a world of only Fox Commentary, only they actually do get to put all the people they want to in prison (we may get there too!) and you will get the idea.
 

DrewDawg

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ESPN treating this story veeeeeery carefully: https://deadspin.com/internal-memo-espn-forbids-discussion-of-chinese-polit-1838881032
Internal Memo: ESPN Forbids Discussion Of Chinese Politics When Discussing Daryl Morey's Tweet About Chinese Politics
That's not treating it carefully. That's refusing to treat it at all.


Also, fans with pro-Hong Kong signs kicked out of game between Sixers and Guangzhou. The game was in Philly.

View: https://twitter.com/CBSPhilly/status/1181767659043594241
 

Big John

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Isn't there a substantial NBA fanbase in China? The Chinese market is huge. Don't the Chinese want to exploit it just like the NBA does?
If it wanted to, the NBA could also cripple the CBA by telling players who sign there that they are barred from the NBA.
Sure, the current Chinese regime can try thought control, but it's difficult to make that work when so many Chinese are travelling and studying abroad.
 

lexrageorge

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Your posts on this topic have been spot on.

Back in the day, David Stern justified the NBA’s nascent partnership with China by claiming that engagement would help export Western culture and values to China. The reality is that the $$$ from China are so overwhelming that the opposite was always going to be the case and for Silver to be this unprepared for a clash that was inevitable is really mind-blowing.

By trying to play it down the middle, Silver has pissed everyone off and badly tarnished the NBA’s brand. It’s a case study in incompetence.
I don't see the NBA's brand all that tarnished here in the US.

Silver could not have anticipated that a GM would make a tweet critical of the Chinese government on a topic in which the Chinese (both government and populace) are ultra-sensitive. Also, what's to say the owners had no influence here? Silver, after all, is employed at the owners behest. And they do have conflicting interests and views. We should not assume all of the owners are perfectly OK with what's happening in Hong Kong. Or, more likely, allowing China to govern the NBA's policies and procedures to that extent.

That's not treating it carefully. That's refusing to treat it at all.


Also, fans with pro-Hong Kong signs kicked out of game between Sixers and Guangzhou. The game was in Philly.

View: https://twitter.com/CBSPhilly/status/1181767659043594241
To be fair, most stadiums and teams have policies about bringing in political signs to games. But I agree that ESPN's reaction is dreadful.
 

sezwho

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Isn't there a substantial NBA fanbase in China? The Chinese market is huge. Don't the Chinese want to exploit it just like the NBA does?
If it wanted to, the NBA could also cripple the CBA by telling players who sign there that they are barred from the NBA.
Sure, the current Chinese regime can try thought control, but it's difficult to make that work when so many Chinese are travelling and studying abroad.
I’m sure they would like to exploit it, but not at the expense of thought control.

I don’t think the CBA would exactly be crippled by a lack of NBA players, but those guys would sure as hell miss their jobs.

Evidence shows there is no limit on thought control behind the great internet wall of China, or seemingly ridiculous propaganda in general, study or travel notwithstanding.
 

Big John

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The Chinese regime can't control the thousands of Chinese studying in the U.S., Europe, Singapore and elsewhere. There are 50 million ethnic Chinese living outside China. And have you been to Venice lately? There are more Chinese tourists than Italians. (As an aside, I keep kicking myself for not patenting the selfie stick. I'd be a billionaire.)

This isn't Orwell's 1984, and China isn't a backward country where people don't have access to technology. Sure, they can censor the Internet. Turkey and Saudi Arabia do it too. But it's impossible to stem the flow of ideas. If the Chinese government could do that successfully, the Hing Kong protests wouldn't be happening.
 

Big John

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It's not 1984 when everyone in the world knows in real time the current buying and selling prices on the Hong Kong stock exchange.
 

lexrageorge

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The Chinese regime can't control the thousands of Chinese studying in the U.S., Europe, Singapore and elsewhere. There are 50 million ethnic Chinese living outside China. And have you been to Venice lately? There are more Chinese tourists than Italians. (As an aside, I keep kicking myself for not patenting the selfie stick. I'd be a billionaire.)

This isn't Orwell's 1984, and China isn't a backward country where people don't have access to technology. Sure, they can censor the Internet. Turkey and Saudi Arabia do it too. But it's impossible to stem the flow of ideas. If the Chinese government could do that successfully, the Hing Kong protests wouldn't be happening.
This post is missing some of the realities of what's going on inside China today.

Xi Jinping has consolidated his power to a degree unseen since Mao. In fact, he probably has even more power than Mao. His Politburo basically granted him lifetime tenure as "China's CEO". Xi is a committed Chinese nationalist, and his policies have been 100% consistent with making China a world power that can be independent of meddling from last century's great powers; think "One Belt; One Road". Or the South China Sea reefs. These policies play very well with a populace in a country that for centuries was exploited heavily by the European nations that tried to colonize vast parts of the country not all that long ago. The Chinese people feel that Hong Kong has historically always been part of China, and any foreign meddling on the issue of Hong Kong will be perceived as meddling in internal affairs. To get a feel as to how such meddling would be perceived inside China, imagine the Chinese government overtly funding either Donald Trump's impeachment or his defense.

The Chinese people know about Tiananmen Square. Most are resigned to the fact that all Tiananmen Square proved is that the Chinese government is invulnerable, so they may as well join them. The Falun Gong movement has been essentially neutered inside China. And the government is investing untold billions in the surveillance state. Most people inside mainland China really don't want American ideas at this stage.

China's government has had mostly a hands-off policy towards Hong Kong. To a large extent, it's worked remarkably well until just very recently. Hong Kong has thrived, and China has been able to use it as a trade and export center, and it is now the largest clearing center for the use of Chinese currency offshore. There was basically a massive quid-pro-quo worth billions if not trillions of dollars to the former British colony. Native HK residents arguably enjoyed equal if not greater freedom than they did while British subjects. The fact that the dynamic inside HK has changed so suddenly likely surprised everyone. But I don't believe most people inside China are all that sympathetic towards their island compatriots, as they probably felt most Hong Kong residents have had it made over these past several decades.
 
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lovegtm

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This post is missing some of the realities of what's going on inside China today.

Xi Jinping has consolidated his power to a degree unseen since Mao. In fact, he probably has even more power than Mao. His Politburo basically granted him lifetime tenure as "China's CEO". Xi is a committed Chinese nationalist, and his policies have been 100% consistent with making China a world power that can be independent of meddling from last centuries great powers; think "One Belt; One Road". Or the South China Sea reefs. These policies play very well with a populace in a country that for centuries was exploited heavily by the European nations that tried to colonize vast parts of the country not all that long ago. The Chinese people feel that Hong Kong has historically always been part of China, and any foreign meddling on the issue of Hong Kong will be perceived as meddling in internal affairs. To get a feel as to how such meddling would be perceived inside China, imagine the Chinese government overtly funding either Donald Trump's impeachment or his defense.

The Chinese people know about Tiananmen Square. Most are resigned to the fact that all Tiananmen Square proved is that the Chinese government is invulnerable, so they may as well join them. The Falun Gong movement has been essentially neutered inside China. And the government is investing untold billions in the surveillance state. Most people inside mainland China really don't want American ideas at this stage.

China's government has had mostly a hands-off policy towards Hong Kong. To a large extent, it's worked remarkably well until just very recently. Hong Kong has thrived, and China has been able to use it as a trade and export center, and it is now the largest clearing center for the use of Chinese currency offshore. There was basically a massive quid-pro-quo worth billions if not trillions of dollars to the former British colony. Native HK residents arguably enjoyed equal if not greater freedom than they did while British subjects. The fact that the dynamic inside HK has changed so suddenly likely surprised everyone. But I don't believe most people inside China are all that sympathetic towards their island compatriots, as they probably felt most Hong Kong residents have had it made over these past several decades.
Yeah, it's weird that people have this assumption that everyone in China must hate it. Rooting for your country when it's exerting influence over outside powers feels really, really good. Think of how it feels when your compatriots win gold medals, and then multiply that by 10 for the extra rush of vicarious geopolitical power. (This does not mean that everyone in China loves the government.)
 

TheStoryofYourRedRightAnkle

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The Chinese regime can't control the thousands of Chinese studying in the U.S., Europe, Singapore and elsewhere. There are 50 million ethnic Chinese living outside China. And have you been to Venice lately? There are more Chinese tourists than Italians. (As an aside, I keep kicking myself for not patenting the selfie stick. I'd be a billionaire.)

This isn't Orwell's 1984, and China isn't a backward country where people don't have access to technology. Sure, they can censor the Internet. Turkey and Saudi Arabia do it too. But it's impossible to stem the flow of ideas. If the Chinese government could do that successfully, the Hing Kong protests wouldn't be happening.
Most of those ethnic Chinese aren't Chinese citizens, so not sure why that matters?

Also, you don't have to stem the flow of ideas, you just have to slow their spread enough for you to be able to inculcate in people that those ideas are wrong and that your ideas are right. Then dump enough misleading information chaff out there to make the non-true believers either throw up their hands and decide that there is no identifiable truth or that it's not worth fighting about because the majority of their co-citizens don't care. That's pretty much been Russia's playbook under Putin and it's worked pretty well for them to date.
 

Big John

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It matters because many have relatives in China. Family roots matter in Chinese culture. And then there's Taiwan, where people are watching the events in Hong Kong with great interest.

If Xi Jinping thinks he can turn the clock back and take away freedoms to which many in Hong Kong feel they are entitled, he's going to lose. The reality is that the more open China becomes, the richer it becomes.
 

lovegtm

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It matters because many have relatives in China. Family roots matter in Chinese culture. And then there's Taiwan, where people are watching the events in Hong Kong with great interest.

If Xi Jinping thinks he can turn the clock back and take away freedoms to which many in Hong Kong feel they are entitled, he's going to lose. The reality is that the more open China becomes, the richer it becomes.
What is the bolded based on? The last 30 years of Chinese history indicates that almost the exact opposite is likely to happen. I think the fall of the USSR gave people a false sense of confidence in the historical inevitability of US-style democracy + US-style capitalism.