The week that included June 4 is always an important one for the Chinese Communist Party, its victims, its allies, and its critics. This week was no exception.
For a while, though, the bigger news appeared to be on this side of the Pacific. Word that the CCP hacking squad had hit several major American weapons systems (CNN) rocked the nation’s capital. About four hours to the south (by car) the Shaunghui buyout of Smithfield foods had Virginians up in arms (Christian Science Monitor). Although the loudest Virginian expressing concern was arch-conservative Bob Marshall, the left was well represented in the W-T-F reaction to the merger (Bloomberg and Huffington Post). The sale still needs approval by the Committee of Foreign Investment in the United States (an executive branch agency) – and rest assured this quarter will loudly insist that the CFIUS (or the Smithfield shareholders) put the kibosh on this thing – for the latter, the notion that the Smithfield label will likely grace less-than-Smithfield-standard meets on the mainland should give them enough pause).
To the pessimist, it would be yet more signs of American weakness and CCP strength. Christopher Lehman added to that with a warning about the shrinking U.S. Navy (Washington Times). Even the Korean colony got a boost when fellow Communist regime Laos sent back children who had escaped from the Stalinists in northern Korea (CNN).
However, closer to home, things weren’t so bright for the fellows at Zhongnanhai. Two of their largest democratic neighbors – India and Japan – held a summit and “decided to safeguard oceans by progressively deepening their security cooperation in order to check the maritime threats from China” (Epoch Times). The third, Pakistan, formally welcomed the return of Nawaz Sharif, whose demands that American drone attacks end was balance with what the BBC‘s M Ilyas Khan called “the underlying message (which) was that US concerns about militancy need to be addressed.” The CCP – Pakistan’s oldest ally – apparently did not get a mention.
As always, however, the events of June 4 could not be shunted off center stage.
The Epoch Times took the lead with their coverage (remembering the massacre of 1989, and reaction in the United States). Yet the BBC noticed how past and present came together in Hong Kong…and Beijing:
despite recent debate on whether the city’s autonomy and values are under threat from integration with the mainland, Apple Daily, Oriental Daily News, Ming Pao and many other local newspapers say hundreds of thousands of people still lit candles in Victoria Park to demand a redress of the crackdown.
Columnist Lee Yee in Apple Daily says despite differences among Hong Kong residents over the concept of patriotism and Chinese nationality, people with conflicting political beliefs still rallied together to mourn the victims under a united cause to “fight for democracy and oppose tyranny”.
“Beijing has asked Japan to face up to and acknowledge its history of aggression and to follow Germany in bravely casting off its burden of World War II crimes. Why doesn’t the Chinese Communist Party draw lessons from this in dealing with this historical issue of 4 June?” Hong Kong Economic Journal asks.
Oriental Daily News notes that many people from the mainland also took part in last night’s vigil.
South China Morning Post says some of the mainlanders held up placards at the vigil saying, “Thank you Hong Kong”.
Oriental Daily News says plainclothes police patrolled and carried out searches of people in Tiananmen Square and many areas of Beijing, and only allowed relatives of the victims of the crackdown to enter cemeteries.
Petitioners who had come from around the country to seek central government help for their grievances also sang and lit candles to commemorate the 4 June victims in Beijing, the newspaper adds.
That last paragraph may tug at my heart, but it also should drive fear into the regime. Petitioners, usually seeking redress from local cadres who use their Party-granted license to steal too eagerly, are supposed to see the regime headquarters as their last recourse of hope. That these people should so easily empathize with the victims of Tiananmen sends a power message about how they see the Chinese Communist Party.
June 4 is now behind us, but the Smithfield buyout still has American consumers concerned. The democratic nations surrounding the CCP (especially Japan and India) are still building stronger bonds. The people of Hong Kong still insist upon the freedoms they enjoyed as British subjects. Hu Xiao is still showing the world what he thinks of the Communist-controlled mainland by trying to escape to Taiwan (Epoch Times). The economy – the real one, not the one based on fudged statistics – is still in deep trouble (Gordon Chang – National Review Online).
In other words, the internal weaknesses are still there for all to see, despite the latest coat of paint on the facade.