The Chinese Century

Xi Jinping consolidated his power two years ago and masterfully found a way to remove China’s “presidential two-term limit” back in the March of 2018.  Lord only knows what kind of backroom wheeling/dealing, savvy political maneuvering/campaigning/horse-trading, and backstabbing/double/triple-crossing it took to accomplish the feat.  Truly, my imagination runs wild wondering what those months leading up to the 2018 National People’s Congress looked like, there in The Great Hall of the People in Beijing.   Yes, the Chinese Constitution forebode it.  But in the end, through hook or crook, carrot and stick, Xi successfully amended the Constitution and removed the term limits.  All but two of the 2,964 delegates of the National People’s Congress ratified the change.  It can be done and was done.  I sometimes wonder about those two delegates who held out.  Whatever happened to them?  Where are they now?

I am not the first to say this, and nor will I be the last, but this next century is going to be The Chinese Century.  Similar to how 1900-2000 was the American Century, 2000-2100 will belong to China.

Sure, America’s not going anywhere.  But it’s the beginning of the end, the same way the UK was never the same after World War II as its empire began to crumble.  First, India went in 1947; Cypress in 1960; and then Kenya and Malaya (now, Malaysia) followed in 1963.  A new world order had arrived with titanic shifts in global power structures as the stars realigned.  Also, for reference, China’s population currently clocks in at ~1.39 billion compared to America’s 327 million.  It’s simply inevitable.

What will The Chinese Century bring?  Time will tell but one thing’s certain:  Not since the USSR has western democracy and liberalism been significantly challenged in the way we’re about to witness.  Everyone just kind of assumed democracy and universal human rights was “the right answer.”  But is it?  Authoritarian China has neither of those and is rapidly on its way to building a new global hegemony.  But will China succeed?  Undoubtedly:  We live in interesting times.

China & Basketball

What annoys me about the NBA is the blatant hypocrisy around Donald Sterling and Hong Kong.  The true value the NBA cares about are “dollars” and they should just say that.  They don’t really care about “racism” or “free speech.”  I think that’s what annoys me the most.  Motivations masquerading as faux-values that are ingenuine.

Let’s visit the China/Hong Kong for just a minute first: Human rights violations.  Organ harvesting.  The “Two Governments; One Country” agreement that ends in 2047.  Hong Kong is –literally– owned by China.

I mean, I don’t think this needs to be said, but let’s just recap quickly:  China is mono-party unitary state with no free speech, no free press, and no notion or even inkling of human rights.  Religion is illegal.  Political dissidents are jailed indefinitely without due process or trial.  And the State uses eminent domain to basically just forcibly relocate people to build whatever they want (Eg. See 2008 Beijing Olympics).

The fact that the NBA is even in China making crazy profits is alone, even disregarding everything else, where the league’s true moral compass points:  Money.  Lots and lots of money.

To be clear, from the extremely little I do know about Silver (I’ve seen him in one YouTube clip that a friend recommended to me), I do think Silver is 100% against racism.  But I feel he saw Donald Sterling more as an opportunistic vehicle and an “easy win.”  It was essentially two birds with one stone.  A domestic issue that catered to his base that also coincided with Silver’s own value and belief system.  Win-win for everyone all around (well, except Donald Sterling).

But if most the league’s watchers were white nationalists and Neo-Nazis, do you think Donald Sterling would’ve still been banned?

I’m a big believer that “values need to be tested.”  And absent a real-world test, it’s all just hot air.  It’s all just empty words and mere platitudes.  I would respect Silver a lot more if he simply just said:  “We care about American values when it suits us.  But above all, we care about money the most.”

“Oh!  But Silver stood up to China!”  (I can already hear some people saying, in my head.)

Yes, technically, I guess?  But honestly:  Did Silver have any other choice?

If Silver had kowtowed to the Chinese and actually banned/fired Morey, I believe the domestic response here in America would’ve been apocalyptic/apoplectic.  A foreign power dictating to an American what an American could say here in his own country of America?  Forget it.  Had this happened, Silver would’ve been called “spineless” and “feckless” in all shades of Wednesday.  He would’ve lost all respect and whatever stature here in the American market.

This is why I give Silver close to zero credit for “standing up for free speech” when it comes to Morey and China.  It was simply the only option he had available to him.  More a lack of options rather than a proactive choice.  Yes, it annoys China and will cost NBA some tens or hundreds of millions of dollars there.  But compared to the total destruction of Silver’s own image here in the American domestic market had Silver done anything otherwise, that cost is a pittance to pay.

Anyway, just some random thoughts I had on this Monday morning. Hope you’re off to a good week!