Listen: Hong Kong, China, Beijing discussed on WSJ Opinion: Potomac Watch
"Paul zhigo with <hes> <hes> jillian melcher and bill mcgurn. We're talking about the hongkong protests tests and <hes> <hes> bill you mentioned that <hes> <hes> xi jinping doesn't seem to <hes> he may be willing to bear whatever consequences is a <hes> would come globally from <hes> from a crackdown interestingly enough in that reuters video that you <hes> raised <hes> before carrie lam the <hes> chief executive of hong kong is says <hes> what was a private meeting that she does not think that china wants to send in the people's liberation army because they worry precisely about that kind of a <hes> that kind of a of a global reaction. I agree with that. They don't want to do it. The question is what is their ultimate objective. Is it control or is it a free and prosperous hong kong and they want both they want both but look all the actions thus far this whole protests with thoroughly preventable the hong kong people have at add various times before come out with <hes> not quite the same extradition bill but public security things and the government's back down. They know this is not something something. The hong kong people are going to stomach. I think they underestimated the degree of opposition. That's for sure that it's not just the extradition bill. It's just they don't wanna be regarded as criminals and they've they were promised you can keep your way of life your free whale and and that promise they china keeps moving the goalposts and so forth and without out of democracy they have no place to legitimately express their opinions than the streets so i'm sure china doesn't want this. They would like to have have the golden goose still laying the golden eggs and <hes> and have full control but if they have to choose look this this guy in beijing who's imprisoning prison in leaguers in another part of the country xinjiang province right right cracking down on tibetan buddhist tearing down christian protestant and catholic catholic churches. This isn't a guy that shrinks from this this is what communist do we underestimate that they're still communist and communists. May wanna make a lot of money you know. Communism communism was never really about marxism. 'cause it never really worked even lenin had five year plans. It's about leninism. It's about power and a lot of people in china unfortunately fortunately don't sympathize with hong kong. They think they're rich and spoiled. The have a too good so there's not a lot of sympathy for them now and they could stop this but it with every day hey it. It'll take more from china to stop it. You know the protesters have five demands but my view is what people demand in what people will reasonably settled four are two different things and mostly what they want is to be treated decently and and have some evidence to china's going to live up to its work not be subject above waldo somebody chinese justice which is we don't wanna wake ups in <hes> in long joe in a chinese court charged with some right facing ten years in prison <hes> <hes> <hes> jillian the <hes> <hes> carrie lam and that video the chief executive of hongkong said that <hes> <hes> she apologized for causing this havoc havoc yeah she said <hes> as she called it that was her words she said that <hes> it's unforgivable <hes> and that if she had the alternative had the option she would quit and yet she doesn't she said because she's caught between these twin obligations of serving the people of hong kong and serving the the the her bosses in beijing who hand picked her so <hes> but would it make a difference if she now did say you know what i will not be be the agent of beijing to abandon the promise of one country two systems and to essentially impose chinese justice on this territory tori. I will not be that agent and i resign. I think it would make a difference. I think that's the only honorable out for her. At this point <hes> you know she's saying i serve two masters but at her actions are showing exactly where her loyalties lie and it's it's not with the hong kong people <hes> she can have regrets she was certainly complaining about how it's really difficult for her to go out and get her haired on these days which i don't have a great deal of sympathy for but step down well th the sh sh <hes> carolina interesting person. I don't know her personally. <hes> i've known some of the other governors of hong kong <hes> and chief executives seems to me. I mean she's people say she is in fact a orthodox catholic so and and a real convict you know convicted believer if she believes that how can you actually then be the agent of china entre. I agree with <hes> <hes> jillian and i think it's only at this point a dramatic gesture like that say. I refuse to do this. If you're going to rest these people arrest me i i i also think it might encourage other people within the hong kong government the police the executive council that to do the same thing that would be the hope and it certainly puts it it raises the cost for china are they gonna go after carrie lam to <hes> and i think at this point at earlier points i think this this could have been solved very easily with a few accommodations commission or something to look into police abuses now. I think it takes something this dramatic and if she doesn't do it by mike contrast she accepted that job she knew exactly what she was except i think she should bear the full weight of the consequences including any sanctions and so forth you can't you know uh-huh paula punches pilot and wash your hands on it if you're gonna site or catholic credentials alongside a biblical reference to it you know she is the agent of beijing doing this and if she doesn't want to do it stop being the agent and take your place in line with these other people now. We're talking about this in part because we all care ear <hes> a great deal about hongkong having lived there for myself almost six years <hes> and <hes> we care about its future but also so it has real global implications now is if there is a crackdown it's going to make it much much harder for donald trump and she's paying to come to a trade agreement for example. It could have ramifications throughout the global economy. If hong kong shutdown essentially as a financial <hes> entrepot into china the consequences just for chinese economy china's economy could be could be great <hes> and then the political implications of <hes> could be really a setback for any any kind of <hes> <hes> real on-going attempt to make to put the u. s. china relationship on an even keel <hes>. How do you read the reaction on capitol hill bill well. I think mitch mcconnell is made clear there on hong kong side the <hes> as you pointed out they may be couldn't stop a deal but they can make it very difficult they could pass other legislation to embarrass if you're old enough to remember as i am tiananmen and and what it was like after that china was frozen out for a long time now they might conclude that eventually the the cloud lifted left beijing was not a world-class financial capital the way hong kong is so it's recovery is a lot different. I'm not sure you could ever recover that kind of reputation member a lotta people in beijing and the leadership they have investments in hong kong. They thought that was a safe harbor and i have to say someone like me you. I followed you in hong kong. You know at that time. We never thought it'd be this kind of crackdown. We thought of hong kong we're going to <hes> disappeared. Be like a slow rot from all the corruption we we especially in this short period of time. We wouldn't have thought it would come to this kind of provocation but i think it'll make it difficult for whoever is president to deal with china and also because fair or not people identify with hong kong people lot more you know we've eighty billion invested in hong kong twenty thousand americans living there. I think more than that right sixty thousand something like that. I think it's down. I thought it was twenty three thousand or something but it's still a lot. It's the hub of a lot of activities. It's the one place in china you can go to get your contracts and forced and so forth so if that goes. It's a it's a it's a big blow to the united states and where do you go. You know for the rest of china do you do we put this. Does america really want hong kong to be just another chinese city. I i don't think so we sure don't and that that was the gravity of the <hes> <hes> legislation that bill talked about mitch mcconnell past <hes> way back when before nineteen ninety-seven saying that <hes> as long as it's one country two systems we're going to give special privileges to to hong kong jillian and that includes certain visas access <hes> easier access united states trade advantages that china does not have and the <hes> the consequences of <hes> of a real crackdown in hongkong. We'll be that there'll be voices voices in the united states to withdraw those privileges and <hes> <hes> and <hes> <hes> you know that would be a real damage <hes> real damp really down to <hes> to hong kong it. Would i mean i think this is acknowledging. The basis of hong kong's economy is first and foremost rule of law and i. I think a lot of hong kong protesters see the economic damage that this could inflict as their strongest bargaining chip. One thing that i hear is a slogan quite often is if we burn burn together and and a lot of these protesters are betting that the harmed sue beijing harm to cordray's who have their money parked in hong kong is going to be much more devastating than the impact on small businesses and in the short term at least. I think they're willing to take some pain. Well <hes> bill. I i guess you know what i hear both of you saying suggesting and my own inference prince from reading the press and talking to some of the people and <hes> that i know in hong kong <hes> this doesn't look like it's going to have a happy end. No it doesn and i just further to jillions point a lot of people. She's meeting one of the people who came in here for a meeting. These are really impressive. People these young there are a lot a lot of they're not. They're not hoodlums. These are these are all. They want all their ass. I'd love to have a lot of our government to introduce them to my little sister's these fifteen year old kids showing up to interviews having their chocolate frappuccino carrying their soccer bags and then you start asking them questions and they can really defend why democracy is breath y rule of law matters and what they're willing to sacrifice. We just want what was promised to them. They're peaceful people and they don't like being treated like criminals. The way china treats pretty much also all right well all right. Thank you jillian. Thank you bill. The story's not going away. We will return to it more than once. I am sure thank you all for listening. We'll be back tomorrow with another edition of potomac watch.."