Saturday, 25 January 2020

kit

From here
Inspired by Jerry Coyne’s Faith versus Fact, which I have a signed copy of — saw him at the Foreign Correspondent’s Club when he gave a talk here in Hong Kong a few years back. Jerry’s website is Why Evolution is True, and his post on the cartoon above is here.
And remember it’s perfectly safe to like this cartoon! It’s not bigoted.…

Friday, 24 January 2020

Watching a global panic in the making — the Wuhan virus

We lived through the SARS epidemic here in Hong Kong in 2003.
The government published daily figures of infections and deaths. I set up an Excel sheet and predicted that the epidemic would end in June that year. It ended in June that year.
How it ended was by public hygiene. The virus spread by touch not by air. So wiping down elevator buttons and door knobs became a thing in all buildings. People got used to carrying antiseptic wet-wipes and using them regularly. This became a habit and is widespread to this day.
The final SARS death rate was 11%  9.6%. Most were elderly. (If you’d asked me what I thought the death rate was, without looking it up, I would have said something like 50%. And that’s me, having followed it closely. I’ll bet people remember a far higher rate than 9.6%.  Which may be part of what’s causing panic today).
The Wuhan virus is a SARS-like coronavirus, though less deadly. Mortality so far is virtually all among the elderly.
Virus experts tell us:
  • This Wuhan virus is transmitted by touch. To halt it: clean public surfaces with disinfectant. 
  • Masks: there is no evidence they help if you haven’t got a virus, and limited evidence that they help if you do.
  • Temperature checking at arrival airports has proven of no use. Temperature checking at source country airports might have some benefit though it’s rare. [China has locked down the three eight eleven thirteen [keeps updating] cities that have had the Wuhan virus. Complete lock down. And Beijing has abandoned all public celebrations for Chinese New Year. And still that’s not enough for some people. Australia has called for “more”. Like what, exactly?]
  • The Wuhan virus is less deadly than SARS. Most at risk are the very elderly. 
  • The way to defeat the virus is public hygiene. As we did with SARS, seventeen years ago. 
  • The virus experts I’ve seen and read to date are saying “no need to panic”.
And yet, we see the world going into complete panic mode. Even the WHO is in panic mode. Maybe they feel they have to, to show they’re treating it seriously.
The panic is unnecessary and may even be dangerous.

ADDED: About the common flu:  “We know the worldwide death toll exceeds a few hundred thousand people a year.”
That is from the WHO. “A few hundred thousand”!! Killed by flu. Every year. And we don’t panic. 

Thursday, 23 January 2020

The South China Morning Post: is it reliable?

Explanation of the legend see below

I’ve been reading the South China Morning Post for forty-odd years.  When, in 2015, it was bought by China-based Alibaba, I was worried -- as were many folks -- that it would become a mouthpiece of Beijing. I’ve kept an eagle eye on it, and I don’t think it has. It remains, in my view, the best English language paper in Asia. So, yes, it’s reliable.

I did an analysis this morning: looking at Op-ed articles and Letters to the editor over the last fortnight. I looked just at those that were about Hong Kong issues, or China, or the protests.  I divided them into three categories:

Critical: as in critical of China, or of our HK government, or of the HK police.  In short “yellow ribbon”.
Pro: as in pro-China, pro-Beijing, pro-Hong Kong government, pro-police. In short “blue ribbon”.
Neutral: for example, suggesting solutions, or looking at both sides of our current troubles. Sometimes called “green”, as in the mix of blue and yellow. (Pretty much where I am... or like to think I am).

The numbers are below and chart above. Bear in mind I might have got some wrong, and there’s an amount of judgement required here, so you’re counting on my ethics to have tried my best to be a fair arbiter.
  • Critical: 27 articles or letters
  • Pro: 13 articles or letters
  • Neutral: 23 articles or letters
The results show that, at the very least, the Post is not a mouthpiece of Beijing. Not one of the “Critical” items nor most of the “Neutral” ones would have been allowed on the Mainland. The SCMP tends to left-of-centre and is often bitingly critical of Beijing policies.

ADDED: 
This quote [ref] by the Alibaba vice chairman stands up pretty well, I reckon (my emphasis):
Joseph Tsai, executive vice-chairman of Alibaba Group, said that the fear that Alibaba's ownership [of SCMP] would compromise editorial independence "reflects a bias of its own, as if to say newspaper owners must espouse certain views, while those that hold opposing views are 'unfit'. In fact, that is exactly why we think the world needs a plurality of views when it comes to China coverage. China's rise as an economic power and its importance to world stability is too important for there to be a singular thesis."[56] 
He also said, "Today when I see mainstream western news organisations cover China, they cover it through a very particular lens. It is through the lens that China is a communist state and everything kind of follows from that. A lot of journalists working with these western media organisations may not agree with the system of governance in China and that taints their view of coverage."[23] .  

Wednesday, 22 January 2020

Replying to Gordon Chang’s tweet about Hong Kong independence

Gordon Chang’s tweet, 20 January
I’m addressing a recent tweet (above) by Gordon G. Chang because it’s been Liked and Retweeted a lot, but it’s wrong in important ways. 
Here is his tweet, on 20th January:
#China has lost a whole generation in #HongKong, and due to Beijing's intransigence this generation will eventually demand separation from the mainland. The Chinese created an independence movement and will continue to fuel it. #antiELA.  
1.   Support for independence is a minority.  Even democracy uber-activist Joshua Wong admits this. The latest poll on independence has public support at 11%. Most Hongkongers understand that demanding independence is suicidal. 

And in any case....

2.   China will never allow independence to Hong Kong.  No matter how much, as Chang claims,  “this generation will eventually demand separation....”, Beijing simply won’t allow it.
But should an independence movement ever gain steam, Beijing has powerful levers to stop it:
  • Food: we get 93% from China
  • Water: we get 70% from China
  • Electricity: we get 23% from China (all nuclear!). 
  • Not to mention... 
  • The PLA. The largest army in the world. Garrisons here in HK and just over the border.
Q: Which of these has Beijing deployed so far? A: None.
What it has deployed, to widespread consternation, is: Patience.
It has opted to let us stew in our own juice.
And it’s clear that that mainland China has a stranglehold on Hong Kong, should Hong Kong ever try to declare unilateral independence. How about: let’s not.
This fact, this truth, that China will never allow Hong Kong independence, is uncomfortable to many people. So they rail against it. But it’s futile, sad though it may be. Best, in my view -- and in the view of nearly 90% of Hongkongers -- to accept that truth and get on with life and get on with trying to secure the freedoms we already have.

3. The world acknowledges China’s sovereignty over Hong Kong. It is enshrined in our own constitution, the Basic Law, as negotiated between China and the UK, and registered with the United Nations.  
Our future here in Hong Kong is with China and as a bridge between China and the world, not as an isolated outpost.  We can be “One Country, Two Systems”, we can be “Hong Kong people running Hong Kong”, having an unprecedented level of self-rule. That is, unprecedented autonomy either in a China context, or as compared with cities like London, New York and Tokyo.  

4.  We can still be critical of the excesses of the Beijing government: as in Xinjiang (the Uygur issue), Tibet, human rights, censorship. Indeed, we in Hong Kong have been -- I have been -- and continue to be, loud critics of Beijing. We can do that because we have out Seven Freedoms, including freedom of the media.

These existing freedoms are imperilled by pointless charges at the independence gate. 

5.  Changs main China prediction is wrong (so far).  His “The Coming Collapse of China” was written in 2000, when China was the seventh largest economy in the world. Twenty years later and China is the second largest, on its way to being the largest. Some collapse. 

Still, I give Chang kudos for putting down a clear and provocative thesis. Putting his name on the line. Good on ‘yer, Gordie! And his key point, the danger of China's provincial debt, remains true.
And he may yet be proved correct in the end.  His thesis is unfalsifiable. He can always say “oh well, the collapse hasn’t happened... yet”. All dynasties end, all empires fall. (Bertrand Russel: “...all the labours of the ages, all the devotion, all the inspiration, all the noonday brightness of human genius are destined to extinction in the vast death of the solar system, .... the whole temple of mans achievement must inevitably be buried beneath the debris of a universe in ruins...”.)
I often predicted trouble for the Chinese economy, back in my consulting days, in the eighties and nineties. It was safer to be a bit gloomy. But I’d always end up laying off the bet with a saver: “China Bears are the ones who’ve been bitten”. If you’d shorted China any time in the last forty years, pity you.

I’m also not quite sure about Chang's comment on“Beijing intransigence”. Where? How? When?  If he’s talking about the moves to universal suffrage back in 2014, I’ve addressed that here.  The failure then to make progress was the fault of the Pan-dems, not Beijing's.  
If he’s talking about lately, then what? Even the extradition bill fiasco was not down to Beijing, but to Carrie Lam; Beijing warned her it could be trouble.  
I’m no fan of Beijing, especially Xi Jinping’s Beijing. But not everything is Beijing’s fault. Just as Trump is not always wrong!

References:

‘Low information people?” The resurrection of the Deplorables

The Senate impeachment trial has started and …
…Chris Matthews, head of the MSNBC team, was on a panel just now claiming that those who don’t support the Trump impeachment are “low information people” who don’t follow the news, who prefer watching “Dancing with the Stars”.
It’s almost as if Hillary had never happened, had never called her opponents “deplorables”, had never been hammered for her sanctimonious arrogance.
This is breathtaking arrogance of a Left which has learnt nothing. Just as British Labour Party worthies have learnt nothing from their December drubbing: it’s the electorate that’s at fault, not their far-left policies or their socialist anti-semitic leader.
I don’t find the impeachment credible, but I’m not “low information” and not a Trumpisto.
Here goes, to prove it: each day I read at least four newspapers: the New York Times, the South China Morning Post, the Wall Street Journal and the Times; each week two magazines, the Economist and the Spectator, each month the Atlantic and Foreign Affairs. And each morning I watch at least four news channels, BBC, CNA, CNN and Fox. In addition I follow a number of current affairs blogs. I’ve read the Mueller Report. I’ve read Trump's transcript of his talk (the “perfect” one) with Ukrainian president Zelinski in July 2019. (Phew! thank god I’m retired…)
If I were American, in 2016 I would have voted for Hillary., though it would have been with nose firmly held, mainly because of Benghazi. I put that on record here at the time. Today, if it were Yang vs Trump I’d vote Yang. If it were Bernie vs Trump I’d vote Trump (Bernie is a tittle mad and manifestly incompetent). Any other match ups I’d need to consider.
So there.
And still I find the Democrats’ impeachment shenanigans shameful. They are clearly highly partisan. Their patronising posturings, claiming it’s a “grave and serious duty”, it’s all “very sad and very grave”, that it’s “not at all political“, all are deeply distasteful and disingenuous.
I consider myself a Dershowitz-ian. The Harvard Constitutional Law professor emeritus voted for Hillary. But is now on the Trump defence team. He was against the impeachment of Richard Nixon and against the impeachment of Bill Clinton. He was against the impeachment of  Donald Trump. He has written a book about it. He talks of the “shoe on the other foot” argument. Would you be doing whatever it is you’re doing if the shoe were on the other foot? If the president today were Hillary not Trump? Democrats? Chris Matthews? MSNBC?
Meantime, I settle down to a couple of weeks of good, live, reality theatre in the Senate. Well, live theatre, anyway.

Tuesday, 21 January 2020

Is this a “Crash Blossom”?

From today’s. SCMP
“Hongkonger held on mainland … hopes to settle in Britain” [“hope” as verb]
Or
“Hongkonger held … on mainland hopes to settle in Britain” [“hope” as noun]

‘Ageing city in need of more mainlanders’ | SCMP, Alex Lo

I’ve said many times in this blog that one of the main drivers of the protests is nativism — local Cantonese hatred of their mainland cousins. Not quite racism, because all Han, but racism-adjacent. Below the fold is Alex Lo, making this same point. [Link].
Our C-E Carrie Lam is quoted as saying that we “should not blame mainland migrants for social tensions and conflicts in the city.”  And that’s true, of course.  Yet they are a large part of what has riled rioters. What’s needed is the media, local and foreign, to understand and come clean on that, rather than peddling the notion that they are “brave freedom fighters”. Some are. Many, maybe most, are not. The slogan “Free Hong Kong”, apart from being nonsensical in its imperative as opposed to descriptive sense — because we have our Seven Freedoms — is a useful mantle, a jacket, a hood, covering populist bigotry in spun silk sentiments.

Sunday, 19 January 2020

‘Did Trump really make America safer by killing top Iranian general?’ | SCMP, LETTERS

LETTER TO SCMP:
Is professor Ben-Meir privy to inside information proving that Trump is "without a strategy" after the killing of the terrorist Qaseem Soleimani? (US is not safer after Trump's missile strike, 19 January)
If so perhaps he could share it with us. 
If not, then he has access to the same public information as I do.
And on that basis I conclude — contra Ben-Meir — that the United States and the region are indeed safer by marking a clear red line, after incessant provocations instigated by Soleimani and his proxies. Ben-Meir notes some of these himself: "…killing of hundreds of American soldiers …acting against American allies."  One could add: attacks on merchant shipping, attacks on Saudi oil wells, funding Houthi rebels, funding Assad's murderous regime, killing contractors, attacking the US Embassy …the list goes on. 
In short, I buy the idea that the killing of the senior terrorist in the region establishes a deterrent. 
Oddly, even Ben-Meir accepts that Soleimani "…deserved to meet his bitter fate." What he objects to, it seems, is not that he met his fate, but that it was at the hands of Orange Man Bad.
Soleimani's day job was terrorism. It's what he did.  As sure as night follows day he would have organised more terrorist acts. ("Imminence" is a side issue).
As it is, the muted and carefully managed Iranian response attack on US bases in Iraq suggests deterrence is already working. 
Moreover, as a self described peace activist, Ben-Meir ought to tune in to voices inside Iran — not just the choreographed hate-America rallies. There is widespread support in Iran for the killing of Soleimani and support for America(*). More, indeed, than on the Trump-despising American Left, epitomised by the likes of Ben-Meir.

Pf, etc…

(*) See, for example, Iranian students carefully walking around the American and Israeli flags painted on the grounds of the University of Tehran, so as not to step on them.

Friday, 17 January 2020

The “So What?” defence to Trump impeachment

Ukrainian President Zelensky, Biden, Trump
I said some time ago, So What? Even if we accept that Trump did ask the Ukrainian President, in the July 2019 phone call, to investigate the dealings of Joe and Hunter Biden with the Burisma company in return for the quid pro quo of American military aid, …So What?
All presidents, all politicians dealing with foreign countries ask for something offered in return for something given. That’s the basis for “tied aid”, after all.
Ah, Trump accusers will say, but the quid pro quo can’t be for personal gain. In the case of the Ukraine call, the gain was for Trump’s re-election. Hence personal. Hence impeachable.
But! …that assumes in evidence facts that are not there. It assumes motive. For which there are two clear possibilities.
1.  Trump asked Ukraine to investigate Biden because he was still obsessed by the 2016 election and the alleged Russian involvement, and believed there might have been Ukrainian involvement instead. That could be. And that’s the Republican position (assumption).
2.  Trump asked Ukraine to investigate Biden because he wanted dirt for the 2020 election. That could be. And that’s the Democrats’ position (assumption).
It comes down to motive. That is to say: mind reading. And you can’t really read minds. You can only go in your prejudices. Which is what makes the present impeachment the only one in history to be purely partisan, happening because the opposition does not like the person in the White House.
Trump paranoia, his obsession with 2016 claims that he only won because of Russia, might lean you to the Republican position. But it’s not a fact. It’s not in evidence.
Trump behaviour, his lying and narcissism, might lean you to the Democratic position. But it’s not a fact. It’s not in evidence.
Therefore, So What?

ADDED: I’ve never bought the line that claims of Bidens’ corruption in Ukraine has been “debunked”. Every day, I read four papers (New York Times, South China Morning Post, Times, Wall Street Journal) and watch four news channels (BBC, CNN, CNA Fox), left, right and centre in other words. I also read a number of political blogs. And I’ve yet to see anything that would show me the Bidens’ dealings with Burisma are nothing to be concerned about. Joe’s son, Hunter Biden, a man with zero expertise in the gas industry, got between $US 50,000 and $US 83,000 per month from Ukrainian gas company Burisma.. His father, then Vice President Joe Biden, got Ukraine to drop investigations into Burisma in return for $1 billion in American aid, a fact that is fully in evidence because Joe boasted about it to the media.
And we are supposed to accept that “there’s nothing to see here, please move on”?  On the basis of Joe’s say-so? Joe gets angry when people raise it. So we’re supposed to drop it?
Joe and Hunter Biden must be brought to the Senate to testify in the impeachment trial. 

Thursday, 16 January 2020

Nuclear: Costs of German shut down of its industry way higher than expected


We know some of the costs of Merkel’s panicky decision to close Germany’s nuclear power stations in the wake of Fukushima: higher electricity prices and higher carbon dioxide emissions.  I did the calculations recently, here.
A recent study of the National Bureau of Economic Research, finds that the costs of closure are way more than that.  Mainly the costs are higher death rates, as a result of having to keep coal burning stations online for far longer than would be if nuclear plants had not been closed down: death by particulates.
Here is the money shot from the study:
The social cost of this shift from nuclear to coal is approximately 12 billion dollars per year. Over 70% of this cost comes from the increased mortality risk associated with exposure to the local air pollution emitted when burning fossil fuels. Even the largest estimates of the reduction in the costs associated with nuclear accident risk and waste disposal due to the phase-out are far smaller than 12 billion dollars.
The NBER is a reputable think tank, founded one hundred years ago and chock full of Nobel laureates.  It’s non-partisan and most certainly not a “climate denier”.
The whole reason for Mad Mutti Merkel deciding to shut down the nuclear plants -- clean, green, reliable and safe -- is down to Germany’s Green Party scaremongering. When Fukushima happened, all rational thought went out the window...welcome meltdown mania!
Nuclear is the only energy industry where the measure is: "there can be zero risk". Clearly that’s unachievable. The risk of meltdown -- slight and declining -- has to be set against the benefits, and the risks of deaths from other sources: coal (hundreds of thousands a year, from particulates and mining accidents), from hydro-power flooding (170,000 in one accident alone), and so on. No energy source is zero risk. And for nuclear, the balance risk vs benefits, is about the best there is for all the alternatives including renewables. But, to be clear, I’m not saying nuclear instead of renewables. I’m saying -- and increasing numbers are also saying -- it must be nuclear in addition to renewables.
A separate report on the issue, here.

Tuesday, 14 January 2020

‘Why we still don’t have universal suffrage’ | Alex Lo

Click to read. Online here
Lo makes the points I’ve banged on about. Namely:
a.  We do have some grass roots democracy here in Hong Kong. Eg the District Council elections last November that I voted in.
b.  The reason we don’t have fully universal suffrage is down the the PanDem parties, not the government and not Beijing. It was in 2015 that the PanDems blocked the moves towards universal suffrage because they were not the whole way. That would be the very same PanDems who now support violent protests. Protests that people like Lo and I believe will only erode the democracy (and freedoms) we already have, rather than prompt Beijing and this government to grant more. I hope I’m proven wrong. But that’s unlikely. Which is why I say I’m pro-Democracy and therefore anti-protest.
In short: PanDems were wrong then; and they’re wrong now.
Lo could have added:
c. There is no “promise” in the Basic Law to give Hong Kong universal suffrage. See my article here.  It was always up to the “actual situation” and the actual situation has demonstrably deteriorated. 

Democracy in action in Taiwan

Thai Ying-wen’s Democratic Progressives win the Taiwan election against Han Kuo-yu’s pro-Beijing KMT (Nationalist Party). Tsai played up the Hong Kong protests to foment fear of Beijing. Fair enough, any smart politician would do the same. And if you have Hong Kong as an example, why would you go for “One Country Two Systems”, when there’s no need for you to do so?
Still this household, ours, was split. I support the Tsai and the DPP, others the KMT.
Beijing’s reaction? Tone deaf as usual. They made a strong aggressive statement demanding the world recognise there is only One China. We do… we do…
Beijing ought to be trying to get along with the reality in Taiwan. After all, Tsai and the DPP are not splittists. They don’t call for Taiwan independence. But if Beijing continues it’s tough line, an Independence Party might well gain power.
Alex Lo makes the same point in this article

Monday, 13 January 2020

Wages Soar Fastest among Those with the Least


This is terribly interesting. The biggest growth in real wages in America is for the working class (it’s that line at the top right in the chart above). This is the direct opposite of what is believed on the Left, who constantly claim the only benefits of Trump’s tax cuts is for the rich.  The opposite is the truth, as figures from the Fed show.
Growth of working class wages, at 4.5%, well outpaces inflation.  And is nearly double growth of wages for the richest percentile.
Here.

Media bias against anti-protesters’ violence

This has happened all the time, since the beginning of the protests.  Hong Kong and western media turning the camera away when the protesters are the ones who are violent.  Only showing any roughhouse treatment by the police.
In the video above, it’s very clear that Celine Ma was pepper sprayed, knocked over and then glassed in the face. She kicked back.  The only bit that Apple Daily -- a violently anti-government paper here in Hong Kong -- showed was Celine Ma’s kick. Hard to think of a more biased portrayal.  

Yellows to Blues: let them make cookies

A good article, reporting a sad outcome of our protest movement
A practical result of the protests: society split on colour lines. “Blues” are pro-government, pro-Beijing, pro-police. “Yellows” are anti-government, anti-Beijing, anti-police. Blues tend to be older, Yellows younger, so that often splits families. Splitting society like this is naive and harmful.
I reject the binaryEg, I’m not pro-protests, but neither am I pro-Beijing.
Another outcome: having trashed the economy, the Yellow supporters are now teaching them to make cookies. Well done. 

SCMP - How Beijing’s new man in Hong Kong can avoid Chris Patten’s fatal miscalculations

Good article. I was here during the Patten years and clearly recall the mess his "firm views" led to. And still he lectures us. "The road to hell is paved with good intentions".
David Dodwell in Business

Sunday, 12 January 2020

Happy Birthday to us!


My birthday present from Jing and John:
 Keshan rug, Persian,45 years old.
Note Basil, doing some deep time dreaming…
Born on this day in 1950: me, in Tokyo. And, elder daughter Jane, 1978 here in Hong Kong. And blogger Ann Althouse, in Wilmington Delaware, 1951. 
(So I’m now a lapsed sexagenarian).
Happy Birthday to us!
ADDED:
Notables born on this day include:
  • 1729 – Edmund Burke, Irish philosopher, academic, and politician (d. 1797)
  • 1856 – John Singer Sargent, American painter and academic (d. 1925)
  • 1876 – Jack London, American novelist and journalist (d. 1916)
  • 1893 – Hermann Göring, German commander, pilot, and politician, Minister President of Prussia (d. 1946)
  • 1899 – Paul Hermann Müller, Swiss chemist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1965)
  • 1905 – Tex Ritter, American actor and singer (d. 1974)
  • 1930 – Tim Horton, Canadian ice hockey player and businessman, founded Tim Hortons (d. 1974)
  • 1951 – Rush Limbaugh, American talk show host and author
  • 1954 – Howard Stern, American radio host, actor, and author
  • 1964 – Jeff Bezos, American computer scientist and businessman, founded Amazon.com
  • from Why Evolution is True

Saturday, 11 January 2020

‘The Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act is a sledgehammer the US can use to crush Hong Kong’ | Regina Ip


The road to hell….
As I've said before the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act will lead to a less free Hong Kong, despite its well meaning intent. If it's ever implemented. Regina Ip nails it.
But if the US does make good on its threats, there can be only one consequence – the erosion of Hong Kong's international connections and access to the West, which would only result in pushing Hong Kong more in the direction of mainland China. This would be the opposite of what the act was intended to achieve.
I’m granting the well meaning intent of the Act. In fact it may, perhaps certainly does, have an agenda to constrain China. Which makes it all the more objectionable. I’m objecting to it even granting a good intent. 

Friday, 10 January 2020

‘Protesters need to get real about US intervention’ | PF

SCMP Letters, January 10, 2020
My letter published in today’s South China Morning Post. (Link and scroll down)
As submitted here. Nearly a month ago. So they kept it as a filler.
They edited it to muck up a bit of grammar … and changed my quote of a June 1997 New York Times article to the Karl Meyer book reference, which I haven’t read. I first read about the American connection with the China Opium trade in The China Mirage by James Bradley here. It’s a fascinating read. Bradley is also author of the book that became a Clint Eastwood movie, Flags of our Fathers. 
Much as I love America, and I do, warts and all, I do find it disturbing that young people in Hong Kong wave American flags in protest at our government and Beijing. And has not Beijing, warts and all, shown remarkable forbearance in the face of such provocation?

ADDED: a reader notes that if we stuck to historical nastiness we wouldn’t deal with Germany or Japan. To which I answered: true enough, I was just wanting to make a (cheap) point. Later I also thought: Germany and Japan were punished. Germany apologised and Japan kind of apologised. By contrast the United States has never acknowledged, let alone apologised for, its part in the Opium wars. These wars and occupation of China led to what China still calls “the hundred years of humiliation” about which they feel aggrieved to this day. I know this from personal experience in China. Multiply America’s anger over Fentanyl deaths a hundred fold; that’s a fraction of it.