|SCMP Letters, January 10, 2020|
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.