• Wayne Perkins

Locking Horns

If you follow the global scene, both politically and financially, you will know that the two current superpowers, America and China, are increasingly locking horns over trade and security issues.

America is calling out China for what they call intellectual property theft and unfair trade practices and China is calling out America for, amongst other things, trying to undermine its sovereignty and sticking its nose into things that don’t concern it.

To a large degree, it is the result of a reigning (and perhaps fading) world power grappling with a new (and rising) world power, and like two alpha males in a schoolyard power play, they are both trying to exert their dominance.

Who will win? Well, I don’t know but it seems increasingly likely that there is going to be some sort of skirmish. Let’s just hope it remains a financial fight rather than a physical fight.

What, in my opinion, has really upped the ante and highlighted the difference between West and East, is Hong Kong, where many people are protesting against what they claim is the attempted erosion of their freedom by China.

Many Westerners are starting to support the protestors, in fact just recently the tweet, “Fight for Freedom. Stand with Hong Kong”, from an American NBA executive caused an uproar from China, forcing the deleting (and an apology) of the tweet as a way to calm things down and keep basketball’s access to the lucrative Chinese market.

As expected, the back down from the NBA has led to accusations of it being more interested in money than a person’s right to freedom of speech and, I’m guessing, will only add fuel to an already hot fire.

People in the West, I have noticed, do not like being told what to say or think, and are unlikely to react well to any attempt of muzzling or a shutting down of their expression.

I also value freedom of speech and expression highly, very highly indeed, and any attempt to restrict discussion and debate, domestically and/or abroad, does not sit well with how I view the world.

I recently travelled through America, both the East and West coasts, and the question I was asked time and time again was “What do you think of Trump?”.

I would answer honestly that I thought he was a flawed man, much like me, and while I was a bit (quite) lukewarm on both him and his language, it didn’t mean everything he had done was bad.

But I would always finish by saying to whoever asked me “The thing I love most about Trump is that you get to question him, mock him, ridicule him, protest his policies, and very soon, you get at least the choice to vote him out".

In shops all over America, you can buy (and I did) little squishy figurines of Trump which when squeezed, have poos come out their bottoms. They imply, and not very subtly. He’s full of %$#@.

I love that you can buy them, I think that’s a healthy sign of not just American values but our values as well.

I wonder if you can buy something similar in China about their leader? I suspect not.

I support freedom in Hong Kong.

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