Hong Kong Revolution: Geopolitical & Financial Implications for China and the World | David Webb


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and join our amazing community. And with that, please enjoy this week’s episode. What’s up, everybody? Today’s episode follows our recent coverage
on Hong Kong, specifically our episodes with Ho-Fung Hung as well as with pro-democracy
activist Joshua Wong. Our guest on this episode is David Webb, a
famous Hong Kong investor, longtime resident of the city, and founder and editor of the
nonprofit platform website.com, which advocates for improved corporate and economic governance
of companies listed in the coastal territory. So far, protests in Hong Kong are entering
their eleventh consecutive week. The airport was recently shut down, protests
there got violent. In general, the protests seem to have gotten
more violent in recent weeks, both on the side of the protesters, but also on the side
of police. We’ve seen a lot of videos and images to that
effect. We’ve also seen satellite images leaked by
presumably China of what appear to be armed personnel carriers of the PLA, or belonging
to a paramilitary faction of the PLA stationed at a sports complex across the border in Shenzhen. We’ve also seen video of military exercises
as well. How much of that is China preparing for a
possible incursion into Hong Kong, and how much of it is actually propaganda meant to
intimidate more moderate members of Hong Kong’s community into withdrawing their support for
the protesters is not clear. But it’s certainly worrisome, and so is the
fact that there still doesn’t seem to be any clear resolution to the unrest. In fact, as I said, it’s only gotten more
violent as the weeks have gone on. So, in order to get a better sense of the
state of political unrest in the territory after the latest protests and escalations. But also for a perspective on markets including
a conversation about the Hong Kong dollar and the conditions of Hong Kong’s economy,
their exposure to the ongoing trade talks with the United States, and how the protests
themselves are impacting the country’s status as a commercial and financial hub for mainland
China. I thought, who better to bring on than one
of the city’s most well known investors? So without further ado, here is my conversation
with David Webb. David Webb, welcome to hidden forces. Thanks for having me. It is now what time? 9:00 P.M. in Hong Kong? It is, yes. Yeah. On a Friday evening. I appreciate you taking the time to speak
with us this evening. No problem at all. So, maybe we could start with what’s going
on in Hong Kong. We see a lot here in the media, we’ve read
a lot of articles. We’ve seen a lot of videos, some of them rather
scary, some of the protests violent, turning violent with police assaults on protesters. In other cases, protestors assaulting police. I don’t want to take my understanding of the
situation for granted, so I thought maybe it would be best for you to give us an update
on where things stand right now. Well, the last couple of days have been relatively
quiet compared to some of the other days we’ve had. I actually got stranded on holiday in Binang,
Malaysia on Tuesday when my flight back here was canceled because of the airport shutdown,
which has been caused by protests there. And so I got re-booked onto a morning flight
on Wednesday. When we got back though, the airport authority
had obtained a court injunction against the protesters, which basically means that if
they turn up now, then they’ll be in contempt of court and subject to possible jail time. So for the time being, they’ve pulled back
from there and perhaps they’ll find other targets or revisit that one. The situation is still serious, and it’s entirely
of the government’s own making. But in the broader picture, I think something
like this was going to happen sooner or later anyway, because Hong Kong exists in a very
unstable equilibrium. We combine several liberties that were left
behind by the British with a complete lack of effective democratic accountability in
the government. And there aren’t too many places on earth
that have survived very long with that combination. You get democracies with civil liberties and
you get authoritarian regimes with very few civil liberties, but you don’t normally get
that combination in that corner of the grid. Just like you don’t get democracies that constrict
civil liberties like freedom of speech and assembly and publication. So it had to tip one way or the other, and
I wrote a piece on website.com in 2014, during the Occupy movement when the streets were
occupied by student protesters, basically saying it’s either going to tip towards open
and accountable government and democracy, or it’s going to tip towards authoritarianism. And unfortunately, it’s become fairly clear
since then that the Beijing government, under Xi Jinping, has been tightening control and
is more inclined to go with the authoritarian outcome. However, we were content for the last few
years to leave that issue to one side. 2014 was about the proposals for democratic
reforms, which were fake basically. It was an Iranian style democracy where a
closely controlled committee would pick two candidates that we could all choose from,
and that wasn’t going to fly, but they’ve… What’s triggered the latest round of confrontation
has been the government’s proposal to pass this extradition bill, which would allow people
to be sent to the mainland for trial in an unfair system. And it would basically breach the judicial
firewall between the two legal systems of Hong Kong and the mainland, which is fundamental
to Hong Kong’s mini constitution after 1997, that we have a separation of systems. And that people are tried in what are highly
respected courts in Hong Kong, rather than in the mainland. And the Hong Kong government reportedly came
up with this idea without really thinking it through, and then Beijing, once they realized
the opportunity it provided to them to extradite people from Hong Kong, jumped on it with gusto
and mobilized their support for it. And what triggered all of that in the Hong
Kong government was a murder case in Taiwan where the suspect managed to return to Hong
Kong, and there’s no extradition treaty between Hong Kong and Taiwan. So we’re deviating somewhat to your original
question which is, what are things like right now? I think that the probability of the mainland
government intervening in Hong Kong at a purported request of the Hong Kong government under
the basic law, which they can do, that probability has gone up, maybe is around 40% now. Because it’s hard to see how this situation
or one very like it can end in any other way. The people of Hong Kong in huge numbers, including
myself, maybe two million people on the 16th of June and a million people the weekend before
that, stood up and stood in between a very bad piece of legislation and that happening. Even though the chief executive proposed it,
and the Hong Kong legislature is now basically a rubber stamp parliament and could’ve approved
it. The people were not going to let it do so,
and the government was preparing, after the first march of nearly a million people on
the ninth of June, to go ahead with this legislation on the 12th of June. It was only when there were violent clashes
between protesters and the police on the 12th of June that the government then suspended
the proposals. And they refuse to admit that there’s anything
wrong with the proposals, they just said that people didn’t understand it because they hadn’t
explained it properly. And that’s still their position, and nobody
accepted that, or very few people did. And so that resulted in the biggest march
on the 16th of June, after they have said that, on the day before, that they would suspend
the bill. And since then, everything has followed from
that. More and more street protests, teargassing,
rubber bullets, injuries on both sides of the protesters, the more radical ones and
the police, and increasing disruption. And at some point, I think the mainland government
would decide that they need to step in and crack down. Hopefully not in a Tiananmen Square kind of
way, but it’s very unpredictable what would happen if they were to go down that road. So, you brought up so many things that I want
to talk about. I’m going to throw a few of them out and then
we’ll try to separate them and explore them each individually. One is just the general question of, how many
of Hong Kong’s citizens relate to the protesters on some level, and to what degree is that? That’s something I want to discuss, but let
me just ask you a kind of larger question here. The way that I’ve described what I feel is
happening in Hong Kong is that this one country two systems model is sort of like tectonic
forces pushing up against one another. It seems to me that the reaction by Hongkongers
is a political imperative of the economic prosperity that free market capitalism creates
in a country. And that that seems somehow incompatible with
the model in mainland China, and that this in a sense was inevitable, and that that tension
is what’s causing the unrest in Hong Kong. Is that accurate at all? Yes, it’s close. I don’t entirely follow the metaphor, but
as I said earlier, you can’t really have civil liberties in their full form without a democratically
accountable government. And trying to combine the two is an unstable
combination. So China’s system, of course, is authoritarianism,
no civil liberties to speak of. They monitor everything people say, they censor
the internet, they block overseas websites like The New York Times and Bloomberg and
so on, and BBC. And they try to run the country though central
control, and that’s actually the issue at the crux of the so called trade war as well. A clash of ideologies between the free market
system that has been so successful wherever it’s been tried, in terms of generating wealth
and prosperity for the countries that have pursued that, and most of them have now. And the socialism or Marxism with Chinese
characteristics, as they put it, call it in their constitution, where the party knows
best. The party leads the country and controls large
chunks of the economy, and even private sector companies are being enforced to have communist
party committees guiding their progress. And that’s what is at the root of China’s
foot dragging and basic refusal to behave properly in terms of foreign competition in
the mainland, a level playing field. There was a time when they could argue that
they were a developing country and they needed to nurture their automotive industries, or
whatever it was they needed to prevent a sort of overwhelmingly powerful competition coming
in and wiping the floor with their, against their domestic competition. But those days have passed, they do know how
to run banks and car makers and so on, and they’re exploiting a lot of their products
to the West. But they’re not willing to allow full market
access, because that goes against their whole doctrine of planned economy. So is it just an issue of doctrine, or would
the ruling members of the CCP stand to lose in the event of reform? I mean, why is Beijing so resistant to reform? Because they think they know best, and they
have built up a sort of… They don’t understand a free market system. … almost a religious belief that if they
had been going for 70 years, then they must be onto something good, and it’s the West
that doesn’t get it. That’s interesting. And I think there are probably people, a range
of different opinions inside the politburo and beyond. There must be internal debate about these
things, but there’s no sign of any real reformists coming up who perhaps have benefited from
a Chicago MBA or some other overseas experience, and began to realize that perhaps they should
embrace free markets more vigorously. And they’re failing to recognize that they
could on their own reform and open up, even to the extent of experimenting with democratic
elections at lower levels. The cities and townships, and then the provinces,
and then eventually the whole government. And yet still, in a rejuvenated form, maintain
power if they’d like of still calling it a communist party. It’s obviously not communist anymore, but
nor is it capitalist. And if there were some enlightened leadership
at the top that would take them down that road, I’d be delighted because that would
be the beginning of a true economic powerhouse rather than the current levels of GDP per
capita, which are around a quarter of OECD levels. I mean, they say there’s been enormous progress,
and some foreign commentators talk about an economic miracle. But there’s nothing miraculous about driving
your economy into the ground with outright communism for 30 years from 1949, and then
releasing some of those controls to generate moderate levels of prosperity from that ground
level. You’re saying that the growth that they’ve
experienced over the last 30 years is actually a recovery. It’s a recovery for the first 30 years after
1979 also, to 2009. And most of that was done in the first 25
probably. The last 15 years have been rather stagnant
with the illusion of growth, but largely created by massive infrastructure spending on projects
with increasingly marginal rates or negative rates of return. Once you’ve built your first airport in a
reasonably sized city, you don’t necessarily need another one, or an exhibition center,
or another road that goes to the same place, or bridges between places that don’t have
enough traffic. So there’s been a certain amount of overspend
in that area. So let me try and tie in some thoughts here
to explain the metaphor I was trying to develop earlier. After Tiananmen, the Chinese communist party
basically cut a deal with mainlanders, which was that we can’t give you democracy, but
we’ll give you consumption, right? We’ll grow the economy. And what I’m trying to suggest is perhaps
that it’s not possible to have prosperity without demands for more freedom. Is that not correct? Right, yes. That was my point about the political imperative
of the economic prosperity of a free market capitalist society, and that Hong Kong is
a free market society. They also have certain rights, but they don’t
have democracy. And so are those things compatible? And that’s what I was trying to get it. Yeah, and on a small scale, you can deliver
prosperity without providing much freedom. Look at Saudi Arabia, for example. Or Singapore. Throw the money around if they’ve got lots
of oil, other mineral resources. Or if you are a parasitical economy like Singapore,
and there’s nothing wrong with that, you can only be a parasite on a large animal. You can’t be a parasite when you’re the elephant. So there are examples of fairly authoritarian
places that have delivered prosperity for those reasons, but you can’t do it as a large
country. And eventually you do get to middle class
emerging that once more, and starts to question the government if things slow down. Now, so far, China has been able to maintain
that gradual improvement in living standards. And it’s perhaps partly because of their one
child policy as well, but I think those days are rapidly passing by and people are starting
to question that. And if there’s an economic crisis of some
sort, that probably would be the catalyst for ground up revolution rather than top down
reform, and thinking of perhaps the wealth management products. There’s trillions of RMB of off balance sheet
products sold by banks to individuals, which are basically packaged up loans. And it would be of a comparable scale to the
financial subprime crisis that happened in the States or worse if that thing was to play
out without the government suddenly deciding to guarantee the whole lot. So, there’s one case. You’re saying a banking crisis in mainland
China could drive bottom up reform in the country? Any number of possibilities, and I can’t foresee
them all, but I’m just saying that that’s one of them. That if the middle classes find their savings
suddenly vanish or get destroyed in some economic crisis like that, then they will not be happy. And increasingly, they’re able to travel and
see other models of government around the world with varying levels of success. Not all democracies are designed the same
way, and sometimes they have social or religious elements that are holding back reform, or
high levels of corruption because they’re not paying their civil servants properly,
and so on. But they are seeing examples of prosperous
and open societies as well, and so as they return home and if there are problems in the
mainland economy in the future, they will have some benchmarks to references. And that’s probably what scares Beijing the
most, that if they allowed democracy in Hong Kong, it would be successful. We would be peaceful, we would elect a leader
of our own choice and carry on with our middleman role as an entrepot in China. And cities elsewhere in China might start
saying, “Well, that looks rather good. Can’t we have it too?” And at the same time, if we see protests in
Hong Kong leading to any kind of resulting reforms or resignations, again, they might
say, “Well, maybe we should try that at home.” So they’re worried either way of either a
successful democracy or successful protests, which is why they’re not budging one inch
on reasonable requests from protestors such as having a commission of inquiry, and such
as restarting their democratic process or fully withdrawing this extradition bill. It sounds like what you’re also saying though
is that the situation in Hong Kong is a harbinger of things to come in mainland China if they
don’t reform internally. Yes. In other words, even if they were to clamp
down and send in let’s say the PLA, which is something you alluded to, and I’d like
to ask you a bit more about that. Because we’ve seen some very frightening photos,
including some satellite pictures of what looked like paramilitary vehicles in a sports
stadium, a sports complex in Shenzhen right across the border. I think maybe we were supposed to see those
picture. I mean, that’s certainly not [crosstalk] Right, well that’s another question about
the propaganda war, and I’m also curious about that. And that leads to another question also, which
is I sort of alluded to one half of it, which had to do with the perspective of people let’s
say who don’t fully support the protesters in Hong Kong, and how does that break down? And then, what is the perspective of mainlanders
in China, and how do they view what’s going on in Hong Kong? So I kind of threw out a bunch there, but
let’s see if we can tackle them. Well, I don’t know, going in reverse, how
the mainlanders perceive what’s going there, because I can imagine that they get a very
filtered and biased view of it because of the control of the mainland media. So there have been some videos, sort of dramatic
videos, featuring a local film star. One I saw the other day that depicted the
protesters here as gun wielding terrorists basically. What’s her name? What’s her name again? It was a male film star. Oh. Aaron Kwok I think. Because I saw something this morning. Playing a cop. We’re recording this on Friday, August 16th. The 16th. I saw something in the news before we came. I also saw that the CEO of Cathay resigned… Yes, just this evening. … as well. And I have actually posted a comment on that
on my website. So they get a propaganda version of what’s
happening here, which is carefully managed of course, because they don’t want to inspire
protest in the mainland over other issues. And they want to make the protesters here
look like a small group of violent thugs rather than too many young people that actually came
out on the streets on a swelteringly hot day to stand up for their rights. And because that’s a subset of people who
would’ve gone if they weren’t working or disabled, or elderly, or had other reasons for not being
there. So I’d say the vast majority of people in
Hong Kong understand what’s at stake. Don’t forget that if you go back two generations
to any Hongkonger, nearly all of them had a relative in mainland China or came from
mainland China. Now, the population of Hong Kong after World
War II was down to about half a million, and now it’s 7.3 million. And many of them fled the communist takeover
of China, and came here and… That’s right. … established their lives and their businesses,
and their children got a good education and built on that. And so there’s opinion surveys that you can
access through the public opinion polling system that Hong Kong used to run. The man who runs that, Robert Chong, has retired
and set up his own polling firm. But they ask about, do people here identify
as Hongkongers or as Chinese people? And a very strong proportion and rising identifies
as a Hongkonger, not as a Chinese person. Well, that’s something that Joshua Wong brought
up repeatedly in our conversation. He went out of his way to refer to the citizens
of Hong Kong as somewhat separate. They’re still Chinese ethnically, but he really
made a point to emphasize that they were Hongkongers. You know, just a follow on the point about
the mainland perspective and the propaganda battle. Is there a perspective on the part of the
Chinese citizens of China that the U.S. is involved in trying to destabilize Hong Kong? Because we see some reports of that here in
the U.S. Sure, there is propaganda to that effect,
and it doesn’t terribly help when Donald Trump tweets out that he’s offering to meet Xi Jinping
to discuss the Hong Kong problem. Yeah. Because of course the Chinese regard that
as an internal affairs matter, even though they do have international treaty obligations
under the joint declaration with the British in 1984. So they are actually bound, if not on any
particular penalty, they are bound morally to conform with that treaty until 2047. But I think that is the propaganda message
they’re being given, and those who don’t look for other sources of information or don’t
have access to it in the mainland start to believe that kind of thing. It’s almost just a cultish situation when
you have such a message and no other competing messages. But it’s not just America, there’s a tendency
of any authoritarian regime to blame foreign forces when its people start questioning the
regime. It happened in 2014 here during Occupy Central,
and there’s a suggestion, a rather insulting one, that the brightest and best students
who come out on the streets are too stupid to has done this on their own. But if you look forward, you know that some
of these people are going to be senior managers and politicians, and successful business people
in the future. Of course they’re capable of understanding
what’s at stake here, and- But also this traces back. This traces back. We’ve gone as far back as I believe the Article
23 protest in the summer of 2003, but this didn’t come out of anywhere. We had the umbrella movement in 2014, correct? Yeah, and I think it’s entirely fair game
for foreign governments to fund entities like the National Endowment for Democracy in the
U.S., that then try to support pro-democracy movements with advice and so on in other countries. It’s also entirely fair game if China wants
to promote the idea of authoritarian Marxism and socialism with Chinese characteristics
as a model for other countries to follow, if they want to promote that. I don’t think they’d get a lot of subscribers
to it, but they’re welcome to try and persuade us all that Karl Marx was right that America
should become a communist nation. That’s all part of the rough and tumble of
international politics. It doesn’t mean that they’re somehow coordinating
these protests or inciting people to violence. And in fact, they have very little at their
disposal in terms of violence. They’ve been picking up bricks off the streets,
and I certainly don’t condone that. That’s never a solution, but it’s not as if
they’ve got guns and rockets at their disposal. They’re not terrorists in that sense. There was one, I think, attempt to build some
petrol bombs that was discovered in a warehouse somewhere. An alleged attempt I should say, because the
people involved have not yet been given their day in court. But by and large, what you’re saying is just
bodies and voices on the streets in large numbers, peacefully protesting in Central
and Chetar Garden here, which is right in the middle of the central business district. And we often have gatherings in Victoria Park,
in Causeway Bay at the Eastern end of Hong Kong Island, and then marching through the
streets. And it’s only the sort of headline grabbing
parts of that that the foreign media tend to pick up, when teargas starts flying around
and there’s a few hundred protesters remaining. And even then, I think the use of teargas
has been overdone. When there’s been no real threat to the police,
they’ve used it simply as a dispersal mechanism rather than letting people sit down and wait
it out. And particularly in residential districts,
that can have knock on effects to bystanders, and they’ve even fired some teargas into the
public transit system, the MTR or metro. So can we draw any lessons from the past from,
let’s say Article 23 in December of 2003 or the umbrella protests, the umbrella movement,
to give us a sense of where things might be going or what it will take to resolve this
crisis? They’ve got, in that sequence, and there was
another one in 2012 when they tried to introduce a national curriculum in the schools to make
the students love the country. Brainwashing exercise that was quickly- I believe that was where Joshua Wong came
from originally. He first appeared in that as a young 15 year
old I think at the time, and then two years later in Occupy. But one thing it does show, and I was explaining
that to a journalist, an American journalist this afternoon, is that it completely negates
the facile argument of pro-government people who say, “This is all about economics and
wealth gap, or income gap, or some kind of an issue that can be dealt with by spraying
money around.” It isn’t. We have unemployment now at 2.8%. It’s structurally as low as it can go, accounting
for people between jobs. And we have a strong economy until the recent
protests, and until the latest round of tariffs were announced, which is impacting the economy
far more than the protests are probably. Except in small pockets like retailing where
the protests causing disruption. And so it’s not an economic issue, it’s not
a question of housing or anything else. Even though housing is very expensive here,
you have to understand that it’s basically part of the taxation system because a lot
of people don’t pay any income tax. And they pay basically premiums to the government
for land on which their flats are built, and money is collected that way. And there isn’t a huge gap between the number
of households and the number of housing units that we have here either. There is a shortage, but it’s not huge. So the fact that these protests have happened
only on really big issues, national security in 2003, national education in 2012, universal
suffrage in 2014, and now the firewall between the two legal systems in 2019, shows that
it’s not related to the economy at all. Which does go up and down in cycles, we’ve
had market booms and busts in that period of 16 years. It’s all about people protecting what they
regard as their important freedoms and identifying as Hongkongers, but really as people who value
those freedoms. I think many, many societies value those freedoms
as well and any democratic government that tried to restrict them heavily would face
a lot of opposition. So, let’s actually stick on this point about
the economy. You’re saying it’s not a driver of the protests,
but could it be an accelerant of further unrest in the country if, for example, the Trump
administration were to change this recognition of Hong Kong as a separate customs, tax and
legal territory within China? Because you mentioned 1984 and the joint declaration. Yeah. I believe the policy act, the U.S., U.K. policy
act was 1992. What if the U.S. rescinded that? Is that possible? Right, U.S. Hong Kong policy act. And what impact would that have, for example,
on this crisis? Yeah, well obviously the U.S. is probably
the biggest trading partner with Hong Kong, and then the EU after that if you count them
all together. And of course, the EU is breaking up as we
speak. And so if the U.S. was to withdraw recognition
after a crackdown, then other countries would likely follow. They might even call on them to do that through
the United Nations Security Council. You can imagine what could happen. The economies of China and the U.S. are more
integrated now than they were in 1989. It wasn’t so much of a loss for America to
withdraw some of its diplomats and have a ban on officials visiting Peking for two or
three years after 1989. They still wanted to reengage, but they weren’t
so heavily engaged on trade as they are now where so much of the products in Walmart and
other stores, and Amazon, is made in China. And so I suspect after a period of condemnation
for public opinion, reasons, under political pressure, Western governments would condemn
what was happening in Hong Kong. They would eventually get back to the trade
table and say, “Okay, so you’ve taken over Hong Kong. That was kind of like Russia and Crimea, and
we’re moving on.” And they wouldn’t forever make that an issue
of a very small part of China, over their bigger interests in trading with China. I think that if there is a crackdown, Beijing
will claim to be doing it within the framework of the one country two systems model. They will say… they will point to clauses
in the basic law that say that the Hong Kong government, in emergencies, can ask for assistance,
and the assistance was asked for, and it was given. And then the laws were strengthened and tightened,
and big jails were built, and those who are willing to be locked up for protesting would
go there, and the others would stop protesting. And you said much earlier in the show that
there was a bargain or agreement between the people of China and the government after 1989. I don’t think there was. An implicit. Implicit, no? Yeah, I don’t think that was implicit. It was an iron fist approach. It was quite clear that if you protest, you
ran the risk of being shot. That was well enough understood that the people
leading those protests, and it was students not surprisingly, as usual. They have the most to lose in any country
because they’ve got [crosstalk] Your point is, it was a carrot and stick approach. There wasn’t really- The carrot was the consumption and the stick
was the repression. Well, the reforms had already been underway
for 10 years and there was much more to come. The stock exchange opened in late 1990 I think,
in Shanghai and then Shenzhen, or the other way around. And so prosperity was a work in progress,
or at least improvement in livelihoods. And it is true to say that they govern with
the implicit consent of the people, which is granted because of their improvement over
that period in livelihoods. And that’s why, of course, that if they don’t
keep delivering, that people would withdraw that consent. But at the time, I think it was just ruled
by fear. There was such a strong crackdown, and I’m
afraid that that could happen in Hong Kong and blood will have to be spilled in that
situation. It won’t be enough to just threaten people
with being locked up for a few months for causing a public nuisance, which one of our
academics was locked up for just yesterday, released on bail pending his appeal. That won’t be enough, they’ll need to go much
further to oppress dissent here. Can you describe your fear? How would that materialize? What is a realistic scenario that would generate
that type of oppression on the part of the CCP and the PLA? Well, it’s got to be Beijing’s call in the
end. They know that there will be international
opprobrium and condemnation if they do it, and also that any future agreements they make
will be taken with a huge pinch of salt if they’re not going to honor the joint declaration. But… Well just to ask you there, just to clarify
something, are the two major costs for Beijing its reputation globally? And also the independence of Hong Kong, which
plays an important role for companies based out of China, and as an on and off ramp to
Western capital markets? Well you see, the Hong Kong government naturally
promotes itself in that way. But the reality, I’m afraid, is that we’re
not as important to the mainlanders as we were in 1997 or earlier. At that point, we were 20% of China’s GDP,
now we’re 2% or 3%. Per capita, it’s still four or five times,
but in population it’s a half a percent of the country. So when people say, “Well, what about finance? Companies come here on the Hong Kong stock
exchange, and they raise money.” Well yes, but they can also go to New York. They can list in New York or London. Alibaba, for example, is a New York listed
company. It doesn’t have a listing in Hong Kong yet. They can still raise money, they can still
engage in their so called stock connect schemes with different places. And if recognition were withdrawn after Beijing
had pretended to do all of this within the framework of two systems, but it had been
so violent that countries were forced to condemn it and revoke their recognition of Hong Kong
as a separate place. Then I think at that point Beijing would say,
“Well, we’ve lost all the benefits in terms of separate free trade agreements, WTO membership
for Hong Kong and so on, and recognition of a separate customs regime. So we’ll just give up and tear up the basic
law, and integrate fully into the so called Greater Bay Area.” Right. Because it is then there’d be no boundaries
between Hong Kong Macau and Guangdong profits. And that’s sort of where I was going. Also, is it significant at all that Hong Kong
plays a role as a steam valve for capital flight for Chinese elite? Is that important in any way? The valves have been tightened significantly
in the last couple of years. It’s harder for mainlanders to get their money
out through things like buying life insurance products here. That was shut down, they were using credit
cards to buy life insurance, and then cashing them in later. There are other ways through the trade account,
by producing up into company transfers and trade, in imports and exports, or through
the casinos in Macau. Which is probably as big a financial center
as Hong Kong in that sense, even though it doesn’t have the stock exchange. But I don’t think the mainlanders rely on
Hong Kong for that purpose. What is true to say is that a number of very
wealthy mainlanders have established their residency here and spend less than 180 days
per year in the mainland, and thereby avoid mainland personal taxation. And that’s quite an attractive place, so we
are the Monaco of China effectively. You can live in Hong Kong, run your business
remotely, visit fairly often, nearly a half of the year in the mainland, and still avoid
much higher levels of tax in the mainland than in Hong Kong. So that status would go away, but they could
still go and live in Singapore or other places if they really want to avoid mainland tax. So to bring it back to this point about the
PLA and a Chinese led crackdown in Hong Kong, are they basically just trying to wait this
out for now? And is there an amount of time that they’re
willing to wait beyond which they’re no longer going to continue to wait, and they would… Well- … move in? Or, is there a threshold of violence that
could be surpassed in the city that would initiate a crackdown? The short answer is, I don’t know. If I did, I could buy the appropriate put
options. You actually have a great quote that I have
where you said, if Carrie Lam was a stock, you’d short her, which we can get into later. With a target price of $0, yes. That’s right. She won’t see the end of her term I think,
and certainly not a second term. And she’s still got three years nearly to
run on that first term, but- But that’s what we’re all… that’s what many
of us here in the West are looking at. We’re looking at these pictures, like you
said, of course… Right. … these were also for public consumption,
to be sure. But we don’t have the background or the context
to have any sense of… Yeah. … what the likelihood is of a crackdown. Well, I think we’re closer to the brink than
we’ve ever been before. I mean, if this was a nuclear doomsday clock,
it’s one minute until midnight. I don’t know how often you calibrate that,
but the rhetoric has been stepped up. The chief executive here, Carrie Lam, has
spoken about Hong Kong being crushed to bits and being at a point of no return, and not
wanting to go down that road. And the rhetoric from Beijing likewise, but
it will be ultimately Xi Jinping’s call as to whether he wants to push that button. And we’ve had some pretty major disruption
at the airport, which has now calmed down. And there have been very big street protests,
but there hasn’t been one on the scale of the 16th of June since then. There have been a few hundred thousand rather
than 2 million people. And perhaps they’re just hoping she’ll say
to wait it out at least for this time around. But there is a notable escalation in the sequence
of 2003 to now, and each time an issue like this comes up, it’s probably going to create
more larger scale unrest. People were shocked in 2014 when teargas was
first used against crowds. Now it’s used nearly every day without much
remark, it’s almost normal now, and you have to sort of plan your day to make sure you’re
not near an event that might lead to that. Not today, but several times in the last week. So there’s a sort of new normal of enforcement
measures that’s happening there, but it’s a huge step to take. Based on- And China is in the middle of a trade war
with America, and maybe they don’t want to go down that road either for that reason as
well. That’s one more difficulty to negotiate around. Based on the turnout though, the extent of
the support in Hong Kong, it seems that the crackdown and the, not to mention the fact
that Hongkongers are used to much higher levels of personal freedom. It’s not the same thing as Tiananmen in 1989. I would imagine that the extent of the crackdown
would have to be extraordinarily large. This is not something to take lightly, in
other words. Do you think Beijing has a sense of that? Is there a sense that they understand how
difficult that challenge would be in Hong Kong? What that would- Well, yes. And the extent to which that would cause a
turn inward for China, that would really… that would be a rubicon, crossing a rubicon
for the international system as well, would it not? The leaders in Beijing are old enough to remember
1989 quite clearly, and they must internally know roughly how many people they killed that
night. Estimates still vary internationally between
a few hundred and a few thousand, but something along even a few tens would be seen extremely
negatively globally. And if you’re into the hundreds in Hong Kong,
I can imagine that it would be politically impossible for any elected leader in the West
not to impose severe sanctions. Certainly you can say goodbye to the trade
talks, and that’s something that there won’t be… Even though Donald Trump likes to play footsie
with Kom Jong-un and so on, he’s not quite so stupid as to try and proceed with a trade
deal if that event has happened. So that’s a deterrent to Beijing because they
know if they don’t get a trade deal done, then things could economically get much worse
for them. It’s already slowing down there. So, there’s a number of reasons why they might
not intervene, but there’s also the domestic stability reason. The primary concern of the mainland government
of ensuring that the country stays united and doesn’t have other imitating protests
in the rest of the country. And they have to be seen to be strong and
firm on this, and so their patience is being tested. And we’ll have to see how that plays out,
but as I said earlier, I think that they would try to claim it was all being done within
that one country two systems framework. And that any deaths were entirely caused by
the protesters’ resistance and not by the guns of the people’s armed police or ELA. They brought it upon themselves, and there
will be that kind of messaging that goes out in the aftermath. And that of course will be contradicted by
the huge amount of social media that we have now following everything, there’s- Right, exactly. Every second person in these protests is a
reporter now, streaming on Periscope or YouTube or something. And so there will probably be video of every
incident. So I would like to explore now a bit the international
political as well as the financial dimensions of the conflict in Hong Kong. And I want to begin actually with asking you
about some speculation around the value of the Hong Kong dollar and the peg in Hong Kong. I believe you’ve commented on this as well. You’re familiar with some of these theses
that we could see an unpegging of the Hong Kong dollar and destabilization of its financial
markets. What’s your view on that? As long as the basic law was being upheld,
and China wasn’t tearing it up and imposing capital controls, then I think the peg would
hold. It has very substantial backing, it is well
managed, and I still have large amount of Hong Kong dollar deposits. I’m not engaging in any kind of bailing out
of the currency just because of these recent events. Not to mention, of course, that most of my
assets are in Hong Kong stocks. So I’m rare to be sanguine about that, and
some of the… a lot of the commentary, in fact, has come from one person in America
who is a somewhat smalltime hedge fund manager with not billions, but hundreds of millions
perhaps under management. And it looks like a desperate sort of cry
for attention in what he’s doing. He is- So you think there’s nothing to his claims? Well, he may- I mean, his assertions, I believe, are that
they’ve already spent 80% of their reserves defending the peg. And that is a complete misunderstanding of
the way the peg works. What he’s actually talking about is the aggregate
balance of the banking system with the Hong Kong manager authority, that the sum of all
of their deposits with the hedge committee, that’s a tiny amount relative to the reserves
that the exchange fund has at its disposal. So he’s looking at the wrong figure and saying,
“That number shrank.” What happened was, that number massively inflated
during the zero interest rate period. It went up by a very large factor and has
now shrunk back as interest rates have started to equalize between the U.S. and Hong Kong. That’s just part of a normal mechanism of
a currency board. They have not touched their reserves. In fact, they’ve gradually been adding to
them over the years because the government here had been running a fiscal surplus and
then converting the Hong Kong dollar surpluses into foreign reserves. So it’s a very, very robust mechanism, and
it’s slightly irritating that they allow it to fluctuate either side at 7.8. They have an official band of 7.75 to 7.85,
and when they introduced that, they said it was in order to provide so called constructive
ambiguity, which is nonsense. What it was really for was to allow foreign
exchange traders to gain the system, make a little money, and even down at the street
level, the bureau’s de change to claim that there was risk involved in converting your
currency, and therefore they must impose a big spread on it. But there’s no reason in principle why they
couldn’t make it 7.8000 and run it on that basis, in which point all of the conversion
would be done directly with the exchange fund. And I think he’s also commented on the leverage
in the Hong Kong banking system. I believe he’s put that number at 850% of
GDP. We’ve also discussed, though we haven’t discussed- True. Go ahead. That’s a truth. It’s a true figure, but that’s irrelevant
really. What matters is whether there’s capital adequacy,
whether the capital ratio is as strong, which they are. And the reason that figure is so high is because
a lot of the loans are to Chinese borrowers funding parts of the mainland economy as well,
and elsewhere. Shipping, for example, we’ve got great fleets
of tankers on the world’s oceans that are financed out of banks in Hong Kong. So I wouldn’t be too concerned about that. So that’s a great transition to get us into
the mainland economy, because we’ve done a number of episodes on China’s banking system
and economy. The renminbi recently broke above seven against
the U.S. dollar for the first time since 2008. What is your view on China’s financial system? Well, they can’t bring themselves to trust
the free markets. The fact that they were criticized by Trump
and others for allowing the currency to depreciate obviously points to the fact that they manage
it. They don’t just let it float and find its
own level. Maybe if they did, it wouldn’t be too far
from where it is now. But it has been in the past maintained at…
it was pegged at 8.3 for many, many years before they allowed it to start wiggling a
bit. And it was no secret though that they still
manage it, and they allocate capital by state policy. State control banks are required to make loans
to state control companies, not much to the private sector developers in Hong Kong. Chinese property developers with projects
in the mainland issuing bonds in Hong Kong are currently paying over 10% to your money
in U.S. dollars. So what does that tell you? They have to make pretty substantial returns
on their projects to have a realistic chance of paying back on those. They are quite desperate, and… Well, how important is it that some of these
companies have access to Western markets and capital markets for funding? Yeah. The big issue is the failure to pursue free
market policies after the initial experiments. If you go back and look at the development
of the mainland and Hong Kong stock markets, and we basically list a lot of the mainland
companies here and they’re also listed in Shanghai. What you can see is that they first of all
said, “We must impose market discipline on these firms, so we will list them.” But that doesn’t create market discipline
unless they are completely owned by independent investors, and not controlled with majority
shareholdings by the government. What eventually got instead is that they stopped
after they had done the listings, and they had sold 25% of 30%, never more than 49% they
sold. And things like Petro China, China Mobile,
Air China, China Telecom, the four big banks and others, they’re all still controlled by
the state. Basically, if you buy into those shares, you’re
buying a minority share, ordering a subsidiary of a giant conglomerate run by SASAC, the
state administration of China, that controls all these companies even to the point of setting
the pay levels of the executives and appointing the executives. And they have to be all good party officials
to be executives, and reallocating them to take them off the board and run a province
or shuffle them around between competing companies so that they’re not really competing. Sometimes they shuffle the airline chiefs
or they shuffle the bank chiefs. And so all of that is a great shame because
I grew up in the U.K. in the 1970s, and I’m just old enough to remember Margaret Thatcher
coming to power and the run up to that was Labour’s government at a point where they
controlled all the electricity companies. Gas, water, airlines, BOAC, which became British
Airways. Car making, British steel, vast chunks of
the economy were nationalized enterprises. It was a very socialist economy then. She let loose the reins of capitalism and
started initially, because the markets couldn’t absorb it, by simply selling minority shareholdings
in things like BP and other companies, BT, and creating competition, and allowing new
entrance. And then when the markets could absorb it,
selling off the whole thing and eventually releasing golden shares against foreign takeovers,
which were imposed for a short while for political reasons. And that accounts for the huge revival in
the British economy from 1980 through to the 2000s. So, China did the first bit of that and then
stopped. And today, you’ve still got all these companies,
and you get the Premier, Li Keqiang, standing up at the annual meeting of the parliament. They only meet once a year, the National People’s
Congress. And announcing that mobile phone tariffs are
going to be reduced because it’s the government that decides that, not the phone companies
by competition. Right, and it seems to me in the coverage
that we’ve done and my attempt to understand China’s economy from the outside, first of
all, there is a barrier. There’s a bit of a cultural educational barrier
to understanding how it works. It seems like a maze, and it seems that trying
to reform the economy, because of all those different interests and practices, is an enormously
difficult task. Certainly much more difficult than the reforms
that Margaret Thatcher pushed through in the U.K. in the 1980s. Is that a fair observation to make? And also, of course Beijing’s willingness
to make those reforms is not there, and that’s part and parcel of the problem. Well, it comes… I don’t know how difficult it really is. I mean, they’ve set up all the basic infrastructure. It is not like Russia in the USSR onto Gorbachev,
where there was no… they didn’t have a stock exchange, they didn’t have the internet, hadn’t
put any infrastructure in place. They ended up with voucher privatization schemes
where they literally handed out vouchers to every member of the population, which were
then purchased by oligarchs, who ended up controlling big oil companies and so on. China has a very advanced and developed infrastructure
financially, and they do have the ability if they want to flip those levers, commence
big selloffs of the controlling shareholdings at attractive discounts to get the public
to become share owners directly of them, and to feel like… which is what Thatcher did. I mean, all of those were priced to go with
nice first aid gain so that people could feel that this was generating prosperity directly
for them. And they could do that, but it’s inconsistent
with the idea that the party knows best and they need to stay in control over everything
rather than have open competition. That’s an interesting point. And they were brought up, the 70 year olds
that are running, the 60 something year olds that are running the place now were trained
in the Soviet Union as engineers and never really introduced to the benefits of true
capitalism. Which you could all be equally poor, and can
have a Gini coefficient of zero if you want to live in North Korea. But you must have some inequality and opportunity
and incentive. That’s what the capitalism produces to the
overall benefit of society, and then you can afford to help the needy that didn’t benefit
from that. So, I mentioned I wanted to discuss the financial
dimensions but also the international geopolitical dimensions. Of course, we have this ongoing trade war,
and the relationship between the United States and China is at its worst place it’s been
in I think probably a generation. How do you see that unfolding? What is the perspective from someone living
in Hong Kong? Is China going to come back to the negotiating
table? Do you see that, even that framing, is even
that framing a correct framing? How do you see this developing? Well, they are gently talking to each other,
aren’t they? By phone calls and things at the moment, and
Trump has decided to defer the latest round of tariffs on some products. Notably some of the biggest corporations benefit
from that, like Apple for example, because they’ve exempted until December probably most
of their products. Well, it seems that the perspective of the
Trump administration is that China has more to lose and the U.S. has longer to wait. And that just sort of seems to be the perspective
from this side of the Pacific. Yes. Look, there’s all sorts of reasons that…
and policies that I would disagree with Trump on. But he is right to call out China for its
foot dragging against WTO commitments, market access, and stepping up to become a full player
in the global economy. And they can’t have it both ways, they have
an ideological difference. China, as I said earlier, is pursuing still
socialism with Marxism with Chinese characteristics. And to them, that means control, control,
control, gentle access. Allowing minority shareholdings in mainland
joint ventures, understanding that all of the know how will be transferred in. And that’s what the U.S. calls technology
theft. It’s not actually theft, it’s coercion, but
it’s… there has been quite a lot of that going on. And only just saying to Tesla, okay, Tesla
is the big showpiece for this that okay, we’re going to let them have their wholly owned
factory in China. But I’m not sure that’s a huge stretch of
the Chinese automotive sector just yet. Is this notion of tech cold war, or a silicone
curtain that we’ve heard in the U.S. and of course the emblematic case is Huawei. is this
something that you’re seeing as well from your end? That this is something where we could go from
not just a trade war, not just a potentially financial war, but a situation where increasingly
the technology within the Chinese fear begins to sort of partition off from the rest of
the world? They do want to have this technological independence. I don’t think they’re entirely going to get
it. Some things are quite hard to break into. Chip designs can be knocked down I believe
at the silicone level, and it’s hard to sort of unscramble what circuits you’re being when
you buy them even if you can buy them for your products. I think foreign players, including American
companies, still have that going for them. And of course the other thing is, which we
didn’t cover earlier, was the fact that smart and innovative people generally don’t like
living in authoritarian regimes. And so there’s a brain drain out of China
and out of Hong Kong now as well. I think students here are thinking, well,
if things are going to be like this for the next 10 or 20 years and we’re going to eventually
have all of the promises and the basic law expire rather than be extended in 2047, when
I’ll be in my forties if I’m in my early twenties now. Then I’d be better off trying to get a second
degree in America or U.K. or Germany, wherever, and settling down, making my life overseas. And that’s probably the biggest threat to
Hong Kong because we are a service based economy. We don’t make very much stuff here, we just
do services. And so if talented people are deterred from
coming here and if Hong Kong people are trying to get out, then we face a new brain drain
of the kind we haven’t seen since the mid ’80s. Well, that’s what I wanted to actually ask
you because when the handover happened in 1997, the time horizon for people making their
lives in Hong Kong was very different than it is today in 2019. Are we at a time now where people are beginning
to take this into account? Yeah. They’re looking forward, they’re looking currently
at what’s happening, the protests, and they’re making material decisions? If they’re, let’s say getting out of law school,
do they want to try and practice in Hong Kong, or do they want to leave? Are they willing to take that risk? Well, it would help if they knew which law
they would be practicing in 28 years’ time. Exactly. If they’re going to be appearing in the Guangzhou
People’s Intermediate Court rather than the Court of Final Appeal as a senior barrister,
then that would be an entirely different legal system to learn. So that’s the specialized case, lawyers. But generally, I spoke to a large haul of
students at Hong Kong University in October. And afterwards, we had coffee and a number
of them came up and said, “You’re right. We are thinking about our future, and it’s
not clear why we should commit to Hong Kong at the moment.” And that was before all of the current protests,
and before all this blew up. But they’re starting to wonder whether there
will be an extension, and perhaps people optimistically would have said, “Yeah, sure. The Chinese government will recognize that
the short lease in the basic law is running down.” And they need to now start talking and maybe
in 10 years’ time give a promise that you can have another 50 years. My guess is that the, as an optimist in this,
I’ll be 82 in 2047, is that by then China will be a prosperous, open, democratic economy,
strongly capitalist and financially successful and peaceful. I hope it will turn out that way. The path to get there is either going to be
through a revolution or top down reform, and one way or the other. By 2047, we’ll say, “What was all the concern
about?” But people making their decisions now about
their futures and where to start their families, and whether to seek another passport and so
on, they can’t make that bet I think. They can’t bet that things will turn out great
in China, and so more and more of them will go overseas and at least try to get the security
of a foreign passport even if they do bring their skills back here. Well, I believe we did start this interview
with the two paths that you laid forward in that article. I do recommend people read that, and I believe
the bottom up reform, you called that a Chinese spring. It sounds like you are optimistic. What message would you want to send to those
who are listening? What is the important message that you want
them to hear? It’ll all work out in the end, and don’t focus
too much on the sensational video that you see in your evening news of protestors and
police battling it out, because that’s a very small subset of the overall situation. I’ve had emails and calls from relatives worried
about my safety. I don’t worry about my safety here. One way or the other, even if there is a crackdown,
and I hope there isn’t a violent one but it’s possible, I think that we’ll get through this. And I think in the 28 years’ time when the
initial prices of the basic law expire, it won’t matter. Because we’ll be part of a free and open,
on China economy, and we’ll be driving freely between parts of it that are currently separated
by fences and immigration controls. Hong Kong to Macau, Hong Kong to Shenzhen,
and so on. So I’m an optimist about that, but I do feel
for younger people who are having to make tough decisions now about where they plan
their futures. Well, let’s hope your optimism isn’t misplaced. David, it was great having you on the program. Thank you so much for taking the time to speak
with me today. Thanks for having me, Demetri. Today’s episode of Hidden Forces was recorded
at Creative Media Design studio in New York City. For more information about this week’s episode,
or if you want easy access to related programming, visit our website at HiddenForces.io and subscribe
to our free email list. If you want access to overtime segments, episode
transcripts, and show rundowns full of links and detailed information related to each and
every episode, check out our premium subscription, available through the Hidden Forces website
or through our Patreon page at Patreon.com/HiddenForces. Today’s episode was produced by me and edited
by Stylianos Nicolaou. For more episodes, you can check out our website
at HiddenForces.io. Join the conversation at Facebook, Twitter,
and Instagram at HiddenForcesPod, or send me an email. As always, thanks for listening. We’ll see you next week.

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17 thoughts on “Hong Kong Revolution: Geopolitical & Financial Implications for China and the World | David Webb

  1. How did this myth that you can't have economic growth without democracy come about? If you look at the history of industrialisation in the UK you quite clearly see that there was NO DEMOCRACY in the sense of how it is viewed today. You could argue that since universal suffrage came about the quality of governance has dwindled to where we are now. A complete and utter farce and economic shit show. The idea that everyones opinion has equal weight is laughable and a system which limits the planning horizon to 4 year cycles and vote buying is absurd and bound to produce awful results.

  2. A battle of ideologies i.e. free-markets vs marxism with chinese characteristics? Is this a joke? If that's the case, why has Washington launched a trade war against Europe, Japan, Canada, India and Mexico (and potentially Australia)? This fella Webb is clearly wearing blinkers. The reason for this trade war is the fact that the global US dollar system necessitates these nations to run surpluses against the US to acquire USD to purchase commodities, such as oil (try breaking this system like Saddam and Qaddafi did and you're dead meat).

    Secondly, corporate America and Wall St, which dominate the US political scene wants full access and domination of the above-mentioned countries' markets, especially China's. Want to see what the end game looks like? Look at my country Britain, which is now a full-blown vassal state. American investors are the biggest foreign 'owners' of our biggest companies/assets like BP, Shell, big banks, etc.

    The Chinese have been smart, primarily because there's no American soldiers on their soil; American companies can't just pry open their country. I feel bad for Germany and Japan though, they're going to get bent over the barrel real bad over the next year or two.

  3. Demetri, you usually produce quality podcasts and I really appreciate that you're uploading them on Youtube. But with regards to the Hong Kong situation, you're just parroting the warped liberal MSM narrative. Why not bring on a credible critic, like Martin Jacques? You have interviewed three anti-Beijing individuals thus far – two of them aren't even Chinese (yes, that includes Joshua).

    Why not talk about the Yellow Vest movement (and the brutal suppression and media black out by the state) in France which has been ongoing now for nearly 9 months, and this is happening in a 'democratic' country. If you look carefully at both places, you'll realise 'freedom' and 'democracy' is just a sideshow and not the main cause of the unrest.

  4. LMAO at the idea that Western countries are 'capitalist'. This guy is absolutely a product of the big delusion sweeping Western democracies. 'Communist' China bails out its failing companies, Western 'Capitalist' countries bail out their failing companies. Both central banks continually distort the markets. Whats the difference? One calls itself a democracy the other Communist. What a joke. Utterly shallow and superficial analysis. A brilliant interview for entirely the wrong reasons! 😂

  5. Democracy is flawed, numerically you only have to trick percentage of the population. The intelligence population distribution Bell curve, how easy it is to fool people with social media, it's not like people trained in fact checking. The Morons don't know how to identify relevance.
    The errors made by media ..
    We know the science of programming people now.

  6. Capitalism never works. WW1, WW2 was basically the normal development of capitalism. Thanks to USSR, the impulse for WW3 was stifled.
    Has anyone holding similar opinion that 911 event was predetermined to fullfill some un-spoken capitalist agenda?

  7. Uncharacteristically dull interview. Vapid responses built on assumptions that Demetri seems to have carefully avoided questioning.

  8. david should go down from the the peak from time to time.

    meaningful employment in hong kong is crappy and getting worse. upward mobility is awful.
    the government lives in the 90's and sits on an embarrassment of riches.

    the improvement of the lives of people in shenzhen across the boarder has improved 10X since the joint declaration. hong kong has barely moved on from octopus cards.

  9. What "violent protesters?" I've yet to see videos of the protesters doing anything but being peaceful. And I've watched a lot of coverage on this.

  10. What about China's concentration camps for Muslims, Buddhists, Christians, Falun Gong, and pro-democracy protesters? They literally slaughter people in these camps. Murder them and STEAL THEIR ORGANS. That's not a conspiracy theory. The United Nations and several tribunals in countries like Canada have confirmed that China kills political and religious dissidents and steals their organs.

  11. Sharing Economy insurance platform that provides Global, Frictionless and Relevant Insurance Products to the new and growing platform business. Insurance with data and AI builtin.

    http://blog.microinsurance.com/post/insurance-blockchain-oracles

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