Amy introduces a girl named Lilly. She was from Beijing. The first time Amy saw her, she was singing propaganda songs in a performance group. Lilly seemed like a charismatic and happy person. Amy found out that her mother was a dancer and her father was a symphony violinist. A few years later, Amy heard that Lilly had been kicked out of the performance group for being mentally disturbed. Apparently, Lilly’s father had been tortured in a labor camp by having his fingers broken, while her mother had her legs broken. Both parents eventually committed suicide. Lilly was deeply disturbed and sent back to her village.
Amy asked for an update on Lilly some time later and heard that, since she had no family, there was no one to take care of her. Amy had gone to the US in 1982. In 1986, a friend showed her a book about people who had been left behind in the village. Amy found a mention of Lilly in the book. The author describes how the village did not want her, while she was also not accepted in Beijing. Lilly was sent by the villagers to a hermit in the hills to be his wife. She was abused nightly. Two years later she had a baby. The author describes how she was not able to talk about who she was, but she did have a connection with her children. The author painted a picture of her, but it was not allowed to be shown at the time.
During the Beijing Olympics, Amy went to a museum and saw an Up To Mountain Down To Village exhibition. Amy thought “what if people can not accept their reality, because it is to sad” or full of suffering. Perhaps mental illness is a way of living in a world without the suffering.
Nan introduces Erping Zhang and describes the diplomatic row in Alaska in which the Chinese diplomat said that the US does not have the qualification to speak to China from a position of strength. Nan asks what has happened in the past 20 years to provoke such a comment. Erping explains the Deng Xiaoping’s strategy of hiding your strengths and biding your time. After Xi came to power, a new term showed up called “wolf warrior diplomacy”. Abandoning the old policy, they feel that now is the time to alter the international order.
Erping describes how, over the past few decades, the international community had the mistaken idea that, with economic development China would become more westernized. Instead of becoming a responsible player in international affairs, the CCP has been aggressively acting to restructure the international order. The West has been naive in feeding this tiger with two hands.
Amy describes Henry Kissinger’s policy to open up China, which was the reason she was able to come to the US. However, in the last 20 years, she has questioned whether it was the right thing or the wrong thing. Erping discusses the policy of containing the former Eastern Block and explains that the same containment policy was not used against China after the fall of the Soviet Union. He explains how the Soviet Union confronted the West militarily, but was not able to infiltrate economically. Erping describes how foreign direct investment helped make China an empire. Erping describes how Wallstreet and big corporations are collaborating with China. The Soviet Union never had that luxury. The CCP is currently claiming that they have already infiltrated many US government and corporate institutions. 1.95 million Chinese operatives are already part of the foreign power structure.
Erping describes how the UN Human Rights Council is staffed by Human Rights abusing countries and says that it is, “just bizarre”. He suggests that the US has two strengths, material wealth and democratic institutions. He says that the material wealth is a result of the democratic institutions. Erping says that it is good that the more obvious human rights abuses in China are being mentioned by foreign governments, but that the CCP is not really paying a price.
Erping suggests that China’s entry into the WTO was under certain terms, but China has not followed those terms. He uses the take over of Hong Kong as an example. Erping suggests that China should pay a price for their failure to abide by their agreements.
Erping suggests that free trade has to be reciprocal. When reporters are abused or ejected from China, we should do the same. Erping suggests that US tech companies could help fund technologies that would allow Chinese people to subvert the Great Firewall and access international news. He says it would cost less than building a single fighter plane.
Go to “Tea with Erping” to find more of his ideas.
The team discusses the BBC reporter John Sudworth, who recently left China after being threatened. He had previously reported in 2012 on the effectiveness of China’s facial recognition system to find a person after they get off a bus. He was found in 7min.
Amy mentions how 50 years ago the CCP used “the neighborhood committee” to control people. Today it is all high tech, but the principle has not changed.
Nan recalls the first hour guest suggestion that Western tech companies creating technology to break the Great Firewall would help “win peoples hearts”. Amy is skeptical, because Western tech companies helped build the Great Firewall. Billy suggests that Elon Musks satellite internet would subvert the Great Firewall. Amy says there is already tech to subvert that. Nan describes how in Beijing you need ID and clearance just to buy a kitchen knife.
Billy mentions that Hong Kong parliamentary participation is now limited to “patriot”. Nan explains that “patriot” really means “loyal to the CCP”. “Hong Kong is gone.”, says Nan. “Hong Kong is finished.”, says Amy.
The team discusses Taiwan’s importance in computer chip manufacturing. Nan mentions that some Taiwanese chip manufacturing is relocating to the US.
Billy suggests that the WHO report suggesting the coronavirus came from bats is suspicious. Nan mentions that the sea food market was demolished before the WHO could investigate. Nan mentions that several WHO team members complained that some of the information they requested was never given. Billy mentions WHO director Tedros’ assertion that more investigation is needed.
Nan mentions that China’s biggest trading partner is not the Euro zone or the US, it is Southeast Asia. He believes China’s economic development plan is to develop their own economic system, which does not rely on the US or Europe. Nan says China’s attempting to create a sphere of influence in South East Asia, possibly Russia, Africa and South America. In doing so, they feel they have the strength to confront Europe and the US. Nan explains that, if Huawei builds the information infrastructure in all these nations, they will have enormous power. Nan thinks China is on track to consolidate their sphere in the next few years.
Amy thinks “it won’t work” without the values of Western societies.
Nan mentions the boycott of Nike and H&N, because the companies are refusing to use cotton from Xinjiang province.
Billy mentions that the second most dangerous country to be a reporter is China. Nan suggests that China is always in the top three and forces reporters to say things that are not true in public, because their life is under threat. Billy asks Nan if he was ever threatened. Nan explains that he left before he became a reporter, though he was arrested in 2000 for protesting on behalf of Falun Gong.