Yonden Lhatoo
SCMP Columnist
Just Saying
by Yonden Lhatoo
Just Saying
by Yonden Lhatoo

If Hong Kong is going to hell, isn’t Trump’s America already there?

  • Yonden Lhatoo has a hell of a time unboxing the US president’s claim that the city is headed for eternal damnation because he has ‘taken back’ all the privileges that he ‘gave’

Good heavens above and great balls of fire, did US President Donald Trump just consign Hong Kong, like some modern-day Sodom and Gomorrah, to the everlasting fires of hell?

Did he, godlike in his omnipotence, condemn us wretched sinners to eternal damnation, declaring us no longer worthy of his grace and radiance that might otherwise have saved our souls?

Donald Trump, pictured outside a church near the White House as parts of America burned during the George Floyd protests, has warned that Hong Kong markets will ‘go to hell’. Photo: AP

Well, that was pretty much the message, though his exact words over the phone to his acolytes at the right-wing Fox Business news channel were that this hapless city of ours “can never succeed” under Chinese control and its markets would “go to hell”.

Trump says Hong Kong markets will ‘go to hell’ because of Chinese control

“Once China got aggressive and took it over, I took everything back. Everything’s back now. And it will fail,” he said. “Hong Kong is a very complex problem because we’ve given tremendous amounts of money in the form of incentives to make Hong Kong free, to make Hong Kong work – and to our detriment.

“All of those incentives that they had for the Hong Kong market, in order to keep a certain amount of freedom over there, knowing they have China looming over the top of them – but all of those incentives, billions and billions and billions of dollars I gave, that we gave, to Hong Kong, I’ve taken back now.”

Donald Trump has offered a bleak assessment of Hong Kong’s future without US privileges. Photo: Warton Li
Where does one even begin unpacking this unholy torrent of unmitigated tosh, apparently referring to the slew of sanctions that the Trump administration has slapped on our city, including the withdrawal of special trade privileges, as part of its Bible-thumping crusade against China?

Trump’s America is provoking a real war with China; will it happen?

Rather than ridiculing him, let the hard facts, backed by official statistics, speak for themselves.

Merchandise trade between Hong Kong and the US stood at HK$517 billion (US$67 billion) last year, accounting for 6.2 per cent of the city’s total. Hong Kong’s domestic exports to the US amounted to HK$3.7 billion, which adds up to less than 2 per cent of local manufacturing output and not even 0.1 per cent of the city’s total exports.
Hong Kong’s US-bound domestic exports made up a mere 0.1 per cent of the city’s total exports last year. Photo: Winson Wong

Also, America has racked up a trade surplus of US$310 billion with Hong Kong over the past decade. It was US$26 billion last year alone, the highest among the country’s trading partners.

And let’s not forget 1,400 US companies and 85,000 American citizens in Hong Kong are also hurtling along this highway to hell that Trump claims to have put the rest of us natives on.

Closed shops in a fashion district of Los Angeles, with Covid-19 pushing the US economy on the brink. Photo: AFP
Only 13 per cent of members took part in the latest poll by the American Chamber of Commerce to gauge concerns about the implications of the new national security law that the US is decrying and using as an excuse to cut off Hong Kong’s nose to spite China, and 61 per cent of them indicated they were staying put.
If we burn, I guess they’ll have to burn with us, to quote the nihilistic slogan that Hong Kong’s anti-China protest movement trotted out as a perverted justification to solicit the very sanctions from Trump that he now claims will destroy us all.

Trump’s America has become an unstoppable, out-of-control bully

Of course, telling us we’re going to hell is a bit rich, coming from a man whose ineptitude in handling the Covid-19 pandemic has plunged his own country into the abyss. More than 168,000 Americans dead, well over 5.3 million infected, tens of millions unemployed, the economy in tatters – who’s really going to hell, if they’re not already in it, Mr President?


Hong Kong 'heroes’ and American ‘terrorists’: Hypocrisy of US government’s war on its own protesters

Hong Kong 'heroes’ and American ‘terrorists’: Hypocrisy of US government’s war on its own protesters

While Hong Kong has yet to descend to that level of basket case, the Trump administration seems hell bent on getting us there, while constantly making it sound like it’s all about helping us, protecting our rights, saving us from Beijing’s evil clutches.

If that is indeed the case, then, as Aldous Huxley once said, “Hell isn’t merely paved with good intentions; it’s walled and roofed with them. Yes, and furnished, too.”

Yonden Lhatoo is the chief news editor at the Post

This article appeared in the South China Morning Post print edition as: If Hong Kong’s going to hell, isn’t the US already there?