Time To Say Goodbye
Time To Say Goodbye
Tankies! with Brian Hioe, New Bloom Magazine

Tankies! with Brian Hioe, New Bloom Magazine


Hi, all:

Just Andy this time, with a Thursday edition bonus episode, in which I talk with Brian Hioe of New Bloom, a bilingual online magazine with radical analysis of Taiwan and East Asia.

On Monday, New Bloom published an explainer essay on the very confusing phenomenon of “tankies,” aka people who argue that the true leftist position is to support the Chinese Communist Party as a check on US imperialism. Most famously, tankies denounce the Hong Kong protests as bourgeois and right-wing, as puppets of US empire.

Their statements are at once funny and depressing, amusing and exhausting. I think Brian and I agree, though, that they are worth taking seriously because they reflect a very real set of tensions in global politics—with few clear solutions.

Whom do we “side with” in an increasingly closed-off, nationalistic world? Must critics of US foreign policy — and the long history of Euro-American colonialism and imperialism — choose other states to support instead? For a Gen Z critical of free-market neoliberalism, what “actually existing” alternatives are there to global capitalism?

The New Bloom piece explores these questions by examining the mysterious Qiao Collective, whose members ostensibly belong to the left-nationalist Chinese diaspora. When it comes to the Asian diaspora (though not unique to it), there is the always fun, extra ingredient of confused identity and an unfulfilled sense of belonging, heightened by local xenophobic rhetoric.

Given these factors, Brian fears that tankie ideology may continue to spread.

Issues we touch on:

  • Are Hong Kong’s protests “right-wing” if their citizens espouse xenophobia?

  • Is the category “diaspora,” or huaqiao 華僑, good or bad?

  • The Orientalism and self-orientalizing of tankies

  • Tankies and US Republicans as bizarro mirror images of one another

    Is there potential for common dialogue? With tankies or with the everyday people of China?



As always, feedback, questions, and comments are welcome.

On Twitter, @ttsgpod.

By email, timetosaygoodbyepod@gmail.com.

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