Interview With Steve Bannon: On NBA Firestorm, Hong Kong Protests, and Trade Talk Prospects

By Simone Gao

When Chinese Vice Premier Liu He and his delegation arrive on Friday, they are going to be greeted by the newly composed entity list of 28 Chinese organizations over human rights abuses in Xinjiang. Following the blacklist, visa restrictions were imposed on Chinese officials for the same reason. All of these happened after Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam invoked emergency powers that were met with strong resistance from the protesters.

Will the U.S. and China head to a capital market war and technology war besides the trade war? Are the world’s first and second largest economies heading toward an inevitable decoupling? Simone Gao, host of the Zooming In program that airs on NTD, The Epoch Times’ sister media, had a comprehensive discussion with former chief White House strategist Steve Bannon on these issues.

This interview has been edited for clarity and brevity.

Simone Gao: Thank you very much, Mr. Bannon, for being with us again

Steve Bannon: Thanks for coming to the Breitbart embassy to chat.

Gao: All right. So the NBA [National Basketball Association] episode: Daryl Morey, the general manager of the Houston Rockets sent out a tweet supporting Hong Kong and all kinds of Chinese companies and organizations cut their ties with the team including stopping livestreaming Houston Rockets games. And then Morey apologized. So the question is: How do you think the American companies can resist this kind of pressure?

Bannon: This is absurd. I mean what Morey did was basic support of the Hong Kong protesters for their rights to have the rule of law. And it wasn’t just the Chinese companies. I mean, you saw the NBA, you saw the owner. The owner was a total coward. He’s supposed to be a capitalist. He was a total coward. They kowtowed. The NBA is supposed to so woke. I mean, they’re so sensitive to everybody else’s rights.

Gao: Exactly.

Bannon: They’re so woke. They’re the most woke of all sports industries in America, and it was humiliating what they did. And I think there are going to be severe ramifications.

This is outrageous. This I think, shows the people of China, of mainland China and Hong Kong, the moral cowardice of the corporations in America. They completely kowtowed to the CCP [Chinese Communist Party]. I mean, it was embarrassing what they came out with. And finally, they made Morey essentially take down the tweet and made him grovel. This is, I think for people in China and people in Hong Kong…you see really what freedom fighters are up against.

Gao: After Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam invoked emergency powers, the first thing she did was to enact the anti-mask law. And the speculation is of the reason they did that is because Western countries have a similar law. So if the Hong Kong government does the same thing, then Western countries wouldn’t be able to blame the Hong Kong government for doing the same thing against the protesters. Do they have a point?

Bannon: I think they don’t have a point at all. I mean what Carrie Lam has been, is a complete unmitigated disaster. Right? What they did by going back to colonial law and imposing it, what they’re trying to do is a creeping martial law. It’s not anything related to what Western countries have. All they’re trying to do is to try to get martial law in under the surface so that they can actually have de-facto martial law and not have to actually declare it, so that people in the West can’t sit there and go: “See, the CCP can’t control Hong Kong. They have to declare martial law”. It’s outrageous. What I want the protesters to say is: “Hey, we’ll think about not wearing masks when you think about not using tear gas on us.”

I think the protesters should continue to do what they’re doing, which is stand in defiance of Carrie Lam and her entire regime.

Gao: Everybody on Capitol Hill is saying it’s almost certain that the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act will be passed very soon.

Bannon: Well, look, it’s a hope. There’s a lot of effort. Listen, there’s a huge effort to pass it, but I wouldn’t take it as a foregone conclusion. It got voted out of the committee. Remember, right now the House of Representatives is completely caught up in this firestorm of impeachment. Right? And so not even new NAFTA, the USMCA, which is central to the United States’ economic growth.

So we’ve got to get through the House. We have to get it through the Senate. Right now we basically have it voted out of committee and I’m very enthusiastic about it, but we’ll have to see what happens. Anything in Washington DC right now is highly politicized around the whole concept of impeachment.

Gao; What could be the possible hurdle from the Senate?

Bannon: Wall Street and the corporations. You just saw what the NBA did. Remember the NBA is one of the most successful Western entities to come into China.

500 million people, Chinese citizens, have watched NBA games. The Houston Rockets and others are a phenomenon in China.

And you saw what their response was: immediate kowtow. Let’s get down and kowtow to the CCP.

It was embarrassing and humiliating as a citizen of the United States to see what they made him do. So don’t, don’t think for a second that in the United States Senate that you’re not going to have Wall Street, the corporations, everybody coming and saying, “Hey, this’ll hurt Hong Kong, financially. This will hurt businesses.”

So we don’t know. I think you’re seeing incrementally now with Carrie Lam, really the beginning of the implementation of martial law. We’ll have to see if the world’s prepared to support that. That’s why the Hong Kong act in the American Congress is so important. America’s really taking leadership. And you have people like Marco Rubio and Nancy Pelosi and people in the House that are saying, “‘Hey, we have to take some sort of formal stand against this.” And I think it’s only going to galvanize more and more people throughout the world to watch it. So I think that people in Hong Kong should know that they have many, many allies on the outside. It’s just, what is it going to take to bring everybody to a concerted action? And I think there’s going to have to be a warning. I believe that if there’s anything like close to a Tiananmen Square [Massacre] in Hong Kong, it’ll be the end of the CCP. I don’t believe the world’s prepared to tolerate that. And I think essentially by seeing this increasing awareness throughout the world and the focus on Hong Kong, that the CCP will get that understanding.

Gao: Let’s talk about President Donald Trump a little bit. Do you think Trump is for the two economies, the US and Chinese economy, to decouple?

Bannon: No, not at all. I think President Trump’s the exact opposite. I think his deal is to restructure the CCP, restructure the Chinese economy in that seven deep verticals and to really have a further coupling, but a coupling that works for everybody. You know, if we get to that part, it’s a huge win for Chinese working-class people and middle-class people.

There are others like myself and others—I’ve been called everything from a hawk to a super hawk right?

[I believe] the CCP’s never going to do that [enact the reforms the United States wants] because to do that would be to give up their control. And so what we have to start thinking about is a decoupling of these two economies and in decoupling, the Chinese economy under the CCP is going to collapse. If the CCP does not have the financing of the West, does not have the technology of the West, does not have access to the markets of the West—they can’t survive. The math is quite straightforward on this. And so that’s why I’m an advocate, as a super hawk, of saying we’ve had enough.

And President Trump, although he’s been very tough—this [China issue] has been his highest priority—with all the effort he has [made], these guys [Chinese negotiators] are still going to come over and try to play games. And you’re going to see that they’re not serious. And the reason they’re not serious at the end of the day is because they want an iron grip. Because they are a totalitarian regime. They’re not open to what their citizens have to say because the citizens have no rights and they don’t own any property. So I think we’re coming to decoupling and I think in that decoupling, it’ll end up breaking the CCP. And that will be the path and the journey that the Chinese people take for their freedom.