Are Hong Kong & Macau Countries?


Discuss this video on reddit

Special Thanks:




Welcome to Hong Kong: the island city of China packed with seven million people at unbelievable density. But if you, dear tourist, start from Victoria Harbor and head toward the mainland you'll find that while Hong Kong is China she doesn't act like it.

To cross the bridge your passport must be checked and stamped and checked and stamped. Not because you're a suspicious foreigner: Mainland Chinese can't just stroll across either, but rather because Hong Kong has her own immigration policy.

And Hong Kong isn't the only isolated island, there's nearby Macau with her own passport-checking bridge and a ferry between them -- which also checks passports. Travel from Hong Kong to Macau to the mainland and back and you'll end up with three stamps, and that goes for everyone: Hong Kongese can't just live in Macau and Macanese can't just live in Hong Kong and they both can just live on the mainland.

Yet it's all China. And inconvenient travel isn't the only speciality of these sister islands. They also have:

  • Separate governments and political parties.
  • Separate police.
  • Separate money.
  • Postal systems.
  • Schools.
  • and languages.

Hong Kong even has her own Olympic team which competed in the 2008 Beijing olympics which doesn't make any kind of sense.

The only things these sister islands don't have that other countries do:

1) Their own armies.

Though that isn't unique with modern countries, and…

2) Formal diplomatic relations.

Though even this unclear as both are members of international trade organizations. And other countries have 'embassies' in Hong Kong and Macau, sure China won't let them be called embassies, those are only for mighty Beijing -- they're called consulates even if they're bigger than Beijing's embassy.

All this makes Hong Kong and Macau, as mentioned in a previous video, the most country-like countries that aren't countries.

So why are they China?

China says so.

It's called 'One China, Two Systems' -- though fast-counters in the audience will see it should be called 'One China, Three Systems. Also there's China's special economic zones (where capitalism runs free) making it more like 'One China Four Systems' -- and if China got her way it might be 'One China, Five Systems'.

But we can't talk about everything so back to China, Hong Kong, and Macau (oh my!)

China ended up having these two essentialy city-states, as always, because Empire.

Portugal showed up in Asia in the 1500s and didn't exactly make friends. China and Portugal skirmished until Portugal used Bigger-pile-of-money diplomacy to bribe a local Chinese official into turning over the islands of Macau as a trading port.

Later, Britannia found China and discovered she had many of lovely things like silks and porcelain and precious, precious tea that Britannia craved. In return China wanted from Britannia… to be left alone and Britannia nobly agreed to respect China's independence and soverenty.



Nothing generates demand like addiction -- which Britannia was happy to supply. And, her bigger-gun diplomacy secured Hong Kong as a base through which the drugs must flow.

Later in a world where telegraphs and lightbulbs were newfangled a lease gave control of Hong Kong to Britannia for 99 years or quote "as good as forever", kicking the transfer problem down the generations to be delt with by the unimaginably futuristic society of the 1990s.

Thus these sister cities grow up under the influence of their Emperiffic parents. Hong Kong had English common law and lived in Britannia's org chart as one of her many crown colonies and Macau had Portuguese civil law.

And the parental effect is still seen today: visit Hong Kong and she is clearly Britannia's daughter what with her love of business and international finance (and lasers!) and english-accented language and near-identical transport system.

Macau had a more troubled adolescence, as her bigger sister stole the spotlight with her trading skills. But Macau eventually grew up to be the gambling capital of the world. She's Las Vegas x10 with a mixture of Portugal and China.

But Empires come and empires go, and the 90s eventually arrived, meaning Britannia's lease expired. Portugal claimed the treaty gave her control of Macau forever but China disagreed and the UN was in a no-empires-no-longer mood, and frankly had Portugal complained too much, China could have used her own bigger-army diplomacy at this point to resolve the situation.

So the transfer was going to happen: but the world was nervous about China, what with the lingering communism and all, so the deal was the Empire's daughters would go but they had to remain basically independent, to which China agreed as long as everyone else agreed to call them China.

The situation was a bit like if the US had to give Alaska back to Russia and Russia super promised to leave Alaska self-governing. You couldn't blame the locals for being nervous.

But, unlike what you'd expect in this case China has mostly left the little sister islands alone.

So everything is dandy...


The handover came with its own version of the as-good-as-forever clause. China didn't agree to leave Hong Kong and Macau alone for all time, only fifty years, again passing political problems to a future generation. (Hopefully one that's actually unimaginably futuristic this time).

Anyway, assuming such provincial concerns as these are not rendered irrelevant by the singularity, what happens in the 2040s? Will Hong Kong and Macau remain tiny city-states or will they lose their independence and be absorbed?

Only China knows, and China does not say.

The Law You Won't Be Told

Discuss this video on reddit

Special Thanks:

McSteed TV, Scott Weinberg, & others.

The Law You Won't Be Told

On a Jury you know your options: guilty, or not. But there's another choice that neither the judge nor the lawyers will tell you -- often because they're not allowed to and also it might better if you don't know.

This video will tell you that third choice, but be warned: simply watching may prevent you from ever serving on a jury -- so this is your last chance to hit the pause button before you learn about...

Jury nullification: when the defendant is 100% beyond-a-reasonable-doubt guilty but the jurors also think he shouldn't be punished. The jury can nullify the law and let him go free.

But before your on your next jury and yell 'Null! Booya!' at the judge you should know that just talking about jury nullification in the wrong circumstances can get you arrested. Though a video such as this one, simply acknowledging the existence of jury nullification and in no way advocating it is totally OK. And, while we're at it:

(CGP Grey is not a lawyer, this is not legal advice it is meant for entertainment purposes only. Seriously, guy, don't do anything in a court of law based on what an Internet Video told you. No joke.)

So why can't you do this? It's because nullification isn't in the law †, but exists as a logical consequence of two other laws:

First: that juries can't be punished for a 'wrong' decision -- no matter the witnesses, DNA, or video proof show. That's the point of a jury: to be the decider.


Second: when a defendant is found not-guilty, that defendant can't be tried again for the same crime ‡.

So there are only two stated options: guilty or not, it's just that jury nullification is when the words of the jurors don't match their thoughts -- for which they can't be punished and their not-guilty decision can't be changed.

These laws are necessary for juries to exist within a fair system, but the logical consequence is... contentious -- lawyers and judges argue about jury nullification like physicists argue about quantum mechanics. Both are difficult to observe and the interpretation of both has a huge philosophical ramification for the subject as a whole.

Is nullification the righteous will of the people or an anarchy of twelve or just how citizens judge their laws?

The go-to example in favor of nullification is the fugitive slave law: when Northern juries refused to convict escaped slaves and set them free.

Can't argue with that.

But the anarchy side is Southern juries refusing to convict white lynch mobs. Not humanity at its best.

But both of these are juries nullifying the law.

Also juries have two options where their thoughts may differ from their words. Jury nullification usually refers to the non-guilty version but juries can convict without evidence just as easily as they can acquit in spite of it.

This is jury nullification too and the jurors are protected by the first rule, though the second doesn't apply and judges have the power to overrule a guilty verdict if they think the jurors are… nt the best. And, of course, a guilty defendant can appeal, at least for a little while. Which makes the guilty form of jury nullification weaker than the not-guilty kind. Cold comfort, though.

Given the possibility of jurors who might ignore the law as written, it's not surprising when picking jurors for a trial, lawyers -- whose existence is dependent on an orderly society -- will ask about nullification, usually in the slightly roundabout way:

"Do you have any beliefs that might prevent you from making a decision based strictly on the law?"

If after learning about jury nullification you think it's a good idea: answer 'yes' and you'll be rejected, but answer 'no' with the intent to get on the jury to nullify and you've just committed perjury -- technically a federal crime -- which makes the optimal strategy once on a jury to zip it.

But This introduces a problem for jurors who intend to nullify: telling the other 11 angry men about your position is risky, which makes nullification as a tool for fixing unjust laws nation wide problematic.

(Not to mention about 95% of criminal charges in the United States never make it to trial and rather end in a plea bargain, but that's a story for another time.)

The only question about jury nullification that may matter is if jurors should be told about it and the courts are near universal † in their decision: 'no way'.

Which might seem self-interested -- again, courts depend on the law -- but there's evidence that telling jurors about nullification changes the way they vote by making evidence less relevant -- which isn't surprising: that's what nullification is. But mock trials also show sympathetic defendants get more non-guilty verdicts and unsympathetic defendants get more guilty verdicts in front of jurors who were explicitly told about nullification compared to those who weren't.

Which sounds bad, but it also isn't difficult to imagine situations where jurors blindly following the law would be terribly unjust -- which is the heart of nullification: juries judge the law, not solely evidence.

In the end righteous will of the people, or anarchy, or citizen lawmaking -- the system leaves you to decide -- but as long as courts are fair they require these rules, so jury nullification will always be with us.


† As with any legal topic, check your local rules and regulations. The video is about Jury Nullification in the United States, but of course, in the US things are still different in each of the states. For example, New Hampshire (live-free-or-die) passed a law explicitly allowing judges and lawyers to inform juries of their ability to nullify laws.

‡ This is the 'double jeopardy' clause -- made famous by its wildly inaccurate movie representation. Each instance of a crime counts as a new crime, so robbing a bank and being found not-guilty on a technicality does not give you a rob-the-bank-again-for-free card.

This Video Will Hurt

Special Thanks:

Total Philosophy

Saylor Fielder

Julian Yap

Ardalan Moazeni

Dr Clifton K. Meader

Dr Fabrizio Benedetti

Max Ramsay - @maxafax, The Soden Family, Conan Kudo (ニール・ゴンパ), Kira Lanier, Lisa Marie Terry, Dave Roberts (the Best Dad ever),, Carine Frsch, Mauceri76, David Benko, Team Fluger, A.Manning, Smuffie00, Robert English, @jwvdiermen, Laura Saura Maura Watiker, Nicholas Hartikainen, M Go Blue!, @chrisaiello, @Bad1z, Kuffer Sam

Selected sources:

Mass Psychogenic Illness Attributed to Toxic Exposure at a High School

Protean nature of mass sociogenic illness From possessed nuns to chemical and biological terrorism fears

Getting the pain you expect: mechanisms of placebo, nocebo and reappraisal effects in humans

Are some people sensitive to mobile phone signals? Within participants double blind randomised provocation study

Adverse events attributable to nocebo in randomized controlled drug trials in fibromyalgia syndrome and painful diabetic peripheral neuropathy: systematic review.

Nocebo-induced hyperalgesia during local anesthetic injection.

Are media warnings about the adverse health effects of modern life self-fulfilling? An experimental study on idiopathic environmental intolerance attributed to electromagnetic fields

Symptom Experience After Discontinuing Use of Estrogen Plus Progestin

Spatio-temporal differences in the history of health and noise complaints about Australian wind farms: evidence for the psychogenic, “communicated disease” hypothesis.

Thyroxine: anatomy of a health scare