Finding Personal Meaning in the Midst of the Covid-19 Pandemic
Today is Sunday 26th April, another Chinese Wuhan virus lockdown day in Australia. Current circumstances continue to suit me as the world is in abeyance and I live in peace, quite and solitude. I find myself hoping that this lockdown will last for months to come but, given that Australia appears to be one of the most successful countries in the world in combatting the virus, I fear that restrictions may soon be lifted which will entail my having to deal with the world once again. This is not something that I enjoy in any way, shape or form. However, whilst returning to the world is inevitable, I shall come out of the other side of these lock down conditions with a much stronger sense of the way in which I want to live my life. The reason for this fact is quite simple. Living this isolated life has suited me to the point where I might almost say that my current circumstances are ideal.
Beyond my immediate circumstances, purchasing a piece of remote land complete with a small dwelling recommends itself as something that I want to do, perhaps something that is even a necessity for me in terms of realizing the state of complete solitude that I desire. This desire to live remotely also has a distinct pragmatic aspect in terms of pre-empting what I see as the ultimate outcome of the Covid-19 pandemic. Broadly speaking I would say that the world is going to be a whole lot less safe following this virus as it has exposed and exacerbated the tensions between China – a lying, subhuman, brutal and inhumane totalitarian regime – and the rest of the world. These tensions will continue to play out for years to come, perhaps reaching a flash point. If that flash point is reached, then I want to be living remotely and self-sufficiently.
The idea of living self-sufficiently might, at first sight, appear to be somewhat idealistic and perhaps such is the case for now as I really don’t know the first thing about survivalist living. However, in the shorter term I am seeking to put myself in a position where I might live for a year without any need to engage with the world, including not having to shop for supplies. I anticipated the panic shopping that would occur across Australia and so, by the time people had started panic buying, I already had six months worth of supplies. The panic buying lasted for around 4 weeks before supermarkets put a purchasing limit of 2 products per customer on just about every product in their stores. Once the shelves became full again, I will shop 3-4 times per week in order to add to my supplies.
It will not be long before I have enough food, water, beverages, personal care products, hygiene products and cleaning products to see me through an entire year. Stocking up on these supplies is just common sense given that disruption to food supply chains has happened under Covid-19 and will happen again possibly as the result of a much more deadly virus with a fatality rate of viruses such as Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) or the Ebola virus. In this context there is a fascinating interactive map showing the dollar value of Australia’s imports of processed and unprocessed foods from different countries around the world. Note to self to analyse the map in terms of which foods would be in short supply should there be another pandemic that disrupted the global food chains.
China’s Response to Covid-19 Was to Cover It Up at Any Cost
It is now a well known fact that China covered up their virus when cases emerged in China. China also lied to the world about human to human transmissions of Covid-19 whilst allowing their citizens to travel around the world, a fact which ensured that the Chinese virus became a pandemic. It is also a well known fact that China has also consistently lied about the number of Covid-19 cases and the number of fatalities in China. The lies continue with evidence that China was preparing for the pandemic long before it announced human to human transmissions to the world. For example, documents from the China’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) apparently evidence that the CDC told its local branches to prepared for the virus through, for example, building up local expertise.
In a piece of news that I have not come across before, the Head of China’s National Health Commission, Ma Xiaowei, apparently said in the early days of the coronavirus that the epidemic could develop into major public health event. However, rather than advising that China act on this information, Ma Xiaowei advised in a memo that officials should unite around Xi Xin Ping and stated that political considerations and social stability were “key priorities” in the lead up to two significant political events in China. In other words, the threat of the virus was ignored in favour of political considerations, thereby allowing time for the virus to spread. Ironically the virus did spread and the political meetings did not go ahead.
China Lied to the World About Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome and It Has Lied About Covid-19
As I have said many times, when faced with a “Big Lie” it is important to continue to tell the truth. A story from “China Uncensored” goes into some interesting details about the CCP cover of up the Wuhan virus.
One of these details relates to the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) virus with the story reporting that the first cases of SARS were reported in late November 2002. However, China did not inform the World Health Organization (WHO) about SARS until February 2003. Sound familiar? It should because the timelines around the first cases of the CCP virus are roughly the same with China again failing to tell the WHO about the CPP virus. Perhaps the difference this time round is that the CCP had a much greater control of the WHO as evidenced by the fact that the WHO told the world the Chinese story that there had been no human to human transmissions of the virus. The WHO also kowtowed to China in advising countries not to close their borders even though the there was an obvious threat of the virus crossing borders.
Following SARS, the CCP introduced what was supposed to a fail safe system to track virus outbreaks. Essentially doctors across China would enter data relating to virus outbreaks into a centralized database. That way authorities could determine if there were any new virus outbreaks. Whilst testing the system worked in the simulation, it totally failed in reality because local health officials withheld information from the reporting system for fear of delivering bad news to authorities. This is understandable given that those who report bad news to the CCP are not looked upon favourably whilst those who manage to cover up events that could damage the CCP tend to be promoted. A while back I opined that the Chinese obsession with saving face is an antiquated, culturally backwards custom that has resulted in millions of people worldwide being infected with a virus along with hundreds of thousands of people dying from the virus. Fear of delivering bad news is an equally backward form of behaviour.
China’s “Mask Diplomacy” is Morally Repugnant
Yesterday I reported a case where India had received defective medical supplies from China and today it is the turn of Canada, with the country receiving 1,000,000 defective medical masks from China. The same source reports that a company in Shenzhen, China, has been selling masks that it has labelled as having been produced in Taiwan. Taiwan has pointed out that it does not sell masks. It donates them as was the case with donating 2,000,000 masks to Japan. Today I came across a story that Chinese companies have increased the price of face masks being sold to Australia by as much as 1000%. In other words, these Chinese companies are out to profit from a pandemic that has caused untold human suffering and misery. I will say again, as I have said many times, these people are subhuman because they lack the moral sensibility displayed by normal human beings who would not be able to bring themselves to exploit people in need.
The Economic Consequences of the Covid-19 Pandemic
I am please to be able to report that according to a, “Prime Time News” story, some companies pulling out of China – Japan’s Citizen factory and Microsoft’s Nokia factory for example – in favour of either moving these companies back home with incentives being offered by their governments or by moving the companies to a third country such as India or Vietnam. The story also reports that over 100 large factories have so far closed in China. A second story from “Gravitas” suggests that 1000 companies are looking to pull out of China and that they have India in mind for their relocation. I know that I will be berated for offering this thought, but China’s virus has resulted in economic chaos around the world along with millions of job losses and so it seems rather fitting, perhaps poetically just, that China should suffer economically.
Indeed, looking ahead, the fact of companies pulling out of China gives me hope that talk about the world waking up to the “Chinese Agenda” of becoming the dominant world power might actually become a reality. Further hope in this direction comes from a story reporting that European leaders are waking up to the fact that China may well be seeking to gain advantage and to profit from the pandemic by purchasing distressed companies and assets. Australia has already acted in this respect with the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) setting the dollar value for reviewing foreign investment bids in Australia to zero dollars. In other words, every foreign investment bid in Australia will scrutinized for a period of six months from the date of the announcement. Hopefully this process will become the new norm.
In another story from “Gravitas” Palki Sharm – a hard hitting reporter with stories delivered on the basis of significant quantities of well researched evidence – reports that Chinese companies are seeking for to buy up distressed companies in Europe, particularly Spain and Italy. However, thankfully, European leaders seem to have woken up to the fact that the Chinese government and Chinese companies are looking for hostile takeover opportunities. Italy for example has announced restrictions on foreign purchases to prevent China swooping in to buy up distressed companies. Spain and Germany have also announced new measures to prevent hostile take overs from China. Whilst acting to prevent China trying to buy up assets around the world is important, there is a need to look more broadly at the question of investments related to China.
For example, American investors are being warned about investing in Chinese stocks. In one story – which I remember from the pre-covid-19 days – a major Chinese coffee chain falsified its accounts, fabricating 40% of its annual sales. American investors lost millions and rather than being apologetic the chain took pride in having conned American investors out of so much money. I want you to remember this point because it speaks to the xenophobic arrogance of some Chinese people who see themselves as superior to the West. Whilst American investors have lost millions of dollars, perhaps we can take some solace in the fact that Chinse investors have reportedly lost a combined total of 4.25 billion $US on investments bought from the Bank of China after an oil collapse. The notion of poetic justice comes to mind once again.
China’s Hard Power and Soft Power War Against the World
A soft power war involves engaging in activities to influence and co-opt others through appeal and attraction. A hard power war involves using military and economic means to influence the behavior or interests of other political bodies. China’s soft power and hard power strategies have been surfaced during the Covid-19 pandemic. This video from Sky News will give you a good overview of soft power and hard power tactics ahead of the examples that I cover in more detail below.
China is exercising its military might to usurp territories in the South China seas. China’s State Council announced that it had established two new Administrative Districts in the South China seas, and in doing so it has given these areas – known as the Paracel and Spratly islands – Chinese names. Ownership of the two areas is contested by five other countries. China has also renamed 25 islands and reefs along with 55 “undersea” entities in the South China Sea. China has also been exercising a military presence near the Senkaku Islands – also renamed by China – in the East China Sea with Japan and China disputing ownership of this island. Whilst the West is focused upon and distracted by the CCP virus, China is engaged in “aggressive expansionism”.
China has used world institutions such as the World Health Organization to further its strategic aims and it would be reasonable to characterise tactics such as these as a part of China’s “soft power” ware against the world. According to a report from “60 Minutes” the WHO has done China’s bidding from the start of the CPP virus first through simply accepting China’s report that there had been no human to human transmissions of the CCP virus and then by kowtowing to China in advising the world that there was no need to close country borders.
Donald Trump has been vocal in his criticism of the role of the WHO in managing the Covid-19 pandemic and he has now announced that he is suspending funding to the WHO pending his inquiry into their “mismanagement” and “cover up” of the coronavirus. It is easy to see Trump’s point when you have the WHO Director General praising China for the “extraordinary measures” that it has taken to contain the outbreak.
Another example of China exercising its soft power is China’s “Belt and Road Initiative ” which, should it be successful, would very likely see China controlling trade routes around the world. This would, of course, further China’s aim to subordinate countries to its will. The case of Sri Lanka provides a cautionary tale for the Belt and Road Initiative. In 2010 Sri Lanka agreed to pay a Chinese state-owned corporation $1.5bn to build a new port. Last December, struggling to make repayments, the government agreed to lease the port – and 15,000 acres surrounding it – to the same Chinese company for 99 years. One way to look at this is that China made the loan under conditions that would ensure being able to secure the port if Sri Lanka defaulted on repaying the loan. Thus, China now has the lease of a port in a strategically important region, the Indian Ocean.
China has set up Confucius Institutes all over the world, including 50 Institutes in the United Kingdom. These institutes exist as partnerships between colleges and universities in China and colleges and universities in other countries. Their purpose is said to be promoting Chinese language and culture and supporting local Chinese teaching internationally. The partnerships are funded and arranged by Hanban which is affiliated with the Chinese Ministry of Education. From another perspective, setting up of Confucius Institutes around the world forms a part of China’s “soft power” strategy of trying to infiltrate countries and to exert influence over its citizens. For example, a significant number of Australian universities have Confucius Institutes on their campuses which raises the significant question of what “supporting local Chinese teaching internationally” actually means. How much influence do these institutes have over teaching that is happening at Australian universities? Sweden has now shut down every Confucius Institution in its country citing “security concerns” as the reason.
Whilst I am not quite sure where the next example fits in the soft power / hard power distinction, the Chinese Communist Party views every Chinese person in the Chinese diaspora as potentially being able to be coerced to further China’s strategic aims. Furthermore, families of diaspora Chinese who are still living in China have been threatened when their overseas relatives have been perceived to have acted against the interests of China. I have written on this subject before, arguing for example that whilst not all Chinese residents in Australia will be loyal to the CCP, the danger is that the CCP will still be able to exercise control over these people through, for example, threatening members of their families who still live in China. Furthermore, some of the Chinese diaspora will still be loyal to China and despite the best efforts of the Australian Intelligence Security Organization (ASIO) Australia will never fully know which of its residents may be loyal to the CCP.
Has World War III Started Without Anyone Noticing?
Palki Sharma argues that we are already in WWIII without anyone really noticing. A lot of you will react vehemently to this claim, thinking that what she is engaging in sensationalism but Palki Sharma argues the point on pure logic from the definition of what constitutes a war. This is exactly how I argued that China had engaged in an act of biological warfare.
Words have meanings and Sharma shows that “war” has 5 significations; death and human misery; bleeding economies; shortage of supplies; capture of territories; and emergence of new powers. She then argues very persuasively – and I agree with her – that we have seen each of these events occur during the CPP virus. Thus, by definition World War III has started. However, this war is a different sort of war and here I would return to a point that I have made on previous occasions. China does not think in terms of five year plans. It thinks in terms of generational plans. Thus, whilst it might appear, for example, that the Chinese economy is suffering in this war just as the economies of other countries around the world are currently suffering, the Chinese may well have accepted that such would be the case whilst focussing on what their position in the world will look like in say fifty years time.
I honestly can’t even begin to think in the way that the CCP thinks and so I have no idea what China’s long term plan to become the dominant world power might look like. The only point that occurs to me is that whilst the world might have woken up to what China is trying to do, the CCP may well believe that the West is stupid enough to go back to “business as normal” once the CCP virus is under control. However, this scenario currently appears to be unlikely. Looking at what is happening now around the world – a severe backlash against China that will likely see countries around the world disentangling themselves economically from the Chinese – we might surmise that China has gotten things wrong. To put it another way, the war does not really seem to be going in China’s favour. This is true not just in terms of the potential impact on the Chinese economy but also in terms of, for example, the fact that the countries around the world are increasingly suspicious of China.
There was a story – which I can unfortunately no longer locate – that argued that the CCP talks in an echo chamber. This means that the CCP only ever hears it own words and, as such, the CCP truths simply reinforce themselves because the reverberated truths are never challenged. If China has misjudged its strategy then perhaps this echo chamber thinking is one of the reasons that this has happened. Whatever the case with the Chinese strategy, I believe that these are dangerous times and that whilst the majority – the herd – focus on the issue of the Chinese virus they should in reality be thinking about what is coming next. Having engaged in an act of biological warfare by unleashing the CCP virus on the world, China is not going to stop. It has longer terms plans with some of these plans being covered in this post. For example, how will tensions in the South China sea play out? What will happen with China’s Belt and Road Initiative? How will China counter foreign companies moving their businesses out of China?
First Published 26th April, 2020