Covid-58

Dan O'Heirity

Good God, China is Trying to Play the Victim Card

A certain Hu Xijin, the editor the State owned Global Times, a pro-communist newspaper in China, has called Australia chewing gum on the bottom of China’s shoe. He added that the gum should be scraped off with a rock. Professor Chen Hong, an academic in Shanghai, and a significant contributor to the State owned Global Times, defends this characterization of Australia in the interview below.

Chen Hong says that the designation of Australia as chewing gum is nothing more than a metaphor to describe Australia’s “repeated display of hostility” towards China. This hostility is apparently evidenced by Australia’s call for an independent inquiry into the origins and spread of the Chinese virus. When asked why China seems so adverse to calls for an independent investigation into the origins and spread of the Chinese virus, Chen Hong becomes terribly defensive and argues that Australia is actually asking for an “independent inquiry” on the grounds of a lack of transparency from China around the origins and spread of the virus. Not surprisingly, Chen Hong sees to lack of transparency on the part of China.

Note the emergence of a new discourse or a new narrative from Chen Hong. This narrative is that China is a victim of the virus just like other countries around the world. This is a new tactic by the CPP and one that is utterly ridiculous in a way that only CCP attempts to change narratives can be ridiculous. Watch, for example, Professor Chen Hong saying of the virus that “it’s like a meteor hitting some place on the earth. You cannot blame the victim.” The analogy makes absolutely no sense. Meteors hit and devastate a particular area of the earth. They don’t then go on to spread a killer virus around the world. However, the more telling point if you follow his analogy to its logical conclusion is that China has been hit by three meteors, H5N1 Avian Flu, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome and now the CPP Wuhan virus. In each case, the virus has spread to other countries with SARS spreading worldwide. Seriously, for a Professor he is very, very stupid.

A story from World Is One News (WION) with the wonderful Palki Sharma, points out the very important fact that both China and the US are trying to control the Covid-19 narrative.

Trump is questioning the origins of the virus, China’s Covid-19 figures and the role of the WHO in managing the pandemic. Meanwhile the Chinese Foreign Minister has claimed very vocally that China is a victim of the virus. Details matter in the search for the truth. All that I would say here is that there is clear evidence of a Chinese strategy to counter attempts by countries around the world to hold China accountable for the spread of the virus.

Meanwhile the world is quite rightly calling China out for the pandemic. In what is almost a piece of comedy, a law firm in Florida has filed a class action suit suing China for damages that have resulted from the CPP virus. The largest tabloid newspaper in Germany, Bild, has sent an itemized bill to China for losses incurred by Germany as a result of the CPP virus. The itemized bill – covering for example losses in tourism and losses incurred by businesses – comes to €149 billion or US$165 billion. I know, of course, that they never expected to get any money. It was all about making a very public statement to the CCP leadership. Mission accomplished in the only terms that the CCP really understands. Another case of loss of face for the CCP leadership as they are taken to task by a tabloid newspaper.

I Know It’s Wrong, But I Feel Happy When I Read Stories of China’s Woes

To give you an idea of the scale of ship building in China, China remains a global leader in this industry, taking in around 40% of worldwide orders for new ships. However, this report details the story of shipyards in the Nantong region – North of Shanghai – where production has been significantly impacted by the slow down of the world’s economy.

From what I can tell, orders at the Nantong shipyards have dropped by one third leading to unemployment in the immediate region where people would have predominantly worked for the shipyard. The report refers to “ghost towns” located around the shipping yards. There is a another story of a ship yard closing, this time a yard that produced oil tankers. Again, the reason is a reduction in global demand for oil tankers. Unfortunately the response of local Chinese Governments to the reduction in demand for ships – and for a host of other “goods” including coal, steel and glass – was to keep companies artificially alive through pumping in cash. These companies are referred to as “zombie companies” and the aim in supporting these zombie companies was to keep China’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) figure high.

Over-production in China has been an issue across a number of industries, including shipping, for years. A number of these industries have been “sustained” not just by local governments but also by the Chinese government through pumping in money from the State Bank to keep businesses artificially afloat (bad shipping pun), thereby ensuring jobs in China. Ensuring economic stability and social stability is core to the CCPs strategy to rule the country. However, since 2010, 140 Chinese Shipyards have gone out of business. This state of affairs extends to other industries in China that have also been sustained through the CCP pumping money into the industries. The issue now is that China cannot continue along the route of keeping these industries going artificially and so China needs to re-think how the economy will grown in years to come. In other words, economic stability has become a serious concern and a lack of economic stability might lead to a lack of social stability.

China was clearly experiencing economic woes before the CCP pandemic. However, the pandemic has added to China’s economic problems. According to a report from “China Uncensored“, the CCP virus resulted in the shut down of the Chinese economy in January and February 2020, a fact which which will have significantly impacted China’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) during that period.

Whilst the CCP is trying to get people back to work to kickstart the economy, it may be the case that getting people back to work will lead to a second wave of CCP virus infections in China, something that has apparently already happened in Wuhan and in Beijing where there have been new CCP virus clusters. Furthermore, China will not be able to implement an export led recovery because of the way that the CCP virus has impacted the economies of countries around the world. Here I would also mention the point that I made earlier in this piece. In the coming years, China may well find that countries around the world re-think their trading partnerships with China. The long term effect of the pandemic on the Chinese economy could be almost catastrophic.

Is the Chinese Regime Likely to Fall as a Result of an Economic Downturn in China?

The “China Uncensored” story on the state of the Chinese economy also has the interviewee – Gordon Chang, referred to as an expert on China – offering the opinion that the CCP virus could be a regime ender for China with evidence already emerging of unrest in the country. This story, for example, reports that 100 policemen armed with machine guns are patrolling a city 120 miles Northwest of Beijing. The official explanation is that the police are fighting street crime. However, if the story is to be believed than street crime is apparently almost non-existent in the area. An alternative explanation is that the police are ensuring there are no riots or demonstrations against the CCP. Whatever the case, I would have to say that it is unlikely in the extreme that the CPP virus will be a regime ender for the CPP because, quite frankly, military might will win out over what would most likely be uncoordinated and fragmented outpourings of anger against the CPP.

The other aspect to this question about the end of the regime in China concerns what might “cause” an uprising or at least significant dissent in China. In other words, it does not seem to suffice just to point to unemployment as a possible catalyst for an uprising. Another possible cause of the Chinese protesting against the CPP could be the the longer term economic picture in China that I discussed earlier in this post. Chinese authorities cannot keeping pumping money into industries that are non-sustainable. This will mean that the economy will have to restructure and that restructure will take time. The other distinct possibility, as already mentioned, is that countries will re-think their economic relations with China. This could play out in two ways. First countries could “direct” their private companies to move out of China. Secondly, countries could put in place strategies to reduce their trading reliance on China.

There is a another possible factor in the question of the anger of Chinese citizens, one that it is difficult if not impossible to quantify because China’s figures for CCP virus cases and fatalities are universally believed to be entirely concocted. However, let’s say that there have been tens of thousands of deaths from the virus and that the Chinese people are angry about this fact. This might lead to protests against the CCP. It’s a logical line of argument but unfortunately the Chinese people only have access to the news that CCP sanctions which pretty much means that they are not told the truth about anything, including the truth about the origins of the virus, the number of confirmed cases or the number of fatalities. Indeed, it is most likely the case that the majority of Chinese believe that the United States is responsible for the virus that has killed their family members.

First Published May 5th, 2020

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