by Dragan Filipovic
“A riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma” is how Winston Churchill described the Soviet regime in 1939, which is an apt depiction of the machinations of the Chinese ruling clique today.
Pundits had expected that the country’s strict Zero Covid policy, which has for three years been crippling the economy and driving the population to its physical and psychological brink, would finally be lifted after President Xi Jinping secured a third five-year term at the 20th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in October. However, that did not happen.
According to the United States Institute of Peace, “Xi, like his two immediate predecessors, aspires to occupy concurrently the senior most leadership positions in all the three major constituent components of the party-military-state: the CCP, the PRC and the People’s Liberation Army (PLA). Having now secured the top party post, Xi is well on track to be re-elected PRC president at the 14th National People’s Congress, scheduled to convene in March 2023. As for the PLA, last week he was reappointed chair of the CCP Central Military Commission (CMC) and in March he will be formally reappointed to lead the PRC’s CMC. (Membership of the two CMCs is identical although the fiction of two separate commissions is maintained to preserve the party-state distinction.)“
But Beijing’s hand was forced by mass protests which erupted across the country, triggered by a blaze on November 24th in Urumqi – which had been in a lockdown for over 100 days – resulting in ten deaths as firefighters were unable for several hours to gain access to the sealed compound. Beijing finally lifted the quarantine and testing measures in early December.
Fear poses the biggest problem for the Chinese after the lifting of these measures, as they had been placed in a constant panic mode for three years and many still insist on undergoing regular Covid testing, ignorant of the fact that it is completely meaningless and generates up to 90% false positive results in asymptomatic persons.
In his book, “Math Murder in Media Manufactured Madness” Indian author Bhaskaran Raman was able to statistically prove that lockdowns and other Covid-19 measures caused unnecessary deaths:
Nearly 2,000 infants die in India every day, from preventable, malnutrition, and hygiene-related causes. In light of this, the paranoia around Covid-19 causing the death of the old and comorbid, and the status of the disease as a public health issue of unforeseen scale, has been both intellectually dishonest and morally abhorrent. Note furthermore, that while infant deaths result in the loss of several decades of life, Covid-19 deaths have mostly been among old and comorbid, with the average age of Covid-19 death even higher than the average age of non-Covid-19 death. This further underlines the disproportionality of the fear surrounding Covid-19.
…the brouhaha made about Covid-19 being a public health threat of unknown or unforeseen scale was all a gross exaggeration, and the pretense of “saving lives” hogwash. The level of dishonesty was made possible by the murder of basic math leading to a complete imbalance in Covid-19 threat perception in the minds of the public.
The agenda behind lockdowns had never been about public health, and was definitely not based on science – which even ‘I am Science‘ Dr. Anthony Fauci was forced to admit in his court deposition on November 23rd when he stated that he had based his unprecedented US economic lockdowns on the draconian measures employed by the Chinese.
Besides statistics, basic logic and common sense – as well as the 934,000 healthcare experts signatories of the Great Barrington Declaration – all expose lockdowns for what it is: a dangerous tool that weakens the immune system due to a lack of exposure to pathogens, making the inevitable contact with the virus riskier and all the while postponing herd immunity, thus prolonging the duration of the pandemic. This has now been empirically proven in China as the number of infections has exploded since the lifting of the lockdowns.
Dr. Fauci’s response was in any case completely disingenuous – as is his wont – since it was not the CCP, but rather his old friends at the Rockefeller Foundation who in 2010 first envisioned the lockdown scenario for their pandemic simulation called ‘Operation Lockstep‘ which described in detail the steps which would be adopted by China and Fauci a decade later:
The Chinese government’s quick imposition and enforcement of mandatory quarantine for all citizens, as well as its instant and near-hermetic sealing off of all borders, saved millions of lives, stopping the spread of the virus far earlier than in other countries and enabling a swifter post-pandemic recovery.
China’s government was not the only one that took extreme measures to protect its citizens from risk and exposure. During the pandemic, national leaders around the world flexed their authority and imposed airtight rules and restrictions, from the mandatory wearing of face masks to body-temperature checks at the entries to communal spaces like train stations and supermarkets.
The first full lockdown was imposed in Wuhan on January 23, 2020, the first time such a measure was taken since the Black Plague in the 14th century. On the day Wuhan was sealed off by the authorities, Gauden Galea, the WHO representative to China stated, “The lockdown of 11 million people is unprecedented in public health history, so it is certainly not a recommendation the WHO has made,” but a week later the WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus arrived in China and heaped praise on the Chinese leadership for the “extraordinary measures” taken to contain the ‘novel’ coronavirus.
The question then arises as to why the CCP decided to stick to Zero Covid for three years while the rest of the world has moved on long ago, after concluding that the virus has become endemic and doesn’t pose an acute threat. The Epoch Times offers a possible explanation, claiming that China’s mass Covid testing regime has helped an elite group within the CCP to get extremely rich:
Since the beginning of this year, after seemingly endless rounds of virus outbreaks, China’s cities have adopted routine nucleic acid testing for residents as a pandemic control measure. The Chinese authorities are marketing the large-scale testing, provided free of charge, as a shining example of upright leadership. While the CCP authorities parrot their “concern” for the health of the Chinese public, the state medical insurance fund coffers are emptied to line the pockets of China’s most elite, public interest groups.
Analysts at Soochow Securities estimated the costly Pandemic Control Measures annual cost to be 1.72 trillion yuan (US$ 258 billion), or 1.5 percent of China’s GDP in 2021. If it continues at the same pace in 2022, it will surpass the CCP’s 2022 defense budget of 1.45 trillion yuan ($217.5 billion).
Those are conservative numbers compared to Goldman Sachs which had estimated testing 70 percent of China’s population every two days to cost $370 billion, or 2.2 percent of China’s 2021 GDP!
Besides grift, the CCP is riveted by incompetence and indecision, according to professor Huang Wansheng. In a leaked recording at a closed meeting, Dr. Huang revealed that he was urgently summoned from Boston back to China in July 2020 in order to participate in a “Ministry of Science and Technology Epidemic Prevention project which was personally led by Xi Jinping“, and that he reported to vice premier Liu He.
A person at the gathering is heard remarking that Xi Jinping has a “world boss complex”, and that those around him have taken advantage of Xi’s desire for global domination to sell him on the idea that “China’s 5G is number one,” but Huang dismissed CCP propaganda touting the excellence of PRC technology, saying that, “cutting-edge technologies, disruptive technologies, that’s all fluff.”
He also gave the private gathering a rundown of IT and genetic engineering developments in the West, describing scientific and technological advances, noting that China is trailing those countries by a fair bit, concluding that “all core technologies are in the United States.”
Dr. Huang was blunt in his assessment of the PRC’s pandemic control measures. “The Chinese people are afraid of death, Chinese officials are afraid of losing their jobs, and Chinese experts are afraid of taking responsibility. Those three things have brought China’s epidemic situation to this current state.”
He then blasted “massive interest groups” in government and the pharmaceutical business for seizing the opportunity of the pandemic to rake in billions, noting that local governments have been ordering compulsory mass testing in their region after only “one or two positive cases“.
While Xi is often portrayed as a forward-looking and enlightened leader, the Australian magazine Quadrant paints a less flattering picture of the president and his entourage:
Xi is a product of the 1966–76 Cultural Revolution. During that decade all Chinese educational institutions were closed, and Xi went from fourteen to twenty-four years of age. The only education he received during this formative period was in CCP seminars studying little more than Marxism-Leninism and revolutionary Mao Zedong Thought. Xi and his Cultural Revolution associates and peers have no idea how to run a modern, open international banking system and economy. Xi is not an intellectual, but a very astute political operator who knows what he wants and how to navigate and manipulate the local political “geography” to get it.
It seems that Xi’s aim is to usher in some form of Cultural Revolution of his own against all forms of capitalism and Western consumerism while using the prosperity, economic and therefore military strength brought about by Deng Xiaoping’s opening to the West to attack the West and dominate the world – including Russia.
We know that all members of the CCP as well as students, teachers, and others in school and tertiary institutions have to study every morning thirty minutes or so of Xi Jinping Thought. We also know that religious institutions, including Catholic ones, are obliged not only to study Xi Jinping Thoughts but to remove religious pictures and other icons of their faiths and replace them with images of Xi.
This sort of thing is gradually spreading throughout China. In late 2021, the Global Times, the CCP’s newspaper, carried an article complaining about a serious lack of skilled submariners to operate China’s seventy or so submarines, especially the six nuclear-powered ones and the six nuclear-armed ones. However, it said, this problem is being overcome because submariners were now obliged to study Xi Jinping Thoughts every morning. How far does this run in the Chinese military? The infantry? Does it apply to all sailors, pilots, and nuclear missile operators? Is it also now required of all government bankers and executives of government departments, industries, and corporations? These are the people who have been among the great beneficiaries of Deng’s modernization, globalization and trade liberalization (which also brought millions of people out of poverty).
And then there is the extraordinary surveillance. The eminent Australian China analyst Rowan Callick has estimated that Xi has taken China back many years, perhaps three decades according to some. (see Rowan Callick’s “Why Xi is Dragging Down the Dragon”, The Australian, 27.10.20 and his “Xi Taking China Back to the Future”, The Strategist, 3.9.21).
According to the Center for Strategic & International Studies, China is facing widespread financial distress due to missteps during the past decade, “with more to come as the property sector’s woes emerge within the financial system. A credit bubble of historic proportions that drove China’s growth over the past decade is currently unwinding, and slowing the economy as a result. Defaults on multiple asset classes, along with failures at banks and other financial institutions, have raised new questions among depositors and investors about when Beijing will finally intervene more forcefully.“
The father of color revolutions across the globe, George Soros himself, fired a warning shot across Xi’s bow during the Hoover Institution conference last January. After praising Xi’s predecessors, Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao – who was unceremoniously removed from his seat at the National Congress in October as Xi looked passively on – and emphasizing that they did not violate the market economic successes initiated by Deng Xiaoping four decades ago, Soros ripped into Xi Jinping, claiming that he has after taking power in 2012,“… done his best to dismantle Deng Xiaoping’s achievements. He brought the private companies established under Deng under the control of the CCP and undermined the dynamism that used to characterize them. Rather than letting private enterprise blossom, Xi Jinping introduced his own ‘China Dream’ that can be summed up in two words: total control. That has had disastrous consequences.”
Soros then revealed apparent insider information, claiming that a sharp internal factional struggle exists inside the CCP:
“Xi Jinping has many enemies. Although nobody can oppose him publicly because he controls all the levers of power, there is a fight brewing within the CCP that is so sharp that it has found expression in various party publications. Xi is under attack from those who are inspired by Deng Xiaoping’s ideas and want to see a greater role for private enterprise.”
Katsuji Nakazawa, the former chief China correspondent for Nikkei, wrote this analysis:
In China… everything is decided through a power struggle within the party, of which outsiders know little. If possible, [Xi] wants to become the top leader for life. One way to do this is for him to become “party chairman,” a post last held by Mao. At the sixth plenary session in November, Xi vowed to “crackdown on party figures who have been absorbed into interest groups, powerful groups, and privileged classes.”
His full remarks from that November event were not released until January. They are, in effect, a declaration of war on those within the party. One source familiar with Chinese politics said that the interest groups targeted by Xi include tech giants such as Ant Group, Alibaba Group, and Didi, as major property developers such as China Evergrande Group and Fantasia Holdings Group… This cluster of private companies tends to be close to the politicians who pretend to obey Xi but secretly hold grudges; the companies often financially back such political forces.
Among these forces is the Shanghai clan, led by former President Jiang Zemin and his close aide former Vice President Zeng Qinghong. They maintain a strong influence in political and bureaucratic circles that move the economy. Alarmed by them, Xi is now poised to take a tough stance against their two-faced attitudes. The successful fight against corruption is about Xi’s only achievement. And with the Chinese economy slumping, Xi has no choice but to barrel ahead with his signature campaign to take down enemies.
- William Engdahl observed, “If this is accurate, it would suggest that in order to decapitate his internal rivals, Xi has risked plunging China’s economy, especially its bloated real estate sector with its huge debts, into what seems to be in an uncontrolled collapse that could bring China into a real economic depression just before his critical October 20th Party Congress where he clearly seeks an unprecedented third term.”
According to a report by Willy Lam, a senior fellow in the Jamestown Foundation, Xi harbors a deep distrust of the Chinese police forces, and in 2020 launched a purge of the political-legal system when 178,431 members of China’s political and legal organs were investigated and punished.
Xi Jinping has now managed to secure a third term but has emerged weakened by the Zero Covid debacle – a suicidal policy that may have possibly been imposed on him by an opposing CCP faction seeking to overthrow him, which is easy to visualize if one recalls all the backstabbers in Trump’s administration, from the VP to his cabinet and on down to Fauci.
The Spectator noted in their November 28 article titled “Is Xi Jinping in trouble?“:
The protests are particularly dangerous for Xi because of their geographical sweep – from Urumqi in the far west to Guangzhou in the south, by way of Beijing, Shanghai, Wuhan, and many more towns and cities in between. But also because they seem to have brought together a rare coalition of anger that ranges from students and urban elites to factory and migrant workers, united by their suffering as a result of zero Covid. Xi appears to have underestimated the widespread frustration and anger.
Near the end of the surreptitious recording, professor Huang can be heard expressing regret as the conversation touched on Marxism, communism, and socialism: “The socialist movement started out by caring about the moral consciousness of the individual. [Now] socialism has nothing to do with the individual,” noting how the structure of communist regimes inevitably results in there being “nothing but class struggle and power consolidation” at the top.
The Chinese Communist Party likes to laud itself for lifting 800 million people out of poverty, ignoring the fact that it was the enterprising Chinese people who, once freed from government meddling, had managed to lift themselves out of poverty. This was despite, and not thanks to the CCP which caused widespread misery during decades of sociopolitical experiments like the Great Leap Forward (1958-1962) and the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976) which were perversely used to consolidate the power of Mao’s clique, but backfired badly and ended up costing millions of lives – just as the current CCP experiment will, if not brought to a halt.
If infighting in Beijing is indeed taking place as Soros claims, it will now have been intensified by the mass protests, in which case dénouement may be expected during the Year of the Rabbit, possibly at the 14th National People’s Congress in March.
Mr. Soros will certainly be rooting for the Shanghai faction which has traditionally backed globalism and the opening of China to outside investment. It would be tempting to say “the enemy of my enemy is my friend“ and pick a side, but Messrs. Xi and Soros can hardly be described as friends of mankind, which should prepare itself for new assaults on its liberties by its elected and unelected leaders.
“If you plan for one year, plant rice. If you plan for ten years, plant trees. If you plan for 100 years, educate mankind” – Chinese proverb
Born in ex-Yugoslavia, schooled in Switzerland, BSc from the University of Florida, and returned to Europe to join a family business. Dragan currently lives in Vienna, Austria but has resided in about a dozen countries – as Marvin Gaye would say “wherever I lay my hat, that’s my home”.
The only social media Dragan uses is Telegram @DraganF888
Dragan has been writing mainly in Serbo-Croatian posting for European media. He writes in English exclusively for VT