|To support us with a donation? Click here!Dialogue China BriefingWhat China Is ReadingIssue 108 – May 15, 2022In This IssueThe articles shared here do not necessarily reflect the views of China Newsletter or Dialogue China. All articles sourced from WeChat public accounts unless otherwise noted.I. Dialogue China Opinions1. The Chinese Communist Party is Drinking Poison to Quench its Thirst, and a Major Crisis Caused by its Pandemic Control is ComingII. Policy2. A Re-examination of the Question of Chinese National IdentityIII. Politics3. The Third Way of Power Transfer between China and the United States4. Will Taiwan be the “Next Ukraine”?IV. Finance and Business5. Ten Predictions for China’s Economy6. Behind the Central Committee’s Heavy Weight Opinion: Who is Impeding a Large Scale Unified National Market?Dialogue China Opinions1. The Chinese Communist Party is Drinking Poison to Quench its Thirst, and a Major Crisis Caused by its Pandemic Control is ComingWang Dan – Radio Free Asia – April 19, 2022It has been more than a month since Shanghai’s pandemic prevention efforts began. Not only has it failed to alleviate the pandemic situation, but it has also led to seething popular discontent. There has already been much public commentary on these issues. But I believe that after all this chaos, crises caused by the simple, brutal, and forceful pandemic prevention measures taken by the Chinese Communist Party in Shanghai are of even greater concern, or in other words have even more far reaching implications for China. Such crises can already be foreseen, there are at least two.
The first is the further deepening of the economic crisis. On April 15, 2022 the Japanese Consulate General in Shanghai sent a letter to the Shanghai Municipal Government. In addition to saying bluntly that “the objective situation is not optimistic,” the key phrase was that some Japanese enterprises reported: “Since it is not clear how long this lockdown will last… we have no choice but to start shifting our manufacturing and production to other regions and overseas.” The clear implication here is that Japanese corporations in Shanghai are ready to withdraw their operations from China. You should know that there are 11,000 Japanese enterprises operating in Shanghai. Once a wave of withdrawals starts, the blow to Shanghai will be heavy. The same thing will happen in Changchun, Xi’an, Shenzhen and other major cities that have already imposed ruthless pandemic prevention policies or are likely to do so in the future. Xi Jinping’s pandemic prevention policy is tantamount to pushing foreign investors to determine to leave China, and accelerate the process of China’s decoupling from the world economy.
In addition to the withdrawal of foreign capital, we can also see that under such a policy of pandemic prevention there is no way to stimulate the economy, and there is no possibility of boosting domestic demand. How can average people spend money when they can’t even leave their homes? As for Li Keqiang’s advocacy of private investment and entrepreneurship, it is even more of an illusion. Under such circumstances, the Chinese economy – which was already on a downward trajectory – is likely to face a precipitous economic collapse. This crisis will be far more serious than the pandemic for the Chinese Communist Party.
The second crisis is confidence. This pandemic prevention has a psychological impact on all compatriots, but more so on the middle class, or on Chinese people who have gained some advantages in the past economic development. Shanghai is a symbol of vested interests, and possesses representative significance. The fact that cosmopolitan Shanghai – “everywhere outside the city is the countryside” – has become so unbearable overnight will show many people the harsh reality. Chinese people usually think that if they do not get involved in politics, they can live a quiet life and everything will be fine, just like in developed countries. But once a crisis occurs, people realize that even if they avoid politics, politics may not avoid them. And even in Shanghai, the richest city, people can suddenly face the danger of starvation and the possibility of being arrested and beaten. In the past, everyone said that China has powerful governance tools, mentioning the Smart City, SkyNet system, Beidou navigation, artificial intelligence, logistics networks and so on with great enthusiasm*. As a result, now even the delivery of vegetables has become a problem. All of this will make the outside world start to understand China’s economic development and achievements differently, and will make the middle class completely lose confidence in China’s future. Until now these people were the biggest supporters of the Chinese Communist Party’s policies.
* Smart Cities
The Smart cities began rolling out in 2003 and China is host to hundreds of smart city pilot programs aiming to measure, track and analyze data from every aspect of city life including air quality, traffic flow, congestion and waste water disposal. A key component of smart cities includes the installation of public security cameras in order to more effectively deter crime and anti-social behavior, however critics have stated the projects are also used as a form of social control in order to target dissidents and crack down on any potential unrest.
The Skynet is an interlinked system of facial recognition software enabled surveillance cameras currently in operation in 16 Chinese provinces used to help public security organs crack down on crime and identify citizens in public through cross reference with criminal and national identity databases held by the Ministry of Public Security and the National Citizen Identity Information Center (NCIIC). According to the Communist Party-owned tabloid Global Times, the system is fast enough to scan the entire population of the People’s Republic of China in under a second, and allegedly has an accuracy rate of 99.8%
The BeiDou [Big Dipper] Navigation Satellite System is a Chinese satellite navigation system. It consists of two separate satellite constellations. The first BeiDou system, officially called the BeiDou Satellite Navigation Experimental System and also known as BeiDou-1, consisted of three satellites which, beginning in 2000, offered limited coverage and navigation services, mainly for users in China and neighboring regions. BeiDou-1 was decommissioned at the end of 2012. On 23 June 2020, the final BeiDou satellite was successfully launched, the launch of the 55th satellite in the Beidou family. The third iteration of the Beidou Navigation Satellite System provides for global coverage for timing and navigation, offering an alternative to Russia’s GLONASS, the European Galileo positioning system, and the United States’ Global Positioning Satellite [GPS].
Of particular note here is the young post-00 generation, who will be the hardest hit in the post pandemic economic downturn. And with 10.76 million college graduates in 2022, employment for them is going to be a major problem. Traditionally, some industries that can provide young people with employment, such as the education industry, the Internet industry, the real estate market, etc., have been hit hard by extreme government regulatory policies in the past few years. People are being laid off in large numbers, how can these industries provide more employment opportunities? Taking the civil service examination and entering graduate school can only solve the career problems of a very small number of people. The majority of people will face the plight of social and economic abandonment. It is true that the post-00 generation is the generation most severely brainwashed by the Chinese Communist Party’s heavy handed domestic propaganda, but I believe that the realistic ability to counter brainwashing is more powerful than the theoretical brainwashing. Once these youths wake up, their spirit of resistance will be very strong. Historically, the generation of intellectual youths who went to the countryside during the Cultural Revolution [1966-76] was the generation that tried to push for social reform after their political disillusionment. Such a political crisis will be far more fatal than a pandemic for the Chinese Communist Party.
All in all, it is likely that Shanghai’s COVID lockdown will soon be over. But this social governance process, which is so disproportionate and out of sync with modern society, will become an important catalyst for China’s social transformation.【Back to Top】Policy2. A Re-examination of the Question of Chinese National IdentityZhou Ping – Journal of Yunnan Normal University – March 29, 2022Why Read This?
This paper explains in detail how the three political-social identities of “subject,” “national,” and “citizen” carry out the “state – people” relationship in different historical contexts, starting from the “state” and “people” in the Western paradigm. The paper explains in detail how the three political and social identities of “subject,” “national,” and “citizen” carry out the “state – people” relationship in different historical contexts. In addition, the identity of “people” is linked to the other three in the context of China’s modern history, and the evolution of the four is discussed in detail to reflect the development of our national form. With a unique perspective, he reflects the reality and symbolic meaning of political and social identity.（Read the full text）
【Back to top】Politics3. The Third Way of Power Transfer between China and the United StatesWu Xinbai – East Asian Review – March 22, 2022Why Read This?
We have seen two kinds of power transfer in history, one is a successful transfer, such as the replacement of Britain by the United States in the late 19th century. The second is an unsuccessful transfer, such as the failure of Germany to challenge Britain before the First World War. Today, what kind of power transfer will take place between China and the United States? 1. What are the main aspects of the transfer of power? 2. What are the limited aspects of this transfer of power? 3. What is the impact of such a limited power transfer on the world landscape?（Read the full text）
【Back to top】Politics4. Will Taiwan be the “Next Ukraine”?Huang Renwei – Beijing Cultural Review – April 15, 2022Why Read This?
Recently, against the background of the Russia – Ukraine conflict, the situation in China’s Taiwan Strait has become more tenuous. This article argues that the war between Russia and Ukraine may develop in two directions: 1. The situation will be stabilized, the international order will gradually adjust, the status of Russia and Europe will decline, and the probability of strategic conflict between China and the United States will increase. 2. The situation will continue to deteriorate, and the possibility of abrupt changes in the international order will continue to increase.（Read the full text）
【Back to top】Finance and Business5. Ten Predictions for China’s EconomyRen Zeping – Zeping Macroview – April 10, 2022Why Read This?
This article highlights the top ten predictions for China’s economy, hoping that it will help readers see general trends. Reading macro trends, grasping investment opportunities, and better choices outweighing greater effort. We have experienced countless wars, crises, pandemics and depressions. In the darkest moments of human society, there are always people who come forward to build visions, manage hopes, light the future and inspire courage.（Read the full text）
【Back to top】Finance and Business6. Behind the Central Committee’s Heavy Weight Opinion: Who is Impeding a Large Scale Unified National Market?Liu Zhibiao, Kong Lingchi – Beijing Cultural Review – April 11, 2022Why Read This?
Recently, the “Opinions of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China State Council on accelerating the construction of a unified national market” was released, emphasizing the acceleration of the establishment of unified national market system rules to break local protection and market segmentation. Some commentators pointed out that for a long time – although China is a very large country – it has not been able to fully form a large scale unified market, so that it cannot really have the competitive advantage of a very large country. So, what are the reasons affecting the formation of a unified domestic market? How can the construction of a unified market in China in the future be promoted?（Read the full text）
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