COVID-19 Stripping Away Emperor Xi’s Clothes

Two stories. First the New York Times:

Coronavirus Weakens China’s Powerful Propaganda Machine

Beijing is pushing tales of perseverance, but many young people are openly questioning the Communist Party’s message

Then the Guardian:

Xi Jinping has buried the truth about coronavirus

The reaction to the outbreak has revealed the unreconstructed despotism of the Chinese state

‘Nuff said.

Mark Collins

Twitter: @Mark3ds

9 thoughts on “COVID-19 Stripping Away Emperor Xi’s Clothes”

  1. The hapless Mike Bloomberg:

    Mark Collins


  2. Plus from the Australian Strategic Policy Institute:

    “Coronavirus and the death of Xi’s ‘China Dream’

    Globalisation was ill. Coronavirus is killing both it and Xi Jinping’s ‘China Dream’. That’s big news for Australia’s economy and security.

    Globalisation led people to believe that companies could build supply chains wherever there was a labour or other cost advantage. The result would be lower prices, higher profits and greater prosperity internationally. It was assumed that companies could manage supply-chain risks.

    If that was ever true, it’s not now. Anaemic world economic growth following the global financial crisis undercut globalisation’s glamour. Populism and nationalism, which re-energised protectionist trade policies, damaged it.

    Then great-power competition between the US and China piled on, making it obviously not in either country’s national interest to have deeply entangled systems of research and production for their defence items and high technology—whether semiconductors, digital infrastructure or actual weapon systems.

    Coronavirus, though, will probably change globalisation more. It adds a new set of risks associated with the concentration of global supply chains in China, and shows the ripple effect across the globe from the paralysis of Chinese manufacturing centres. Now, when China sneezes, the world economy catches a cold: global growth has started falling and critical bottlenecks in the production of many items are being exposed.

    US–China strategic competition already had a focus on high-tech products, and the political risks to businesses operating in China had already risen owing to Xi’s increasing authoritarian control…[read on]

    Mark Collins


  3. But note this pessimistic/realistic piece:

    “The coronavirus epidemic will not be China’s Chernobyl moment

    No doubt, the coronavirus will affect the Chinese economy and perhaps diminish its external ambitions; a global economic downturn will inevitably affect the progress made by its Belt and Road Initiative. But with Mr. Xi in charge, it would be naive to assume that the crisis will in any way result in political reforms in China, especially since finding scapegoats, tightening controls and restrictions, and plugging image-threatening gaps in its health system is simpler than having the party do any kind of self-reflection. COVID-19 may be affecting lives around the world, but it has not changed modern China’s foundational fact: For the Chinese Communist Party, the party is the only life that really matters.

    J. Michael Cole is a Taipei-based senior fellow with the Macdonald-Laurier Institute in Ottawa and author of Cross-Strait Relations Since 2016: The End of the Illusion, published by Routledge this month. He is a former analyst with the Canadian Security Intelligence Service”.

    Mark Collins


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