What’s really behind the coronavirus panic: Political chaos in China
March 31, 2020 (American Thinker) — The COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic began in China in late November and early December 2019. Now many accuse the Chinese authorities of negligence and the fact that they did not take sufficient measures to prevent the spread of the virus, thereby contributing to the infection of the inhabitants of all countries on the planet. However, the Chinese communists had a completely different task.
In order to understand the logic of the Chinese authorities, you need to know what China is. In modern China, there is not a traditional nation-state, but a party-state. They have no separation of powers as in Western countries. Nevertheless, there is still a particular division of power in China.
Power in China is divided among several opposing communist groups.
The most famous are the Communist Youth League (CYL) faction and the Shanghai faction. The CYL faction was significantly weakened in 2016 by the secretary-general of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), Xi Jinping. Former CCP secretary-general Hu Jintao and current prime minister Li Keqiang belong to the CYL faction. Another former secretary-general of the CCP, Jiang Zemin, belongs to the Shanghai faction.
Xi Jinping came to power in November 2012 entirely unexpectedly. The Hu Jintao faction insisted on one candidate, while the Jiang Zemin faction supported the other. Xi Jinping skillfully played the role of a compromise candidate. He looked like a suitable candidate for all the main warring factions, because, although he was one of the "communist princes" (his father was a close associate of Mao Zedong), he gave the impression of a somewhat "weak" leader. Xi Jinping belongs to the faction long forgotten in China, which at one time was aligned with the Soviet Union and Joseph Stalin.
Hopes for easy manipulation of the new party boss did not materialize. Secretary-General Xi Jinping toughened the persecution of those who do not support the party's official line. In 2013, shortly after coming to power, Xi Jinping even banned the teaching of freedom of the press, civil rights, and the rule of law.
The massive party inquisition and the purge of the party apparatus, which began in China in 2013, led to the fact that many supporters of the previous leader of the country, Hu Jintao, appeared on the dock. Xi Jinping not only established effective internet censorship in China, but also achieved almost a lifetime post.
The Chinese communists have been fighting for many years with all kinds of "deviations" from their own dogmatic interpretation of Marxism. On this front, they clashed with the Soviet communists, the Marxist Dalai Lama, the Fourth (Trotskyist) Communist International, and numerous internal factions.
The congress of the CCP, which meets every five years, is the supreme arbiter of all covert battles. But between congresses, the establishment of political influence materializes in the manipulation of cadres — each faction seeks to place as many of its people into leading posts as possible.
Recently, a faction of Wang Qishan, an associate of Xi Jinping in mass party purges, has begun to gain strength in China. Wang Qishan is a representative of the "power bloc" in the government and is a peculiar Chinese analog of Torquemada. Wang's faction is relatively new, but he still managed to put his people in key positions. For example, in 2016, Chen Wenqing became the head of the "Chinese KGB," and American-educated banker Jiang Chaolyan became the party boss of Hubei Province.
Hubei Province, with its capital in Wuhan, has always been "problematic" for the Chinese communists. The relationship between Beijing and Wuhan is somewhat reminiscent of the relationship between Washington and New York, Moscow and St. Petersburg, Madrid and Barcelona. The parallels here are unambiguous – this is not just a conflict between the current and previous capital of the country (Wuhan was the capital under Chiang Kai-shek). Wuhan has always been a rebellious city that triggered the events that led to the tragedy in Tiananmen Square in 1989.
When the epidemic of the new coronavirus started, Beijing faced the challenge — to ensure that the party authorities of the rebellious and freethinking Wuhan made mistakes, and to deal with them under this pretext.
Now many say that if the Chinese authorities acted three weeks earlier, the number of diseases could have decreased by 95%, and its spread would be significantly limited. This could happen only if the main objective were human health. But in fact, the main task of the Chinese communists was to win the intraspecific struggle.
All these warring factions of China at the most critical time of the outbreak of the epidemic were engaged in what they always did: to protect and strengthen their political positions and interests, and not to fight the spread of the virus.
For China, such an epidemic is a typical phenomenon. Influenza outbreaks occur in China, as in all countries, every year, but generally, in 2019, China was ready for the flu season, and no panic was expected. Xi Jinping needed a crisis to settle accounts with dissent in the party ranks.
Without a doubt, the Chinese left operates on the same principles as the American left: these people "never let a serious crisis to go waste."
There is a widespread belief that Beijing was silent about the scale of the epidemic in Wuhan. Initially, that was the case, but only until January 7, 2020. On this day, Xi Jinping intervened and changed the essence of events — from medical, they became political. From that moment, it was Beijing that methodically and purposefully stepped up the situation around the epidemic.
What the Chinese leaders did not take into account was the fact that their ensuing panic would be picked up by the world's mass disinformation media. The surrealistic footage of the Apocalypse from China, created by skillful Chinese propagandists, was very photogenic and was instantly circulated by the world press.
The crisis inflated by the Beijing elite was the result of an ideological confrontation among the Chinese factions, which clashed over some of the nuances of Marxist dogma.
Xi Jinping's ruling group has skillfully used the epidemic to blame the party leadership of Hubei and the leadership of Wuhan. As a result, the political goal was achieved. The party boss of Hubei province, Jiang Chaoliang (from the Wang Qishan faction), and the party boss of Wuhan city, Ma Guoqiang (from the Shanghai faction), "paid for the epidemic" and were removed from their posts on February 13, 2020. Only after this reprisal did Beijing embark on a full-scale suppression of the true extent of the epidemic, which continues to this day.
The connection with the coronavirus is indicative of the fate of Wang Xiaodong, the governor of Hubei province since 2016. As a man of Xi Jinping, Wang Xiaodong remained at his post, even though he is the governor of the province most affected by the coronavirus of China.
From this point of view, the undercover political operation of the Chinese communists was successful. But the panic they created turned out to be more contagious than the coronavirus itself.
As soon as the political reprisal in Hubei was over, Beijing instantly switched from internal to external efforts and began openly accusing the United States of creating and spreading the coronavirus. The Chinese communists simply had to do this because they had lost control of the situation — the panic they created, and then the coronavirus itself, spread throughout the world.
What was initially conceived as a local and time-limited episode of reprisals against party comrades unexpectedly gained a global status. The genie jumped out of the bottle: the situation in China took the form of a comprehensive economic crisis and spread throughout the whole world.
On the surface, the current situation looks as if microorganisms are capable of reformatting the world macroeconomics. However, the difference between the current pandemic and all previous ones is that in 2020, the Information Coronavirus won a convincing economic victory over the real one.
This article first appeared at the American Thinker. It is published here with the author's permission.