Why Xi Jinping’s Anti-Corruption Campaign Is Forever on the Way?

Hello, everyone. Welcome to Zooming In China Tea Time. I’m Simone Gao.

Just days ahead of the Chinese New Year, the start to the year of the Tiger, state-owned CCTV and the CCP Disciplinary Inspection Commission revealed their five-part documentary series on Chinese corruption. “Zero Tolerance” features former Chinese officials from behind bars, revealing the causes of their corruption and their deep regret over their crimes against the country. 

Those alleged crimes are substantial, and the punishments are even more so. One episode features Hu Huaibang, a former head at China Development Bank, who was sentenced to life in prison for bribery. Wang Fuyu, who said in his episode that “my crazy greed is at its peak, but I don’t know why I want money,” was sentenced one day after his episode aired. The sentence imposed for allegedly accepting 434 million yuan (about 68 million U.S. dollars) in bribes? He received the death penalty, suspended for two years at which point it will be commuted to life in prison.  

The premier was broadcast on Saturday, January 15th, during primetime, showing the importance of this campaign—and its reach to the Chinese citizens it hopes to convert. The first episode, titled “Not Losing 1.4 Billion,” focuses on Sun Lijun and sets the tone for the series, with Sun claiming that he “didn’t expect that I would become a destroyer of the construction of the rule of law or fairness and justice.” Sun Lijun was once the vice public security minister and is said to have received bribes in excess of 14 million US dollars. He is also currently facing charges related to stock manipulation and gun possession.

It is the 1.4 billion citizens of China that Xi, according to this propaganda series, is claiming to protect through his anti-corruption campaign. In the beginning of the first episode, Xi says “If you don’t offend hundreds of corrupt officials, you must offend 1.4 billion people.” Clearly, in order to achieve stability for the regime, the majority of the Chinese people need to be pacified. They need to be persuaded. They need to believe that the CCP, and Xi Jinping in particular, are working for them by removing corrupt officials. The series also aims to “kill the chicken to scare the monkey,” as they say in China. It aims to take power and momentum away from any of Sun’s associates who may intend to oppose Xi through the political or legal systems. It says, in essence, that your boss is down. The trend is over. You have no path forward. Obediently disarm and surrender before the 20th National Congress. 

Should we believe that Sun Lijun and the others featured in this series completely disarmed and surrendered? I believe so. Analysts are saying that Sun’s indictment has shrunk recently, showing a much smaller list of crimes than that originally reported by the party. That may be because of his cooperation with the party both on this documentary and, potentially, on turning over names of his associates in order to atone for his own wrongdoing. Censorship within the party focuses on political issues, like overly inflated political ambitions, but the party cannot punish opponents on the basis of political opposition. Instead, they bring charges often relating to bribery and often punished by life imprisonment. 

Why might Xi have opted to begin this series with Sun Lijun? Perhaps because of the outsized threat he posed to Xi. Sun was the youngest deputy minister of the Ministry of Public Security. He had clear political potential and advantages. Alongside those advantages came ambition. Sun developed a “15-year plan” for himself, striving to improve in five-year increments. 

Sun opted for five years chunks because the party congress of the Communist Party of China is held every five years. At that time, CCP officials from central government all the way down to local governments change ranks, and the promotion of officials is rushed during this period. If you are not promoted, you are likely to face a five year wait for another opportunity or, worse, lose the opportunity because you have aged out of the appointment. In the CCP system, cadres of the Communist Party are appointed by age. 

In Sun’s case, he designed steps very likely looked like this: in the first five years, when the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China is held in 2022, he would become Minister of the Ministry of Public Security; in the second five years, in 2027, he would become the deputy secretary of the Political and Legal Committee and enter the central politburo; and, in 2032, he would become a member of the Standing Committee of the Politburo, perhaps even becoming chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress. At that point, he would be 64 and would be able to serve one term.  

Ambitions such as these would be normal, in a political system where the leader would be replaced after his stated two terms. But that was never Xi Jinping’s intention. And now, because Xi remains in his position and the key positions of the CCP leadership would be stuffed with confidants of Xi Jinping, others who also have their eyes on those positions often find themselves facing corruption charges. Xi will not rotate out his inner circle nor give up power himself. The ambitious have nowhere to go but to quietly fade from politics or be sent to Qincheng Prison on corruption charges. Qingcheng is a prison for jailing only high ranking CCP officials. 

The political and legal system is the top priority of Xi Jinping’s anti-corruption campaign to eliminate his challengers. Clearly, he will arrange for his own people to ascend to the top of key departments like the Ministry of Public Security which is under the Political and legal committee. While Sun Lijun was never a Xi Jinping confidant, I believe that he initially did try to please Xi in his role as deputy minister. In one example between October and December of 2015, five staff members from Causeway Books (located in Hong Kong) went missing and were believed to be detained in mainland China. The owner was among those kidnapped, and it has been suggested that the detainments came because of the bookstore’s sale of a book titled Xi Jinping and His Six Women. Sun Lijun would have been in a position to oversee those detainments at the time. Unfortunately for Sun, this move did not win Xi’s trust.

With Sun’s 15-year plan at odds with Xi Jinping’s ambitions, Sun Lijun had no political path forward. That would be difficult for a man like Sun to take. But the corruption charges were more likely tied to Sun’s leadership in the asssasination attempt of Xi Jinping. His role in the Ministry of Public Security provided him with access to local public security departments, especially those in Jiangsu, a site of an alleged assassination attempt on Xi Jinping. Others rumored to have played a part in that attempt were also featured in the “Zero Tolerance” documentary as the small gang of Sun Lijun.

But despite this group being named as the gang of Sun Lijun, a deputy minister of the Ministry of Public Security does not have the reach or resources to carry out a coup d’état alone. If the assassination was successful, there would need to be a new regime set to take over, including not only a replacement for Xi Jinping but the entire top leadership of the CCP. It would take players whose rank go beyond the political and legal systems in China to carry out such a coup. Who might those other players be? Because Sun was a member in the “Shanghai clique,” a group led by former CCP general secretary (and Xi Jinping rival) Jiang Zemin. Notable figures in  this clique become suspects. Such as Meng Jianzhu, the former head of the political and legal Committee and Zeng Qinghong, former member of the politburo’s standing committee, Jiang Zemin’s right hand man.  

Sun’s assasination attempt did not come out of the blue. It represents an escalation of opposition to Xi Jinping in the CCP leadership. The initial coup d’état attempts are believed to begin in the earliest moments of Xi Jinping’s regime. In 2012, Zhou Yongkang, secretary of the Political and Legal Committee, and Bo Xilai, former governor of Liaoning and an ambitious princeling, crafted a plan to oust Xi and make Bo the top leader of China. The plan was exposed, though, leading to Xi Jinping’s vow to vigorously eliminate their influence over the political and legal systems. 

Nearly a decade has passed, and Xi’s commitment to his anti-corruption campaign has not ceased. With more than 100,000 people indicted for corruption and more than 1.3 million lower-level officials punished since 2013, why is Xi unable to end the influence of the opposition within the CCP for such a long time? 

It is understandable that Xi would be so forceful and persistent in his attempt to end this opposition given that others were plotting his ouster even before he formally took power.  However, if all he had done was to round up those involved in that attempt, this likely would have ended. Those at fault were Zhou Yongkang, Bo Xilai and a very small number of accomplices. Had he punished only the guilty, others would not have given it a second thought.

Instead, Xi chose to purge the political and legal systems of anyone close to or promoted by Zhou. He assumed guilt by proximity. That assumption led to scores of others being punished where there was no crime or for crimes that were common practice even among Xi and his inner circle. 

Why do it then? Probably as a show of power, of prestige. He was just coming to power amid disagreement over whether he should even be the general secretary. His power was unstable, in part because of his few political achievements at the local level. With the attempted coup, the spotlight on his lack of authority and overt qualifications for this new role was even brighter. So, he deemed a show of force necessary to establish his rule over the political system of China.  

But there is problem. In the current CCP system, top leaders promote those who are below them and, in many cases, those promotions come through connections or interests. If you want to become the mayor of Hangzhou, you must bribe the secretary of the Zhejiang Provincial Party Committee. Often, those bribes are in the tens of millions and are accompanied with an inspection to be sure that the leader finds you loyal. Where does that money come from? It comes from bribes paid to you from those below you or from kickbacks gained from major projects. There is no layer of the chain of CCP commands that is clean. 

As the top leaders fell in the anti-corruption campaign, lower-level players tended to join forces—not against Xi, but to defend themselves as one body. And as the anti-corruption campaign expanded, Xi pushed those on the sidelines who were simply looking to protect themselves into an alliance against him. Selective anti-corruption felt like a sword hanging over the heads of these officials who knew it could fall at any time because none of them were clean. 

And these people have no national law written in their hearts. Sun Lijun gives an example in “Zero Tolerance,” stating that after he became the deputy minister, he always ran red lights. He did so believing that red lights were meant to restrain ordinary people and, as the deputy minister, he should not be bound by them. This is an attitude that is common in the political and legal system, in ways well beyond the running of red lights. These officials believe there is nothing they cannot do, no matter who it is that is setting the restraints around them. The Sun Lijun clan is known to eavesdrop on the top CCP leadership, they record their conversations and even record videos of their private affairs. So, if these people begin to truly feel threatened, they are likely to take the risk and kill Xi Jinping. 

Those same reasons may be driving Xi to become more dangerous and less willing to step down. The more he takes this hard-handed approach to this corrupt system, the more enemies he creates. And the more enemies he creates, the more at risk he becomes. 

The 2018 revision of China’s constitution, removing the requirement that the president of the country step down after two five-year terms, ended the peaceful path to a transfer of power. This change affected more than just Xi Jinping himself. 

A perfect example is Sun Zhengcai. Sun’s life can be summed up by the phrase “the wrong person in the wrong place at the wrong time.” He was a rising star in Chinese politics, serving as a member of the politburo and mostly seen as Xi Jinping’s successor as the general secretary of the Party when Xi’s tenure was up. But when Xi decided not to step down, Sun’s existence became intolerable to Xi. Therefore, Sun was charged and convicted of bribery and received a common sentence among Xi’s opposition: life imprisonment. 

At a larger scale, the consequence of Xi using only people he knows and trusts from Zhijiang and Fujian provinces where he worked before is that the careers of most officials in the CCP will be negatively affected. Trusting only your own people does not even leave open the opportunity for others to defect to your faction. As a result, rising numbers within the CCP are becoming increasingly alienated, even antagonistic. 

That antagonism is likely to hit a breaking point at the upcoming party congress. As I mentioned earlier, every five years brings an intense struggle at the party congress when entire cadres are promoted. Should you miss the promotion at the right age, you are aged out of advancement in the political system and left with nowhere to go. Xi is not about to upset a handful of CCP leadership hopefuls. He is about to alienate thousands and create an even longer list of political enemies. Those who advanced together as cadres and have now been shoved aside as cadres are likely to unite against the Xi Jinping regime. 

So long as Xi continues with these tactics, he will continue to create ever-larger numbers of enemies. Doing so will ensure an endless battle against the opposition, one he claims as a war against corruption. Besides this, Xi’s vision of taking the country to a more closed future is at odds with the more reform-minded party majority. Getting rid of Xi Jinping becomes a common interest of all. 

That’s all for today.Thanks for watching Zooming In China. Please like, share, subscribe and donate to this program if you like my content. Also, head over to my membership site at zoomingin.tv. You can get video/audio formats of my shows, full transcripts, and in-depth reports available only to members. Just $5 a month, or $50 a year and you can cancel anytime. Please check it out.

How Xi’s Most Powerful “Ideas Man” Got America Wrong?| Zooming In China

Hello everyone. Welcome to Zooming In China Tea Time. I’m Simone Gao. I am suffering from allergies on my face so I will not appear on camera this time. Sorry about that. 

Dubbed “almost certainly the most dangerous man in the world that most folks have never heard of” by Washington Post columnist Hugh Hewitt, Wang Huning is emerging as a source of intrigue for academic and political leaders trying to understand the rapidly changing tides of Chinese politics. A man notorious for his comfort in the shadows of Chinese presidents who seeks no political limelight for himself, Wang is reported to have carried tremendous influence over the last three leaders of the Chinese Communist Party and to be the central figure behind Xi Jinping’s major policy reforms.

According to an October 2021 article in Palladium, written by a China expert using the pseudonym N.S. Lyons, the “sudden wave of new government policies that are currently upending Chinese life in what state media has characterized as a ‘profound transformation of the country,” policies that are commonly referred to as Xi Jinping’s “Common Prosperity” campaign, are the brainchild of Wang Huning. 

Recently, I read Wang Huning’s popular memoir America Against America, written after a 6 month stay in the United States. I have to say his knowledge of Western political philosophy, American history, and American politics went well beyond my expectations, leaving me with the impression that he is a diligent, rigorous and qualified scholar. Despite that theoretical rigor used in his memoir, however, I don’t think he understands the essence of the American order. Does that matter? Yes it does. Wang is now charged with charting a way forward for the world’s second most powerful nation. In that role, he has chosen to view the U.S. as a negative lesson, an example of what not to do when defining China’s path. He is also choosing to define and build China’s strengths in opposition to America’s perceived weaknesses.  

With China’s economic size and ambition, any political or economic move it makes will have an impact on the world. We have only to think about the impact that Nazism had on the world to understand that ideas have consequences. 

Yet for all Wang’s clear persuasive power with the presidents he has served under, I do not believe he yields as much power as author N.S. Lyons claims. Lyons claims that Xi Jinping’s strength is sufficient to tolerate very smart people around him and that Wang, as the brightest of the bunch, survived into Xi’s regime because of it.  

I believe this judgment to be wrong. I don’t believe that Xi Jinping is strong enough to tolerate dissent and highly intelligent people. Instead, he is faction-minded. He trusts and uses only those people from where his old posts were in Zhejiang and Fu Jian province which caused a grave alienation of the rest of the CCP bureaucracy. Wang Huning did not survive into the Xi Jinping regime because of Xi Jinping’s broadmindedness. He survived because of his political cunning, a cunning that has allowed him to gain the trust of three generations of Chinese leaders, especially with Xi Jinping who only trusts his own people. 

In Lyons’ reading of the book “America against America”, he found that Wang “marvels at homeless encampments in the streets of Washington DC, out-of-control drug crime in poor black neighborhoods in New York and San Francisco, and corporations that seemed to have fused themselves to and taken over responsibilities of government. Eventually, [Wang] concludes that America faces an ‘unstoppable undercurrent of crisis’ produced by its societal contradictions, including between rich and poor, white and black, democratic and oligarchic power, egalitarianism and class privilege, individual rights and collective responsibilities, cultural traditions and the solvent of liquid modernity. In the end, [Wang believes that] ‘the American economic system has created human loneliness’ as its foremost product, along with spectacular inequality.”

Obviously the American trip had an impact on his views on liberal democracy; that change conveniently fits with the Chinese political shift right after the 1989 democratic movement. After the Tiananmen  massacre, the CCP started to crack down on Western liberal thought, believing that was the cause of the democratic movement. A few years later, though, China’s then de facto leader Deng Xiaoping directed the country to open up and began the economic reform. There was no indication, however, that Wang Huning went along with Deng Xiaoping’s vision. 

That said, I believe Wang’s different policy prescriptions for three Chinese leaders speaks more to a desire to serve the current regime and ruler than to individual ideological shifts on the part of Wang. To survive through three Chinese leaders, Wang needed to tailor his ideas of governance toward not only the needs of the Communist Party as a whole but also the unique preferences of each leader. The political and social shifts now being attributed to Wang may not be fully his own but rather represent adaptations made to pacify each new leader. 

But whether the political ideologies are Wang’s own or are adaptations to the thinking of his employers, it remains true that this key advisor to three generations of CCP leaders holds great influence over China’s future directions and, as such, is worthy of study.

Much of the ideology that Wang Huning consistently holds is centered on the idea that value systems shape a country’s political system and when the central values of a nation crumble, the nation itself will follow. In one of his most cited works, his 1988 article “China’s Changing Political Culture,” Wang argues for an urgent review of how Chinese society’s “’software (culture, values, attitudes) shapes political destiny as much as its ‘hardware’ (economics, systems, institutions).”

Wang argued that “Since 1949, we have criticized the core values of the classical and modern structures but have not paid enough attention to shaping our own core values.” He went on to say that “There are no core values in China’s most recent structure,” making a daring negative claim about China’s socialism with Chinese characteristics.

In America Against America, Wang turns that critical eye toward the political ideologies and practices of the United States. He quotes extensively from American conservative political philosopher Alan Bloom’s book The Closing of the American Mind. Bloom advocated for the promotion of Western cultural traditions and civilizations, praising the cultural and spiritual creations of Plato, Socrates, Locke, Rousseau, Kant, Shakespeare, Bacon and others. He believed in the use of these heritages to spread the Western civilization and cultural spirit. 

Wang, however, believed that America was trending toward a deviation from those Western cultural traditions and toward nihilism. He argued that nihilism as the new American way would have a fatal impact on the American spirit and would eventually impact the entire democratic system. 

I believe that Wang Huning’s insight into this U.S. ideological trend was both profound and rare in 1988. Wang’s background as a successful professor and political philosopher combined with his rare opportunity to observe the U.S. first-hand at some of its elite educational institutions gave him the ability to see broadly and deeply. In doing so, he hit the nail on the head: America was built on an idea, one so central to its fabric and identity that if that idea disappears, the social system and national identity disappear along with it. Impressive, right?

He got the basic trend right. His understanding of why, however, reveals his limitations.

Wang Huning quoted a substantial portion of Bloom’s argument in his book, but he left out a key argument of the author. Bloom believed that American nihilism developed from the relativity of values instilled in college education at the time. The theory of value relativity says that there is no objective standard of right or wrong in this world. All good and bad, right and wrong are relative and subjective. One culture may have one set of criteria for knowing what is right or wrong, while another culture has different criteria. Because there is no objective standard, any value could be accepted. Which philosophical school or ideology holds the view of value relativism? Marxism. It stands in opposition to the philosophical thinking of the Eastern and Western traditions. Judeo-Christianity, Greco-Roman culture, and Eastern philosophies such as Buddhusim, Taoism and Confucianism all believe that there is an objective and eternal moral order in this world, and its standards come from God or heaven.

Why didn’t Wang Huning mention the theory of value relativity? Because his academic foundation is Marxism. While he affirms Bloom’s argument that America is moving toward nihilism, he cannot accept the argument that the move toward nihilism is because of value relativity and the loss of faith in God. 

This has a profound impact on his research and perspective on the United States. I believe that his core idea, that the value system shapes the political system, is correct. Yet, Wang Huning did not explain why the quality and origin of such a value system matters. That is a direct effect of his intrinsic belief in the relativity of value, the lack of an objective and eternal right or wrong. He believes that any value system that could be applied to his society and bring economic prosperity and strength to the country is a good value system. He further believes that China can create a more efficient and effective value system than the United States. 

This idea is very dangerous. It may lead China once again to the old path of so-called social and human nature transformation that has happened both inside and outside of China. The Cultural Revolution is a perfect example. It meant to better the human nature of the bourgeoisie and intellectuals by eliminating the traditional Chinese culture they were immersed in and sending these people to the countryside, forcing them to do hard labor so that they can shape the proletarian consciousness.

From the perspective of conservative thinking, Wang Huning’s theory of a value system that excludes moral judgment fails to grasp the essence of the American order. He does not understand what makes America great; He also does not understand what would make America decline. Therefore, his remedy for China that was meant to avoid America’s mistakes is destined to fail. 

That’s all for today. Thanks for watching Zooming In China Tea Time. Please like, share, subscribe and donate to this program if you like my content. Also, head over to my membership site at zoomingin.tv. You can get video/audio formats of my shows, full transcripts, and in-depth reports available only to members. I will also do live Q & A shows with members on the website. Just $5 a month, and you can cancel anytime. Please check it out.

China Uses Animal Disease Control Methods on Humans to Maintain Covid-Zero: Dr. Sean Lin

Speaker 1:

Sean, thank you for joining zooming in today,

Speaker 2:

Simone. Uh, my pleasure to join your program. Thank you for inviting me.

Speaker 1:

okay. Let’s talk about China’s COVID zero policy and the situation in Shean today is the 15th day of Shanna’s lockdown. And, uh, I just saw a video uploaded today by a person from Shean and, uh, you can see the streets are still empty and the government said the risks of large scale rebound of the virus has been reduced to the minimum thanks to their policy. So do you think that COVID zero policy worked once again in Ian?

Speaker 2:

Uh, I, I think first, uh China’s um, zero out policies never work in the past. So many people think that Chinese government had a successful zero campaign when they deal with the Wuhan outbreak last year in 2020. Uh, but I don’t think that was actually a successful example because, uh, the governments, uh, conceal the information regarding how many people were hospitalized. How many people have severe diseases, how many people die, especially the death, or was a top national secret by the Chinese government. So we don’t know how they actually, uh, contain the epidemic, uh, in Wuhan. And after that, the death toll nationwide for Chinese communist parties, it’s a, it’s a part of, it’s a mysterious, low number that is abnormal. Nobody can believe that, um, attack rate the death rate for such a, uh, epidemic disease will be such a low level. It’s impossible.

Speaker 2:

government worldwide make, uh, may not think deeply or may not, uh, realize that they, uh, subconsciously thinking that the Chinese government had a successful way to deal with the epidemic. So may any government have been using different, uh, lockdown policy, try to, uh, mimic what Chinese government did in Wuhan? So actually I think that’s a very big example. And now I think in,

Speaker 1:

Okay, just before you go to more details, I mean the Chinese governments, obviously they, uh, you know, cover the truth all the time, but compared to other methods, maybe the Chinese government thinks, uh, that the, you know, the quarantine, the lockdown policy, zero out policy is still the best. All of all the other policies, that’s why they’re using it. And otherwise they, they don’t have to use this method. Right.

Speaker 2:

Uh, I think, um, this is actually a ideological issue for the Chinese government. They are not treating the Chinese people as a, a normal human being in terms of, in the disease outbreak or control situation. To me, the Chinese government is treating the Chinese people like, uh, livestock like animals. So in essence, they are human. Uh, I infectious disease, outbreak control. They are more like doing animal or livestock epidemic control. Uh, the reason I’m saying that is because they’re policy wise, uh, you can see, uh, the almost, almost very similar if you look at China’s animal, uh, disease, uh, control, uh, legislation as well with China, current policy for zero out the COVID in, in a human society. It’s very similar. They also organized, uh, different, uh, teams at different government levels. And they’re also emphasizing, uh, the local, uh, government official needs to be responsible for the epidemic.

Speaker 2:

And they also emphasize that, um, uh, need a big data to help control the disease outbreak situation and the emphasizing the great lowment, right? So for just like you growing cattles, right in different Greece, different regions, uh, in, even in the same animal farm, you can have different grids. If that particular grease has a disease outbreak, you can take care of that. Great particularly, right. And, and similarly they’re using the same ideas in society too. So any cities, any particular district have a outbreak, they can transfer, you know, 2000 people overnight to a isolation facility. This is almost exactly like treating animals, right? If you identify a cage, a grid of animals, whether it’s poetry, pigs have a potential outbreak, and you can quickly move all these to a, a particular location, isolate them then. And if the worst case, you know, is a large scale cooling, whether it’s killed in the poetry or, or the pigs, right?

Speaker 2:

So it happens a lot in China, especially, you know, China has so many different, uh, uh, like, uh, birds, loose situations, outbreak, or, or a SW fever like African SW fevers for the mouse disease outbreak in China, in animal facilities, right? So Chinese come very familiar with this animal, uh, control, uh, measures. And now basically they push this, uh, concept and, uh, measures into the animal, into the human society. Like, so you basically can see the Chinese don’t care about whether, uh, the human being has their own self consciousness. They have their own organization capabilities, right? People can organize, uh, self-help within the community, but Chinese government do not want any of these happen. It’s treat like animal. You are a potential host for infectious disease. You just like an animal, right? So the government have all the rights to deal with you. They can order you to, to a isolation quarantine place overnight, without any preparedness, without any further, like, uh, earlier advance, no notice, right?

Speaker 2:

Just like the sea lockdown, just within few hours, a city of 13 million people can be pushed into a lockdown, a very hard lockdown and lay down even more extreme. People are not forbidden and people are not allowed it to go to the street to purchase their own, uh, groceries, all these basic, right? So it’s very, very extreme. It’s treat like animal. So anytime I want to wipe out, or, uh, you can say the government war zero or fixed disease, they can also use these very, very hard tactics to push people into a quarantine place. So they can say, well, now we’re building a facility for 5,000 people, quarantine, a special place to, um, like a concentration came to lock on people and whether they are enough, uh, medical support for support logistic support for such a, a temporary facility, the government say, we deal with those issues later. And that’s why now in C young city, you can see so many people, uh, cry out on their social medias. Uh, talk about, we are hungry. We are start, right, because the government promised food, but it’s not there.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. I believe what you described is, uh, what they call, uh, you know, the societal COVID zero policy, and this is different from the previous one that they implemented, which is a absolute zero out policy. So this societal policy basically means that, uh, they quarantine all those who had close contact with the infected people, therefore in the future, any new case will be from those who were, uh, quarantined, but in the regular communities, in the big cities, they will reach COVID zero. So I have a, a few questions. How do you compare new policy, uh, with the old one and, uh, does the new policy, the societal COVID zero policy work.

Speaker 2:

Okay. So first let’s get, what’s the old policy. You talk about the absolute, uh, zero out policy. So actually, um, later in the year of 2021, a lot of the Chinese, uh, officials, media, uh, using the, uh, term, they call it dynamic zero because they know even for absolutely zero out policy that the, the central come and defined is very hard to implement. So you see China, uh, throughout 2021, so many different outbreak in different cities, and so many different cities. Right? I have outbreak, even though the government’s, uh, official data, always a very small number in dozen, sometimes, uh, cases in, in the big city. Uh, but it never totally crunch out. So the go, no, very clearly it’s impossible to do absolutely zero. So later in 2021, they started to use the term more about dynamic zero. That means, uh, for a city you can, uh, for a period of time, it can be zero out, right.

Speaker 2:

It’s dynamic. So it’s kind of like, um, if I gave , uh, uh, a scenario, just like you, you dealing with, uh, a trash, right? If you move your trash to your neighbors, your, your own home is temporary. Uh, trash is zero out, but the next day, if the neighbor moved the trash back to you, he is zero. And then you have new cases. So, so this is a dynamic zero, and these also still doesn’t work out. Uh, and especially in the sea installation, they, they clearly know, uh, for such a big city, certain many people, how do you move those cases away? Right. So, and especially when it has already have community transmissions, you have more cases in, in Shion. So in this way, so they create a new term cause societal zero up. So basically that means if I just, uh, store the trash in other people’s home permanently, then my home is always zero that’s societal zero up.

Speaker 2:

So you are not coming. Those people being quarantined as my, uh, Shean people, my own residents, basically. Right? So those problem can be dealed at different county level, city level, smaller city level, uh, not in a big city like C young. So that means societal zero up. So it it’s, it’s a ridiculous policy. And actually the term, the, when they create a term, it means they’re absolutely zero or dynamic zero policy doesn’t work. So they, uh, the, the local official government, uh, have to create this term in order to meet the high demand from the central government. Cause the central government want them to, to zero in four days. So by Inan all the public health official, including the CCP leaders in the local level, they understand this is impossible, mission impossible. So how do they deal with the central pressure? So they created this. So societal zero and move, you know, things of thousands of Shean people to other, uh, neighborhood, uh, counties nearby suburban areas. So in this way, they basically try to, um, please the central government. So this is a, how ridiculous still is this?

Speaker 1:

Yeah. I mean, we know what the CCP is doing, but let’s escape them. The benefit of the adult. Mm-hmm me. I mean, if they have any reason to, you know, the, the, uh, the right reason to do this is because they think if we quarantine all those dangerous people, they’re not infected yet, but the, you know, potential COVID, uh, virus carriers. If we quarantine them into one place, then it’s easier to these dangerous people. And then the rest of the community is clean. So our effort will be more directed, more focused and easier. What do you think?

Speaker 2:

Okay. Yeah, from the surface, of course, this rationale, it makes sense, but the key is how you implement it. You can currently a lot of people, but the key is that you need to think comprehensively, uh, how to support people, uh, both logistically medically, you know, uh, even mentally how you support large amount of people, uh, in, in isolation, quarantine situation. And how do you ensure people have, uh, some, uh, uh, like comorbidity, uh, disease, how do you help them overcome this kind of situation? Right? So you, you won to suddenly announce, uh, a lockdown in, in a few hours and not in the last, such a scale. So how do you, uh, prevent secondary disaster? This is always one of the top issues where you’re dealing in public health crisis. You, you have to avoid people being, uh, injured, uh, physically, mentally, uh, damaged because of the, uh, quarantine policy or isolation procedures, right? So it should be a human process, but the Chinese government doesn’t care about that. That’s why I said, uh, it is not exactly treating people as human beings.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. I have another question. This people dangerous people might be infected if they, if you put them together, wouldn’t the chances of them cross. In fact, each other be, be bigger and they could be, you know, the center of the spreading of the virus.

Speaker 2:

Yes. That’s why I said quarantine is not a simple thing, uh, of isolation, facilities and quarantine facilities, you need to, uh, especially build, right. Even in the past, even if you remember in, in Wuhan, when they build a fun time hospitals, that the temporary hospitals hosting thousands of people at a time, the Chinese C still talk about how a advanced facility is, right? All kinds of air filter system, how to, how to mobilize medical to support. But now in the year, 2022, there’s no such issues. As so, as you push people to a, a temporary quarantine location, as long as, as you do in the societal zero off the local officials feel happy about it. I deal with my problem already, right? So this is very different. And that’s why I said, uh, it is not the, uh, simple procedures to quarantine, large amount of people. That’s why in the, in the past history, governments are very helpful to implement any of these kind of policy to put large amount people into according facility. It definitely will create high potential across contamination, cross infections, higher rate of transmission, of the same infectious disease. And it is very bad situation. Yeah, yeah.

Speaker 1:

If that happens. So what do you think China would do?

Speaker 2:

That’s why I’m really worried about what will be the next step. So if we think about how people handling animal disease outbreak, right, the worst case is, is, uh, mask cooling, right? So if you, for example, if you have H seven and nine outbreak in, in the poetry, in the chicken, uh, the, the breeder can decide, I, I will kill maybe a hundred thousand, uh, chickens, birds, right? So, and then if there’s a, uh, for example, uh, African swine fever outbreak in your pigs, uh, populations, you can decide, I kill 50,000. So that’s cooling. Of course, when you massive killing a lot of people, you will temporarily block the disease transmission. And this part, this kind of measure Chinese gum is very familiar with. And maybe he’s a bad Oman. You know, the Chinese CDCs director, golf food, he’s a veterinarian. He’s not a medical doctor, the veterinarian, right?

Speaker 2:

So the Chinese government can always treating, okay, these population of people, their potential, uh, host for a big infectious disease, whether they’re close content or they’re the close content or close contact, uh, they’re just a block of people. These are people D people let me quarantine them. Um, whether they can survive these kind of isolation, I, they don’t care at this moment. So that’s why I really worry that the secondary disaster due to these very heart attack, uh, isolation procedures will kill many people, many people starving to death, or they have other disease, uh, that they varying at the same time. Right? Mobility issue will be very high. Yeah. So this is very, very in human process and no government should follow Chinese governments. Uh, uh, this kind of example, and, and I believe the Chinese government tried to, uh, push this idea to other part of world saying, you see, we, we do a very effective way in controlling these disease. And they even bring much more Chinese people to believe that your sacrifice is important for the whole country. Right? So they, they have a very successful in brainwashing people and many people as science, they not starving. They don’t think, uh, there this people in Shong in, in quarantine, what your sympathy. So that’s a very best situ

Speaker 1:

And this new wave Shion is mentally, uh, the Delta variant and, uh, black variant hasn’t reached China. Will it reach China eventually? And if China still uses the COVID zero policy on , what do you think will happen?

Speaker 2:

I actually dunno, uh, whether has been spread out in China or not, uh, there were cause talk about army, uh, cases being identified in China, even though our very small numbers, but we don’t know what’s the true situ the governments, uh, the public, uh, what’s causing the outbreak in, uh, data variants, but we didn’t see enough, uh, data regarding how many people were, uh, hospitalized. How many people having severe disease, uh, does the whole pattern showing, uh, similar pattern to the data outbreak other countries, or this is actually more similar to outbreak. Uh, we, we don’t know the government didn’t provide this information. None of the hospitals treating the COVID patients, but allowed it to give the data to the public. So how do you know what’s the true causes, the outbreak in China? So I actually suspected with the very, very powerful transmission rate from Omni crumbs Omni probably already spread out in certain regions in China.

Speaker 2:

And that’s why the, the, the Shean, or, or provinces the public health officers, the local CP leader were so scared about this way. And they use this extreme tactic. They may not just tell the public now it’s and they don’t care that Omni, maybe right now doesn’t cause, uh, very severe disease compared to data can right now basically showing, uh, less trend to, to have severe disease globally in different regions, whether in South Africa or in UK or in United States, the Chinese government don’t care about it for the local Chinese official, because the central government’s order is to zero out. Uh the, the COVID right. So as long as they be in testing, uh, plastic, uh, on this nuclear acid test, the local official have to be responsible for this, uh, community outbreak, whether it’s data or . So they just use the same extreme measures, uh, to, to wipe out, try to wipe out these, uh, numbers. I say numbers, right? Because they’re not really treating the disease, not treating the people they’re just cared about the number.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. I’ve seen the Chinese media reports, uh, saying that this round, this wave is, uh, the Delta variant. Let’s just say that report is, uh, accurate, but if there are one cycle behind the international epidemic cycle, now that Delta and everybody else’s , uh, what I mean, does that have an impact? I mean,

Speaker 2:

Well, I, I think, uh, it’s almost impossible. China can be a, a unique island, uh, for Omni ground. Uh, the way the army spread is so fast. I know in China, uh, zero campaign can block . I don’t think China stay any chance for that.

Speaker 1:

Okay. So if Amran riches, China, uh, if they still apply this zero up policy, they will be in big trouble

Speaker 2:

Even. Oh, definitely. They’re already in. Yeah, definitely. I think they’re already in trouble in dealing with data with army crimes and it will be very much faster, especially if you put, you know, thousands of people in a temporary, uh, quarantine places like a garage, so many people will be affected. And actually I see some social media posts talk about, uh, people who, uh, who actually want to be isolated. The, the hospital refused to accept him. And then eight members from his family actually all got infected. Yeah. So ridiculous. Extreme examples like the in Shean. So anyway, I don’t think the Chinese can contain Amran. No countries can contain Amran. Nobody believe the human being can contain Armyn spreading right now. Uh, so I don’t think Chinese government can, uh, stay any chance to see, uh, to successfully zero army.

Speaker 1:

Hmm. But the Chinese leader, she Jean at at least for now, he is still insisting that China should apply this zero out policy and anybody who is opposing it, uh, this policy, he gets very angry with that person. So, I mean, how do you think this zero out policy play out in China in the future? Do you think they will stick to it to the end?

Speaker 2:

You, yeah, I think, uh, uh, yes, I think will stick out to his policies because any change of the policy will, uh, threaten his, uh, his positions and in the critical year, uh, reelection year, right. We would let’s call it reelection simply. But anyway, he, I don’t think he wanted change the policies, but at the same time, maybe the Chinese gun will be lucky because even a lot of people got infected with army crimes because many people are not showing severe disease. The Chinese government can always say, oh, see, no, no many people die and they they’ve been successful. Contain a disease. Chinese go can always, uh, tell a good story to the public so that people still believing the Chinese government did very good, uh, very people being sacrificing sea lockdown. What read on the internet, just a small, uh, sporadic situations. Um, it’s not as systematic happening.

Speaker 2:

Uh, people were being treated nicely. The, the government can do all these, uh, usage after this, uh, high lockdown. And right now they’re probably very worried about the, the winter Olympic in Beijing. That’s why Beijing implementing, uh, 56 days, uh, quarantine for any inbound travelers. So this is very extreme, right? No, no scientific reason for 56 days, uh, quarantine, but basically tell the world the Beijing one to who, uh, currenting you, the whole period, uh, until the winter is over. So basically that’s how they contain the distillation. And so the Chinese will tell, uh, Chinese people a good story. We have successfully how our Olympic you see, you know, we contain the situation. We don’t have, uh, maybe S going factory. They can always tell this kind of story to people. And then boosting, uh, the CCPs, the image to, to people, to the world saying they are the very successful example, even though the Chinese society suffer a lot and they try to further prove the dictatorship Soarian style, the Chinese government represents actually have a better advantage than the democratic system. That’s their whole EU they’re already preparing. And, and then they will carry out this campaign exactly in this way. So if

Speaker 1:

You were the guy who is, uh, you know, uh, who is, uh, overseeing China’s, uh, uh, pandemic control, uh, what do you think you would do?

Speaker 2:

I think, um, with a normal human, uh, thinking, you need to think about how to help people overcome this disease in a rational way. And if you see, uh, the globally, uh, the, all the scientific evidence, somatic evidence showing the, the spread of virus is so strong and such a strong IME innovation. So many people cannot avoid, uh, being infected by this wave of . Then you need to think about how human society can Cozi with the virus. How do you, uh, avoid hospital system, the overloaded, and then how do you quickly, uh, using different other, uh, maybe drugs to help people reduce their symptoms, all these kind of additional measure, or even other non pharmaceutical intervention measures that you can implement to support society. And how do you reduce, uh, the, the mental stress that people have in this kind of, uh, pandemics period. These are all very challenging task, very important tasks, and you can all do it in a very humane ways. And, uh, I think, uh, the key issues, whether you have a human heart, have a human mind or not, and I don’t think the Chinese government doing it in a human way, in a human way.

Speaker 1:

Great. Well, Sean, these are all my questions. Do you have anything else to add?

Speaker 2:

Well, I, I think, uh, let’s say for me right now, it’s really, really thank you for inviting me to, uh, have a comment on this situation in Cun.

Speaker 1:

Okay. Thank you, Sean.

Speaker 2:

Thank you very much.

Speaker 1:


Speaker 2:

Good. All right. Good. Thank you. Thank you. All right. Okay. Bye.

America’s Biggest Mis-judgement of the Cross Strait Relations | Zooming In China

Happy New Year everyone!  Welcome to Zooming In China Tea Time. I’m Simone Gao.

As the final days of 2021 draw to a close, the United States and Taiwan are no closer to clarity on the question of whether the US will militarily support Taiwan if China attacks. Despite ongoing threats from China and increasing displays of PLA military strength in the region, the US continues to cling to the Taiwan Relations Act as their guiding principle, a principle that is too ambiguous to be useful against the modern-day threat of Xi Jinping’s  regime.

Why might the US be resisting a formal change of policy toward Taiwan despite the advancing threat posed by China?  One reason may be found in Taiwan’s internal disputes over their current and desired relationship with Beijing and the impacts of those on US trade with Taiwan.

Taiwan’s minority party, the Kuomintang, supports deeper ties with China and, on December 18th, Taiwan had four referendums to a public vote, attempting a show of no confidence in the current government. Kuomingtang is the main author of these referendums.  If these referendums had passed, they could have provided a springboard for the party to make a comeback in important mayoral elections next year. While the referendums are non-binding, they send a strong signal to current administrations about the values and ideals of the people they serve.

The most contentious of those votes was whether to reinstate the ban on pork imports containing ractopamine, a common feed additive used by American pig farmers. The additive helps to reduce the fat content of the meat, and leaner meat means a greater profit per animal. Ractopamine has been deemed safe at appropriate levels by US officials and is widely used in animal feed in the United States, but products containing it have been banned in the European Union, China, Russia, and 157 countries.

Taiwan had a similar ban until 2012, when then-President Ma Ying-jeou began allowing beef with low levels of this additive to be imported from the United States. Then, on August 28, 2020, President Tsai Ing-wen announced an executive order that would allow the import of pork containing ractopamine beginning on January 1, 2021.

The public and parliamentary protests quickly followed. And in January 2021, as the imports began, small gold and yellow stickers began appearing at Taiwanese restaurants proclaiming that they served only Taiwanese pork. President Tsai’s reassurance that these products would be clearly labeled to allow citizens a choice in whether they consumed them seemed to do little to calm public fears. 

Public concerns seem to center on two issues: the potential impacts to the health of Taiwanese citizens and the impacts to Taiwanese pork farmers. Pork is an important domestic product for Taiwan, as it is a common staple in their cuisine. About 90 percent of pork is provided by local farmers, and they are part of a powerful agricultural lobby. 

Polling in advance of the referendum vote indicated that it was likely to pass, with 55.4% projected to vote in favor of reinstating the ban. However, on December 18th, that referendum, along with the three others, failed. 

This may have been due to low voter turnout, but it is equally likely that President Tsai’s recent arguments in favor of allowing the imports swayed public opinion. In particular, she pointed to the importance of developing an open trade agreement with their most important ally, the United States, at a time when China is increasing their aggression toward Taiwan. 

In response to the vote, Tsai told reporters that “Taiwan’s people want to go out into the world and are willing to actively participate in the international community.” She expressed hope that these results would strengthen her case to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership.

The controversy over meat imports containing ractopamine has been a consistent source of conflict between Taiwan and the United States. Initially, the controversy centered on Taiwan’s ban of American pork products. But the United States also believed that Taiwan repeatedly violated commitments to expand both their beef and pork markets. From 2006 to 2021, there were tensions in the Taiwan-US trade relations, including several cancellations of annual trade negotiations and failed bilateral trade agreements due to Taiwan’s unwillingness to fulfill its commitments. 

In a recent article published on the United News Network in Taiwan, the president of the US-Taiwan Chamber of Commerce Rupert Hammond Chambers wrote that since President Ma Ying-jeou opened Taiwan to American beef containing ractopamine, consumption has increased steadily, yet no Taiwanese have experiences health problems due to that consumption. It would be illogical to assume that American pork containing ractopamine is unsafe if American beef containing the same was found to be safe for consumption over the past decade. 

If it is not truly a question of safety, then, what is the concern? It is a taking of sides, with the current Taiwanese leadership favoring a trade and military relationship with the United States and the opposition leadership looking to reunite with China.

Taiwan now has to decide whether to become an important member of the international trade community, establish deep trade relations with the United States, or to become part of China’s economic alliances. In January 2021, as Taiwan began allowing US imports of pork, the Taiwan Affairs Office of the Communist Party of China declared that meat products produced in Taiwan or transshipped through Taiwan would be strictly prohibited from being imported into China.

That announcement forced Taiwan to choose whether to move closer to the US or the CCP in trade, and Taiwan has now clearly made its decision, one that has significant impacts on national security. When I interviewed the highest-ranking official to have visited Taiwan in the last 40 years, former Undersecretary of State  Keith Krach, he mentioned the importance of Taiwan’s decision to begin importing American pork. 

After Taiwan’s decision to allow pork imports, the US immediately began to promote the free trade agreement with Taiwan. This is vital to the security of Taiwan today, because a free trade agreement would encourage American companies to invest in Taiwan which will, in turn, encourage other countries to make similar investments. Those investments add a layer of security to Taiwan. If countries all over the world make and maintain significant investments in Taiwan, they will readily oppose any attempt by the CCP to take Taiwan by force and will form an alliance to protect Taiwan against the CCP. With the ongoing tensions in the Taiwan Strait, this is a critical matter for Taiwan. 

The United States wants to protect Taiwan based on the ideals of protecting freedom and democracy as well as their own national security. But they need a meaningful and lasting commitment from Taiwan if they are to offer an unconditional and firm defense commitment. Through trade and investments, the US can help Taiwan join the international trade and security system and promote international investment in Taiwan. This is the most effective and least costly way to offer full defense protection of Taiwan. 

Those trade and defense commitments would also help prevent the confusion created by recent Biden administration comments and ambiguity by the US Department of Defense toward the conflicts in the Taiwan Strait. When asked on multiple occasions if the US would protect Taiwan against a CCP attack, Biden has firmly said yes. Immediately afterward, however, the White House spokesperson and Department of Defense spokesperson clarified that the US policy toward Taiwan has not changed and remains centered on the Taiwan Relations Act. That means the US’s goal is to help Taiwan maintain sufficient self-defense capabilities and they regard any non-peaceful means to resolve the Taiwan issue, including embargoes and boycotts, as a serious threat to the peace and security of the Western Pacific.

The language of this Act does not make clear whether the United States will use military force to defend Taiwan in the case of an invasion or attack by China. The ambiguity is a product of the historical context at the time it was enacted. At that time, the US was drawing in the CCP to jointly fight the Soviet Union, then seen as the greater US enemy. To establish diplomatic relations with the Chinese Communist Party, the US broke off their relations with the Republic of China, a move that was loudly contested by the opposition in America. To appease that opposition, the Taiwan Relations Act was created. This Act was a tactical strategy of rights and interests implemented by the US to achieve its strategic goal of fighting the Soviet Union. 

But this strategic approach also serves ideals since the US-Soviet Cold War was never a mere battle for hegemony, instead, it was a collision of two ideologies. This makes sense if we look at the difference between the Cold War and conquests of Eurasia by Alexander the Great or the Mongol Empire. Those ancient wars were entirely aimed at conquering and dominating another civilization while the US-Soviet Cold War was a confrontation between two concepts and two ideologies: Communism and liberal democracy.

The United States and the Soviet Union formed their respective camps and found allies to stand with them. Those allies allow them to expand their sphere of influence, but they also often lead to less-than-ideal partnerships in the name of overcoming a great evil empire or ideology. In the case of the US, that meant joining forces with the CCP to fight what they perceived to be a greater evil in the Soviet Union. 

Currently in the United States, the ideals of freedom and democracy, the bedrock of this nation, have not changed. But the strategic goals, however, have changed. The Soviet Union, the core rival in the Cold War period, has been replaced by the CCP who has now become enemy number one for the United States. The CCP today far exceeds the Soviet threat to the United States during the Cold War period. It is threatening the core value system and political order cultivated by Western civilization. Given that, we could see the Sino-US confrontation as a battle of ideals for the survival of civilization. 

Under such circumstances, the strategic goals have changed. How can the United States maintain its policy of appeasement to the CCP? The original reason for a half-hearted commitment to Taiwan was to appease the CCP. The need for that appeasement has now disappeared. What is currently in line with the national interests and ideals of the United States is to make every effort to weaken the CCP, and part of that effort must include uniting with the world in defense of Taiwan. 

President Biden was right when he repeatedly stated that if the CCP uses force, the US must match that force in defense of Taiwan. That would be the right decision, and I hope he is speaking the truth, despite the White House and Department of Defense later weakening and walking back those statements. 

During this dance of strategic ambiguity, the White House and Department of Defense also made the mistake of misjudging the genuine thinking of the CCP. The US has remained consistent in their opinion that as long as the status quo could be kept, as long as neither Taiwan nor China provoke each other, meaning the CCP should not attack Taiwan, but Taiwan should not declare independence either. Then peace could be achieved in the Taiwan strait forever. 

That’s not true. To China, keeping the status quo is equivalent to Taiwan’s de facto independence. For the CCP, there is just one acceptable option and that is cross-strait reunification. 

It is a wrong decision to hope that the two sides of the strait will continue to maintain the status quo. This hope will not be realized, and it will embolden the CCP to feel that the United States is not firm in defending Taiwan. If they are so emboldened, they are likely to take risks and attack Taiwan by force. The US should make the CCP understand that there is no ambiguity on Taiwan. The PLA’s military strength will never catch up with the United States. If they choose to attack Taiwan, the US and its allies WILL come to Taiwan’s defense and that day may be the beginning of the collapse of the Chinese Communist regime. The real solution to the crisis in the Taiwan Strait lies in dispelling the CCP’s desire to reunify with Taiwan.

That’s all for today. Thanks for watching Zooming In China. Please like, share, subscribe and donate to this program if you like my content. Happy new year to all of you. I will see you very soon again. 

How Did Xi Jinping Abandon the CCP’s Washington Back Channel? | Zooming In China Teatime

Hello, everyone. Welcome to Zooming In China Tea Time. I’m Simone Gao.

At a November 23rd gathering of the Boston College Chief Executives Club, Jaime Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan Chase Bank, revealed that while he was recently in Hong Kong, he “made a joke that the Communist Party is celebrating its 100th year. So is JPMorgan. And I’ll make you a bet we last longer.” This revelation came with his admission that “I can’t say that in China. They are probably listening anyway.” 

Whether the CCP was listening or not, the world was and JPMorgan’s government relations team and offices in China were scrambling to mitigate the damage within hours. That began with a public apology from Dimon who clarified that while he was “trying to emphasize the strength and longevity of our company,” he regretted and “should not have made that comment.” 

Through his spokesperson, Dimon added that “it’s never right to joke about or denigrate any group of people, whether it’s a country, its leadership, or any part of society and culture. Speaking in that way can take away from constructive and thoughtful dialogue in society, which is needed now more than ever.” His spokesperson added that Dimon “acknowledges he should not speak lightly or disrespectfully about another country and its leadership.” 

JPMorgan’s history is longer than that of the Chinese Communist Party. It was established as a U.S. corporation in 1895. In 1921, they opened their first branch in China, just as the Communist Party was being established. Dimon’s comments, then, may threaten that 100-year relationship, especially if this comment expresses his true belief that he is not optimistic about the future of the CCP and is only seeking to establish a good relationship with the current regime until its inevitable fall. 

There is much at stake. JPMorgan currently touts a $20 billion business in China with hopes to expand their market share. Those hopes were strengthened early in 2021 when JPMorgan was granted approval by Chinese regulators to fully own their China securities ventures. Executives at JPMorgan are considering more licensing requests, but they will need to maintain good standing in the country to have those approved. 

While the international attention to his comments may be new, comments of this kind are not new from Dimon. He is a well-known voice on Wall Street who has been openly critical of a number of countries at times, including the U.S. But comments about the potential instability of China came first in his 66-page letter to shareholders earlier this year. In that letter, Dimon wrote that while China has done a “highly effective job” with economic development over the past 40 years, the next 40 years will require China to deal with their diminishing resources, income inequality and corruption. 

While Dimon did not address the CCP directly, he did mention that only 100 million people in China “effectively participate” in the nation’s single party system. With a total population of 1.4 billion, that leaves China with the lowest participation level of any developed nation. 

“China’s recent success definitely has its leadership feeling confident,” wrote Dimon in the shareholder’s letter. “Growing middle classes almost always demand political power, which helps explain why autocratic leadership almost always falters in a larger, more complex economy.”

Some of the strain between the CCP and JPMorgan may have come from Xi Jinping’s recent marginalization of veteran leaders in domestic business and U.S. relations. According to a November 22nd report published by Nikkei News, before the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, Xi Jinping was dismissive of the performance of Chinese political and business leaders closest to the United States, including Wang Qishan, Jack Ma, and others. All of those receiving Xi’s rebuke belong to one organization: the Tsinghua School of Economics and Management Advisory Committee. This is a significant reversal of Xi’s attitude when he took over as the party’s general secretary in 2012. At that time, Xi paid special attention to this advisory committee because of the elite individuals who comprised it. 

Who is involved in this advisory committee? The chairman is Tim Cook, president of Apple, and the vice chairman is Qiu Yong, president of Tsinghua University. 

Honorary members include the former president of BP and current chairman of Net Zero, the Lord Browne of Madingley as well as former U.S. Secretary of the Treasury and former chairman of Goldman Sachs, Henry M. Paulson, Jr. 

Former president and CEO of Wal-Mart, H. Lee Scott, Jr. and Wang Qishan, Vice President of the People’s Republic of China, are also involved.

While there are many members listed, some notable companies represented by a member on this advisory committee include General Motors, British Petroleum, Siemens, Dell Computer, Sony, Tesla, BMW, Microsoft, Coca-Cola, Facebook, and other chairmen, presidents, or CEOs of the world’s largest companies. There are also top leaders of the world’s largest financial companies such as Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, Flower Group, BlackRock Group, Zurich Insurance Group, and more. Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan, is on this advisory committee. 

Deans of other elite educational institutions like Harvard Business School, Penn Wharton Business School, Stanford Business School, MIT School of Management, and others are involved as are notable Nobel Prize winners in economics. 

Members from China include Beijing Mayor, Chen Jining; former chairman of China Development Bank, Chen Yuan; Foxconn’s Guo Taiming; Alibaba’s Jack Ma; Vice Premier Liu He; People’s Bank of China Party Secretary Guo Shuqing; Baidu founder Li Yanhong and so on.

What does this expansive list of names reveal? First, the importance of the committee based on the credentials of its members. Every business member on this committee is seated in a prominent position at a Fortune 500 company. In addition, all Western members come from the industries of business and academia, and most of them come from the United States. At least half of China’s members are current high-ranking government officials, including the deputy prime minister in charge of the economy, the governor of the Central Bank, and others. 

This makes clear that the Tsinghua School of Economics and Management Advisory Committee is not a private organization. It is an informal channel for the CCP to communicate with Washington through Wall Street and multinational companies in order to influence Washington’s policies on China. 

Because of the power of that channel, and because he himself came from Tsinghua University, Xi Jinping attached great importance to this organization when he took office. Shortly after he took office in October of 2013, Xi personally met and spoke with 22 overseas members of the advisory committee at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse. Reports make clear that Xi’s rhetoric at that time emphasized the need to comprehensively deepen reforms and learn from Western management experience. That is far from what Xi is saying today. (http://www.sem.tsinghua.edu.cn/gwwyhnewscn/TZ_71540.html)

The last time this committee played an active role in Sino-U.S. relations was four years ago, in 2017. According to Nikkei News, Trump visited China in November 2017. Just a few days before Trump’s visit, Xi Jinping invited members of the Tsinghua University Advisory Committee to the Great Hall of the People for a meeting. This is not a coincidence. Xi Jinping had hoped to highlight his tight connections with these Western business elites in order to pressure Trump into side-stepping a trade war with China. 

At that time, the world was concerned about the possibility of a direct trade conflict between China and the United States, and Xi Jinping was using his Tsinghua channel to amplify his voice and tried to avoid a trade war. At the meeting, Xi said that China was advancing comprehensive reforms with unprecedented determination and intensity through opening up. Xi claimed that China was not only a beneficiary of economic globalization but also a contributor; that China’s development is an opportunity for the world. Xi argued that China’s opening up was not about winning or losing but rather about cooperation and a win-win. He also quoted a Chinese saying that even if a business deal could not be reached, good relationships and trust should remain.  He also said China does not engage in overlord clauses and does not try to take advantage of others. He claimed that China would continue to introduce a series of measures that would expand its opening up.

All of this was a show, for the United States and for Trump. A long, winding way of saying don’t fight a trade war with me and I promise China would continue to open up and all the wrongs would be corrected gradually. 

Those words went to a powerful audience including Henry Paulson, Secretary of the Treasury during the Bush administration; Stephen Schwarzman, CEO of the Blackstone Group; Apple CEO Tim Cook; and Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook. Reports of the meeting suggest that each of these leaders had an opportunity to share their opinions and that all highly praised Xi Jinping’s policies. Given the political and economic power of those in that room, a great deal of pressure was put on Trump.

As a result, the Sino-U.S. trade war was not officially launched in 2017. Instead, China and the United States reached an agreement for China to purchase US$250 billion in goods from U.S. companies.

But this was a trade war delayed, not a trade war averted. Trump did ultimately launch a trade war with China, despite these American business elites and their collective persuasive power. The Wall Street-led China policy, which had been tried and tested before, did not work well for Trump. Because of that, the relationship between Xi Jinping and this committee should have changed. 

Instead, China attempted the same strategy a second time. A report in November 2018 said that Liu He, Vice Premier of the People’s Republic of China, came to the United States to negotiate with the U.S. trade delegation. Prior to those negotiations, he met again with a group of American business leaders. mostly from Wall Street. Guests at the meeting held in a hotel near the White House included Larry Fink, CEO of BlackRock; David Solomon, the second in command at Goldman Sachs; and Jamie Dimon of JPMorgan Chase, among others. Many of the attendees were members of Tsinghua’s advisory committee. Liu He stressed once again that China would open up their financial markets. 

A few days after this gathering, Liu He presented China’s position to the United States, including the same promise to open up the financial industry in China. But the Trump administration rejected China’s proposal, believing that the proposal was too narrow. After all, Trump was not a representative of the wall street interests. So despite a well-worn strategy that had so often worked in years and administrations past, this time Liu He returned to China without success.

Trump pressed on, using tariffs to push China to the negotiating table time and time again. At the end of 2019, Xi Jinping and Trump skipped the strategizing with Wall Street and went personally to the negotiating table at the G20 meeting in Argentina. Xi negotiated with Trump point-by-point, making many promised concessions along the way with a commitment to implement those changes immediately. True to form, however, when Liu He came to the U.S. to implement the terms, Xi Jinping withdrew his prior commitment at the last moment and the Chinese delegation returned, again without success.

We don’t know what happened in China at that time. However, I believe that was an important turning point for Xi Jinping. Xi was not inclined to close the country as soon as he came to power, and he did not have any clear, fixed ideas on governing the country at that time. His early ideas on governing the country were dismantled by domestic and international tensions. It’s possible that he was put under pressure by other CCP elites who felt he made too many concessions to the American government. 

So, Xi has started a steady march toward closing the country, a march that will inevitably lead to a confrontation with the West. And he is using the coronavirus pandemic, and his claimed success at handling it, to suggest that the CCP’s totalitarian rule has advantages over Western democracy. What Xi claims about success in diagnosing, treating and containing the coronavirus cannot be trusted. The numbers are unbelievable by any standard. Still, Xi is using them to claim that China is institutionally and economically superior to the West, giving him the false sense that he has the strength to compete with and even overcome the Western world, a notion that has now made the Tsinghua School of Economics and Management Advisory Committee seem disposable to him. He doesn’t need a secret route to persuade the U.S. if he believes he can beat the U.S.

It is not just external factors that have swayed that decision, though. The Nikkei News report also cited the breakdown of Xi Jinping’s relationship with Chinese members of the committee in the past year. These members include Jack Ma, Wang Qishan, and Chen Yuan, the former president of the China Open Bank. Chen Yuan’s close assistant is currently under investigation. People around Wang Qishan were also investigated one by one. At the same time, Xi Jinping is still investigating 25 financial institutions, including large state-owned banks. The report said that this is also weakening Wang Qishan’s power as a veteran in the financial field.

Although Xi Jinping has alienated this think tank as a whole, some overseas members of this committee still hope to have a good relationship with the current regime of the Chinese Communist Party. The Blackstone Group has been a good friend of the CCP from the beginning, and BlackRock has argued for continued and aggressive investments in China and has endorsed the future of the Chinese economy. 

Xi Jinping will not oppose them doing so. What Xi wants is not a completely closed society. What he wants is Wall Street forces that will bend to his will and accept his ways as the right ways. China still needs foreign capital and global markets, but Xi needs them to operate under his control. But if that was his desire, he destroyed it through his string of suppressions on the corporate and economic environment of China. His crackdowns on Jack Ma, Didi, Tencent and others and his attacks on the platform economy have caused an irreparable break between Xi and this committee. 

Fundamentally speaking, this is a battle of routes. Earlier, I introduced several important members of this committee, but I have not introduced the most important person. He is the founder of the committee and the honorary chairman, Zhu Rongji. Zhu was the premier of China during the Jiang Zemin era. He founded this advisory committee in 2000, which opened the way for the top CCP to use American business elites to influence Washington’s China policy. Zhu Rongji was Wang Qishan’s boss.

Wang Qishan is one of the first CCP officials who knew how to navigate Wall Street. In 1996, Wang listed China’s state-owned banks on the New York Stock Exchange with the help of those on Wall Street, a move he made while working under Zhu Rongji. Both he and Zhu belonged to the reformists. Wang believed according to the book Red Roulette that China’s state-owned enterprises would one day be privatized and that they should prepare for that day by preparing the money to purchase those companies.

Since the era of Zhu Rongji, whether it is the CCP or the Western financial leaders and multinational corporations, they are all participants in and beneficiaries of economic globalization. As such, they can get along well. But Xi Jinping’s current trend of encirclement and suppression in China has prevented him from fully participating in the feast of globalization. 

That’s all for today. Thanks for watching Zooming In China Tea Time. Please like, share, subscribe and donate to this program if you like my content. Also, head over to my membership site at zoomingin.tv. You can get video/audio formats of my shows, full transcripts, in-depth reports and extra interviews available only to members. Just $5 a month or $50 a year. Please check it out.

China Is Most Likely Spared from a Second Cultural Revolution | Zooming In China

Hello, everyone. Welcome to Zooming In China Tea Time. I’m Simone Gao.

Last week, the Sixth Plenary Session of the 19th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China formally adopted the Party’s third historical resolution. It is a landmark document that the CCP is using to project the “great glories and victories” of China in the past and to come and most importantly, Xi Jinping is using it as a launchpad for his third term in office. 

What this 27,000-word document doesn’t cover is notable. As the Taipei Times mentioned in their November 21st coverage of this resolution, “While a crisis at China Evergrande Group—which many call the bedrock of the Chinese economy—affects millions of Chinese invested in and dependent on the company, the sixth plenary session…declared in a landmark resolution…that these very people are enjoying the best years of their lives.

Meanwhile, the coal industry that once powered the country has dwindled in capacity, leading to widespread power outages…None of these major domestic issues that affect ordinary Chinese—not to speak of the sheer number of international issues the country is facing—are mentioned in the resolution. The CCP under Chinese President Xi Jinping seems oblivious to the things that directly affect the people it governs.”

Given that glaring oversight of anything that seems deeply relevant to the Chinese people, it would be easy to assume that this was a document to glorify Xi Jinping, one simply rubber-stamped by the Party. While this document does praise Xi exceedingly, it is not a full win for the dictator. A close reading of this resolution proves that it is a compromise reached between Xi Jinping and the Central Committee, with Xi gaining what he most wanted while still allowing for some compromises to influential Party members. 

Clearly, the core purpose of Xi Jinping’s third historical resolution is to lay the foundation for his third term in office. As I previously reported, in March of 2018, the National People’s Congress passed a constitutional amendment removing presidential term limits. While this removed constitutional barriers to Xi remaining in office for life, social barriers still exist. To continue his reign, Xi must convince Party leadership, and the Chinese people, that his is the vision that will carry them into a prosperous future. That he is the leader who will keep them from harm. To do so, Xi Jinping sets himself not just side-by-side with but above other storied Chinese leaders, including Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping. 

This resolution divides the history of the CCP into three major stages. The first stage contains the “new democratic revolution” before the establishment of the People’s Republic of China as well as the socialist revolution and construction stage after the PRC’s founding, both overseen by Mao Zedong. The second stage is one of so-called reform and opening up, a stage of socialist modernization that is overseen by leaders Deng Xiaoping, Jiang Zemin, and Hu Jintao. In marking the second stage as one involving three distinct leaders, this resolution weakens the position of Deng Xiaoping and leaves only Xi Jinping standing on par with Mao Zedong. 

The third stage features Xi’s self-described new era of socialism with Chinese characteristics. The intent of this section is to enhance the status of Xi Jinping and position him alongside Mao Zedong, each leading a critical stage of Chinese history alone. 

It is important to note that the plenary communique shared just after the Sixth Plenary Session of the Central Committee had five stages, not three. In that earlier draft, each of these leaders was highlighted as an equally important figure in a key historical moment. It is only in the post-session revisions that Deng Xiaoping, Jiang Zemin, and Hu Jintao are condensed in importance and Xi Jinping is raised to be an equal to Mao Zedong. 

But even a status equal to Mao is not enough for Xi. While the resolution highlights each as overseeing a core historical moment in China, the description of Mao over two historical periods contained only 5600 words. Xi’s self-proclaimed political achievements, on the other hand, included a 13-item list that totaled 19, 382 words.  All three of the other leaders accounted for only 4142 words. 

In essence, then, this new resolution has lifted Xi Jinping to a status higher than Mao Zedong, leaving the sense that his re-election is a done deal. Who among the CCP leadership would dare vote against a leader envisioned as greater than Mao?

However, not everyone in China agrees with the role Xi Jinping carved for himself in this resolution. A side note offered in state-run People’s Daily makes clear that there were fierce disputes and even quarrels at the Sixth Plenary Session, saying “For three full days, there were heated and contentious debates between the 348 people at the top of the Chinese power pyramid about this resolution, and they refused to give in. Before one had finished speaking, the others were standing up and preparing to talk. Even at the conclusion of the meeting, the participants were walking in twos and threes to discuss this in more depth. What was the focus of their debate?

The People’s Daily report claimed that the debates arose because of the difficulty in defining a party history, and the range of issues within it, for a full century. Of key importance, though, was the question of how to properly handle the relationship between the new historical resolution and the prior two historical resolutions, an issue of great concern to the leaders attending the meeting. Many strongly opposed the idea that the first two resolutions should be negated.

It is only the second historical resolution that deals with current policies in China. That resolution denied the Cultural Revolution, banned the cult of personality, had a seven-thirds evaluation of Mao Zedong, established a policy of reform and opening up and, importantly, abolished the lifelong system of leadership.

According to the rules of the Communist Party, when a resolution is voted on, it must be passed by all. Should anyone dare to vote against it, his political career would end immediately. However, knowing there may be some dissent and wanting to avoid antagonizing a large part of the Party leadership, Xi left space for a three-day discussion period before the vote. This is an internal discussion, protected by security guards at the Jingxi Hotel in order to ensure that none of the discussions are disclosed. 

This is different from the National People’s Congress and CPPCC meetings. Many deputies to the National People’s Congress and members of the CPPCC are simply figureheads whose opinions have no weight. But the Central Committee is the core of China’s power. They are princes from all sides, and no opinion they share is trivial. That does not necessarily make them free to express them at will or free from the consequences of doing so. 

Despite being princes from all sides, they are not necessarily protected from a purge by Xi Jinping after the meeting. It’s just like Stalin purging a group of members every time he held a meeting of the Central Committee. If that risk still exists, then, why would these committee members be willing to strongly speak out on or challenge this resolution? Because Xi Jinping has spent many years breaking the unspoken rules of the Communist Party’s game, namely the rules that give the leadership enormous privilege. If he is re-elected for a third term, they will lose these privileges and have to play a new game dictated by Xi Jinping. 

Recently, it came to my attention that the sons and daughters of CCP officials who have gone abroad have sought to stay in the United States. Before, CCP officials used the United States as a spare tire but kept their base in China. Now, they see that China is faltering and are seeking to stay in the U.S. permanently. They know that with Xi Jinping in charge, their property, privileges, and even personal safety are at stake. 

In the end, Xi got what he cared most about. He confirmed his supremacy in the Party and his position on par with Mao Zedong, laying the foundation for his third political term. This is a victory for him.

Meanwhile, he did make concessions on the direction the Communist Party will go in the future. 

His first concession was a denial of any positive outcomes from the Cultural Revolution. The resolution declared that Mao Zedong and the Party made a huge mistake that resulted in Ten years of civil turmoil which caused the party, country, and people to suffer the most serious setbacks and losses since the founding of New China, and the lessons were extremely painful. 

By doing so, the road that Xi Jinping wanted to build toward a second Cultural Revolution will now be left unfinished. I believe this is a manifestation of the will of a large number of people in the party, including the political elders, such as Hu Jintao, Wen Jiabao, and those in power, such as Li Keqiang, Wang Yang, and others who are firmly opposed to the Cultural Revolution. 

Xi’s second concession was to continue to adhere to reform and opening up. A couple of paragraphs pulled from different sections of the resolution help to showcase this concession.

One of them is Article 4 of Xi Jinping’s 13 major achievements in power, which is called the comprehensive deepening of reform and opening up. There, he stressed that reform and opening up represented a great awakening for the Party and a great revolution in the history of the Chinese nation’s development, and he called for continued efforts to see this process through.” 

He kept on saying: “Reform can only be carried out and not completed. There is no way out for stagnation and retreat. It must be advanced with greater political courage and wisdom. 

“The Party Central Committee is deeply aware that opening up brings progress, and closure will inevitably lag behind; if my country’s development is to gain advantages, win initiative, and win the future, it must conform to economic globalization, rely on my country’s ultra-large-scale market advantages, and implement a more proactive opening strategy.”

One thing is worth noting. The communiqué issued at the end of the Sixth Plenary Session of the Central Committee did not mention the need to continue the reform and opening up, leaving the impression that Xi Jinping was about to end that practice. However, the resolution issued five days later clearly stated that the reform and opening up should continue. Is this just the difference between the summary and the full text? Or was it added after the days-long game between the various factions of the Chinese Communist Party? I think the second possibility cannot be ruled out, because it says in the explanation of the resolution that more than 500 amendments were made from the draft to the final version, and the amendments are very large. That also shows the intensity of the debate about this resolution, in spite of potential backlash the participants may have faced.

The resolution also addresses Taiwan, though in a way that is neither too prominent nor too sensational. It repeats the wording we have been hearing from the party for years: “peaceful reunification” and “one country, two systems.” There are mentions of the 1992 consensus and an ongoing opposition to Taiwan’s independence. The most powerful sentence is this: “Solving the Taiwan issue and realizing the complete reunification of the motherland are the unswerving historical tasks of the party, the common aspiration of all Chinese sons and daughters, and the inevitable requirement for the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.” The resolution also states that they “firmly grasp the dominance and initiative in cross-strait relations meaning it is the party who decides when and how to complete reunification of the country.”

That sentiment was emphasized by Xi Jinping again in his comment to President Biden at their recent virtual meeting. He said they are patient and willing to use their utmost sincerity and do their utmost to strive for the prospect of peaceful reunification. “But if the ‘Taiwan independence’ separatist forces break through the red line, we will have to take decisive measures.”

This clearly indicates that if Taiwan dares to seek independence, China is prepared to rule them by force. 

Why is Xi Jinping so persistent on the Taiwan issue? I will offer a detailed explanation in the documentary I am making. That documentary will be published by the end of the year. For now, what is most important to know is that the Taiwan issue is what Xi Jinping truly believes is his greatest political legacy. His so-called great achievements in the third historical resolution are exaggerated, and he knows it. But were he to win Taiwan, it would establish his unshakable historical position in the Party. Then, re-election or tenure would not be in question. So, to solidify his own political power and role, he must win the battle over Taiwan. This is a critical fact that the U.S. and Taiwanese governments must understand.

That’s all for today.  Please like, share, subscribe and donate to this program if you like my content. Thanks again and I will see you next time.