[Teatime with Transcript] Xi’s October Surprise? Can a short-lived Committee Stop Xi’s Bid for a Third Term?

Simone Gao: Whenever there is a lot of red in China’s news media, you know something important is happening. It is either the Chinese New Year or an important political event. In this case, it is the prelude of the Chinese Communist Party or CCP’s 20th National Congress-The Seventh Plenary Session of the 19th CCP Central Committee.

Don’t get confused by their long names. The whole 20th National Congress of the CCP has one core mission that matters to the world: Xi Jinping’s so-called re-election into the top leader position of the Party and the country. So Let’s just call it Xi’s re-election conference.

The conventional wisdom is that Xi has subdued his opposition and will get a third term as the general secretary of the Chinese Communist Party, chairman of the Central Military Commission, and president of the People’s Republic of China, an incident that would violate the Communist Party’s long standing rule of top leadership’s serving only two terms. Nevertheless, Xi would most likely get his way. But just a few days ago, this gentleman, Gao Wenqian, an expert on the history of the Chinese Communist Party, revealed an important detail that he thinks could change Xi Jinping’s fate at the last minute.

What is it? It is the formation of a small committee whose lifespan is about 10 days.

This committee is called the Standing Committee of the Presidium of the 20th National Congress. It is the highest decision-making body during the Party Congress. Decisions on major matters must first be decided by the Standing Committee, then communicated to the Presidium, and then to all the delegates.

Why does this matter? You see, by the time the previous Central Committee has ended its work, the new Central Committee has not yet been elected. During this short period, who will lead the Party? Not Xi Jinping since he is the General Secretary of the Party elected by the outgoing Central Committee. It is this standing Committee of the Presidium which is elected by the outgoing central committee. It will preside over things during the Party’s congress until the new Central Committee is elected. In other words, Xi Jinping will not be in total control of the Party during those 10 days. This committee should be announced on October 15, the day before the opening of the 20th National Congress.

But… wait a minute, the Communist Party never has real elections, so can Xi decide who will be “elected” into the Standing Committee of the Presidium? Well, here is the thing.

Based on the Party’s precedent, the Standing Committee of the Presidium has a certain fixed composition of members which contains past, current and future members of the Politburo Standing Committee and some current politburo members and other high ranking officials. The Politburo Standing Committee is the Party’s highest ruling body so its members are considered the ones who really govern the country.
Keeping that in mind, now let’s see who is in the Standing Committee of the Presidium for the 17th National Congress right before Xi became the top leader.

It consists of 41 members. 7 from the future or upcoming politburo standing committee, 9 from the current or outgoing politburo standing committee, 12 from the earlier Politburo standing committees, and 15 from the current lower level politburo and other departments.

Xi Jinping is most concerned with the members from the past Politburo Standing Committees. These people are called political elders and there are quite a few of them who oppose Xi.

What could these opponents do? According to the CCP’s rules, the Standing Committee of the Presidium performs a range of functions including studying the major issues related to the conference, and submitting opinions to the conference presidium for discussion and decision. In other words, they have the right to submit special motions for the Central Committee to discuss. This is where unexpected things could happen, and things similar in nature have happened in the past.

In 1978, right before the Third Plenary Session of the 11th Central Committee , A Politburo Standing Committee member Chen Yun raised some controversial issues regarding the Cultural Revolution. His remarks had wide resonance which led to the change of the original agenda for the conference. The conference was prolonged to 36 days, during which the theoretical foundation of then Chairman of the Party Hua Guofeng (华国锋)was criticized; multiple political figures have been rehabilitated. Not long after the conference, Hua’s power was replaced by Deng Xiaoping. China entered a new era.

What a terrifying example for Xi Jinping and there are more in the CCP’s history! According to historian Gao Wenqian, the essence of such events is that when the elders of the Party gather together, it is very hard to stop them from voicing their opinion. If one person raises his hand, can you not let him speak? If his remarks have resonance, things could get out of control. The Standing Committee of the Presidium could propose a special motion for the National Congress to discuss certain issues.

And there are many issues people would like to discuss regarding Xi’s policy. The collapse of the Sino-U.S. relations, the questionable alliance of China and Russia; the notorious zero-covid policy and the failing of the Chinese economy, to name just a few. However…

Guess what? If you and I have thought about these scenarios, I guarantee you Xi Jinping has thought about them too. In fact, Xi has made thorough preparations to avoid such surprises.

In May, 2022, the General Office of the CCP Central Committee issued an Opinion that pointed out the necessity to ensure that retired cadres, especially Party members who have held leadership positions, continue to listen to the Party’s words, follow the Party’s words, and consciously align with the Party Central Committee with Xi Jinping at its core. The Opinion specifically forbade arbitrary discussion of the major policies of the Party, spreading of negative political remarks, and participating in activities of illegal organizations.

This is to prevent the political elders from getting together to plot against Xi Jinping. It is reported that eavesdropping of these people is prevalent. They don’t dare to talk about sensitive things over the phone. If they had no preparations, no communications beforehand, would they improvise such a high risk operation at the meeting in a concerted effort? I highly doubt it. But historian Gao Wenqian seems hopeful. He said among the political elders, some of them are from Xi’s father’s generation. Some of them promoted him, others did him huge favors, still others hold strong opposing views on Xi’s policies. So this is a group of people Xi has a hard time dealing with.

Another preemptive move from Xi’s side is to make the Party incorporate the so-called Two Establishments into an important Party resolution last November. What are the Two Establishments? They are Establishing Comrade Xi Jinping as the core of the Party Central Committee and the core of the whole Party, and establishing the guiding position of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era.
Narration: This resolution was passed by the last Plenary Session of the 19th CCP Central Committee. In other words, it was adopted by the same group of people who will attend the upcoming 7th Plenary Session. What does that mean? It means if Xi Jinping’s position and Xi Jinping’s guiding thoughts were to be changed or altered, the same group of people not only denied themselves, but also would need to bear responsibilities for making such a mistake to adopt the Two Establishments in the first place. That will mean the dysfunction of the CCP as a whole. Therefore, such an outcome will turn out to be highly unlikely. In fact, the Two Establishments and some other doctrines that aim to establish Xi’s permanent leadership position will be written into the Party Constitution during the 20th National Congress. That will pave the way for Xi to get a life-long tenure.

According to the Communiqué of the 7th Plenary Session of the CCP Central Committee, The Party will continue to unite around the Central Committee with Xi Jinping at its core. This is an indication that Xi will get a third term. But the Standing Committee of the Presidium of the 20th National Congress is still the thing to watch for. If the number of political elders is reduced, it will mean Xi has changed the rules once again, but it also shows Xi is concerned about them. If there is no change to the composition pattern of the Standing Committee, it could mean Xi is confident that there will be no surprises. It could also mean Xi does not have the authority to change this long standing tradition of the Party. In either case, its implications will only be revealed after the 20th National Congress.

 

[Teatime with Transcript] Is a Covert China-Russia Alliance underway? | Zooming In with Simone Gao

Simone: No, no, no, no, still no, Putin and Xi Jinping’s meeting did not make it to the picture headlines of the People’s Daily, China’s largest government owned newspaper.

Did the People’s Daily report their meeting at all? Ok, here it is, hmmm, there is no video, and no pictures. I wonder if Xi’s other meeting reports don’t have photos either.

Oops, other meetings have videos; that’s because China Central Television, the country’s largest government owned TV station reported them. Only Putin’s meeting with Xi was not carried by CCTV.

What’s going on? What happened between Xi Jinping and Putin?

Xi Jinping visited ex-Soviet Uzbekistan on September 15 for a summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. That was Xi’s first overseas visit since the pandemic began almost three years ago. The highlight of the summit was supposed to be his meeting with Russian president Putin, whom Xi has called a good friend, an old friend and a true friend, and maybe now the only friend.

But the much-anticipated warm interaction didn’t happen. Xi obviously kept some distance from this old friend. Putin in his opening statement in his meeting with Xi said: “We appreciate our Chinese friends’ balanced position in connection with the Ukraine crisis. We understand your questions and your concerns in this regard. During today’s meeting we will certainly explain in detail our position on this issue, although we have spoken about this before.”

Let me try to explain what he really meant: “My dear friend, I didn’t want to accuse you of not helping enough. I completely understand your situation and concerns. However, you should still help me. And this is why.”

We don’t know what Putin actually discussed with Xi Jinping because the rest of the meeting was muted. But we do know that Xi rushed to the airport the minute the summit was over. It really didn’t seem Xi was too enthusiastic about this whole thing.

However, the day after Xi went back to Beijing. Nikolai Patrushev, Secretary of the Security Council of the Russian Federation, arrived in China on a working visit. He met with the CCP’s Central Committee Politburo member Yang Jiechi.

One of the main messages he conveyed was that based on the agreement between Putin and Xi, the priority in Russian-Chinese relations is to work consistently to strengthen their strategic link.

More specifically, he said “The parties agreed on further cooperation between the military departments with an emphasis on joint exercises and patrols, as well as on strengthening contacts between the general staffs. Mutual interest was expressed in maintaining a high level of military-technical cooperation.”

And a day after that, Putin did this.

Putin: I think it is necessary to support the Ministry of Defense and the general staff to conduct a partial military mobilization in Russia. We have no moral right to hand over our loved ones to the executioners, we can not fail to respond to their sincere desire to determine their own fate…and have asked us, Russia to help.

Simone: And lastly, he warned the West that In the event of a threat to the territorial integrity of the country and to defend the Russian people, they will use all weapon systems available including, he implied, the nuclear weapons.

This partial mobilization will call up 300,000 reserve troops. But there is a problem. Wasn’t Russia running out of weapons and ammunition already? If they get another 300,000 troops on the battlefield, what are these soldiers going to fight with? And do they have the money to support this operation? Hmmm, this escalation took place right after Putin met Xi Jinping in Uzbekistan, which followed by a ministerial level meeting that discussed among other things, further cooperation between the military departments of the two countries. Could Xi be backing Putin up after all?

This guy is more important than Patrushev and Yang Jiechi combined when it comes to China-Russia relationships because he is the number three guy in China.

His name is Li Zhanshu, chairman of China’s National People’s Congress Standing Committee. By the way, China’s People’s Congress is not like the congress in democratic countries. The representatives are not elected through a real democratic process, but rather, are nominated by government officials. This doesn’t mean the People’s Congress does not have power, it does. It legislates just like Congress in America. Only, the legislation reflects the wills of the Party leaders, not the Chinese people. Anyway, Li Zhanshu is the head of the People’s Congress. And he also ranked third in the Party’s seven Politburo Standing Committee, THE top ruling body in China. Last but not least, he is a Xi Jinping confidant.

Li Zhanshu went to Russia right before Putin and Xi Jinping’s meeting at the summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. He delivered a key message to his Russian counterpart that the “strategic coordination” between the two countries had “reached an unprecedented level,” According to Russia’s State Duma, Li told Russian legislators that “China understands and supports Russia on issues that represent its vital interests, in particular on the situation in Ukraine.” and that China is providing its assistance.

The English word assistance doesn’t reflect the exact meaning of “策应”. “策应” is more than just assistance. It is support by coordinated action, most commonly used in a military context.

Li Zhanshu’s promise was not improvised. His choice of words must have been discussed and decided by the Politburo Standing Committee. Therefore, it represented the top Chinese leadership’s decision although they don’t want to make it as public as the Russian media did. Li Zhanshu’s mention of supporting Russia over the Ukrainian war was cut from the Chinese media’s readout, just like the severe downgrade of the report on Xi’s meeting with Putin. But why? Who is the Chinese Communist Party hiding this information from?

The CCP hid it from its own people more than anyone else. Russia had just lost 6000 square km of occupied land in Ukraine. Forming an alliance with a loser is particularly sensitive for Xi Jinping now.

The party’s 20th National Congress will be held in October this year. Xi Jinping’s top priority is to be elected smoothly into the position of General Secretary of the Party for the third time. Anything obstructing this goal will need to be eliminated. He strives to be possibly entitled “the people’s leader of China”, on the same footing as Mao Zedong, at this conclave. He can’t afford to be closely associated with someone who is incompetent and could potentially bring trouble to China. Public opinion could turn very negative, even with heavy handed censorship. Xi does not lack opponents in China. They are watching carefully for loopholes in Xi to destroy him. Xi can not give them that opportunity. He also didn’t want to stir up more trouble for himself with America and the West right before the 20th National Congress. American sanctions could incur serious internal criticism against him.

This is why he couldn’t support Russia openly. But with Li Zhanshu’s promise and Patrushev’s follow up trip to China, you can be sure that China’s support to Russia will continue if not increase. One area mentioned in Patrushev’s statement is further cooperation between the two militaries with an emphasis on joint exercises and patrols.

Why joint military exercises? A joint exercise could serve multiple purposes. And one of them could be this: If the exercise is conducted on the Sino-Russian border or in Russia. Could China conveniently bring a large number of weapons to Russia? And after the exercise, what about leaving a portion of them for their Russian friends?

This video was filmed by Russian citizens in Vladivostok a few weeks ago. A long fleet of Chinese military vehicles were seen driving in the city. What’s inside of these vehicles? We don’t know. But we do know that starting from September 1st, Russia held a week-long military exercise at seven firing ranges in Russia’s Far East and the Sea of Japan and involved more than 50,000 troops and over 5,000 weapons units, including 140 aircraft and 60 warships. The participating parties include several ex-Soviet nations, China, India, Laos, Mongolia, Nicaragua and Syria.

If the Chinese military does leave weapons to the Russians, Russia could theoretically claim they bought them from North Korea who bought them from China before. In fact, according to the Guardian, the Biden administration officials earlier this month confirmed a declassified US intelligence assessment that North Korea was in the process of selling arms to Russia in violation of UN security council sanctions banning Pyongyang from importing or exporting weapons. North Korea denied such sales.

Another area as mentioned in Patrushev’s statement is the military-tech cooperation between the two countries. I talked to a veteran Chinese air force officer about this and asked what this military-tech cooperation could be. He told me that China has been relying on Russia’s military doctrines and technologies since the P.R.C. was formed. And that has lasted ‘til today.

Russia could provide advanced technologies to China in exchange for money, equipment and components. It is highly suspected that China already supports Russia through disguised civil trade, such as selling electronics including chips. A lot of those chips used in consumer electronics can also be transferred to weapons. China could also transfer weapons or other materials to Russia via a third party, for example, a country in the Shanghai Cooperation organization.

I read this interesting report from Aid Data, a research lab at William & Mary. It was released in 2021 and it says that China’s contracts contain unusually broad confidentiality clauses, which prevent borrowers from revealing the terms or sometimes even the existence of the loans. The researchers also found that China’s contracts have become more secretive over time, with a confidentiality clause in every contract in the dataset since 2014.

Could China support Russia via these secretive contracts? We definitely can’t rule out the possibility. But what if America finds out and sanctions China? Well, first of all, it is hard to find out given the secrecy of these contracts. Secondly, I don’t think China cares that much since China assumes America is decoupling from China and trying to besiege China economically anyway. The Biden administration’s recent ban on selling sophisticated chips to China and Russia is a good example.

In fact, Biden revealed to CBS’s 60 Minutes that during his recent telephone conversations with Chinese leader Xi Jinping. “Biden said: if you think that the Americans and others will continue to invest in the Chinese economy while violating sanctions against Russia, then you are making a huge mistake.”

And guess what? At SCO’s final press conference, Putin said that he and Xi Jinping “stated a significant increase in trade turnover”. An open defiance to Biden’s warning.

This is what we expected. The two countries are both severely isolated. And they DO need each other. The most important tie is energy.

One of the highlights of this SCO summit is the tripartite talks between China, Russia and Mongolia because Russia’s natural gas pipelines to China and other Asian countries are likely to be laid in Mongolia.

Russian state energy giant Gazprom has been researching for years how to lay the massive gas pipeline Siberia 2 to transport natural gas to China over Mongolia. If the pipeline is laid, it will be able to transport 50 billion cubic meters of natural gas per year, equivalent to the annual transmission volume of Nord Stream 1 and about one-third of the total natural gas that Russia sends to Europe each year.

Russia has now replaced Saudi Arabia as China’s largest oil importer. If this pipeline goes through, energy sanctions against Russia by Europe and the United States will hardly bring a fatal blow to Russia. At the same time, the threat to cut off oil transport from Saudi Arabia to China through the Strait of Malacca will also lose its deterrent effect. This has great strategic significance for both China and Russia. For this reason alone, China and Russia have to form an alliance.

Does the CIA or FBI have think tanks under them? I have never heard of it. But China does. And because it is under the intelligence agency, it is more important than other think tanks. So In a recent article by Fu Mengzi, vice president of a think tank affiliated to the Chinese Ministry of State Security, Mr. Fu proposed three responses from China’s side in response to the West’s countering of a China-Russia alliance.

The first is to oppose a Unipolar world order, the second is to seek an alternative development mode in a post globalization era, and the third is to solidify relationships with neighboring countries, to reorganize the supply chains within these countries to create an extended internal economic circulation in defense of a Western blockade. Just to be clear: Russia has a four thousand three hundred kilometer border with China, the second longest among all of China’s neighbors.

The article also recognized that the trend of an Eastern rise and a Western descent is slowing down. A stronger West and a Weaker East will not be changed in the near future. Therefore, China should be prepared for a long haul.

Xi Jinping probably looks beyond the Russian-Ukrainian war. He sees Russia as an indispensable piece in his united front against America and the West. Xi Jinping’s Taiwan ambition also needs Russia’s vocal and material support. Yes, China and Russia compete in central Asia for leadership. China’s Belt and Road Initiative intrudes into what Russia considers its strategic backyard. But China and Russia need each other more. It doesn’t seem they have other choices now. They are literally each other’s strongest support. Xi Jinping couldn’t let Putin fall. The deeper Putin is in trouble, the more Xi Jinping has to help him, unfortunately.

[Chat with Transcript] A World Stood up to Beijing, A Conversation with Miles Yu | Zooming in with Simone Gao

Simone Gao: The war in Ukraine has brought changes to the world.

Do you think it has changed the balance of power and strategic Alliance of the major powers in the world so far?

Miles Yu: NATO is no longer considering itself, a purely regional and European defense path. It actually considers peace and stability in the Indo Pacific part of its new mission as well.

Simone Gao: But, has Xi Jinping heeded the warning?

Miles Yu: I don’t think Xi Jinping is even teachable of any lessons.

Simone Gao: Dr. Miles Yu, former Secretary of State Mike Pomeo’s top China advisor, nevertheless, suggests that Xi learns two things.

Miles Yu: Bullying a small country will never work, the United States and its allies are determined to defend Taiwan.

Simone Gao: And his words to Taiwan is:

Miles Yu: Never give in to threat and bullying.

Simone Gao: Dr. Yu, thank you so much for joining Zooming In today.

Miles Yu: Thank you for inviting me. I’m glad to be here with you again.

Simone Gao: Okay. So I know a new China Center was just formed at the Hudson Institute last month, and you are the director of it. Can you tell us a bit more about this center? Why was it formed? What is it going to do and how is it going to be different from other China-related think-tanks in DC?

Miles Yu: Let me answer your last question. First, the China Center at the Hudson Institute is unlike other think-tank centers in Washington. Uh, in that it is a product of a unique moment in US history when America’s attitude, understanding and resolve to face a formidable challenge that is the Chinese party has reached an unprecedented national consensus. Political forces from all sides, left, center and right, have all agreed on this historical shift, which is almost 180 degrees of our national policy toward communist China.

The cross of this unprecedented national consensus on China is the end of a misguided area of engagement and appeasement to the CCP and the beginning of a national awakening to the intention, capabilities and opportunities of the Chinese communist party. Uh, the party has used different ways to upend the free and democratic global system and to replace it with the autocratic model of governance led by the Marxist-Leninist Chinese Communist party, a party that has been to be frank, enabled and empowered by our decades of naive engagement and unprincipled appeasement.

So, the central mission of the China Center at Hudson is therefore to promote and preserve this historic national consensus on China to prevent it from becoming another victim of partisanship. Uh, so another unique feature of Hudson’s China Center is that many of my colleagues associated with the center are the veterans of the revolutionary change of our China policy during the Trump administration, secretary of state Mike Pompeo, for example, works with us in the capacity of the China central chairman of the advisory board.

I myself was deeply involved in that China policy revolution during the Trump administration. We will do our best to ensure a policy continuity, help the current and future American administrations, no matter which party it may be, with our expertise, experiences, and recommendations, so that American democracy will withstand the CCPs challenge. And we will win the strategic competition for freedom, human rights and world law.

Simone Gao: (03:06)
Right, right. Uh, talking about this historic moment in the US-China relations, one of the geopolitical events that has a major impact on China is the Russo-Ukrainian war. So what is your overall assessment of the war? Was it avoidable in your opinion? And, uh, do you think it has changed the balance of power and strategic alliance of the major powers in the world so far?

Miles Yu: I think all wars are weighed with certain kind of ideas behind it. I think that Russia has long held a dangerous idea. And so that idea has not really been refuted sufficiently. Therefore I see the war coming, uh, sort of in a expected. Now what is the idea? Well, Russia war against Ukraine is completely unjustified. It reflects an antiquated imperialistic Russian mentality that all peoples of other sovereign nations who may have shared historical ethnic, or even linguistic ties with Russian culture should be ruled by the Moscow civilization state called Russia.

So this justification for agression in Ukraine is very dangerous and it is exactly what the Chinese Communist Party is advocating for in the context of Taiwan. Russia and the CCP share exactly the same absurd warmongering logic, uh, both Moscow and Beijing are saying that history, ethnicity and a language should determine political sovereignty and territorial belonging, but not political independence, popular elections and international law.

So this Chinese and Russian thinking must be stopped for the sake of world peace and international stability. Now, you asked me another aspect of the war that is, uh, what does it mean? Well, the war in Ukraine itself has rendered profound lessons to all, both aggressors and aggressed. To the aggressors. It has really become a perfect case of global rallying, uh, of tremendous moral and material support for Ukraine and Taiwan against the naked threats of invasion and subjugation. Uh, just as a very familiar Chinese saying goes, “a just cause attracts great support and unjust one finds little”.

Because of this Russian-Chinese joint venture of aggression, these two countries are extremely isolated, morally, internationally, and China is a warrant that if it does the copycat act by invading Taiwan, China will be sanctioned, boycotted, and resisted severely and debilitatingly. So I would say, you know, uh, another important consequence of the war in Ukraine is that it has really taught the victimized and threatened small countries like Taiwan, that they must have their own indigenously, strong national defense forces, but most importantly, never give in to threat and bullying.

Only when a nation shows its resolve and tenacity for self defense can great international military support, make any difference. With strong self defense and great military assistance from allies, Taiwan will prevail.

So I think, you know, in the end freedom and democracy will win. But you asked me, excuse me, you asked me also about whether the war in Ukraine has changed global balance of power. My answer is not really, despite the Russia’s broad war in Ukraine. I think the international consensus that the CCP is a world’s number one threat still remains. Not only that, I think that because of the war in Ukraine, global major power players have even deepened, their existing strategic perspective by viewing the CCP as even more dangerous because of its closer and closer relationship with Russia, not just in Europe, but more importantly in the Indo-Pacific as well.

Uh, well I think this is happening because the world knows that Russia is kind of less advanced economically and technologically than the CCP. Let me just make this right clear. China’s economy is a more than 10 times bigger than Russia’s.

It has much more advanced asymmetrical weapon platforms in emerging new frontier of modern warfare. So that’s why we have seen that for the first time a global multilateral collective defense ground Alliance is slowly but steadily taking shape, with China and Russia at the center of its preoccupation. For example, NATO is no longer considering itself, a purely regional and European defense pact.

It actually considers peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific part of its new mission as well. And this is pretty amazing. You can see that in a recently concluded NATO summit in Madrid, Spain, for example, for the first time ever leaders of key Indo-Pacific democracies, South Korea, Japan, Australia, and New Zealand are invited to take part in, and the NATOs 2022 strategic council specifically mentioned this PRC as one of its strategic security priorities. And that is pretty amazing. So that’s why I say the war in Ukraine has not really changed global power balance and China, not Russia, continues to be world’s biggest security threat.

Simone Gao: Hmm. In your early part of the answer, you talked about whether the Taiwanese people are ready for a possible CCP aggression. I wanna talk about that a little bit more later, but for now I have another question, you know, regarding the war, some analysts say from now to winter is a critical time for how the world would turn out. America and Europe should provide enough heavy weapons to Ukraine for them to launch an offensive, to turn the dynamics of the battlefield around.

Otherwise when winter kicks in, the ban on Russian energy will put Europe in a very difficult situation, which might undermine our result to keep supporting Ukraine and keep the sanctions in place. However, America and Europe are not determined. I mean, those two, those analysts, uh, America and Europe are not determined to let Ukraine win before winter. They’re not providing enough heavy weapons. What is your opinion on this?

Miles Yu: Well, I think, you know, I might challenge the sort of the premises of some of your questions a little bit, but, uh, let me just try to answer this way. Uh, I think European countries are realizing the importance of energy independence more and more. They’re trying not to be blackmailed by Russia for energy supply. However, I do not believe Russia is a number one factor in Europe’s energy crisis. It is a crisis.

It is a problem, but it’s not the biggest one. I think the real problem with Europe’s energy crisis is extreme left-wing woke politics. Germany, for example, is most vulnerable to Russia’s energy blackmail. That’s because German leaders for many years have purposefully neglected its energy independence, gone woke with over-reliance, unlimited renewable energy sources, basically solar and wind, you know, solar and wind can never supply enough to meet Germany’s national energy demand.

So Germany has to rely on Russia. However, you know, you don’t hear much about the French worrying about their winter’s energy shortage. That’s because about 85% of France energy comes out of its own nuclear power plants. In other words, France has energy independence, therefore making France far less susceptible to Russia’s energy blackmail, but nuclear power plant is considered not politically correct in Germany and the Germans are now in trouble, but I think they should really blame themselves more, not just the Russians.

About energy shortage and the war in Ukraine, I think the winter harshness is a double-edged sword for both sides of the war. It might be tough for the Ukrainians and its allies in Europe, but it may even be a bigger problem for the Russians. Uh, let me, let’s just say this way. If the Russians in good weather couldn’t win the war, how could we expect them to do better in harsh winter conditions, with the Europe’s legendary winter muddiness and the snowy mess, Russian tanks, armored vehicles and soldiers may well be further and further stopped, becoming Ukrainian’s sitting ducks for target practice.

Simone Gao: That’s interesting. You know, I wanna ask you a couple more question on that, but let’s just go to the biggest question. I mean, this has a lot to do with Xi Jinping what do you think Xi Jinping has learned from this war so far?

Miles Yu: Well, personally, I don’t think Xi Jinping is even teachable of any lessons, but if I were Xi Jinping, I would be aware of the following: Number one, bullying a small country will never work, as the small will gain more inner strength and external support becoming much stronger and more lethal in the end. Number two, the United States and its allies are determined to defend Taiwan, especially after Puutin’s aggression in Ukraine, because the world has realized once an act of aggression started, a chain of aggression may follow, and Taiwan should not be allowed to be the first link of world of aggression in the Indo-Pacific.

Number three, there are great limits in modern warfare because there are many variables. China may look strong, but it has great weaknesses and vulnerabilities too. So a war of aggression against Taiwan may not really be that easy to win. So you ask how the war impacts Taiwan’s strategies. I think the biggest impact is that the previously rampant defeatism and capitulationism has been further discredited in Taiwan, the free and sovereign people of Taiwan are now more united. And the freedom’s cause has indeed formed a united front in Taiwan’s defense.

Simone Gao: You answered this question. Uh, so I was gonna ask you, but I’m glad you already answered. So you think this war has strengthened Taiwan’s defense strategies?

Miles Yu: Yes.

Simone Gao: Okay. So do you think the Taiwanese people are mentally and physically prepared for a potential military aggression by the CCP now?

Miles Yu: More so than ever.

Simone Gao: Okay. Than ever, but are they prepared enough if the CCP is going to launch an aggression right now, are they ready?

Miles Yu: Well, it’s very hard to put simplistic yes or no answer, because the wars are basically kind of unpredictable, but I see Taiwanese people are more and more together. They have gained a much broader consensus on the survival of the nation, what’s really at stake. And most importantly, I think Taiwanese people are realizing more and more that they will get much, much more support from the international community.

That’s because, as I said earlier, many people, particularly countries around China, you can see Japan, Australia, you know, even Vietnam, many people view the China threat against Taiwan is just the beginning of the China aggression. If China takes Taiwan, who knows might be next, the South China Sea, China might fight a war with Vietnam, with India. So this is the reason why Taiwan’s cause has gained so much more support. Most of them sort of passively, but some of the leaders in the China’s periphery actually have said openly, they will come to Taiwan’s defense in the case of the war.

Simone Gao: Yeah. Okay. Next question. I wanna talk about the CCPs 20th National Congress. You know, the party’s conclave is going to happen in October this year, and there’s a lot of a speculations on whether Xi Jinping will get a third term and whether China’s reform-oriented forces represented by premier Li Keqiang would chip away some of Xi Jinping’s power. So what do you make of the top power struggle politics in China right now?

Miles Yu: Well, you use a very good word, conclave, which implies secrecy and furtiveness. I mean, that’s exactly what the Chinese Communist Party politics is all about. It’s very, very undemocratic, it’s very non-transparent. You asked me the question the result, Li Keqiang up or down, Xi Jinping in or out. You know what, I don’t know and I don’t care. What’s going on inside the Byzantine labyrinth of CCP power struggle, inside the ruling elite should never be the Chinese people’s top preoccupation. I know the CCP has exerted an iron group over the Chinese people, but if the Chinese people do not play into the CCPs game and consider the CCP intellectually irrelevant, then we will see real progress in China.

To me personally, whether Xi Jinping stays or gets out, whether Li Keqiang gets in or out, it doesn’t really matter. They are all communist, dedicated to one and only objective, that is to preserve the longevity of the CCP dictatorship. We should also keep in mind, even the most reform minded, Chinese communist leaders, such as Deng Xiaoping would never hesitate for a split second in ordering the massacre of the Chinese people, just as what happened in 1989 Tiananmen Square. So the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre should have waken up the Chinese people to this simple fact: for the CCP to prolong, the Chinese people must suffer and die. There’s no other arrangements.

Simone Gao: I know you came to America. I don’t know when, but you had experienced or heard. I mean, I know you had a deep memory and a lot of thinking regarding the Tiananmen Massacre happened in 1989. Can you just tell me a little bit, whether, I mean, before and after, like how your thoughts on China have changed because of the event?

Miles Yu: I think, you know, many people who experienced the 1989 momentous events in Tiananmen and elsewhere, like the Eastern Europe and Soviet Union, all share something in common. And that common experience is this: that is, a communist rules all have something similar. That is, they rule people with fear. They instill tremendous fear to its people. So people were afraid of doing this and doing that. They were afraid ofspeaking up.

So the true meaning of Tiananmen movement is that for seven weeks people of China, center in Tinanmen square were more or less free of fear instilled by the Chinese Communist Party, those were the freest seven weeks in the history of a Chinese communist regime. So I think that’s why even though it’s a short-lived seven weeks of glory, but that seven weeks gave a lot of people freedom and an individual who tests freedom, no matter how briefly, would never be the same person again.

Miles Yu: That’s why Tiananmen is a momentous moment, not just for any particular individuals who actually participated in that, but also is a moment of awakening to a generation of people, even to generations to follow. And that’s also why the Chinese Communist Party has done its utmost best to wipe out any memory, any commemoration of the Tiananmen movement. And that’s tragedy. Our job as an individual citizen of the world is to keep the memory alive and to understand and appreciate the true meaning of the Tiananmen movement of 1989. That is freedom. So I think that freedom can mean, many things to many people, but that’s my understanding.

Simone Gao: Right. And do you think China will ever regain its freedom?

Miles Yu: Oh yeah. I remember one of the most moving moments in my memory, in the immediate aftermath of Tiananmen, was the American singer, Joan Baez, she composed a very emotionally charged song. And I think the song, the lyric repeats over and over again, it says just simply that China shall be free.

Simone Gao: Okay. All right. Thank you so much. Doctor Yu, these are all my questions. Do you have anything else to add?

Miles Yu: Well, good luck with your program and thank you for having me today.