The list of criticism of China is long: enviroment polluter, exploitation in poor countries, the economic threat from dumping free trade, theft of intellectual property to asymmetrical investment conditions, debt trap on the New Silk Road, nationalist aggressiveness against India, Taiwan and other Asian countries, neototalitarian 1-man dictatorship with social credit system and no human rights and censorship, 1 million Uyghurs in concentration camps and forced sterilization of Uygir women,. Above all, one sees more and more a systemic question in China, whether their political system is better suited, beyond the question of democracy also such global political pressing issues as climate protection, prosperity and to successfully master economic growth and pandemic control. And in these areas China is making exemplary progress on its own scale.
Backlash and avantgard of the Health super power
But before and above all, the total ideological suppression of the first findings of a specialist who warned the state authorities of the corona outbreak and was suppressed became apparent at the beginning:
„The Chinese doctor Li Wenliang warned of the outbreak of the coronavirus early on – he of all people has now died of it himself. The government has started an investigation.
The Chinese government launched an official investigation following the death of Chinese doctor Li Wenliang, who warned of the virus outbreak. With the approval of the party’s central committee, the state supervisory commission sent an investigation team to Wuhan, the authorities said.
The 34-year-old ophthalmologist himself died of lung disease on Thursday evening. Chinese media initially denied his death, but the Wuhan Central Hospital confirmed the news that night: All efforts to save him had been in vain, the hospital said. „We deeply regret it and mourn it.“
Fate symbolizes inaction by the authorities
The doctor’s death not only aroused great sympathy across the country. For many Chinese, his fate also symbolizes the consequences of inaction or the slow reaction of the authorities to the outbreak. The investigation is about „questions“ from the people about this event, it said.
Because the social networks are full of accusatory quotes, whether on Weibo or WeChat. “We know they are lying! They know that they are lying! ”Or:“ Without trust and honesty, a person cannot stand – and a country will perish. In this era when lies are everywhere, telling the truth is so valuable. „
Doomed to silence
Li Wenliang pointed out a growing number of mysterious virus cases in Wuhan in an online discussion group of medical professionals and students on December 30th. He warned of the return of the SARS virus, which 17 years ago led to a pandemic with 8,000 people infected and 774 dead.
Eight participants in the chat group were subsequently summoned and warned by the police for spreading „rumors“. They also had to sign that they would no longer disclose anything about the outbreak. A few days later the doctor infected himself by a patient. „
The doctor’s death not only aroused great sympathy across the country. For many Chinese, his fate also symbolizes the consequences of inaction or the slow reaction of the authorities to the outbreak. The investigation is about “questions” from the people about this event, it said.
Because the social networks are full of accusatory quotes, whether on Weibo or WeChat. “We know they are lying! They know that they are lying! ”Or:“ Without trust and honesty, a person cannot stand – and a country will perish. In this era when lies are everywhere, telling the truth is so valuable.“
The doctor’s findings were suppressed, and he was arrested for spreading propaganda against the state and silenced. His death did not go unnoticed on social media and around 250,000 million users doubted the circumstances of his death and called him a martyr and representative of scientific truth. In view of this shitstorm and the wave of solidarity, the CPC admitted omissions and honored the doctor who discovered the corona Li Wenyang overnight as a national hero with state memorial celebrations and rituals to be publicly celebrated in order to channel the anger of the population and use it for their benefit. After that, Wuhan experienced the world’s most brutal lockdown. But here many within the Chinese community of fate were already wondering what the relation between scientific freedom, freedom of expression and the dictatorial ideology of the CCP was. The accusations of concealment within the WHO by China came next from the international community promptly. As a result of the virus, which had now spread explosively, there was then the world’s most brutal local lockdown.
After the brutal and hermetic lockdown in Wuhan at the beginning of the Covid crisis, the CCP has now declared that the Covid crisis in China would be finished and over. The CCP stated that there were no new infections and deaths, if so it was from foreigners importing it, but no more thanks to testing. The virus would be defeated and the CCP lifted all Covid safeguards and allowed mass gatherings without masks and social distancing encourages the Chinese to enjoy the upcoming Golden Week, a national holiday that generates a steady stream of tourists and travelers in China of 600 million Chinese – the largest migration in the world together with India. However, this type of official propaganda is now being countered with news of the possibility of a new corona outbreak in Qingdao. While the USA wants to leave the WHO, China wants to double its effort and also promote vaccine research, transfer medical knowledge and declared a potential vaccine as the global public good it wanted to share with menkind. There is talk of a new Health Silkroad. Unlike Putin, who claims in his propaganda that he already has an effective vaccine with Sputnik 5, although only the first test phase has been passed and his daughter, the defense minister and the population, but not himself, has already been vaccinated with it Adhering to western scientific standards the CP China also researches, albeit as in western countries with accelerated test procedure permits, but does not promise anything or claim to have a vaccine Long March 5, does not speculate, carries out tests on test persons at home and abroad like western pharmaceutical companies and also has the option of doing human tests in Chines labor camps, black and normal prisons and also can use political prisoners, Falungong supporters, and criminals. Unlike Trump, China is not rushed by election dates, because of which one promises a vaccine for election. Especially since digitalization is advanced in China and infection tracking and spreader tracing are well developed and there is no data protection in this or other directions.
China-the next prosperity superpower
In any case, the pandemic does not seem to have distracted China from quickly restarting its economy and it is already showing amazing growth rates, which in the rest of the world are perceived with a mixed feeling of envy, fear and opportunity.
“Strong growth in China’s economy at pre-crisis levels
Status: October 19, 2020 7:11 a.m.
The Chinese economy will continue to recover in the third quarter as well. However, the pace remains below expectations. Still, China is likely to be the only major economy to grow this year.
According to official figures, the world’s second largest economy grew by 4.9 percent in the third quarter compared to the previous year, according to the Beijing statistics office. That is less than analysts had hoped, who had expected an average increase of 5.5 percent. However, the result was enough for China to more than offset the previous slump in the spring. According to official figures, China’s economy grew by 0.7 percent in the first nine months of the year.
“The recovery in GDP in the third quarter was less strong than expected, but it was still a respectable 4.9 percent year-on-year. The September data exceeded expectations, suggesting a pickup in momentum towards the end of the third quarter, ”said Frances Cheung, head of macro strategy for Asia at Westpac in Singapore.
Unfavorable and complicated environment
Economists therefore assume that this year China will be the only major economy that can end the year with positive growth. The recovery is progressing faster than expected, according to a new forecast by the International Monetary Fund last week.
According to this, Chinese economic output will grow by 1.9 percent this year, 0.9 percentage points more than in the June estimate. For 2021, the monetary fund continues to expect growth of 8.2 percent.
But the year is not over yet: the economy has „continued its steady recovery“, it said in a report by the statistics agency. However, she also warned: „The international environment is still complicated and very unfavorable“. China is still under „great pressure“ to prevent another outbreak. „
China-the next Eco-superpower
Not only does China appear to be the front runner in fighting pandemics and economic growth, it is now also pushing ahead as a global pioneer in climate protection. Michael Kraetke wrote on Friday:
“The big ecological leap
China From 2030 onwards, emissions are expected to fall, and even zero by 2060. Europe is put by these goals under pressure
It’s not really deep red for a long time, but the Far East is now green. More precisely, China is going green, and at a rapid pace. The economy and society there should be climate-neutral by 2060, announced President Xi Jinping during the meeting of the People’s Congress, which was postponed to May. Emissions will peak before 2030, after which they will decline and reach net zero by 2060 at the latest. A bang, a turning point for international climate policy, if you consider that China’s announcements in this regard have always been cautious, but have been regularly fulfilled, and often prematurely. (…)
The country currently accounts for 28 percent of global carbon dioxide emissions. If China’s economy actually became climate-neutral, our civilization should save 0.2 to 0.3 degrees of the expected global temperature increase. It could be enough to stay below 1.5 degrees plus in the 21st century. The political effect is at least as important: all those who slow down and procrastinate are deprived of their favorite argument, what can we do in Germany or Europe? Everything is immediately wiped out by the Chinese with their outrageous growth. But what if China goes ahead and puts everyone else under pressure? (…)
For decades, China served a number of EU countries such as the USA as a garbage dump when millions of tons of waste were exported there in exchange for foreign currency. This has now come to an end, there are no more such imports, instead recycling, also in order to drastically reduce dependence on raw material imports. One will remember pictures from Beijing and other big cities. For weeks you couldn’t see the sun because of the smog, your eyes watered, your throat scratched. Everyone was walking around with masks, long before Corona. The entire population suffered from air pollution. Today it’s different, the sky over Beijing is blue again, and you can breathe freely, as the air quality in many metropolises has improved enormously and civil society has learned a lot. The townspeople no longer accept smog and noise that they accepted almost without resistance just a few years ago. China’s cities are turning green, and not just them. The People’s Republic is currently running the world’s largest and most ambitious reforestation program in the coniferous forests in the northeast to conserve larch populations such as Scottish pines, as well as in the southeastern provinces of Fujian and Zhejiang, where the rainforest is protected. While in Brazil and California the vegetation is burning up, while in Europe it is drying up in many ways, it is growing in China thanks to a program that aims at pushing back the deserts, while everywhere else the “devastation” of the earth continues.
This remarkable change did not come overnight. It is the result of a long learning process. As recently as 20 years ago, complaints were made in Beijing about environmental problems, but little was done with reference to local or regional responsibility. It is now clear to everyone that that is not all. Does this mean that China will manage to exit the fossil fuel economy and switch to a climate-neutral way of production and living? At least this is supported by the fact that so far this contracting state has fulfilled its obligations from the Paris Climate Protection Agreement of 2015 without hesitation. The decisive factor is the use of environmental technologies, in which Chinese companies are already leading, because they are committed to innovation and have the production capacities to make use of them. But the country’s economy still depends on coal, oil and gas, and coal-fired power plants are still being built in provinces such as Zhejiang, five in number since 2019, which as fossil fuel reactors have a combined capacity of 7,960 megawatts. Officially, these properties are considered to be temporary energy producers, which are currently also intended to contain the corona consequences for the economy. By 2021 at the latest, energy generation from coal should drop to below 60 percent and that from natural gas should not exceed the limit of ten percent.
In Germany, the coal phase-out, if it ever succeeds, will take more than 30 years to complete; the Chinese want to have finished with anthracite and soft lignite in five years. The prerequisites for this are favorable insofar as energy companies and their lobbyists traditionally have little influence on Chinese economic policy. In any case, the gradual abandonment not only of coal, but also of gas and oil would free us from dependencies. Raw material suppliers like Russia, but also OPEC countries like Saudi Arabia, would lose importance.“
Chinese superpower by meritocracy?
While the lack of democracy remains a major charge, China points out that it is a global avant-garde on key issues such as fighting pandemics, promoting prosperity and economic growth and climate protection, and credits this with its political system and the CCP.
The state education and examination system as well as the elite selection by means of a meritocracy of specialists and successful practitioners of power is seen and propagated as superior to that of the democratic West.
A new trend emerged in recruiting China’s political leadership. Were the members of the generation of the political ruling class under Mao and Deng more „educationally distant“, but also all the more loyal revolutionary veterans, party soldiers and military (e.g. the famous 10 generals), the generations under the presidents / prime ministers Jiang Zemin / Li Peng, Hu Jintao / Wenjaibao then technocrats with a degree in natural sciences such as mechanical engineering, geology (Wen Jiabao), electrical engineering (Jiang Zemin), hydroelectrical engineering (Hu Jintao, Li Peng), so Xi Jinping now tries to select from successful provincial governors, most of whom are also academic or scientific graduates and now also economists, humanities and social scientists and other natural scientists from the field of new industries (IT, aerospace), including real university presidents. This may also be due to the own academic background of China’s current leader: Although President Xi Jinping himself studied chemical engineering at Qinghua University like his predecessors, he then went on to study law and also studied Marxist philosophy. Prime Minister Li Keqiang studied economics.
This also affects the style: Hu Jintao tends to have dry data, statistics and colons of numbers in his speeches, while Xi Jinping is more characterized by a flowery language with literary quotations and metaphors, whereby Xi also uses social media, comics and videos, to appeal to the younger generation. Nevertheless, the new super leader and Great Chairman Xi Jinping does not understand any fun or humor, because he draconically censors any portrayals of himself as Winni the Pooh, the bear due to his smile and his physiognomy in the social media by the Chinese population and youth, mostly shielded from the international Internet, as ridiculing the Great Helmsman, contempt for his person and insult to the president and blasphemy. It is also significant that the student of Marxist philosophy Xi Jinping pushed back neo-Confucian currents, again placing more emphasis on Marxism, above all on historical materialism, which is supposed to give the CPC a historical mission, in short: as a humanities scholar, he also has his own thoughts about the ideological orientation of the party, which he sees legitimized in his view through a historical mission of the “peaceful ascent” to the coming world power domestic and foreign policy as the fulfillment of the “Chinese dream” based on the “American dream” to complement Hu Jintao’s semi-Confucian notion of a “harmonious society”, if not to replace it at all.
Especially in view of Deng’s “getting rich” materialism, the meaninglessness, the moral decay, corruption and the emergence of the Falungong, who at times had 100 million followers, i.e. more than the 65 million members of the CPC and after their ban has a strong underground network of tough cadres, presented themselves as representatives of Chinese culture, ancient civilization, morale and as the real creator of China’s meaning, the voices in the CCP became louder, demanding a counter-offensive that was communist and meaningful. In this context, Xi Jinping was chosen as a humanities student of Marxist philosophy who formulated the capitalist “Chinese dream” on the basis of communist historical materialism.
The Chinese interpretation of the book by the left-wing, socially critical US author Arthur Miller’s „Death of a Salesman“, which is also available in China, but is received and read in a completely different way than in the West, illustrates which intellectual qualifications are required of Chinese humanities scholars. If Miller’s novel was a criticism of capitalism and the American dream and its empty promises and illusions, this is reinterpreted by China’s literary scholars in the diametrically opposite version: The protagonist Willy Lomann, who stumbled on the American dream in the novel, is recognized as a good and exemplary family father with high family values who wants to raise his sons in the American, i.e. Confucian, spirit and to become economic dragons and strong-willed, successful business people. Thus “The Death of a Salesman” is understood in China as an apology for capitalism, family and the Chinese dream. A very pragmatic literary interpretation that makes works critical of capitalism compatible with globalization, system-affirmation and conforming to capitalism. Furthermore, legions of Chinese economists, political scientists and philosophers are encouraged to adapt Marx’s “capital” and labor value theory to the needs of a “socialist market economy with Chinese peculiarities”, which is officially known as “deepening Marxism”.
In terms of personnel, the further academization of the Chinese leadership can also be demonstrated using the following specific examples: In October 2015, Chen Yulu, President of Fudan University, was appointed Vice-Governor of the Chinese People’s Bank. During the past 10 months another 5 university presidents have been appointed to important political positions in the ministries of the State Council. Wang Huning, now director of the Central Political Research Center of the Central Committee of the CPC, is even considered a future candidate for the highest decision-making body of the CPC, the 7-member Standing Committee of the Politburo.
The fact that Chinese officials also have academic degrees is nothing new, but so far they have had these mainly in the natural sciences and especially engineering or only received their academic degree after they had been politicians for a long time or studied alongside their actual party career. Many often made their academics degree afterwards. The new generation of political leaders, on the other hand, has been working for a long time and primarily in the academic world, has made a career there and so far not in the party, is considered more open-minded and cosmopolitan and has international connections, often studying abroad.
The wave of recruiting began with the appointment of the former President of Qinghua University, Professor Chen Jining, as the new Minister of Environment. Then came Hou Jianguo, president of the University of Science and Technology, who was appointed vice minister at the Ministry of Technology. Huai Jinpeng, President of Beihang University, became Minister of Industry and Information Technology. Wang Enge, President of Peking University, became President of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. Significantly, Xi Jinping’s wife, the First Lady of China, Peng Liyuan, who was actually only known for her academic degrees as a karaoke singer, has recently become official in the Chinese media referred to as „Professor Peng“ after she was apparently declared as a gift in return as a visiting professor at four universities, including as the rector of the Art Academy of the People’s Liberation Army. Culturalists and sinologists will see this again as confirmation of the great importance the Chinese place on the Confucian ideal of education and see China as an educational nation that wants to serve as a role model not only in Pisa studies.
The official document “Action Plan for Building the National Party and Governance 2014-2018” emphasizes the need to recruit executives from state-owned companies, universities, research institutes and other public institutions for the CCP. There are also plans to set up and promote think tanks that provide innovative impulses for China’s reform policy, as well as creating an international reputation, i.e. part of a soft power initiative that should make China known worldwide as an academic and innovative intellectual nation. So they wanted to bring more unconventional, more free-thinking minds into politics, who bring more expertise and also think outside the box. However, the transformation from collective leadership to a neo- totalitarian 1-man-dictatorship with Xi Jinping thoughts might be restricting this former trend.
This meritocratic elite selection also means that natural sciences and sciences are taken quite seriously. in contrast to conspiracy theorists and an irrational faction of people in the West who doubt science and scientific facts fundamentally and perceive them as lies and fake news. This does not mean that such movements and conspiracy theorists don´t exist in China as the irrational Falungong is one, but they are suppressed and science has still a high reputation in China. Actually also a demand of the Friday for Future movement, which is always based on the knowledge of science and its authority. Science is in good hands in China, and the CPC is now advancing not only as a vanguardist in fighting pandemics, in promoting prosperity and economic growth, but also in climate and environmental protection.
China- the military and hi-tech superpower?
With the military superpower, it still takes time until 2049, the 100th anniversary of the founding of the PRC, to reach the United States. Whether China will or can do this remains a controversial question, with Kishore Mahbubani believing that China is more of a new kind of evolutionary superpower without military dominance and more based on the holistic teachings of Mao (guerrilla tactics and permanent revolution), Daoism (evolutionary power of water and the soft elements ), Confucius ( anti-sympathy for the military and promotion of a harmonious community) and Sun Tses (avoid war by using 8 agents, only wage war if you know yourself and the enemy and can win the war) , while John Mearsheimer and his offensive realism see this as Far Eastern, esoteric wisdom chatter and are more of the opinion that China will copy the USA as a world power in military and other matters like any rising superpower, will not become a soft power superpower but rather a hard power- superpower.
Likewise, China is on the way to becoming a hi-tech superpower, as it will advance all disruptive technologies of AI, blockchain technology, quantum computers, high-speed trains, nano and biotechnology, aerospace and space technology, etc. with its China Made 2025, with the USA trying by means of their hi-tech sanctions regime to prevent this development or at least to slow it down. If it weren’t for the issue of democracy, the rule of law and human rights, China would have to be perceived even by its critics as the undisputed health, prosperity and eco-superpower and super-system.
Health Superpower-between health super dictatorship and liberal global Super-Sweden
But now we wait for the first 2 weeks of incubation after the golden week with its 600 million contacts without masks and social distancing and then we can see whether basic scientific knowledge has been taken seriously by the CCP or whether it has been ignored by the CCP, as Trump and Bolsonaro did and whether there will be a new corona wave in China. Then we will see whether the health superpower China is more reality or a product of the Communist Party propaganda and, in the event of a backlash, an indicator of successful censorship of neototalitarianism and the ideological suppression of basic scientific knowledge. We will see if science is more important to the CP China as the meritocratic suppression of Chinese doctor Li Wenliang and hype around karaoke singer „Professor Peng“. As it is said in an old communist song: The CP, the CP is always right! But with regard to the health superpower, the fact remains for Western corona deniers that China has made a total lockdown that completely dwarfs their demands for civil rights, in fact, it would have to be understood as a complete health dictatorship in order to be able to cite China as the new liberal super.-Sweden. China remains a very dialectical hybrid between a total health dictatorship and a completely liberal super-Sweden.