👉 China has always reckoned itself being at the centre of the world. The country name “Zhong Guo” (中国) means the Kingdom at the central location of the world. The world view “Tian Xia” (天下) means the Kingdom beneath the Universe. And other similar characters and concepts all express this collective consciousness. The underlying tones of these expressions have sometimes been implicit because of perceived weakness, but sometimes explicit because of perceived superiority, just like now. But the fundamental question to be resolved is that——has it found a way of making sustained progress? NO.
👉 Of course, there are many nations, races, or groups of people in the world unable to resolve the problem of making sustained progress, like China. But, they have not persisted in implementing an outdated anti-modernity system and setting an unattainable world-class positioning for themselves.
👉 Because of its “colossal” magnitude, China has always believed and behaved with an exaggerated sense of “greatness”, forming a collective behaviour and character, covering all domains of thinking and action, and resulting in consequences interwoven with bigness, vulnerability, and tragic.
👉 China, in historical context, even when it was sliding towards national disintegration, still behaved like its national fortune would be prosperous forever. Let us look at a historical comparison between Emperor Qianlong (of the Qing Dynasty) and George Washington. These two politicians were contemporaries and died in the same year of 1799. Perhaps out of his unparalleled arrogance, the former always lived with the grand idea that the Qing Empire he inherited would keep ascending towards new heights forever, but it was descending towards self-destruction. And perhaps out of his modesty, the latter had hardly highlighted his political craftsmanship of creating the Federal Republic of America, the separation of powers, and the democratic constitution. But he and his peers had created one of the best and most workable forms of democratic government in human history.
👉 At the end of 2019, the coronavirus outbreak (#COVID-19) started in Wuhan-and-its-surrounding-areas of China. It has spread to almost every region and country in the world ever since. It is the most widespread virus pandemic in human history, with the highest number of people affected. Any country (including China) and any person (including the Chinese), whether or not infected by the virus, have suffered a great deal of inconvenience and pain every day, not only loss of life and economic loss. It is one of the rare catastrophes in human history.
👉 Many people in the world community and many countries have never held prejudices against the politics of China. But the political propaganda of China′s rulers to shirk their global responsibility for causing the virus outbreak is full of anti-humanity pedantry and prejudice against the world. It seems to treat every country or person in the world as an enemy. Therefore, the virus outbreak has unexpectedly highlighted the fundamental question of how China should find a way of making sustained progress on the global stage.
👉 There will be a high probability that if the coronavirus outbreak started in a “normal” country, the country concerned could have communicated with the international communities in a transparent and friendly manner to achieve a global understanding, leading to a more coordinated global solution towards the pandemic. But China is becoming less and less of a “normal” country. Facing the outbreak and the global spread of the pandemic, the Chinese rulers have responded and taken all kinds of bizarre and hostile measures against the international communities since the beginning, similar to their dogmatic behaviours in maintaining internal control and suppression.
👉 The Chinese rulers have known the causes and severities of the pandemic. So they have tried to cover up the facts (including the origin of the virus, the route of transmission, the factual situation of the infected and the deceased); suppressed, controlled and imprisoned those who knew the facts; afraid of admitting their mistakes, they have fabricated false information to confuse the domestic and international communities; implementing paramilitary social control internally; carrying out in a hurry several medical R&D endeavours (coronavirus vaccines) that they have never done seriously before, and rushing to provide the vaccines to some regions or countries to gain political benefits, to evade their global responsibility for the dissemination of the pandemic; trying to find other countries as scapegoats (especially the United States); rushing to hold a national celebration, making false and lavish comments on the number-one-ruler Xi Jinping and unloading his political burden (tantamount to openly mocking the global communities, including China); turning the Hong Kong protests into a totalitarian style political deadlock and a persistently antagonistic global issue; advocating that humankind is facing a profound change unseen in a century and the EAST is ascending while the WEST is descending (东升西降), (meaning, EAST = China = the totalitarian system with China′s characteristics ≠ other eastern countries, WEST = America = America’s allies = all regions and countries except China).
👉 The global mutation and spread of the virus, from the beginning of 2020 to the present, have resulted in worldwide realignments and confrontations of interlocking political forces far beyond the expectation and control of China′s rulers.
👉 China has single-handedly entered a Cold War confrontation against the alliance of almost all developed countries, especially the English-speaking countries and Japan. China′s rulers have publicly stated that they are not afraid of a COLD WAR, nor will they be the loser of the cold war. They have ignored the fact that, just over thirty years ago, the Soviet Union and Eastern European bloc, which had the same political system as China′s, disintegrated in the Cold War confrontation. And naturally divided into at least 22 independent countries (not counting the subsequent separation of countries), transformed into democratic governments with various degrees of success, and also turned around to join NATO.
👉 Before the pandemic, China′s rulers effectively blurred the essence of the Taiwan issue, which is the divergence between totalitarian mainland China and democratic Taiwan. They have compressed the Taiwan issue within the realm of China’s internal affairs (focusing on cultural homology, reunification versus independence issues) and executed negotiations between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait, and gained a substantial strategic advantage.
👉 The global spread of the pandemic has revealed that the essence of the Taiwan issue is the confrontation between China’s “Characteristics System” and the democratic system of the world, winning a global consensus and putting the Chinese rulers at a substantial strategic disadvantage. Any entity in the world, countries, Taiwan, NGOs, community groups, and citizens, has held the right to take part in the Taiwan issue with legitimacy because it is a confrontation between the legitimate democratic system and the “Characteristics System” on the global stage. The dogmatic position of the “Characteristics System” has lost its legitimacy and right to speak about the Taiwan issue.
👉 Meanwhile, China′s rulers have manipulated the “Hong Kong National Security Law” to suppress the civil protests in Hong Kong and make “One Country, Two Systems” exist only in name. These behaviours have made a mockery of the reliability of the “Characteristics System” and enhanced the legitimacy of Taiwan’s democratic system on the global stage.
👉 In response to the changing global circumstances, China’s rulers have habitually taken measures to strengthen their military pressure on Taiwan. Their behaviour has further activated the world democratic forces (including the military forces of the US-Japan alliance, the US-UK-Australia alliance, and the US-Japan-Australia-India quasi-alliance) undertaking more deterministic measures to maintain the status quo in the Taiwan Strait, to defend the global democratic system.
👉 Before the pandemic, China’s “Characteristics System” and the world’s democratic system were in an equilibrium stage where neither side would enter an intense confrontation. However, the global spread of the epidemic has pushed both sides (including focusing on the “Taiwan Issue”) to enter another stage of equilibrium of intense confrontation.
👉 Since 2013, China′s rulers have given up playing the role of “Hide Your Strengths and Bide Your Time” (韬光养晦) as Deng Xiaoping did. They (especially Xi Jinping) have now considered themselves in a more solid position. And have publicly stated that they want “To Build a Global Community with a Shared Future for Humankind” (构建人类命运共同体) and promote that their “Characteristics System” will surpass the democratic system in an attempt to resolve the ultimate obstacle to the long-term (permanent) survivability of their totalitarian regime.
👉 They have constructed a set of strategic operations to promote the “Characteristics System” to other countries. At present, the main components are the followings: AIIB, the Belt and Road Initiative, the United Front against Taiwan-Independence, and creating a pro-China sentiment among the Chinese in other parts of the world (i.e. the Grand Unification of China, Anti-Taiwan Independence, the China Dream, and the Great Rejuvenation of the Chinese Nation), and promoting the superiorities of the “Characteristics System” around the world (i.e. Building a Global Community with a Shared Future for Humankind, the EAST is Ascending while the WEST is Descending, Democracy in the Entire Process).
👉 To challenge the global democratic system, China′s rulers have simultaneously implemented military preparations during the pandemic in the past two to three years. The main actions include: strengthening the brainwashing and intervention of the regime in the lives of the people, centralizing the resources of the entire society towards state control, speeding up the research and development and production of military hardware, tightening the restrictions on passport issuance of Chinese citizens and foreign exchange, and promoting the notion that China is not afraid of wars, and will win. China′s rulers have also intensified their efforts to rationalize any potential military attacks against Taiwan and promote all kinds of anti-American, anti-Western, and anti-Japanese public opinion at home and abroad.
👉 The CCP has strengthened its “Characteristics System” in all aspects of life, including the militarization of the economy. These behaviours have led to an uncontrolled-and-unsustainable waste and abuse of the resources resulting from economic reforms and policy refinements (but without political reforms) over the past three decades. So, the already unbearable total institutional cost is stretching towards the limit.
👉 The political, legal, economic, social, educational and other structural bottlenecks accumulated by the “Characteristics System” over a long time and left unresolved have never ceased to interact and continue to deteriorate. China′s rulers have found it increasingly hard to suppress and conceal the adverse consequences. During 2018-19, China′s rulers had publicly feared the outbreaks of unforeseeable “black-swans” (黑天鹅) and foreseeable “grey-rhinos” (灰犀牛) crises. In recent months, the debt crises of EVERGRANDE (恒大) and other real estate companies are the early warnings of more adversities on the horizon.
👉 The CCP has activated the confrontation with many domestic interest groups (even if it is not yet public) and the hostility against the global democratic system. The latter will probably include the CCP′s responsibility of compensating the citizens and nations because of its vicious behaviour on the coronavirus outbreaks and the early spread of the diseases globally.
👉 China has already fallen into the “MIDDLE-INCOME TRAP“. Over 100 low-to-middle-income countries or economies worldwide (including some with better governing capabilities and developmental conditions than China) have fallen into the middle-income trap. It shows that overcoming the middle-income trap is a formidable national challenge.
👉 Faced with the country falling into the middle-income trap, the ruling parties in most “normal countries” would have to listen to the mandate of the voters for the legality and legitimacy of their continued governance. But the CCP gained the power to rule China through violent rebellion, not votes. The CCP has no will to establish China as a “normal country”; it has, on the contrary, advocated all kinds of outdated and anti-modernity political propositions, such as “Follow the Party Forever” (永远跟党走) and “the Country will never Change its Colour” (江山永不变色).
👉 The most likely response of the CCP to the country falling into the middle-income trap is to manipulate the economic data to project the illusion that China is out of the middle-income trap. It would be a mockery of the domestic public and the international communities. But this will not help the CCP escape the structural crisis of legality and legitimacy of its rule.
👉 How will China′s “Characteristics System” develop, which has been moving further towards the extreme left in the pandemic? Let′s look at the history. In the past 100 years, Hitler′s Nazi Germany, militaristic Japan, and the Soviet Union ruled by the Communist Party——each of them had shaped its respective political system and global role, similar to what the CCP has done in China now. Each of them used its own “Special System” to fight against the world system of its time, and they all failed. Germany and Japan had transformed themselves into democracies; all independent countries resulting from the collapse of the Soviet Union had entered the democratization process with varying degrees of success.
👉 China′s rulers have concluded that the original outbreak of the coronavirus has become a blessing in disguise for them——China has not been hurt by the domestic spread of the pandemic as severely as the pandemic has wreaked havoc on the Western world and other countries. China′s rulers have even proclaimed that China alone has enjoyed the “Political Dividends” of historic significance resulting from the pandemic, such as “the EAST is Ascending while the WEST is Descending”. But the virus infections have rapidly escalated across China since the beginning of 2022, hitting the Chinese economy hard and smashing the wishful thinking of China′s rulers.
👉 China′s rulers have kept themselves busy by creating a more left-binding enhanced version of China′s “Characteristics System” to show “the Right Way for the Future Development of the World”, to build “a Global Community with a Shared Future for Humankind”. Now China′s “Characteristics System” has begun an intense confrontation with the democratic system worldwide. What will happen next?
👉 The world democratic system is a common will and the current dynamic equilibrium created by the evolution of the political civilization of humankind for thousands of years. It is not the result of any country′s obsession with flexing its pectoral muscles——even a country as powerful as the United States after World War II or Britain a century ago. The United States or Western countries are only part of the worldwide democratic system, not the whole. The Chinese rulers have kept rejecting democracy and embracing autocracy, which only represents the will of their self privileges, not the will of the people. Hitler′s Germany, militaristic Japan, and the Communist-ruled Soviet Union, no matter how hard they tried to replace the worldwide democratic system with their respective “Special Systems”, ended in disastrous failure.
👉 As the Chinese rulers headed by Xi Jinping and his associates have determined to manoeuvre the “Characteristics System” of China to influence the future of other countries and build a “Global Community with a Shared Future for Humankind”, they have driven China towards an intense confrontation with the world democracy. It will replicate the fate of the Soviet Union’s fiasco.
👉 The colossal, vulnerable and tragic historical role that China has brought upon itself since ancient times will repeat. China has returned to the historical crossroads of finding the right path to make sustained progress.
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