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Coronavirus in China: Coronavirus exposes Xi Jinping’s clay feet | World News


HONG KONG: The world is recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic, and few have been more affected than the image of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and President Xi Jinping. Such is the mistreatment that China has been receiving, that the party’s propaganda machine has gone into overdrive to push back criticism.

For much of his presidency, it seemed that Xi could not be wrong. The party’s golden boy benefited from a carefully crafted national and international propaganda campaign. It seemed that China’s rise was inexorable, and tactical master Xi was allowed to sweep past traditions and take the reins of power for life.

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Adam Ni, director of the China Policy Center, an independent non-profit research organization based in Canberra, spoke to ANI about how Xi has been affected by mismanagement of the health crisis in China. “Looking at Xi’s popularity in the midst of COVID-19, I think there are two sides to this. The previous mistake by the Chinese authorities and Xi’s absence from the public spotlight for days on end towards the early stages of this crisis has affected Xi’s popularity. ” ”

Nor did he add: “Xi’s political star has certainly been challenged in the past twelve months with challenges on a spectrum of issues, including a slowing economy, Hong Kong, cross-strait relations with Taiwan, relations between the United States and China. and China’s international reputation. All in all, COVID-19 and these other challenges and mistakes have made Xi vulnerable to criticism. For example, he is less politically impregnable than in early 2019. ”

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Xi’s and the CCP’s peculiar feeling of vulnerability is dramatically highlighted by the relentless propaganda campaign that China is now waging. In Mao Zedong’s day, this was called “language warfare,” but much of it is now being waged on Western online and media platforms.

The efforts of Chinese diplomats, ministers, department spokespersons and other lackeys to push “alternative truths” have reached unprecedented levels. These figureheads have been using Facebook and Twitter to spread their nefarious messages, despite the fact that such platforms are banned in China. Its singular purpose is to deflect blame for confusing the response to the coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan.

China Neican, a weekly Chinese news bulletin published weekly by Adam Ni and Yun Jiang, summarized: “The Chinese authorities’ first instinct was to suppress the information. After realizing that the newspaper cannot put out a fire, He then directed his propaganda effort at mobilization: how the government has acted decisively to build hospitals in record times and block entire cities. For two weeks, it allows certain information not authorized by the state to flow. Then, the authorities took drastic measures against control of information again, with an emphasis on telling positive stories. So the heroic efforts of front-line workers stood out while the suffering of patients was minimized. ”

Nor did he comment to ANI: “There was deep frustration and resentment at the prompt response by the Chinese authorities to COVID-19. But I believe that the current extreme measures have wide public support because they are considered effective measures against the virus. The CCP is now spinning his own narrative about the virus, focusing on his accomplishments while deflecting blame. Chinese officials have even gone so far as to spread conspiracy theories about how the virus originated in the United States. ”

An example is Foreign Ministry spokesman Lijian Zhao, who tweeted a conspiracy theory that the virus came from a US military biolaboratory. WeChat articles alleging that the virus originates from the United States were also allowed to spread.

Summarizing the CCP’s propaganda efforts to shape the COVID-19 narrative, Ni shared with ANI: “In my opinion, there are four key elements to its narrative efforts, essentially all for the purpose of reinforcing the party’s legitimacy in a moment of greatest intensity, uncertainty for the Chinese people. ”

The first point mentioned by the Australian-based academic is to avoid guilt. “The party has tried to deflect blame by scapegoating other expandable actors, such as local authorities. It has also tried to minimize attention to its first missteps. Some of China’s diplomats have even gone so far as to support conspiracy theories about the origin of the virus. ”

Second, Ni mentioned the leverage of nationalist sentiment. “Through the narratives about a ‘People’s War’ against disease, and presenting the crisis as a national struggle, the CCP is pushing nationalism to strengthen its legitimacy.” The CCP enacted a new phase blaming “foreign hostile forces”, a typical tactic.

Third, it highlights the supposed superiority of China’s political and governance system. “The Chinese State party has focused largely on the shortcomings of the international response to the virus, especially in Europe and the United States. In doing so, it is trying to convince the internal public and the international community that the political and China’s government has superiority. Features. ”

Later, China has been highlighting its global support for countries like Italy with deliveries of medical supplies and healthcare workers. Beijing presents itself as a world leader in virus research and effective governance.

Ironically, the depth of its propaganda efforts shows how insecure the CCP is about its government. He is very afraid of the people and international criticism, and shows that the Chinese communist is not a robust system. These are not the actions of a strong party state, but one that fears disgrace.

Finally, Ni listed censorship. “The party is censoring dissenting views nationally in an effort to influence public opinion and control the narrative environment in China. The success of this has been mixed when censors and netizens play an endless game of cat and mouse.” .

Many Chinese netizens did their best despite censorship to spread the story of the crisis, illustrating that many Chinese care about the truth rather than simply what the party apparatus supports. A blogger named Fang Fangbravely said: “The government should end its arrogance and humbly express gratitude to its masters, the millions of people in Wuhan.” China Neican commented: “The real change in China comes from the accumulation of billions of shares of normal people within the country itself, rather than rhetoric from the West.”

Michael George DeSombre, the United States’ ambassador to Thailand, wrote in a State Department opinion piece: “Accurate information must move freely, especially during crises. The government’s duty is to save lives, not save faces.”

DeSombre listed China’s mistakes, such as orders to deliberately destroy virus samples early on and arrest people for sharing news of the outbreak online. Additionally, seven million people left Wuhan in January before travel restrictions were finally imposed.

Nor did he conclude: “In essence, the party wants to make the best of a terrible situation and turn history in favor of the party by deflecting blame, sowing doubts about its guilt, stoking nationalism and highlighting the superiority of the Chinese state party.”

Throughout December and most of January, Xi just wanted to suppress news of the outbreak. Thus, from January 11 to 17, for example, a major pre-scheduled meeting of the CCP was held in Wuhan, and during that time the provincial health commission strangely insisted that there were no new cases of the virus.

Initially, Xi distanced himself from the crisis, because a degree of separatism would help dissociate him from any blame. In fact, Xi did not visit Wuhan until March 10, although he sent Prime Minister Li Keqiang in late January. When he finally bothered to appear at the epicenter, the media treated him like a victory tour. Praising his parental care, comments like “his heart contains everyone.”

However, Xi’s late visit contrasts with past leaders who were generally relatively quick to arrive on the scene after the disaster. Earlier comments by Wuhan party general secretary that everyone should be “grateful” to Xi and the CCP were counterproductive, so Xi praised the heroism of Wuhan citizens.

An important subplot was the case of Wuhan’s physician and whistleblower Li Wenliang. He warned of the news of widespread attention, on January 3 he was arrested by the police and forced to say that he had made “false comments”. The 34-year-old doctor died of COVID-19 on February 7, causing a wave of public anger that posed an immediate threat to the CCP’s image.

Therefore, the Chinese media had to walk a fine line between telling Li’s story, but without criticizing the government. To calm anger, the Wuhan Public Security Bureau “solemnly apologized” for his mistake in admonishing Li. After allowing an initial period to vent the grief over Li’s death, the censorship stopped again.

One thread in the unfolding narrative was that China had declared local victory over the virus, while other countries like Italy were not coping as well. The following excerpt captures another narrative: “If it weren’t for the unique institutional advantages of the Chinese system, the world could be fighting a devastating pandemic.” In fact, humanity was told that it should be “grateful” to China for “buying world time.”

Unfortunately, due to ineptitude and poor preparation among many Western leaders, and statements by psychopathic people like Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the Ethiopian Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), China’s narrative has been reinforced.

The immaturity of President Donald Trump in calling him the “China virus” has exacerbated the problem and played into the hands of China. In fact, Beijing is rushing to play the racist card, with the CCP adept at combining the Chinese people with the party even though they are actually different entities.

The WHO did not declare a pandemic until March 11, after voicing dubious assurances from China that everything was under control. On January 15, the WHO infamously tweeted: “Preliminary investigations by Chinese authorities have found no clear evidence of person-to-person transmission of the novel #coronavirus …”

Xi, by centralizing power on his own shoulders as supreme leader, has increased his degree of risk. With crisis after crisis piling up on China’s doorstep, his aura has diminished. This explains why the propaganda machine is doing its best now because the face is of utmost importance to Asian culture in general, and to the ultra-sensitive CCP in particular.

Perhaps the most pertinent question is how Xi’s image will be affected in the coming months and years.

Nor did he predict: “It is unclear at this time how Xi’s popularity will emerge from this crisis. It depends on how the virus situation unfolds in China. Despite being under control now, I think this crisis still has a way to go. travel”. profound implications for Chinese society and the relationship between the people and the party. Most importantly, the party will come to the conclusion that, to avoid such a crisis in the future, it needs more control over society. ”

This is a grim prediction, although it is probably accurate. Under Xi, China has become increasingly Orwellian with intrusive surveillance and digitization of personal data. Religions, whether Buddhist, Christian, Falun Gong, or Muslim, have been subject to stricter sanctions. In fact, more than a million Uighurs are currently locked up in concentration camps. Regarding the latter, no information on coronavirus outbreaks has been leaked, but such overcrowded institutions represent a potential dangerous breeding ground.

China’s economy will have been severely affected by COVID-19. This will have a side effect on the Xi Blue Ribbon Road and Initiative (BRI), for example. However, the Chinese authorities are trying to convince the world that BRI will quickly get back on track.

The 2019 World Press Freedom Index awarded China 177th out of 180 countries, eclipsed only by Eritrea, Turkmenistan and North Korea. The country is a chain manipulator of truth. While simultaneously expelling reporters from various US newspapers, China stated: “We call on the foreign media and journalists to play a positive role in advancing mutual understanding between China and the rest of the world.”

Beijing is not interested in the truth, but only in promoting its own ideology where the CCP and Xi reign supreme. Therefore, it is hypocritical of China to accuse the USA. USA From “unwarranted restrictions” on Chinese state media and “growing discrimination and politically motivated oppression” as he carries out a campaign of falsehoods to polish his damaged image.

Times of India