If the world ever needed proof that the Chinese Communist Party is ethically bankrupt, paranoid and running a political system which is a danger to the world, the coronavirus pandemic provides incontrovertible evidence.
China’s rapid economic development occurred when the Party removed itself from Chinese citizens’ lives in the nineties. The market and Chinese entrepreneurial spirit flourished, allowing millions of citizens to lift themselves out of poverty. When the Party’s gnarled hand began to reassert and expand control, its Soviet-like paranoia likewise expanded. The Party’s COVID contagion is merely the terminal point for a long trajectory.
Recent actions have laid bare the CCP’s objectives: not just control over but a complete embedding inside government, corporations, universities and households. This pervasive desire for control shaped the Party’s response to COVID-19. Fearing broader repercussions, local then central Party officials suppressed information that allowed the virus to proliferate. These actions and subsequent attempts to shape the historical narrative should be viewed as the most morally reprehensible events of modern era.
In many ways the Communist cadres’ response should be unsurprising. The CCP has marshalled all resources at its disposal to construct a techno-Leninist leviathan in order to subjugate dissent. These control aspirations also have deeper cultural roots. Their authoritarian antecedents were exhumed from an Empire long since turned to dust; yet vividly recalled through successive dynastic histories and extant Legalism principles. The precursor is a Qin Dynasty-inspired imperial absolutism – an embraced cultural legacy that alleges fortified central authority possessing minute social control are fundamental pillars for national greatness. The Party is shackled to a renowned, unitary golden age through historiographical fetters. Chairmen incessantly aspire towards this legacy.
The objective evidence around COVID-19’s outbreak points to a disgustingly shameful series of actions. Selfishness and deep-seated paranoia have unleashed chaos upon the world such that we have never seen. The pandemic should be a stain on the CCP’s legacy which is greater than Mao starving millions of Chinese to death through his catastrophic attempts to modernise China during the ‘Great Leap Forward’. This time, however, it is not just the unfortunate people of China who have to suffer the harvest of a pestilent crop. It is humanity itself. The effects of the CCP’s actions will reverberate across borders, oceans, and down generations.
Some claim the moral high ground is currently needed. They assert we must first address how to mitigate COVID-19’s spread and worry about the virus’s origin later. I disagree. The CCP has already deployed unified and well-resourced propaganda apparatus to change the narrative. They quickly recognised how their reprehensible mismanagement could damage their international and domestic standing. Accordingly, the Little Red Book is dusted off and energised through the globally-connected internet. Since gifting the world with this pandemic, the CCP’s Orwellian-named ‘Publicity Department’ has been working tirelessly to disseminate propaganda.
The Party views the COVID-19 outbreak as a challenge to their legitimacy which they must conquer. To achieve this objective they need to influence the emerging narrative. The United Front Work Department (UFWD) is one cog in the CCP machinery used to alter facts and perceptions. Though its influence can often be overstated, a communication strategy appearing successful is to ‘borrow a boat to go out on the ocean’. This tactic is consciously deployed to control the ‘China narrative’ through useful idiots and seed foreign newspapers with pro-Beijing content.
Anyone who, willingly or otherwise, parrots Party lines about China’s apt handling of the outbreak ought to be ashamed of themselves. Blindly accepting lies which have caused tens of thousands of deaths and torn society apart is inexcusable.
We will be irrevocably changed by this pandemic. No amount of neo-Marxist-with-Chinese-characteristics slogans about a world ‘guided by the vision of building a community with a shared future for mankind’ should alter nations’ ire towards their rightful target. The CCP’s COVID-diplomacy initiatives are condescendingly insulting.
Our citizens, institutions and political representatives need to refute the CCP’s offensively fictitious account. If they do not, doubt will emerge and fabricated chronologies will become entrenched. For the time being nations are understandably holding their tongues. They rightly fear China’s pharmaceutical production market concentration grants leverage to withhold supplies as retaliation for criticism. However, COVID-19’s source and reasons for global spread must not be forgotten.
Deng Xiaoping’s 1990s gamble that market forces would satiate a populace vying for greater self-determination showed promise. Kernels of ideological autonomy were coupled with material gain. Per capita GDP soared as Chinese citizens’ industry enjoyed access to global markets and as China admirably opened itself to foreign capital and expertise. Only through the Party removing itself from the people’s lives were these trends possible.
Zhongnanhai – China’s Kremlin — dashed hopes of nascent liberty in the late 2000s and the consequences have been devastating. A variety of bureaucratic, political and personnel factors swung the tiller firmly back towards Party dominion. This lamentable trend has undoubtedly accelerated as the Chairman of Everything ascended to the Dragon Throne in November 2012, and, once again, an autocratic dictatorship has unleashed misery beyond its own borders.
We would do well to remind ourselves of these facts in the face of those who decry liberal democratic values or criticise how democracies have responded to the current crisis.
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