Thursday, July 30, 2009

CCP Uses Washington as a Scapegoat

The latest round of Sino-American talks came to an end with yet another expression of "concern at the record American budget deficit"(Bloomberg). In fact, the most consistent line Washington has heard from Zhongnanhai is criticism of the Administration's spending and borrowing. Most Americans are themselves too worried about the president mortgaging the future to raise much of a stink about Beijing's nagging. Still, the Chinese Communist Party is not going after our record deficits to get us to see the light, but rather to pull the wool over the eyes of their own people.

That the Communist regime now holds more American debt than anyone or anything on earth has given them a perception of economic power. Granted, there isn't much reality behind that perception, but that will take some time to sink in over here. What is important here is what Beijing's carping reveals: deep concern about their own economy, and an inability to fix it.

The latest economic figures out of Beijing trumpeted 7.9% GDP growth in the second quarter. However, given the cadres' penchant for phony statistics, the actual growth number could be as low as 6% - well below population growth. In other words, the average victim of the CCP is continues to grow poorer. This despite a half-trillion-dollar "stimulus."

Meanwhile, the already creeky banking sector continued to dig itself a deeper hole, with wave after wave of reckless loans that have brought back the dreaded B-word ("bubble"). The regime has promised to use "market tools" (Bloomberg) to slow down the lending spree - without explaining to anyone just what it means by that.

So, with the economy not recovering to the extent required, corruption still out of control, and several banks sure to end up drowning in bad loans in the near future, the regime needs someone to blame - and up steps the Obama Administration. To be clear, I am in no way endorsing the reckless spending of the president. The consequences of trillion-dollar-deficits (the entire federal budget was less than a trillion dollars just twenty-five years ago) are obvious: high inflation, a devalued dollar, and a crippling effect on business investment. That's what makes it so easy for the cadres to hide behind America's mistakes.

If things continue to get worse in Communist China, look for the cadres to make more threats about dumping American bonds, while blaming the falling value of said bonds for the regime's own failures. Unfortunately, too many critics of the Administration will seize upon the cadres' smoke screen as yet another consequence of the president's refusal to slow down the spending train. This is especially true regarding the Communist banks, who will scream bloody murder about the loss of value in American assets while hoping no one notices the domestic-default tsunami.

In fact, this entire ruse is yet one more reason Washington should get its fiscal house in order. Without this crutch, Beijing will have no explanation for the continuing economic downturn, and more of their victims will rise up to take their country back. Instead, the regime could very well succeed (and certainly will attempt) to lay blame for all of their economic difficulties at the feet of the president. Foreign investors (who should know better, but that's for another day) will hear stories about worthwhile projects withering on the vine due to weakened Communist banks and those spendthrift Americans, and odds are they'll believe them. The cadres may very dupe the foreigners out of millions to billions of new dollars to make up for the mythical investment gap, giving the regime yet another vein of money siphon off for party members.

Contrary to what the Chinese Communist Party would like the world to believe, they are in a very weak position. Their economic policies are causing more problems while leaving unsolved the ones that led to the policies in the first place. However, so long as the United States continues to spend money like it grows on trees, the cadres will have the cover story they desperately need to survive. Once again, like nearly every other tyrant on the planet, they will find their survival in whipping up anti-American hatred and blaming us for things we did not do.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

The tipping point - ten years later

Ten years ago this Saturday, the Chinese Communist Party openly announced its own demise. It didn't realize it was doing this, so don't go looking for Kevorkian references or anything, but the suicide was publicly proclaimed all the same; for it was on July 25, 1999 that the CCP officially began the conflict that will eventually lead to its downfall: the Falun Gong War.

With just about every tyranny that has darkened the world with its shadow, there is an event, a moment, where an observer can pinpoint things beginning to go "off the rails." At that moment, the regime loses its rationality and its perspective - an inevitable consequence of its loss of humanity. Difficult to see when they happen, these inflection points stand out in bas relief when the regime's history is reviewed.

On occasion, this is a foreign policy blunder (the Nazis' invasion of the Soviet Union), but usually it occurs when the regime decided to turn a non-political issue into a political one - best shown by European Communism's visceral reaction to Solidarity in Poland. The world's peoples understand when a tyrants go after their political enemies - they don't approve, mind you, but they understand the reasons for it. As such, the tyrants' victims use this understanding to help survive the dictatorship - stay clear of political no-go areas, chant the regime's slogans at the right place and the right time, etc., and no one will come for you in the middle of the night. It is when the regime decides to attack something widely perceived as apoliticial that the persecuted people(s) realize they have no choice but to rise up against the regime. The regime need not fall immediately (it took eleven years for European Communism to finally and completely collapse), but it will, inevitably, fall. For the CCP, that moment was July 25, 1999.

To understand why, we need to remember what Falun Gong was before it became an enemy of the state. In the 1990s, Falun Gong was one of many qigong movements spreading among the Chinese people. Unlike most of the others, it quickly found favor with the regime for its refusal to engage in politics. Moreover, Falun Gong was inherently Chinese in its aspirations, its methods, and even its flaws (note: I am not a practitioner). If there was any spiritual movement that the CCP could co-opt, it was Falun Gong.

However, as the decade came to a close, the regime suddenly discovered that Falun Gong had more adherents than the Chinese Communist Party. This, in the minds of the paranoid post-Tiananmen leadership of the CCP, made it dangerous, and worthy of a crackdown. Outside the CCP, however, the crackdown made no sense whatsoever. Why would the regime care about something so firmly non-political as Falun Gong? What else would the regime suddenly decide was "political" and worthy of a prison term or a spell in a labor camp? Practitioners themselves were so surprised that they demanded the regime stop: 10,000 of them in one April day. Ironically, that demonstration (which was largely a show of fealty to the CCP) was twisted by the regime into an act of dissent it never was.

The rest is tragic history - although there have been some darkly comical moments. As always, they center around the regime's charges of foreign influence - an utterly hilarious notion given that it comes from a regime inspired by German philosopher and aided in its quest for power by two Russian tyrants. Looking from 2009, it appears the regime succeeded. However, it looked just as dark in Poland in 1987, or even the Soviet Union itself in early 1991. We now know better.

The regime does, too. They're not foolish enough to think they've won the Falun Gong War (although they are intelligent enough to claim they have). Perhaps they are even aware of the massive unforced error they committed in turning Falun Gong into a dissident faith. In any event, the regime will - and in fact, must - continue its path of repression until the Chinese people rise up and take their country back.

When that happens, history and historians may very well look back to July 25, 1999 as the tipping point.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Why Urumqi has frightened the CCP

In all my years watching the Chinese Communist Party and its ever-growing list of victims, I don't think I have seen a single incident more telling about the weaknesses of Mainstream Media (and, by reflection, the immense value of the Epoch Times - and I'd say that even if they didn't run my columns) than what happened in Urumqi this week.

To hear MSM discuss it, it was yet another sad case of clashes between Chinese police and restive Uighur Muslims. As Matthew Little noted yesterday (full disclosure, he interviewed yours truly for the piece, as you can see via the link), that was almost exactly how the CCP wanted the incident reported, and at least at first, the cadres got their wish.

Still, I fear that even most anti-Communists have failed (so far) to understand the immense importance of Urumqi 2009 - even I was prepared to largely underemphasize it for quite some time. Upon further review, however, it becomes clear just how dangerous this was to the CCP - and it had nothing to do with the religious faith of the Uighurs.

Roughly two weeks before the people of Urumqi took to the streets, an argument in Shaoguan, Guangdong between Uighurs and ethnic Chinese in a local factory became violent. Two Uighurs died - and the rest were summarily fired. It seems yet another sordid combination of repression and radical ethnic nationalism for which the regime has become infamous, sure to be remembered locally, but not anywhere else.

That the news of this made it to Urumqi at all was something new - and, for the regime, something grave.

The CCP has survived the last twenty years on two things - a radical nationalist agenda (its justification for its continued existence) and a deliberate atomization of any resistance (to prevent a nationwide anti-Communist movement from threatening its continued existence). The latter in particular has made sure outrages like Hanyuan, Taishi, or Shanwei were known only to local victims and their grieving relatives.

Needless to say, things didn't go according to plan in Shaoguan. That an incident in a southeastern province should extend all the way to the formerly independent East Turkestan must have come as quite a shock to the regime. Here, suddenly, was the possible beginning of a continental network of resistance - after all, if a Guangdong incident could get this far, a future clash between cadres and locals reaching the eyes and ears of Beijing appellants, Henan AIDS victims, or Sichuan earthquake survivors was all-but-certain.

How the cadres can prevent those scenarios will keep them up nights for months, but the top priority was making sure no one knew about this. So, the cadres sent in their police to either disperse the protesters or incite them to violence (depending on your source of information, they managed to do at least one), while Beijing told the rest of the world that it was all about Islam.

For the most part, the cadres' desperate gambit worked. The Uighur-Han dimension has dominated everything else. Precious few news outlets are even aware of the Shaoguan incident, let alone the larger significance of it all. Even the death toll (which local sources put well over the ridiculous cadre-endorsed number of 156) has been largely misreported.

Still, the cadres cannot consider this a complete victory. Hardly anyone is willing to defend their brutal occupation of the region - something the Communists have craved ever since the beginning of the War on Terror. Moreover, one of their methods in overhyping the ethnic angle - empowering and arming ethnic Chinese mobs in Urumqi - risks serious public-relations blowback. Many elite Westerners have feared their own native populations going into a rage against the nearest Muslims they can find. To see their nightmare come true not in their homelands, but under the Chinese Communist regime will come as a complete shock - one that could shake more than a few of their "engagement" notions.

However, the real problem for the cadres - the one they can't fix with a heavy police presence or a hail of bullets - is the one still largely unnoticed: the connections among anti-Communists revealed by Shaoguan and Urumqi. Long after the streets of the latter calm down, the CCP will desperately try to figure out how news of the former traveled thousands of miles in less than two weeks. If they can't prevent similar incidents from traveling similar information paths, then every incident of local repression will become nationally known, and help create the nationwide resistance that frightens the CCP more than anything else on earth.