Monday, July 04, 2022
  Snake Oil: How Xi Jinping Shut Down the World     Source
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In March 2020, liberal democracy ground to a sudden stop.

Like the Reichstag Fire of 1933, historians may never know how SARS-CoV-2 came about. For scientists, exploring its origins would be a rewarding endeavor if it weren’t precluded by an immovable force—the jackboot of Xi Jinping’s Chinese Communist Party.

But while intelligence agencies spent months investigating the virus’s origins, the world employed an unprecedented response that proved far more devastating than the virus itself, leading to the greatest economic collapse since the Great Depression, widespread hunger, and the disappearance of countless lives and livelihoods. Across the world, governments implemented measures modeled on the mass quarantines imposed in China, commonly referred to as “lockdowns.”

It was the greatest geopolitical catastrophe since the Second World War, and the largest man-made famine since the Great Leap Forward. And it was all for nothing. Lockdowns had never been about science. Rather, they’d sprung into global policy on the order of the CCP princeling who would become the most influential member of the Baby Boom generation; an aberration thrust upon the world through an unprecedented, international influence operation.

By corrupting global institutions, promoting forged data, publishing fraudulent science, and deploying propaganda on an unprecedented scale, the CCP under Xi Jinping transformed the snake oil of lockdowns into “science,” the greatest crime of the 21st century to date. This is the story of how he did it, and why.

Editor's note: The How and Why is perhaps best summarized by the author in Chapter 9

“The Chinese Communist Party is not Chinese, not communist, and not a party. The CCP is the world’s largest criminal organization, with no racial or geographic boundaries, which happens to have begun in China—led by an extraordinarily small number of extraordinarily evil people.”

 
 
Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6
Chapter 7
Chapter 8
Chapter 9
Prologue
Introduction
Redder Than Red
Chairman Of Everything
Fangkong
Unrestricted Warfare
Just Stay Home
Everything Is Fake
The World According To Xi
Together Apart
The Year Of The Rat
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iv
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3
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Prologue

When Chairman Mao passed away in 1976, China underwent a period of rapid reform under the new leadership of paramount leader Deng Xiaoping. Having seen little growth for half a century, China soon became one of the world’s most dynamic economies. Mao’s policies had kept China stagnant, but with Deng’s reforms, China achieved practically unheard-of economic growth of nearly 10% per year from 1980 to 1989.1 For China’s workers, wages in Deng’s international investment zones seemed fantastically high. Rural factories fueled the surge, letting peasants earn money they’d never dreamed of.2

It was the 1980s, and business was China’s business. China’s entrepreneurs, shut out of the economy under Mao, got rich as they led the country’s transformation into a manufacturing powerhouse. Western investors got rich, seeing record profits as they flocked in to make use of China’s previously destitute labor force. Chinese Communist Party bosses got rich facilitating lucrative contracts and business deals. Even workers began to feel rich as wages across China more than doubled. Everyone was getting rich. You just had to be there.

Amid all this progress, China’s brightest students were exposed to liberal ideas for the first time. Though the economy grew quickly, corruption was rampant, and the best opportunities were reserved for Party elites. Hardly any Chinese had a meaningful say in government.

A democracy movement began to develop with the support of reformist General Secretary Hu Yaobang. Hu was well-known for his liberalism and his frank, honest opinions. After visiting Tibet in 1980, Hu explicitly apologized for China’s misrule during Mao’s reign.3 Hu encouraged students and intellectuals to raise controversial subjects, including democracy, human rights, and legal limits on power, and began targeting corruption among high-ranking CCP officials. Everything Hu did irked the CCP’s hardliners.

In 1986, students and intellectual leaders launched pro-democracy protests in dozens of cities. Deng Xiaoping disliked the protests and wanted their leaders dismissed from the Party, but Hu refused. For this, Deng forced Hu’s resignation.4

Hu was replaced as General Secretary by his equally reform-minded colleague Zhao Ziyang. The year Zhao served as General Secretary is still widely viewed as the most open in the history of modern China. The CCP had officially banned pro-democracy demonstrations, but Hu was now a symbol—a man who wouldn’t sacrifice his convictions—and the protests continued. When Hu suddenly died in April 1989, students flocked to Beijing’s Tiananmen Square, sparking a protest movement of unprecedented scale.5

Deng ordered the protesters to stop, but for the first time in over 40 years, the people refused. The next day, a line of students four miles long marched on Tiananmen Square. Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev arrived to greet them. Deng was humiliated.

All of China seemed to support the students, and over the course of May 1989, millions joined in the Tiananmen Square protests. Factory workers, teachers, doctors, even soldiers and staff of the Party’s propaganda outlets joined in. They had the tacit support of General Secretary Zhao, who pushed for dialogue, believing the Party should appeal to the protesters’ feelings of optimism and patriotism. The end of authoritarianism in China now felt inevitable. Many CCP leaders began to think nothing could stop the blossoming of democracy in Tiananmen Square—not with the whole world watching, the cameras rolling, capturing the hope and enthusiasm of millions of Chinese for viewers around the world.6

But in late May, Deng convened the CCP’s highest governing body, who sharply criticized Zhao’s strategy. They urged Zhao to declare martial law, but Zhao refused. In his last recorded appearance, Zhao pleaded with the protesters to end their hunger strike and promised that dialogue would remain open. Zhao was ousted as General Secretary and was never heard from again.7

Deng convened a meeting of Party elders and martial law was declared the next day. Deng met with military leaders and finalized orders for units to converge at 1:00 AM on June 4, 1989, using any means necessary to clear the square.8

That night, hundreds of tanks and tens of thousands of soldiers descended on Tiananmen Square. By morning, the protesters were surrounded. They were in disbelief. Former soldiers, believing the People’s Liberation Army served the people, insisted the troops wouldn’t fire. Initially, protesters thought the troops were using rubber bullets. But as screams filled the air, the reality set in.

Soldiers charged at the protesters using assault rifles, bayonets, and expanding bullets. The PLA erected machine guns directly in front of Heroes Monument, and the air erupted with deafening bursts as the gunners fired indiscriminately on the defenseless crowd. Tanks ripped through the throngs of fleeing protesters, crushing many more.9

In the span of a day, the PLA had killed thousands of innocent Chinese citizens, and thousands more were gravely wounded—mostly ordinary residents of Beijing. The protest leaders, China’s best and brightest students among them, were imprisoned and tortured. Deng Xiaoping congratulated the PLA on a job well done.10

Above all, the Tiananmen Square Massacre had been the result of a misunderstanding of who Deng Xiaoping really was and what his reforms really meant. A longtime member of Mao’s inner circle, Deng had never been as moderate as his admirers liked to pretend. Following Mao’s re-engagement with the west after meeting with Henry Kissinger and Richard Nixon, Deng had supported market reforms because they made China rich, but he had no taste for western democracy, human rights, or liberalism. Western media fawned over Deng the reformer, but that was largely because he’d made them so much money. Even economic growth under Deng’s regime was exaggerated; it was largely catch-up to the rest of the world following Mao’s long, tyrannical rule.

As China had reopened economically, the world believed Deng’s regime would be open to democratic reforms, even if that meant relinquishing its hold on power. Deng believed no such thing. His vision had never included political tolerance. Much of what the world thought they knew about Deng Xiaoping was simply a lie.

Under Deng’s rule, punishments for minorities and those who stepped out of line were arbitrary and cruel. Chinese citizens were frequently executed for petty crimes, either real or imagined.11 After the Tiananmen Square Massacre, many of Hu and Zhao’s liberal reforms were rolled back.

The Chinese government drew widespread condemnation for Tiananmen Square, and China was briefly isolated. But President George H.W. Bush, former head of the U.S.-China Liaison Office, privately resolved to resume commercial relations, and sanctions were quickly lifted.12 By the end of the Bush presidency, it was business as usual, and the rest of the world soon followed.

For anyone who cared to see, Tiananmen Square is where the principles of the postwar international order died. Beginning at Tiananmen Square, the CCP sought to prove that even the newest information technology could be subverted to tyrannical ends, and that ideas really could be killed with the right amount of violence. They gambled that the free world’s commitment to human rights could be worn down with enough patience.

Over the coming decades, information did not liberalize the authoritarian world. Instead, the world became more like China. And 30 years later, the free world would be forced to confront the true cost of the devil’s bargain it had struck with the Chinese Communist Party in the aftermath of Tiananmen Square.


1 Mark Purdy, “China’s Economy, in Six Charts,” Harvard Bus. Review, Nov. 29, 2013,
https://hbr.org/2013/11/chinas-economy-in-six-charts.

2 PBS, “China, A Century of Revolution: Born Under the Red Flag 1976-1997,” (Video), Jul. 9, 1997,
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yuaDF2Ahtdk.

3 Lee, Khoon Choy, Pioneers of Modern China: Understanding the Inscrutable Chinese, 2005, ISBN 981-256-464-0.

4 Kristof, Nicholas “D. Hu Yaobang, Ex-Party Chief in China, Dies at 73” (Obituary), New York Times, Apr. 16, 1989,
https://www.nytimes.com/1989/04/16/obituaries/hu-yaobang-ex-party-chief-in-china-dies-at-73.html.

5 Thomas, Antony, “The Tank Man” (Video), PBS, 2006,
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/film/tankman/.

6 PBS, “China, A Century of Revolution: Born Under the Red Flag 1976-1997,” (Video), Jul. 9, 1997,
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yuaDF2Ahtdk.

7 Philip P. Pan, Out of Mao’s shadow, 2008, ISBN 978-1-4165-3705-2.

8 Wu, Renhua, “The release of Tiananmen Square clearance order,” Boxun blog, May 4, 2010,
https://web.archive.org/web/20190331042756/https://blog.boxun.com/hero/201004/wurenhua/10_1.s html.

9a Thomas, Antony, “The Tank Man,” (Video), PBS, 2006.
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/film/tankman/.
9b New York Times, “TURMOIL IN CHINA; Student Tells the Tiananmen Story: And Then, 'Machine Guns Erupted',” Jun. 12, 1989,
https://www.nytimes.com/1989/06/12/world/turmoil-in-china-student-tells-the-tiananmen-story-and-then-machine-guns-erupted.html.

10 John Pomfret, “A Massacre, Erased,” Washington Post, May 30, 2019,
https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2019/opinions/global-opinions/tiananmen-square-a-massacre-erased/.

11 The Economist, “Strike less hard,” Aug. 3, 2013,
https://www.economist.com/china/2013/08/03/strike-less-hard.

12 Andrew J. Bacevich, American Empire: The Realities and Consequences of U.S. Diplomacy (2002), ISBN 978-0674013759.

Introduction

In March 2020, liberal democracy ground to a sudden stop.

Like the Reichstag Fire of 1933, historians may never know how SARS-CoV-2 came about. For scientists, exploring its origins would be a rewarding endeavor if it weren’t precluded by an immovable force—the jackboot of Xi Jinping’s Chinese Communist Party. “President Xi’s persistent refusal to allow an independent international investigation into the origins of the virus is more than a lack of responsibility,” wrote one leading epidemiologist, “it is a declaration of contempt for human life. It is a crime, a crime that cost lives for a nation to say, ‘We own the right to refuse to be investigated, to have the evidence examined.’ Most every other country in the world would have called for the investigation themselves.”13

“A declaration of contempt for human life” might shock those less familiar with the career of Xi Jinping, the princeling wunderkind who soared through the ranks of the Party after spending a terrifying youth in Mao’s Cultural Revolution. But to the dissidents, reporters, and exiles who know him more intimately, Xi’s callousness is unsurprising. Since Xi came to power just ten years ago, Chinese media has been censored; international websites have been blocked; activists, journalists, lawyers, and intellectuals have been silenced; over one million officials have been punished for “corruption;” Marxism-Leninism and Maoist symbolism have been revived; thousands of churches and mosques have been demolished; Hong Kong was forcefully crushed; millions of Uyghur Muslims and other Turkic minorities have been detained in concentration camps; and, in a two-sentence bulletin released one afternoon in 2018, term limits were eliminated from China’s constitution, effectively crowning Xi paramount leader for life.14

The CCP’s initial cover-up of the virus and the complicity of the World Health Organization are widely remembered.15 This cover-up cost lives and engendered lurid theories about the virus’ origins. But while intelligence agencies spent months investigating these theories, the world employed an unprecedented response that proved far more devastating than the virus itself, leading to the greatest economic collapse since the Great Depression, widespread hunger, and the disappearance of countless lives and livelihoods.16 Across the world, governments implemented measures modeled on the mass quarantines imposed in China, commonly referred to as “lockdowns.”

What, if anything, individual citizens knew about the virus was of little relevance; in no instance were they consulted. No votes were held. In the span of a month, the long-cherished rights of nearly half the world’s population were upended. Schools were shut, “inessential” businesses were closed, and families isolated where they could. Unemployment in the United States reached as high as 14.7% and highways jammed with vehicles awaiting their turn at food banks.17 In India, millions of migrants were tossed out of work and forced to march in exodus to far-off villages.18 In Africa, food lines stretched for miles.19 Quarantined migrants in Saudi Arabia were left to die. “The guards just throw the bodies out back as if it was trash.”20 The chief of the United Nations World Food Program forewarned of a “famine of biblical proportions” with 265 million people “literally marching to the brink of starvation.”21 Around the world, suicides and deaths from treatable ailments spiked.22

No other country could recreate China’s “success” against the virus. Having stampeded into lockdowns with no clear goal in mind, governments bumbled from one justification to another—“flattening the curve,” preventing a “second wave,” getting the outbreak “under control,” “waiting for a vaccine,” or even “eliminating COVID-19” entirely—importing an ever-darker swathe of illiberal mandates along the way, all in the supposed interest of “public health.”

It was the greatest geopolitical catastrophe since the Second World War, and the largest man-made famine since the Great Leap Forward. And it was all for nothing. Lockdowns had never been about science. Rather, they’d sprung into global policy on the order of the CCP princeling who would become the most influential member of the Baby Boom generation; an aberration thrust upon the world through an unprecedented, international influence operation.

By corrupting global institutions, promoting forged data, publishing fraudulent science, and deploying propaganda on an unprecedented scale, the CCP under Xi Jinping transformed the snake oil of lockdowns into “science,” the greatest crime of the 21st century to date. The story of how he did it, and why, begins at turn of the last century, in the yellow loess of Yan’an.


13 Amanda Price, “Xi Jinping versus the world,” Korea Times, May 31, 2020,
https://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/opinion/2020/08/137_290399.html.

14a Tanner Greer, “Xi Jinping Knows Who His Enemies Are,” Foreign Policy, Nov. 21, 2019,
https://foreignpolicy.com/2019/11/21/xi-jinping-china-communist-party-francois-bougon/.
14b Tanner Greer, “China’s Plans to Win Control of the Global Order,” Tablet Magazine, May 17, 2020,
https://www.tabletmag.com/sections/news/articles/china-plans-global-order.
14c Choi Chi-yuk, “Xi Jinping’s anti-graft drive has caught so many officials that Beijing’s elite prison is running out of cells,” South China Morning Post, Feb. 14, 2018,
https://www.scmp.com/news/china/policies-politics/article/2133251/xi-jinpings-anti-graft-drive-has-caught-so-many.
14d Francis Fukuyama, “What Kind of Regime Does China Have?,” The American Interest, May 18, 2020,
https://www.the-american-interest.com/2020/05/18/what-kind-of-regime-does-china-have/.
14e Shibani Mahtani and Eva Dou, “China’s security law sends chill through Hong Kong, 23 years after handover,” Washington Post, Jun. 30, 2020,
https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/hong-kong-national-security-law-ends-freedom-democracy-china/2020/06/30/c37e5a4a-ba8b-11ea-97c1-6cf116ffe26c_story.html.
14f Washington Post, “New evidence of China’s concentration camps shows its hardening resolve to wipe out the Uighurs,” Sep. 3, 2020,
https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/global-opinions/new-evidence-of-chinas-concentration-camps-shows-its-hardening-resolve-to-wipe-out-the-uighurs/2020/09/03/aeeb71b4-ebb2-11ea-99a1-71343d03bc29_story.html.
14g Tom Phillips, “Dictator for life': Xi Jinping's power grab condemned as step towards tyranny,” The Guardian, Feb. 26, 2018,
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/feb/26/xi-jinping-china-presidential-limit-scrap-dictator-for-life.

15a Victims of Communism, “The Coronavirus Cover-up: A Timeline,” Apr. 10, 2020,
https://victimsofcommunism.org/publication/chinese-communist-party-world-health-organization-culpability-in-coronavirus-pandemic/.
15b Nick Givas, “WHO haunted by old tweet saying China found no human transmission of coronavirus,” New York Post, Mar. 20, 2020,
https://nypost.com/2020/03/20/who-haunted-by-old-tweet-saying-china-found-no-human-transmission-of-coronavirus/.

16a Scott W. Atlas, John R. Birge, Ralph L Keeney and Alexander Lipton, “The COVID-19 shutdown will cost Americans millions of years of life,” The Hill, May 25, 2020,
https://thehill.com/opinion/healthcare/499394-the-covid-19-shutdown-will-cost-americans-millions-of-years-of-life.
16b Alan Rappeport and Jeanna Smialek, “I.M.F. Predicts Worst Downturn Since the Great Depression,” New York Times, Apr. 14, 2020,
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/14/us/politics/coronavirus-economy-recession-depression.html.
16c Lori Hinnant and Sam Mednick, “Virus-linked hunger tied to 10,000 child deaths each month,” Associated Press, Jul. 27, 2020,
https://apnews.com/5cbee9693c52728a3808f4e7b4965cbd.
16d Matthew Haag, “One-Third of New York’s Small Businesses May Be Gone Forever,” New York Times, August 3, 2020,
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/08/03/nyregion/nyc-small-businesses-closing-coronavirus.html.

17 Jack Healy, “It’s ‘People, People, People’ as Lines Stretch Across America,” New York Times, Apr. 12, 2020,
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/12/us/coronavirus-long-lines-america.html.

18 Rajesh Roy, “India Tries to Stem Migrant Worker Exodus Amid Coronavirus Lockdown,“ Wall Street Journal, Mar. 29, 2020,
https://www.wsj.com/articles/india-tries-to-stem-migrant-worker-exodus-amid-coronavirus-lockdown-11585499312.

19a Reuters, “Miles-long lines for food in South Africa” (Video), Apr. 30, 2020,
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pl-R7KeUm5o.
19b “Associated Press, Tear gas, rubber bullets: coronavirus lockdown in Africa,” South China Morning Post, Mar. 28, 2020,
https://www.scmp.com/news/world/africa/article/3077415/tear-gas-rubber-bullets-coronavirus-lockdown-africa.

20 Will Brown and Zecharias Zelalem, “Investigation: African migrants 'left to die' in Saudi Arabia’s hellish Covid detention centres,” The Telegraph, Aug. 30, 2020,
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/global-health/climate-and-people/investigation-african-migrants-left-die-saudi-arabias-hellish/.

21 Fiona Harvey, “Coronavirus pandemic ‘will cause famine of biblical proportions’,” The Guardian, Apr. 21, 2020,
https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2020/apr/21/coronavirus-pandemic-will-cause-famine-of-biblical-proportions.

22a Buck Institute, “COVID Webinar Series (TRANSCRIPT): Robert Redfield, MD,” Jul. 14, 2020,
https://www.buckinstitute.org/covid-webinar-series-transcript-robert-redfield-md/.
22b Mike Valerio, “Excess deaths in DC rise 40%, as residents avoid hospitals during coronavirus pandemic,” WUSA9, Jul. 9, 2020,
https://www.wusa9.com/article/news/health/coronavirus/deaths-from-treatable-diseases-rise-in-dc-fear-of-hospitals-coronavirus/65-caf65ac3-3903-4791-b933-c891f1f62bcb.

About the Author

Michael P Senger is an attorney based in the United States. He has been researching the influence of the Chinese Communist Party on the world’s response to COVID-19 since March 2020, and previously authored China’s Global Lockdown Propaganda Campaign and The Masked Ball of Cowardice in Tablet Magazine. His Twitter handle is @MichaelPSenger.

Copyright © 2021 Michael P Senger

Snake Oil: How Xi Jinping Shut Down the World

Copyright © 2021 Michael P Senger

All rights reserved. This book or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner without the express written permission of the author except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.

ISBN 978-1-957083-77-3 (Hardcover)

ISBN 978-1-957083-78-0 (Paperback)

ISBN 978-1-957083-79-7 (EPUB)

First printing, 2021

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