Mainland China’s ‘new civil war’ descends into horror

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Mainland China’s “new civil war” was not resolved with the 20th Congress of the Communist Party of China, which ended on October 22. It has just begun its transition to a new phase of global significance.

China’s return to Maoism, mass repression and, as a tool of repression, starvation and internal concentration has entered a major new phase with the re-election of Communist Party General Secretary Xi Jinping. Still, it was a short-term thing for him.

Xi purged senior security officials until the start of Congress and delayed the release of damning economic officials until after the event so as not to cast a shadow over his final takeover.

Now the civil war within the party is entering a new phase of fairly open repression of opponents of Xi and the general public.

The damage to the international economy will be immense. The cost to the Chinese people will be infinitely greater.

The only parallel can be seen in Mao Zedong’s own suppression of opponents in the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976) and the Great Leap Forward (1958-1962). Several tens of millions of Chinese died – estimates range from 30 to 60 million – in Mao’s efforts to suppress all opposition.

Maoist-era enforced mass famines can be seen as the ancestors of today’s onset of urban famines caused by Xi’s zero-COVID lockdowns in cities. And Xi said he was – and happens to be – a devoted Maoist.

The 20th National Congress ended as most people expected: Xi won a third term and all his opponents were swept from powerful Party positions. Xi’s certainty that he had defeated his opponents’ attempts to thwart his reelection was evident when he was able to purge a main symbol of the opposition, his predecessor as general secretary, Hu Jintao, in a deliberately forced expulsion. humiliation of the 79-year-old man. of the closing ceremony of the Congress.

Jiang Zemin, 96, Party general secretary before Hu, did not even show up for Congress. It was the first hint that Xi had triumphed, even as Congress began. In the end, Premier Li Keqiang was also kicked out of the Politburo Standing Committee, as were Standing Committee members Han Zheng (the Shanghai Party leader, loyal to Jiang), the head of the advisory body of the Parti Wang Yang and Li Zhanshu, a longtime Xi ally and the head of the ceremonial National People’s Congress.

Xi Jinping (right) speaks with former leader Hu Jintao as he is attended to leave the closing ceremony of the 20th Congress of the Communist Party of China at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on October 22, 2022. (Noel Celis /AFP via Getty Images)

We may never hear from them again.

There were signs across the board that Xi had won this immediate phase of the “new civil war” within the CCP. The once fiercely independent South China Morning Post newspaper in Hong Kong published a slavishly pro-Xi article by columnist Alex Lo on October 24, titled “An unhealthy rhetoric on the mini-purge by Xi Jinping couldn’t be further from the truth.” the truth.

Xi’s only divergence from old-style Maoism was in form, not substance: He abandoned Mao’s “Little Red Book,” which was used to slogan the masses. Xi replaced it with the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI, also known as “One Belt, One Road”). He knew that Mao’s slogans could not wake up the world, so he would transform the world with money. The BRI has become the “little red checkbook”.

But that only worked until mainland China’s sudden mountain of wealth – created by Chinese entrepreneurs, not the Party – was there to support BRI’s often illogical loans and “investments.” , all designed to buy friends rather than to guarantee a stable return on investment. . The initiative is therefore collapsing, along with the internal economy of the BRI.

What shall we do now?

The purge of Xi’s most visible opponents, such as Jiang Zemin, Hu Jintao, Le Keqiang and Han Zheng, was an attempt to “kill the snake by cutting off its head”. But massive opposition to Xi continues, partly within the People’s Liberation Army (PLA). Much of it will be driven underground by the withdrawal of the visible leadership of the opposition. But there have been concerns within the PLA that Xi could jeopardize everything with reckless actions abroad, including a military assault on Taiwan.

A particular question is whether Xi, now that he has achieved absolute dictatorship, would still feel the urgency to attack Taiwan and end the original Chinese civil war between the Communist Party and the nationalists. This civil war, which began after the Republic of China (ROC) emerged from the collapse of the Imperial era in 1911-12, was never resolved. The ROC government retreated to Taiwan and other islands but was never conquered.

Xi wants to end this civil war – the “great” civil war – to ensure that there is no doubt that the CCP has been the undisputed winner of all of China. But with absolute dominance now over mainland China, it could lessen the urgency of the highly symbolic attempt to destroy the ROC in Taiwan. Much will depend on its ability to contain unrest on the mainland, where economic decline has significantly motivated the urban population to protest.

A war with Taiwan could divert attention from this, or it could simply drain massive military resources that would be needed to further suppress the domestic population.

But whatever happens, the economy will plunge even further, given the reality that Xi’s draconian rise to power – even outside of his specifically anti-market policies – will drive out foreign investment and depress domestic consumption. China’s demand for raw materials worldwide will continue to decline precipitously. Dreamers in Australia and New Zealand, North America and Europe now have to face the fact that the money that China pumped into the global economy has evaporated.

And Africa, Latin America, the Middle East, Southeast Asia and Oceania will all see the end of China’s money, even as Beijing escalates its threats and demands by the through “wolf-warrior diplomacy”.

The opinions expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of The Epoch Times.

Gregory Copley

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Gregory Copley is president of the Washington-based International Strategic Studies Association. Born in Australia, Copley is a member of the Order of Australia, entrepreneur, writer, government adviser and publisher of defense publications. His latest book is “The New Total War of the 21st Century and the Trigger of Pandemic Fear”.

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