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roadiemullet last won the day on May 2 2020

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  1. Morning guys, I can see this thread is starting to move on so I'll make these my final observations, and just talk about one or two topics that have come up. Part Six Thanks. Everything you have said here is on point. I was just in the middle of writing up a response to something else but as you've brought up some points here I'll frame my answer a bit more around this. I feel exactly the same as you in that what other counties do, and how they go about forming their societies is totally up to them. I live here as an observer with the caveat that if I don't like it I can bugger off back to where I came from or go somewhere else. I used to be really "passionate" about western values and my perception that the Chinese are being trodden on. A few years here has rubbed that out. It is sad that some of the answers to problems in Chinese society are right there for the taking but due to the way they run their country, they just can't fix them. To go to your points though; Firstly, would the Government resort to machine gunning down masses of students like they did in 1989? This is not such a clear cut answer as you might think. On the one hand, they've done it before, and by nearly any measure, they totally got away with doing it. It worked. They survived the international backlash, they convinced the public at large that the movement had been hijacked by foreign forces and needed to be dealt with, and wiped the slate of any future attempts, and today there are people here who think they did the right thing. You can bet your bottom dollar after 1989, such plans to reactivate such a force have been refined, the most trustworthy people chosen to be key players in the organisation, and the methodology to match a modern technological environment has been perfected (shutting down all social media, for example). The shutdown due to COVID I'm completely convinced used the some of the same logical channels. They can snap their fingers and *poof* everyone has to stay at home. Tiananmen was as brutal a shock to the party as it was to everyone else observing the events. Again, going back to the factionalism that makes up the party, there was a schism that ruptured the top powers and the army leadership. The aftermath of Tiananmen and what happened to the commanders of units who refused to take part when they realised what was going on is a sad coda to the entire nightmare. (This would be a great place to insert a reference to an account of a brigade commander I read a few years ago but for the life of me I can't remember where I read it and I've spent about 20 mins trying to search it to no avail. If anyone else knows what I'm talking about, please throw a link) On a slightly side note, for those that have mentioned they have been to China, you will probably have noticed the security guards on every building entrance and residential area. The Chinese name for them is 保安 Bao'An. They are everywhere, and when I first came here my impression was definitely that all of my suspicions were confirmed, that this is a police state. The real every day experience is more like a retired Mall Cop though lol. Their job is first and foremost to prevent petty crime, rather than spying on residents. Sometimes when you read about the military strength of China, you get references to a millions-strong paramilitary force. This is in reference to the Bao'An "force", if you can call it that. Most of them are Grandpas who want to earn some easy money sitting in the sun playing Chinese Chess, or young guys/girls who maybe don't have the best qualifications. China is a society where stereotypes often dictate jobs, and being a Bao'An is the job for old farts. There are other 'police' units that exist within the framework of everyday life. The police themselves, the 警察 Jing Cha, are self explanatory, though they play a functional role in everyday administration that doesn't exist in our world. For example, the law states that every time you stay for 24 hours in a place outside your designated address, you must register with the local police station. I'm yet to meet any Chinese who are even aware that such a law exists, including the police themselves. I'm aware because the rule is more strictly enforced on foreigners. Or rather, the stamped bit of paper you get when you do it is needed every time you want to do something official, like renew your visa, driving licence, etc etc. Nobody bothers (an example of a law by Beijing that is ignored for the most part outside the capital), unless they need that stamp for something, in which case they go to the local police station and apply. I'm talking about foreign nationals here, Chinese themselves don't need the stamp as they have national ID cards that are the backbone for all their administration needs (the Chinese LOVE, and I mean LOVE red tape). The law about registering when you move around though is still true for everyone, but again, nobody does it and even if they wanted to and went to the local station, they police would just tell them to forget it. I've been to some police stations to register and they have the dedicated officer waiting behind a desk, and yet you go to another and they have absolutely no idea what you are talking about. A similar experience I had was trying to get registration forms for my dog, as is the law. I bought my dog from a wet market (more on that later) and I've had him vaccinated as per all the requirements, but after a run in with a neighbour who totally overreacted to my dog approaching her, tried to exploit me for petty cash by calling the police and saying my dog scared her. This is a common method of arbitration by the police when dealing with arguing parties - they become mini judges and decide who has to pay or apologise to who when dealing with petty arguments. I apologised, lost face to everyone's satisfaction, and the argument was closed without needing petty compensation (as a "rich" foreigner though she was trying to get some decent payout out of me). As it happens, the Bao'An at the gate to our residential area came to my defence and afterwards told us she'd tried this with other dog owners in the area. There's more to this story lol but its starting to derail from my point so I'll try and keep on track. 😂 In the aftermath we decided to get the dog fully registered so that the police wouldn't confiscate him if something happened again and we didn't have him sorted. My wife looked up the relevant requirements on the net and found that we needed to register the dog, which we hadn't. We spent the next two weekends being passed around different offices in the city as nobody had a clue what to do or who should deal with it. In the end we gave up. This is a level of involvement by the state in everyday lives that just wouldn't fly in the west, even if in many respects it isn't even properly followed throughout China. (Different places have varying levels of enforcement. I'm sure if you wander over to XinJiang or Tibet, you better pucker up that butthole and have your stamped forms ready.) Anyways, back to the Tiananmen point, the other forces one encounters are the 特警,TeJing, which means 'special police' and is translated as SWAT on google translate but really they mostly perform checkpoint duties, and seem to spend most of their time unarmed. You see them in subway stations checking ID cards (Chinese ID cards double up as subway cards that can be loaded with credit. Pretty nifty really). Another force is the 城管, Cheng Guan. Their job is as an auxiliary unit to enforce city and town health and safety practices, and to clean up hawkers and people selling wild animals and other illegal stuff. You tend not to see them so much in the last three years or so as the public backlash against them after a video made the rounds was pretty bad. In the video, while enforcing the rule that shops cannot put goods on the street outside their shopfront, blocking the pavement/sidewalk, a group of ChengGuan started trashing some bikes outside a bike shop. The thing was, the bikes belonged to a bunch of customers who were visiting the shop and had parked up outside. Obviously nobody is going to be happy to walk out of a shop and see some idiots in uniform kicking in what looked like really expensive bikes, so a fight ensued between the spandex clad bikers and the ChengGuan. It sounds kinda funny but it ended with one guy being knocked over and then a ChengGuan jumping on his head. The backlash was pretty severe, with protests going off about their behaviour. The city authorities (I can't remember which city, maybe Hangzhou near Shanghai) came out with apologies and the lame excuse that the jumper was only a temporary worker who had been quickly sacked. I'm not sure if the biker got compensation or not. Since then I haven't seen them about. To be fair the ones I've seen in my city again were just regular Joe's doing a job, clearing up the annoying pedlars selling fake goods on street corners. My point behind listing these different 'police' units is to highlight how much of a presence the state has in everyday life. Bao'Ans are everywhere, I can walk to my balcony right now and look down on some across the road. Would they be used in party with the PLA to start murdering people in the event of protests? Maybe, but not without a degree of resistance. Because they are so embedded within local society, they are part and parcel of the fabric. I know all the Bao'Ans in my area and they know me. They know all the names of the kids in the area, not because they are spying but because they see them every day, smiling and giving a friendly 'good morning' as we walk through the gates. Would they turn an AK on us and start spraying because Beijing ordered them? I don't know. Its not clear cut. History has shown that amazingly sometimes people do become like this. I'm not under any illusion that given the right circumstances, the friendly Bao'An downstairs would be telling a team of TeJin which apartment I live in so they can kick my door in for crimes against the state. The PRC does some shady stuff, locking up human rights lawyers is just he tip of the iceberg. Last year a local lawyer in Guangzhou started an online campaign for the city's utility workers to get better pay and working conditions. He vanished and hasn't been seen since. Earlier last year in the city south of here, Shenzhen, some students who had apparently been taking Mao Zedong's teachings to heart decided to help local factory workers form independent workers unions. The two students involved vanished and haven't been heard of since. Will they be quietly murdered? Certainly not. They are in some jail somewhere that unlike in our countries, the government doesn't feel it has a responsibility to divulge with the families. The right to a speedy trial isn't even mentioned, they'll be there for ages. In the end they will be released - Probably. The other counter point to this Tiananmen question is that protests take place in China all the time, every day. There have been two major protests in the city I live in since I've been here, and many smaller ones. Most cities have public squares outside the main government offices for this very purpose. Some protests are contrived - the big one happening when I arrived in 2012 was the protests over the DiaoYu Islands dispute with Japan. Anti Japanese sentiment is a poison that pervades Chinese society, so its easy to stoke up. I learned a few years later from a factory boss that he had been paid by the local government to shut down for a day and encourage his worker force to go protest, with meals provided for everyone, banners provided and all in all a jolly good old jap bashing throughout the day. Sushi restaurants in the city were smashed up, and anyone unlucky enough to have parked their Nissan or Toyota in the path of the protest march came back to find it flipped or all the windows smashed in. The other big one was about 4 years ago, when the Chinese version of Uber, called Didi, was launched. Taxi drivers across the country went up in protest, and there was a major demonstration that lasted days in the city centre here. The police cleared them using the same tactics used in my own country. Nobody was crushed under any tanks. Other demonstrations happen across China all the time. Entire villages get together to protest some local government decision. You can easily google vids of villagers beating up police with metal rods, and going well beyond the acceptable line of protest anywhere in the world. And yet nobody gets shot. It seems that the risk of something spilling out into a bigger anti party protest is so negligible as to no even enter the thoughts of the authorities. What about if the Hong Kong democracy protests had taken place in China? Would there be another Tiananmen? Again, its not so clear. I mean, why don't they just pull a Tiananmen in Hong Kong? Is the city *really* so well protected by outside influence that they couldn't do it? I'm not convinced. I was sure they were gonna start doing it at one point in the protests. They still might. I think though that they are trying to use HK as a statement that they don't need to crush the demonstrators with tanks. Not yet anyway, it would be pulling the pin on the grenade. They certainly have violated the non-interference clause however - you can easily find videos of Hong Kong "Police" speaking mandarin. If you could understand Mandarin and Cantonese, you could see what a totally incongruous thing it is to see a supposed HK Police officer speaking Mandarin. Its like A French Policeman in Paris suddenly talking in English with an Alabama accent. I think most of the points I'm making here are probably things that most people are agreeing with anyway, but just thought I'd add some insights to show the complexity of the picture. There are so many points about many topics I could add, but these posts are really long. Lol I'll make sure to tell her.
  2. This exactly. Why would anyone here want to copy the American model when they are constantly told how terrible it is. An interesting facet of the perception of the USA among some people I've met that I'll just quickly add before signing off, is the idea that the US government is the bogeyman that all the corniest conspiracy theories make it out to be. All those impressions of China being a police state that spies on its own citizens is flipped around and amplified when talking about America. The same for their own government is scoffed at though, which I remember being incredulous at the first time I had this conversation with someone. Another reason is that many people think America is super dangerous. A few years ago a guy somewhere in Shanghai went nuts and ran into a kindergarten with a pair of knives and murdered a bunch of young kids. Didn't even make the evening news - they were too busy covering a school shooting in the USA that happened the same day. I once had a conversation with a guy about guns and he said if he went to the USA he would insist on carrying a gun around with him. In his opinion if the locals tell you its their right to have a gun, then you should listen to them, the cities they live in must be lethally dangerous. It was kinda hard to argue the point back (especially as I'm a Brit haha).
  3. Thanks feedback anyway guys, I'm happy many of you read my post. From what I have seen, the central party has surprisingly little control of the vast majority of China, though its grip has really tightened in many respects. I came here in 2012 just after Xi came to power. As the years have gone by, the anti-corruption drive that he instigated has picked off thousands of corrupt officials, and conveniently those who belonged to regional power bases that could be a threat. You have Guangzhou, the capital of the province I live in, Guangdong, which is the main manufacturing hub, Chongqing, the capital of Sichuan in the sort of middle west (actually the middle of China but really the last proper Han-Chinese province before you get into the autonomous regions like Tibet, etc), Shanghai, Beijing of course, Tianjin (major port city next to BJ), Xi'an in the centre and then DongBei - literally EastNorth (North-East to English speakers, better known as Manchuria to westerners) where you have the heavy industry areas of Heilongjiang and Jilin. Each of these areas produces powerful people with large support bases, and they have run with their own interpretations of the rules from BJ for a long time. The downfall of some serious players over the last few years has made for some seriously pop-corn worthy TV, with in-court broadcasts of big boys getting their due. Just go to wikipedia and read up about Bo XiLai - Xi's major rival for the throne. If you want a good laugh read up about his wife's trial for the murder of Neil Hayworth (not a laughing matter) and the obvious double who appeared in court in her place (the funny bit) who looks nothing like her. The culmination was when Xi was made President for life. That was the endgame - he could never have done that had he still powerful rivals to defeat. These days, his picture is on billboards everywhere. Every TV report starts with a report on Xi, and every news website carries stories about what he's doing on their front pages. And everyone thinks he's the bees knees because he cleaned up the corruption. How much real power he still has over different areas is debatable. You tend to know the central party has been getting ignored when suddenly they send some head honcho from BJ to replace someone in some town or city somewhere, usually due to some public outcry over some scandal. BTW, as nightmarish as this may sound, life is actually pretty good here. I wouldn't live here if it was bad, and I'm not in some sort of weird bubble like you get with expat communities in places like Thailand or the Philippines, where the small salaries they sometimes make are still enough to let them live the high life compared to locals. My income is pretty much the average middle class professional income. Life here is just like any other major western city, probably even more developed in many respects, with high property prices and all the other joys increased wealth brings to an area. Actually, not to blow your trumpet, but pretty much everything you have said is pretty spot on. But that's just my opinion. I'd like to answer some of the other points others have made but its 20 past midnight here and I'm off to bed. Thanks again for the feedback guys and I'll go through some more points tomorrow, before I go back to work on Monday haha.
  4. I'm not so sure comparisons from what I've said mean that by 'my logic' America loves Trump because there are people that support him there. If that's the message you took from what I have written then you've misunderstood me, which may be my fault in the way I have written my points. I don't mean to come across as facetious, but have you ever spent any decent amount of time in China? I have. I've been to every major city along the coast, from Hong Kong to Harbin. I've been to countless factories and met thousands of people in the last 8 years. I ran a project management curriculum for three years and had countless conversations with countless students/business people from all walks of life. I'm not a visitor who comes to China, I live here, and I've been here continuously with the exception of the occasional two-three week holiday and one three month stay back home in 2016, and I'm telling you, I've met maybe 3 or 4 people who didn't think the CCP was just about the greatest thing that ever happened to China. Imagine Trump has been in office for 8 years, and every single person you talk to about him bangs on about how great he is. Many bring it up in the first minutes of conversation because you are one of the few foreigners they have met in their life and they are so proud they feel they have to tell you. In 8 years you meet 4 people who said they didn't like him. That's the level. Forget communism, its all about nationalism. Communism as an idea is only ever brought up in the name of the party anyway. The official doctrine is 'Socialism with Chinese characteristics', with the recent wonderful addition of 'Xi Jinping thought on...' added before. Which means that basically whatever the party leadership deigns to be the policy is the policy, no matter if it fits a communist or capitalist criteria by other peoples measures. I'm not interested in applying 'my logic' to american politics - the whole reason I started posting in the first place is, as I said, too many people are viewing China through a western lens. Please don't take this response as snarky - oftentimes responses on the internet come across as pretty sharp and that's not the spirit of my writing here. We all know that the CCP Government does not abide any criticism, and people who start "causing trouble" really do have a tendency to vanish for months on end, before the family find out they've been tried for "breaking social harmony" or some more serious charge. But that doesn't mean everyone is living under the oppressive yoke and aches in their hearts for freedom haha, again, most people think the CCP are the saviours of China. This is in the face of the great leap forward, the cultural revolution, and the Tiananmen square massace. The idea that students "know they will be gunned down by the PLA" - I'm sorry that's completely ridiculous. I just told my Chinese wife that one and she burst out laughing. Nobody thinks that, only westerners. It may be true, but again, that is NOT the perception here.
  5. There is one more thing I'll add on to these posts as I'm sat at my computer, so Part Five, The idea that the government is playing some long term geopolitical game. This has to be one of the most repeated descriptions of Chinese governance that I've seen/heard in the west, to the point where its been picked up by the state media here and is repeated as though that were the case all along. Its total rubbish, and ties in perfectly with their propaganda about China being older and wiser than these 'new' powers in the west. Total drivel. Yes, Deng XiaoPing had a public policy for China to "bide its time". Yes, the government does make plans and targets for decades in the future. Of course, with no annoying and pesky elections and risk of losing power to some other group for 5 years, such plans can be made. But so does every other country in the world. Governments make plans all the time for actions that will be taken well beyond the current administrations tenure. Its normal. Whenever there is some kind of international incident, the response from the government is often pretty slow (until very recently that is, as in the last few years we've had a new group of aggressive spokespeople giving daily press briefings - Zhao Li Jian is one of them, the guy promoting the conspiracy theory that the US army brought the virus to Wuhan). Often responses are given in cryptic idioms, usually 4-character 成语 Cheng yu, which imply that the speaker is well read and clever in their speech. (Some Cheng Yu refer to classical stories. Imagine giving some Bible chapter reference as an idiom, and you're in the right area). The problem is that Cheng Yu can often be bent to mean anything. Mao ZeDong loved to spout them all the time, so did Deng, but most of all, Xi JinPing says them all the time. Just watch a speech and listen to the amount of idioms peppering his output that could mean literally anything, but regarded as a wonderful pearls of wisdom by the media. The slow response is not due to some master checkmate move being planned. Its nearly always due to the fact that they don't know what to do. When in doubt, do nothing. Not exactly genius. Despite this the amount of gaffes the Chinese pull is pretty staggering when you pay attention. Recently in the province of Guangdong, where I live, a province-wide roundup of Africans took place and enforced quarantine, even though immigration was halted well over a month ago now and before that anyone coming into the country had to stay in two weeks quarantine anyway. Unfortunately, the racist perception that Africans make up a large body of illegal immigrants unaccounted for who might be some reservoir of the disease (and taking into account the propaganda drive that the Virus is not from China, was only detected here by the excellent Doctors, and comes from 'foreigners'), meant that suddenly the provincial government decided to round them all up - going to their homes and ordering them to a local quarantine hotel where they had to pay to stay, but not bothering to quarantine their Chinese or non-African family members in the same apartment building. This insane policy has backfired and China is eating humble pie at the moment as African governments have demanded an explanation, with the governments of Nigeria and Kenya summoning the Chinese ambassadors. All Africans have been released and since been visited with bouquets of flowers and bags of oranges - I'm not joking you can look this up. China fumbles the ball all the time. Part of the problem is that those people in power and in the arms of government are products of the education system here, which I won't go into as these posts have gone well off track from the epidemic topic. Suffice it to say that this idea that they are the puppet masters behind some long term calculated plan is pretty funny when you actually live here and see how things function.
  6. Back to the people starving bit - I don't know about this situation so I can't explain what happened, but for those stuck in their apartments in quarantine, a volunteer delivery service for food was established, and given the deserved praise from the public similar to the praise that the NHS in my country and the healthcare services in other countries are getting. All this defending China haha man I sound like some kind of shill. Seriously though, there are so many wrong perceptions in the west. Chinese are people too. They aren't all communist robots who have no emotion to people dying around them. They do have some totally skewed world views, are really, really nationalistic, view their country as the pinnacle of civilisation, and the centre of the world (the Chinese name for China, 中国, literally means 'Middle Country'), but they still do care. Local police aren't stone faced Stasi waiting to kidnap people off the street, they are just regular people like anyone doing a job.
  7. Just listening to the first few minutes of that reminds me why I never read or watch American news media. So many loaded statements. Just like the Chinese media haha. 'People being bundled into police vans to be taken god knows where' - Ummm probably either to the local police station or taken home, but not before having their ears chewed for breaking quarantine. The 'god knows where' bit is just tapped on the end, as though those people were never seen again. As for infected people being locked in their homes and left to starve - while I have no doubt that happened, it wasn't exactly policy. More like that person fell through the net. Everyone had a choice if they tested positive for the test - go to the quarantine centre or choose to stay at home, but if you stay at home you must agree not to leave your apartment (most people live in apartments). A paper tag was placed over the door - loose enough to allow the door to open to allow food deliveries, but the deal was if that seal is broken, then you gotta go to the quarantine centre, whether you like it or not. These measures are awful, but they aren't quite the picture that is painted. Infected people aren't being sent to a field and shot in the back of the head after being picked up by the gestapo. You may have seen in the news the videos of people being properly barred in their homes, with a metal bar welded over their door. This kind of stuff did go off and its completely disgusting, but the reaction among the public here (this was not some secret that leaked to the west, it was shown on primetime news as evidence that the government is taking care of the situation) was pretty supportive. I don't agree with this, but many people here do as its for the collective good.
  8. Part Four I think what we can take from all this, what is most important above all, is that there *needs* to be a Combat Mission game with the PLA in it. If battlefront needs help with translations, or anything, I can help.
  9. Part Three Another example of Mainland Chinese views on democracy - look at the public perception of Taiwan. Most people here agree Taiwan has a great economy, and enjoys freedoms unparalleled in the rest of China. Are Chinese jealous, demanding that the Republic of China Government be brought back over to rule in place of the PRC? Hell no. Many people think Taiwan should be forcibly retaken and the leaders tried as traitors. Taiwan independence? Forget it. Cai Yingwen is portrayed as a mere puppet of the USA and Japan, who should be executed for her treachery for ignoring the '1992 consensus'. Is this because the Chinese are brainwashed? Most likely, but its interesting to see some of the most nationalistic people are those that have actually travelled around and even lived abroad. As the Hong Kong democracy protests were swinging around last year, clashes between Hong Kongers and mainlanders outside of China were reported in nearly every western country. "Lenin walls", set up by pro-democracy supporters, were torn down by angry mainlanders even in my own home city. Despite having access to all the freedom-loving western world and its media, many people still have these strong nationalistic views. The chances of the leadership being blamed when the economy goes downhill, especially when this will be accompanied in the news by trade war quotes from Trump, and the world economy in general goes downhill, are zip. Not going to happen. The biggest threat to Xi JinPing is the now small chance (after his huge anit-corruption drive wiping out his opponents) of a factional challenge. Not gonna happen. Bo Xilai is in prison. Xi has been made president for life.
  10. Just to add on a part two The perception that mass unemployment will start a chain reaction of events resulting in the overthrow and possibly even murder of leaders is pretty far from reality. Your average Chinese person in the street does not look at America, or western countries, with envious eyes at our political system, and yearn for the chance to have a government that they can have voting participation in. What Chinese people think of their government is polar opposite of what westerners think. You cannot underestimate the effect of non-stop nationalistic propaganda on how people here view the world. Many, many people have an us-vs-them mentality, especially against the west, and in particular against the USA. The CCP is widely seen as the movement of the people that has successfully lifted a billion people out of poverty, despite the evil bullying tactics of the western countries who secretly want to control and dominate China. This isn't some fringe rubbish, this is what MOST people think. I can count on one hand the amount of people I've met openly critical of the system they have in place, despite living here for nearly a decade. If you want to see what Chinese think about democracy, have a look at their reaction to the Hong Kong protests. They are universally regarded as traitors by the vast majority of people. Mass unemployment in China will never be blamed on the system they have in place - it can and it certainly will be entirely blamed on foreign countries bullying China. It cannot be understated how much China and society here truly blames the west for all its perceived ills. Most people are so sure about western countries and their evil plans because as far as they are concerned, within what is to them 'recent' history, the 8 nation alliance tried to cut China into pieces. As I'm sat here typing this there is a drama on the TV in my living room right now about this very topic. It is drummed into everyone from a young age, along with the daily dose of anti Japanese propaganda. Turn on any TV at any time of any day in China and you will find a goofy ww2 drama depicting 'Japanese Devils' raping yet another village, while the noble inhabitants fight back with their farming tools, kung fu and red flags. Tiananmen Square is always portrayed as a mass movement for democracy in the west. Perhaps the leaders in the square on the megaphones were shouting democratic slogans, and trying to use the opportunity to really make changes for democratic reform, but I have met and spoken to people who were there, who are quite open about their participation, and who have all uniformly told me that most people were trying to change the corruption that was endemic. In many people's perceptions, those changes came. That may sound crazy but thats the experience I have had from people I've met. If I could compare this to an analogous example, its a bit like assuming that most Americans secretly want to throw the US constitution away and change their basic system of government, that most Americans agree that the growth and power of the US economy has prevailed in spite of, not because of the system of governance, and that once the economy goes to sh*t they will overthrow their leaders and adopt a more China-like style of governance. Just to make it clear here - these views are not my own. I am simply pointing out what many people think here in China, as far as my experience goes.
  11. Hey all, Came to check up on this forum on the off chance that my fantasy Combat Mission: OPLAN 5029 was going to be announced and we'd finally get to see the PLA in action in this series. I don't normally post here, I *think* my last post was about 9-10 years ago, but after reading through this thread and seeing some strong opinions and predictions about China, I thought I'd throw in my two cents, as Americans like to say. I've lived in China for 8 years, speak Mandarin up to HSK level 4-5, and work in manufacturing. I've sat through this whole COVID-19 epidemic, since it first broke here and then spread across the world. Some of the perceptions about the government here and how they go about their business are pretty laughable, and some are on point, but mostly everyone is viewing society here totally through a western lens, though that's hardly limited to this forum. There seems to be a perception that 1. The virus killed far more people here than is being admitted, even orders of magnitude greater, and that its being covered up to prevent some sort of mass revolt. 2. Society here just needs 'a kick in the door and the whole rotten structure will come crashing down'; that once the economy goes belly up, there will be some sort of mass revolt. 3. The evil CPC will do absolutely anything to maintain that grip on power, including the mass murder of their own citizens. 4. People are suppressed and given the chance, they will overthrow the tyrannical regime and install a flourishing democracy. 5. My favourite - China has a long view on geopolitics - LOL. The virus could wreck the economy here - there are already warning signs. I've been inundated with offers from factories who have bought PPE manufacturing equipment en masse in a desperate attempt to stay afloat. One insole manufacturer I know has totally collapsed and is relying completely on manufacturing KN95 masks, but due to the recent horror stories of faulty equipment creating yet another gaffe for China, as of two weeks ago only those suppliers on a whitelist can export items marked as medical supplies, regardless of whether or not their factory has all of the ISO standards, FDA registration, EU CE certification, etc. Everyone is scrambling to get on the list. China has a mountain of unregulated 'black' financial institutions, massive SME debt, and the situation looks grim to say the least. I read a news article here that had the People's Bank of China warning there is a small chance of depression. That's big news, when they admit something like that, it means the risk is pretty real. The virus news broke just before the spring festival, which if you don't know is THE major holiday for Chinese and results in the largest human migration in the world every January/February. I was heading up to my wife's family in another city when the news was breaking. While I was there the nationwide lockdown came into place, though for different provinces the rules were slightly different. Many people in the west seem to think that because China has a huge population and an untrustworthy Government, then by default they simply must have been ravaged and are lying about it. Firstly, the virus did affect an area with a large population - the city of Wuhan in Hubei province. Hubei itself has a population about the same as the UK. But it didn't appear everywhere at once, infecting droves of people. It appeared in one place and was noticed by local doctors. China's healthcare system is pretty turd in many ways compared to the west, but its not total rubbish (unless you are talking about traditional chinese medicine, but thats a rant for another day). We all know the story about the doctors that were arrested and accused of spreading rumours on social media. To understand this you have to step back and not straw man every action taken as indicative of the evil government. They were not silenced by the ruling elite, but rather the local police station/government who were following the rules laid out. Pretty stupid and draconian rules obviously, but from their point of view its the same as the rules Captain Crozier apparently broke leading to his dismissal. Once the actual realisation came through that the doctors were right, action was taken pretty rapidly, though not as fast as we now know could have been taken. Did the government deliberately withhold info from the WHO and the West, allowing the virus to spread so their evil plan could be hatched? Probably not. More likely they didn't realise the scale this was going to be and so nuking their own economy by locking down the country was probably not what came to mind when they had 50 or so people with some weird new type of flu. When they did fire the pistol though, they did it properly. Remember that this is not the first time that they have had an epidemic, even within the last 20 years. The leading Doctor, the 'hero' of SARS, Zhong Nan Shan, quickly came on TV telling the public and government what to do. Everything was shut down. Existing checkpoints at the entrances to residential areas and roads where manned with people checking everyones temperature. Contact tracing was heavily utilised so that everyone who came into contact with an infected person was contacted and tested. Did China use armed force to suppress people? Yes, but no more than American Police use armed force to suppress rule breakers every day. They got on top of things pretty quickly. Are the numbers accurate? Lmao of course not, but mostly for many of the same reasons numbers in good-guy western countries are not accurate. Of course, there IS the possibility that scores more people died, and there are hints here on social media that the numbers are higher - one truck driver admitting in a local news street-interview he'd been delivering about 3000 urns a day for two weeks to a local crematorium in preparation for the Qing Ming festival (the annual festival for honouring the dead). This awkward gaffe was quickly wiped off of Weibo, the Chinese social media platform, but not before millions saw it. Where the masses enraged, demanding the overthrow of the tyrannical regime? No. Most people shrugged it off as pretty normal - of course the official figures are inaccurate. This is quickly turning into a huge post that most people won't bother reading so I'll leave it here for now and if anyone has any questions, they can ask in the forum, and I'll respond.
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