The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) consists of privileged bureaucrats who are authoritarians first and foremost. They inherently KNOW what is best – or at least claim they do. The number one objective of the CCP is to cling to political power; everything else is negotiable. And they use all the tools at their disposal to do so.
A large part of that effort is to control information available to the Chinese people, as well as to craft and deliver messages intended for internal consumption from state-controlled media. Their internal messaging is synergistic with the external propagandizing that is targeted at the US and other Western countries. A couple of their main state media outlets are Xinhua and the Global Times, but there are many more outlets who are carefully coordinated to convey CCP-approved narratives. Xinhua and Global Times post articles in Chinese dialects for internal consumption but also in English, French, Russian, German, Spanish, Japanese, Korean, and other languages for external consumption.
What are the CCP up to at this point in time during the CCP virus pandemic? They are transparent. Here is their basic gameplan:
1. Project the CCP’s own sins on President Trump (accuse President Trump of lying about the origins of the virus, accusing the Trump Administration of a “slow response” to the virus, claiming that the US is the epicenter for the virus, giving the US advice about hygiene of all things – it’s the Chinese who eat raw animals, not Americans!, etc.; and shamelessly propagandizing their own cover-up)
2. Claim that China has the virus “under control” (the CCP government “serves its people,” CCP data on the virus is “correct,” put the lid on reporting new cases and deaths related to the virus, publish stories claiming more infections are coming from “travelers to China” than from within, altruistically shutting down “outbound travel” late in the game, providing lessons learned to other countries, shutting their borders to foreigners, removing quarantine sanctions in Wuhan, etc.)
3. Claim world leadership in combating the virus (stories about vaunted Chinese health security, Chinese “leadership” for the world, dozens of stories about China providing medical aid to other countries while ignoring the defective material, pronouncements from Xi about the need for a “global response”, leveraging Western sources to reinforce the claim, maybe even assuaging CCP guilt before the world, etc.)
4. Convince Chinese people to return to work (their most important objective because the Chinese export economy is reeling; the external corollary is propping up the world economy for Chinese exports; includes PR from Xi Jinping himself)
5. Combat the growing chorus of anti-China rhetoric around the world (their second-most important objective that threatens the legitimacy of the CCP regime; an example article here)
Read the articles linked above. Those were just a sampling of the daily deluge from the state-run ChiCom media. Keeping in mind the main CCP objective of retaining power, it is easy to discern how the above gameplan helps accomplish that by convincing the Chinese people that the regime is competently managing the virus, by claiming their government is magnanimously helping other countries combat the virus, by playing on inherent Chinese xenophobia by attacking foreign critics of the Chinese regime, by persuading Chinese to go back to work to restart their teetering economy.
Again, that latter point is key. Part of the existing social contract between the CCP regime and the Chinese people is that the regime would deliver economic opportunity and an improved standard of living. As long as the regime can appear to deliver relative prosperity to average Chinese, the Chinese people have been content to tolerate the regime’s authoritarian measures. That contract goes up in smoke if the virus shuts down China’s export economy, and the CCP cannot withstand major unrest.
Could the law of unintended consequences be delivering a body blow to the CCP? It’s what they deserve for lying about the virus. The reality for the CCP and the Chinese people is this, as a pal explained recently: “Xi lied; people died. He lied to everyone in the world, not just Americans. He lied to the UN, he lied to his own people, and he lied to the WHO. He lied to his friends, and he lied to his enemies. And that dishonesty is the proximate cause of the pandemic. Had he been honest and forthcoming about the origins of the virus and shared early virus sequencing information with the world, there would have been no pandemic.” Amen. And I believe the Chinese people are figuring that out.
The Chinese love their handheld devices and relatively better access to information that modern technology has enabled. And they can see what’s happening in their own locales regarding whether the claims of the CCP regime about having the virus under control are accurate (they’re not). Are they buying into the constant stream of CCP propaganda aimed at them by Xinhua, Global Times, and the rest? I don’t think so, except for the “true believers.” Are they paying attention to Western media reports that are starting to demand accountability for the virus from the CCP regime? I believe they are, as they know Western sources are far more accurate than CCP state-run media. Will that make a difference? Yes, as it further undermines the legitimacy of the regime. And the blowback on that regime from abroad hasn’t even gotten started yet.