Monthly Archives: March 2021

China’s Manufacturing Industry

Laborers working at a clothes factory in Hefei, in east China’s Anhui Province. China’s garment manufacturing industry is experiencing a downturn. (STR/AFP/Getty Images)

A senior Chinese Communist Party (CCP) official recently admitted that because China’s manufacturing industry was limited by China’s social system, a lack of talents, and other factors, and because key technologies were controlled by “others,” China needs at least 30 years to achieve the goal of becoming a “manufacturing powerhouse.”

The statement was made by Miao Wei, deputy director of the Economic Committee of the “Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference” (CPPCC) and former Minister of “Industry and Information Technology.”

 

He said at a CPPCC meeting that in terms of global manufacturing industry, there are four different levels.

The first level is led by the United States because it is the global science and technology innovation center. The European Union and Japan belong to the second level since they are at the high-end of manufacturing. China and some other emerging countries belong to the third level, which is at the low- and mid-range of the manufacturing industry. The fourth level mainly consists of resource exporting countries, including OPEC (Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries), Africa, Latin America, and other countries.

According to Miao Wei, China’s manufacturing industry is “big but not strong, comprehensive but not good,” with weak basic capabilities, while key technologies are still controlled by “others.” Because of this, it will take at least 30 years for China to become a manufacturing powerhouse.

Si Zefu, a member of the Standing Committee of the CPPCC and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Harbin Electric Corporation, also admitted on the same day that China’s manufacturing industry was “not as good as others” in three “soft strengths”: innovation capability and innovation level; product quality and brand; management level and efficiency; “The poor profitability is particularly prominent,” he said.

Miao Wei also stressed that the manufacturing sector’s contribution to the GDP recently fell very fast. This not only dragged down China’s economic growth, but also affected urban employment. “It will also bring industrial safety risks, weakening China’s economy’s ability to resist risks and international competitiveness,” he said.

Miao Wei said that as China’s economy shifted to a service-based model, factories with polluting chimneys had been closed and manufacturing output as a share of the economy had declined. In 2020, China’s manufacturing share of GDP was just over a quarter, the lowest level since 2012.

As to the problem of China’s social system, Miao Wei believes that a “lack of market-oriented reforms” is the fundamental problem limiting the development of China’s manufacturing industry.

He also thinks that apart from a lack of key technologies, China also lacks talents in emerging industries, and this has become an obstacle for improving the overall status of the manufacturing industry.

In 2015, the CCP proposed the 10-year Made in China 2025 project, envisioning that by 2025, China would have transformed from a big manufacturing country to a manufacturing power, and that by 2035, the country’s manufacturing industry would surpass that of industrially advanced countries like Germany and Japan. The CCP hopes it will lead innovation in key manufacturing sectors by 2049, the 100th anniversary of the establishment of the CCP’s regime.

However, after the “Made in China 2025” project became a sticking point in the trade war with the United States, Beijing has stopped talking about it publicly. The project disappeared from CCP’s 2019 government work report.

In the meantime, according to the Wall Street Journal, the CCP has replaced its “Made in China 2025” with the 14th “5-year plan” drafted by Vice Premier Liu He.

In addition to the trade war, the Trump administration had imposed sanctions on the CCP’s state-owned technology companies such as telecommunications giants Huawei and ZTE, and Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation (SMIC).

As a result, the CCP has publicly admitted that China is suffering from a choke-hold in the field of technology.

When hosting the CCP’s Central Economic Work Conference in November last year, Xi Jinping admitted that innovation in China’s manufacturing industry was far from enough. He said the country’s strategic science and technology forces should be strengthened to enhance China’s capability to stay independent and take control of its’ own industrial chain in order to solve the choke-hold problems with key technologies.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang also stressed at the economic work conference in December last year that “efforts should be made to solve the major problems that constrain national development and security,” and China should “focus on the weak links in the industry, implement core technology tapping projects, and solve a number of choke-hold problems as soon as possible.”

Current affairs commentator Zhong Yuan said in an article from the Chinese edition of The Epoch Times that Li Keqiang’s speech revealed the reality that the CCP is lagging behind in science and technology.

China’s Premier Li Keqiang.

Yuan said, although the CCP had stolen a lot of technology, it wasn’t able to master the most important key technologies. It was eager to engage in the so-called “Made in China 2025” plan, and even dreamed about monopolizing the world market. But all those dreams had proven to be for naught.

In recent years, China has become the world’s largest manufacturing country driven by domestic and international demand, but its industry’s dependence on U.S. high-tech products such as semiconductors has become a strategic weakness.

For example, although Huawei has been backed by the CCP with full force, it was hit hard by the U.S. sanctions. As a result, the CCP has started to promote “scientific pig farming.” Many high-tech enterprises have entered the pig farming industry.

Since the first case of African swine fever was confirmed in China in August 2018, the price of pigs has risen steadily. Recently, when it became difficult to maintain its main cell phone business, Huawei was forced to announce its move into “smart pig farming” due to a cut-off in chip supply.

According to Sina.com, Huawei’s “smart pig farming” solution includes providing dashboard monitoring, big data analysis, and digital management. It also supports AI identification, AI learning, AI prediction, AI decision making, robot inspection, and remote control through standardization and programming.

In addition to creating identity cards for pigs, facial recognition technology was also applied to pigs. Facial recognition of pigs, or “pig face” identification and other technologies have also been adopted in Huawei’s “smart pig farming” solutions.

An article by Radio Taiwan International mockingly says that what’s disastrous for Huawei is, even after Huawei struggled to hold on until the White House changed hands, the Biden administration hasn’t loosened the sanctions.

Huawei’s Chairman Ren Zhengfei.

In February this year, Huawei’s Chairman Ren Zhengfei vowed to “survive without cell phones,” and launched the “Nanniwan” projects to save itself.  The projects include making breakthroughs in various fields such as coal and steel production, music, smart screens, PC computers, and tablets.

Nanniwan was the “revolutionary base” of the CCP located near Yan’an in Shaanxi Province in China. In March 1941, the Eighth Route Army of the CCP carried out military reclamation in Nanniwan to provide supplies for the CCP.

Since then, Nanniwan has become a symbolic “sacred” place that saved the CCP. “The spirit of Nanniwan is an important part of the spirit of Yan’an,” reads Baidu.com’s entry about Nanniwan.

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March 2021 Update

This month Rolf made application for a new visa to return to China and was promptly turned down! It is now necessary to have what is called a “PU Invitation Letter” to apply for a visa.  Rolf has been deemed as a “non-essential” person so therefore refused one.  Foreigners are still not welcome to return to China. At the moment the Beijing Government has issued extreme measures to ensure safety there whether you are “covid free or not.”

This “PU Invitation Letter” is issued by the China Foreign Affairs Office in Beijing. With the PU letter foreigners can apply for a new visa in their homeland and if accepted can enter China. This is a new policy since the global epidemic. All previously issued visas were cancelled effective March 28, 2020. Foreigners, like Rolf, who have previously held work/ personal affair/or reunion type of visas must now apply for a new one.

Only certain specific reasons meet the requirements for applying for a PU Letter and only companies can apply for their foreign employees.  Agents or individuals cannot! Previously an invitation letter was always required and Rolf has a former student now business owner in Beijing who would write one for him.  But now this type of “invitation letter” is no longer acceptable.

The policies have tightened as the global epidemic worsened. Now only the following personnel are possible to get a PU letter:

  • Important employees of large-scale companies.
  • The core management staff of small or medium-sized enterprises such as the legal representative or CEO, etc. and the success rate of this category is very limited.
  • Senior technical experts and other high-end talents who can bring benefits to China.

Under these circumstances Rolf should be thankful he is spared the undignified “derriere” humiliation required for coronavirus testing as people arrive in Beijing! If you don’t what that is about, Google it!!

As we wait and look forward to what lies ahead, we would appreciate your prayers so that by God’s grace and power we will be able to faithfully serve Him to the end without being sidetracked and robbed of the joy in serving the people in China.

“Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead,  I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:12-14).

Thank you for your prayers and serving with us!

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China Military Strength 2021

2021 China Military Strength

For 2021, China is ranked 3 of 139 out of the countries considered for the annual GFP review. It holds a PwrIndx* score of 0.0854 (a score of 0.0000 is considered ‘perfect’). This entry last updated on 03/03/2021.

GlobalFirepower.com is an annually-updated, statistics-based website tracking defense-related information of nations and exists as a wholly-independent resource. Part of the Military Factory network of sites that includes MilitaryFactory.com and WDMMA.org

 “War does not determine who is right – only who is left.” – Bertrand Russell

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Government Corruption

Parents wait outside a school in Tongliao, in China’s northern Inner Mongolia region where there have been recent protests about a new bilingual education policy by the Chinese government. Those opposed to the new curriculum, which requires core subjects to be taught in Mandarin rather than Mongolian, argue it could wipe out their minority culture. (Photo by NOEL CELIS/AFP via Getty Images)

Internal documents from the Inner Mongolia government revealed that local bureaucrats were incompetent and corrupt.

The government of Hulunbuir city arranged ten inspection teams composed of senior officials to probe different government departments and organs from March to late May.

Later, the inspection teams finished 11 reports and sent them to the municipal government. A trusted source shared these reports with The Epoch Times recently.

The inspection teams reported that each government bureau spent large sums of money without a proper decision process since 2013. Some departments failed to keep proper records of their assets. Officials also spent government money for their personal travel and other expenses, the reports revealed.

In May, the central government deemed all COVID-19-related data to be state secrets.

The Hulunbuir government was asked to destroy certain documents, but the inspection team found that the government bureau in charge of the task was not able to do so effectively.

“Paper shredding machines are very slow. It’s very possible that the secret documents would be leaked when the bureau transports them. There are tons of coronavirus epidemic-related secret documents that should be destroyed but weren’t. They were saved in storage,” the report stated.

Internal report from the Hulunbuir government reported that “dozens of tons” of pandemic-related documents were not destroyed as the central government requested.

Inner Mongolia is one of China’s biggest coal production regions. The inspection reports criticized that coal mines in Hulunbuir didn’t follow pollution control and environment protection requirements.

Also, because coal mines did not pay attention to production safety, at least 54 people died in mining accidents since 2000, the reports stated.

After inspecting state-run and private coal mines in Manzhouli city, Chen Barag Banner, and Jalainur District, one team found that “key parts of many important documents were selectively lost.”

These documents include environment protection-related documents; archived documents about small-sized mines, which were closed and merged with large-sized ones according to a central government mandate; and records showing government approval for companies to develop mines.

The report pointed out that the documents were likely lost due to “corruption and bureaucratic incompetence.”

“Officials signed fake contracts to give permission to private enterprises to develop mines without first conducting an evaluation… Officials teamed up with entrepreneurs to cheat state property,” the report stated.

In one instance, officials claimed three mines’ resources were depleted, but the mines continued production in the following years. The inspection team suspected that the officials intentionally made the wrong claim and in exchange, received benefits from the mining company. Because all land is government-owned in China, companies usually must pay the local government commission and taxes for their mining production.

Internal report from the Hulunbuir government listed key documents that were lost or missing.

Following Beijing’s poverty alleviation policy, which provides financial assistance to people living below the government-designated poverty line, the Hulunbuir branch of Red Cross China allocated donations to 3,297 poor citizens since 2013, one document stated. Red Cross China, unlike its international counterparts, is directly funded and operated by the Chinese regime.

But an inspection team found that 2,619 were actually government staff who had incomes above the poverty line. Only 373 people who received donations were actually poor, according to the report.

The report emphasized that there were many poor people living in Hulunbuir, but the local Red Cross did not properly distribute donations to them.

Internal report from the Hulunbuir government reported that authorities requested a large number of air raid shelters to be built, but most were not completed.

Many Chinese built air raids during the mid to late 1960s amid Party leader Mao Zedong’s war-mongering fervor about a potential conflict with the United States.

City governments have mandated each residential compound and village to build their own air raid shelters.

Two inspection teams visited air raid projects throughout the city.

They found that few of the projects in Hulunbuir were finished. Moreover, the finished projects were not qualified to defend against air raids.

The local government had paid real estate developers subsidies for the shelters’ construction.

But many developers built the shelters into underground parking lots, which cannot properly defend against air raids. For example, the Zhongrun Shopping mall in the Ewenki Autonomous Banner area was supposed to build a shelter with the size of 3,300 square meters (35,521 square feet).

However, officials approved the space for 4,200 square meters (45,208 square feet) and the developer later built the shelter into parking lots, a report stated.

A farm road leads to cow barns in Tuanjiecun, Hulunbuir, China. (Betsy Joles/ Getty Images)

In some cases, local governments collected fees from residential apartment developers and then approved them for building the shelters—but did not actually construct them.

In total, misuse of the government’s air raid shelter budgets reached over 300 million yuan ($43.9 million), the reports stated, noting that these cases were likely related to local corruption.

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Twelve Days from Onset to Death

People walk past the closed Hankou Railway Station after the city was locked down following the outbreak of a new coronavirus in Wuhan, Hubei province, China.

Weng Qiuqiu (alias), a 31-year-old woman from Huanggang City, Hubei Province, fell ill shortly after she became pregnant, suffering from headaches, coughing, breathing difficulties and died only 12 days later.

It was said that her lungs “turned white” and she died not knowing what she was suffering from.

According to Weng’s husband, Chen Yong (alias) said that on Jan. 7, his wife went to a produce market to buy fish heads, chicken, and vegetables. When she got home, she made hot pot and had dinner with her family. She ate a lot of food.

“On Jan. 8, my wife said she was not feeling well. She was at home with her 5-year-old daughter on Jan. 9. At noon, she messaged me on WeChat, saying that she had a cold. She asked me to take some cold medicine back after work and buy a box of pregnancy test kits. She suspected she was pregnant.”

“That day, I went home giving her cold medicine and pregnancy test kits. At night, she told me she was pregnant, and I was very happy. She ate a big bowl of rice when I cooked dinner in the evening, but she was not in good spirits,” Chen said.

“On Jan. 10, she woke me up at about 3:00 am, saying she felt sick,” Chen said. “She had a headache, sore throat, and a fever of over 38 degrees (100.4 degrees Fahrenheit). That night, we rode the electric bike and took our daughter to the hospital.”

We went to the hospital of traditional Chinese medicine in Huanggang City. The doctor said that we needed to wait until daytime for an injection.

We took some cold medicine back. On the way home, it suddenly began to rain. When we got home it was well after four o’clock in the morning and my wife was coughing and not sleeping.

“It rained all day that day, and we went to that hospital again at about 7 a.m. in the morning. After taking an X-ray, the doctor said that her throat was infected and inflamed. Since my wife was pregnant and couldn’t take medicine or injection, we went to Huanggang’s maternal and children health care service center.”

Chen continued, “at that time, it was already noon. We planned to go home first and go to the service center in the afternoon. Back home, I made her millet porridge. She could eat no more after only a few bites.”

“In the afternoon, we went to the maternal and child health care service center. The doctor said pregnant women cannot take medicine or injections. We went back to the hospital of traditional Chinese medicine and went to the respiratory department. By then my wife had difficulty breathing, was too weak to walk, and was noticeably more afraid of the cold than usual.”

“After doing an electrocardiogram (ECG) in the hospital of traditional Chinese medicine, the doctor asked us to transfer to Huanggang Central Hospital. Failing to receive treatment there, we then went to Huanggang Union Hospital.”

“It was 4 to 5 p.m. by then. My wife could no longer speak, and I was very upset.” Chen continued, “It was a long day, and at 11 p.m., my wife was finally transferred to a 3A hospital in Wuhan.”

“When we got to the hospital in Wuhan, the doctor told me that my wife had a bacterial infection that her lungs had turned white.”

“On the evening of Jan. 10, my wife was taken to a hospital in Wuhan. At first, she was admitted to the fever department. By 1 or 2 a.m. on Jan. 11, she was transferred to the emergency room and was soon transferred again to the intensive care unit.”

“There were many patients in the hospital that night, some of whose families did not wear masks. She was quarantined after being admitted to the fever unit, where doctors said she had become infected with pneumonia of unknown cause.”

“On Jan. 11, I was devastated when the doctor told me that my wife was very ill and needed equipment to modify the treatment plan. The cost was high, at 20,000 yuan ($2,880) a day and with less than a 10 percent chance of survival.”

“I’d been living in a hostel nearby. I couldn’t visit my wife in the hospital, and I spent every day trying to figure out how to raise money. In the first three days after she entered the hospital, it cost 50,000 or 60,000 yuan per day, and thereafter 20,000 yuan per day.”

“I wanted to see my wife, I wanted to talk to her… but had been unable to do so,” Chen said. “Sometimes I called to ask the doctor. Each time I called I was told that she wasn’t awake, and her condition was as serious, or more serious than previously.”

“She was already pregnant and her immune system had declined. The doctor told me that my wife’s hands were all purple, and then her feet turned purple too, and her condition was deteriorating very quickly.”

“After my wife went into intensive care, I never saw her again until she turned into ashes. At noon on Jan. 21, I really couldn’t borrow more money, and my wife’s condition did not get any better. I was really frustrated.”

After spending the borrowed medical expenses which amounted to 200,000 yuan ($28,000), Weng Qiuqiu’s condition did not improve. Chen Yong finally signed the consent to give up treatment.

Weng Qiuqiu died an hour later, at 1:46 p.m. That evening, her body was taken to the funeral home for cremation. The death certificate stated infectious shock, respiratory and circulatory failure, and severe pneumonia.

The day after his wife died on Jan. 22, Chen went to the Wuchang funeral home to retrieve the urn. There were a dozen people outside just like him waiting for their relatives’ remains.

In January, an outbreak of pneumonia from the new coronavirus was spreading across the country from Wuhan, just about 100 miles from Qichun County in Huanggang City, where Weng Qiuqiu lived. Huanggang is the hardest-hit area right next to Wuhan.

Many Netizens wrote in response to the post that the pregnant woman and her family’s experience was heartbreaking.

“The hospital deliberately didn’t diagnose the patient with Wuhan pneumonia (the Chinese term for Novel coronavirus 2019-nCoV) in order to earn money, because they’re supposed to offer free treatment for Wuhan pneumonia. They cremated the body quickly so there was no evidence left,” one netizen wrote.

“Doesn’t the media keep emphasizing that those dead are all old people?” others wondered.

“The Chinese Communist Party conceals the epidemic. How many Chinese people have been killed by it! May God destroys the Communist Party!”

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Polar Silk Road

Members of a Chinese research team set up an ocean-profiling float at a short-term data acquisition location near the icebreaker Xuelong in the Arctic Ocean.

China will build a Polar Silk Road and work to develop both the Arctic and Antarctic regions, Beijing announced in a new “2021–2025 five-year plan” published on March 5.

The Chinese will “participate in pragmatic cooperation in the North Pole,” the draft of the plan said, and improve the nation’s “ability to participate in the protection and utilization of the South Pole.”

The plan includes the development of what China calls the “Transpolar Sea Route”, which would pass through the center of the “Arctic Ocean” and stretch only a few miles south of the North Pole itself.

“China’s latest five-year plan includes a massive new project known as the Polar Silk Road. It could change Geo-economics forever.” https://t.co/C1Y0xh0VsH pic.twitter.com/hiIv4C9eXP — NAPC PRO (@napcpro) March 8, 2021

Historically, the frigid Arctic was relatively free of the geopolitical struggles among world powers that have beset most other regions. But in recent decades, due to thawing ice and improving technology, this has begun to change.

China’s borders do not extend into the Arctic, but it obtained “observer status” in the Arctic Council in 2013 and has become increasingly focused on the region in recent years.

In 2018, the Chinese Communist Party published a white paper outlining the nation’s Arctic policy for the first time. The document mentioned the desire to tap into “lucrative” resources and develop faster new “shipping” routes through the region.

At the time, a “Polar Silk Road” was viewed as a tangential add-on to the “Belt and Road Initiative”, whose aim is to link Asia, the Middle East, Europe and Africa on a network of road, rail and shipping passages.

China’s Belt and Road Initiative.

But now that the idea is enshrined into the 2021–2025 five-year plan, its status is considerably elevated. The plan now has a place among the major aims and aspirations in China’s Belt and Road Initiative and its general national strategy.

If the goals are realized, China will not only enrich itself by tapping into immense resource wealth at both poles, but also better connect itself to Russia and other nations.

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Human Placenta Trade

An illegal human placenta trade is “flourishing” in eastern China, hundreds of thousands sold each year despite a nationwide ban on the practice in 2005, Hong Kong’s Apple Daily newspaper reported.

“Underground traders operating near the provincial boundaries of Anhui, Jiangsu, and Henan have been selling fresh placentas that they acquire from hospitals, medical waste plants and funeral parlors across the country,” according to the newspaper, which cited a recent report by the Paper, a Chinese state-controlled news site.

Ten years after a ban on the trade was passed in China the sale of placentas and related products is flourishing despite health warnings. Photo: thepaper.cn

A trader the Paper interviewed said his group handled 130,000 placentas in 2020 obtained from various medical clinics and medical waste facilities across eastern China. The trader’s group paid 80 yuan ($12.30) for each placenta and sold them to “Traditional Chinese Medicine” (TCM) suppliers for a profit.

Placenta sales have also been recently spotted on verified e-commerce platforms in China, such as Alibaba’s Taobao. Traders post placentas on the platform for sale “in the range of 450 yuan ($69) to 580 yuan ($89). Sellers charge more for placentas that are verified with test reports,” according to the report.

TCM practitioners regard the human placenta as “a legitimate treatment for those with weak immune systems and for help treating various illnesses, such as tuberculosis and hypothermia, and for reproductive health” according to the South China Morning Post (SCMP).

Placentas being processed in China. Placentas from the birth of a boy are more highly prized than those from the birth of a girl.

TCM traders often dry placentas, pulverize them into a powder, then package the powder into gelatin capsules or dry mixes for consumption as a soup or with other foods. Some dried placentas are simply sold whole.

Most Western medical doctors dismiss the consumption of the human placenta as a dangerous practice because the organ, created temporarily within the body of a pregnant mother to facilitate the transfer of oxygen and nutrients to her fetus, may be contaminated with viruses and diseases carried by the mother, such as HIV/AIDS, hepatitis B, and syphilis.

The human placenta is referred to as “ziheche” in TCM, which itself is an umbrella term for numerous natural health remedies, such as herbal teas, acupuncture, and meditation.

Dried placentas are also used by some pharmaceutical companies that operate in a legally grey area.

TCM is an ancient Chinese “holistic” medicine practice the Chinese government has recently co-opted to promote a lucrative, pseudoscience-based medical industry that generates hundreds of billions of dollars for the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

While the “Chinese Health Ministry” banned the trade of human placentas in 2005 because of the health risks associated with the practice, “the pharmaceutical placenta trade falls into a grey area. There is no law forbidding the sale of drugs made from Ziheche and no stipulations on the origin of the material,” SCMP noted.

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Funeral Home in Wuhan

Medical staff in protective clothes are seen carrying a patient from an apartment suspected of having the virus in Wuhan, in Hubei province. Photo by HECTOR ETAMAL/AFP

Workers at crematoriums in Wuhan City, the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak, say their workload has increased dramatically in recent days, as they constantly transfer the bodies of victims from hospitals and private homes.

In an interview, a worker described long working hours to cope with the sudden increase in bodies to be cremated.

Meanwhile, videos from workers dealing with the crisis have been circulating on social media, including one from a worker at a Wuhan funeral home who shared footage of more than 10 bodies lying on gurneys, lined up for cremation.

Some Netizens also shared videos they shot within different hospitals in Wuhan, showing bodies waiting to be transferred from the hospitals to funeral homes.

Since funeral home workers don’t know for sure whether the person died from the coronavirus, they wear protective suits and masks in order to defend themselves from potential infection.

Wuhan has three main funeral homes in the downtown area, which are equipped with crematoriums. While cremation is a common burial practice in China, in a notice issued on Feb. 1, China’s National Health Commission said that people who have died from the virus can’t be buried and their bodies should be cremated immediately.

Because of the coronavirus outbreak, Wuhan’s Civil Affairs Bureau designated the Hankou Funeral Home to deal with the bodies of those who were diagnosed and died of the virus, according to state-run media. In addition, the Wuchang Funeral Home and Qingshan Funeral Home were designated to attend to those who died from severe pneumonia, or who were suspected coronavirus cases and died.

A worker at a Wuhan crematorium said in a Feb. 4 interview that he and his colleagues have worked 24 hours, seven days a week since Jan. 28. He said they are exhausted, and are working without proper equipment such as body bags, protective suits, and face masks.

“Since Jan. 28, 90 percent of our employees are working 24/7 … we couldn’t go back home,” a man identified as Mr. Yun told the Chinese-language Epoch Times in a phone call. He works at the Caidian Funeral Home, one of four facilities in a suburban area of Wuhan.

“We really need more manpower,” he said. Meanwhile, more bodies continue to arrive every day. “We need to pick up bodies when they (hospitals, communities, or family members of the deceased) call us. Every day, we need at least 100 body bags,” he said.

His workplace is required to pick up bodies from the Wuhan Tongji Hospital, Wuhan No. 13 Hospital, the newly built Huoshenshan Hospital, and other small hospitals, as well as any residences that request its services.

Yun says he’s spoken with workers at other Wuhan funeral homes, who are also overwhelmed. “Almost all staff at each funeral home in Wuhan are fully equipped, and all Wuhan cremation chambers are working 24 hours,” he said.

The worker said staff can only sit on their chairs and nap whenever they get a chance. “We can’t stop because we can’t leave the bodies outside for a long time,” he said.

The staff members also lack protective gear. “For us who transfer the bodies, we don’t eat or drink for a long time in order to preserve the protective suit, because we need to take off the protective suit whenever we eat, drink, or go to the bathroom. The protective suit can’t be worn again after being used,” he said.

Yun said other staff at the funeral home, such as the receptionists, don’t get to use protective suits. “They wear raincoats to protect themselves,” he said.

Yun says he’s heartbroken to see so many bodies and to know that many family members couldn’t see their loved ones in their final moment.

“We pick up bodies from people’s houses. Family members can’t see the body after we remove it,” he said.

According to new government regulations, funeral home staff pick up the bodies, then cremate them without notifying family members—so that the family can avoid contact with the body and potentially becoming infected with the virus.

“When family members come here, they can pay the cremation costs and then pick up the ashes,” Yun said.

“At hospitals, family members also are prohibited from seeing the bodies. Some of the deceased had hospital records, but many do not because they could not receive prompt hospital treatment before their deaths or died waiting,” he said. “Those are treated as unknown reason (for cause of death).”

Guyu Lab, an independent online news outlet, interviewed a worker at the Wuchang funeral home who was asked to pick up bodies from hospitals and residences, beginning Jan. 26.

“All male staff at our funeral home are picking up and moving bodies now, and female staff are answering the phones, disinfecting the funeral home, and so on,” Huang told the news outlet in a Feb. 3 report. “We work 24 hours. We are very tired.”

Medical staff members wearing protective clothing to help stop the spread of a deadly virus which began in the city, arrive with a patient at the Wuhan Red Cross Hospital in Wuhan.  Photo by HECTOR RETAMAL/AFP )

Huang said his funeral home doesn’t have the equipment to properly disinfect the facility. Workers have to reuse disposable protective suits, as there are no new ones. They wear swim goggles because they don’t have protective goggles, and must wear two layers of disposable plastic gloves because they have no rubber gloves.

“We are on the verge of collapsing. We really need help,” Huang said.

New Military-Operated Coronavirus Hospital in Wuhan Reveals Prison-Like Environs

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China’s Top Gestapo

Chinese regime announced that Peng Bo, deputy director of China’s “Gestapo,” secret state police, was dismissed and under investigation in Beijing, China.

The Chinese regime announced that Peng Bo, deputy director of China’s “Gestapo”—secret state police—had been dismissed and is under investigation.

Peng has become the first high-ranking Chinese Communist Party (CCP) official, known as “tigers,” to be ensnared in party politics after the regime’s most important annual political conference, its “Two Sessions” meeting, which concluded on March 11.

After the CCP made the announcement, all Chinese media quickly removed Peng’s official resume and photos, an unusual move.

“This is so extraordinary. Even Zhou Yongkang and Bo Xilai haven’t been treated in this way,” Heng He said in a podcast on March 13. Zhou and Bo are among the most senior CCP officials that have previously been “sacked” by the party.

The CCP’s “anti-corruption” watchdog, the “Central Commission for Discipline Inspection” (CCDI), announced that Peng was “suspected of seriously violating discipline and laws, and is under investigation and inspection.” This is the standard sentence used by the CCDI to sack most officials.

On the announcement, Peng’s title was deputy director of the “Central Leading Group on Preventing and Dealing with Cults”, a Gestapo-like security agency under both the CCP central committee and the state council. This is the first public information about Peng working at the group.

Falun Gong practitioners hold a banner condemning the 610 Office in a protest opposite the Chinese Embassy in Washington, D.C., on April 21, 2004. Minghui.org

The group, normally known as the “610 Office,” was established on June 10, 1999, and is dedicated to implementing the persecution and eradication of Falun Gong, a Buddha-school spiritual practice that teaches the values of “truthfulness, compassion, and forbearance.”

As a secret office, the “610 Office” doesn’t have an official website, and it has been difficult for the public to know who works for the office from public information. Before his placement at the “610 Office,” Peng was deputy director of the “Cyberspace Administration of China” (CAC), China’s internet regulator, censor, monitor, and control agent.

The CAC’s website cache shows Peng’s official resume.

Peng, 62, used to work at “Beijing Youth Daily” that is operated by the Beijing city government, the financial newspaper “China Industrial and Commercial Times” that is owned by the All-China Federation of Industry and Commerce, the China Youth Press that is a subsidiary of the Communist Youth League Central Committee, and the propaganda bureau of the CCP Central Committee.

Peng was CAC deputy director from September 2012 to August 2015, and then worked as leader of propaganda at the CCP’s “Central Political and Legal Affairs Commission” (PLAC) until September 2018.

Beijing News, a media outlet operated by the Beijing city government, reported that the CCP’s central committee might have started investigating Peng as early as the summer of 2016.

“The political acumen and discernment of some officials [at the ‘610 Office’] aren’t good. They should strengthen their capabilities to predict and cope with major sensitive events,” the report quoted from a 2016 internal document of the CCP’s central committee. “ The committee has received the clues that reflected some officials’ disqualifications, and handed them over to CCDI and the Central Organization Department for further investigate.”

The Central Organization Department is CCP’s agent to appoint or dismiss officials according to Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s order.

Overseas Chinese websites have commented that Peng is loyal to the retired Politburo Standing Committee member Liu Yunshan and retired PLAC head Meng Jianzhu, both who were members of the rival Jiang Zemin faction that fights Xi for power. Peng’s investigation is being seen by analysts as the latest action in Xi’s “anti-corruption campaign” that has targeted his political opponents.

The Shanghai city government-operated “Jiefang Daily” reported that the CCP has sacked several “tigers” from the “610 Office” in recent years.

From the CCP’s announcements, former directors Zhou Yongkang, Li Dongsheng, Zhang Yue, Sun Lijun, Xu Yongyue, and Zhou Benshun were sacked from their positions at the “610 Office.” Among them, former “610 Office” leader, PLAC head, and member of Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou was sentenced to life in prison with the crime of abuse of power and corruption in June 2015.

Independent Tribunal Finds Chinese Regime Still Killing Prisoners of Conscience for Their Organs

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Costs of China’s Welfare

In February, China’s President Xi Jinping announced a large and bold plan for a nationwide basically all-encompassing welfare system, arguing it is a crucial issue for state stability “是治国安邦的大问题.”

It is a correct assessment because if there is no social security there will be a potential army with nothing to lose that will feel cast out from the general prosperity and will destabilize the country.

Yet the announcement didn’t specify how all of this will be financed, especially since total state debt – central and local governments plus state-owned enterprises (SOE) debt – may well be more than four times China’s gross domestic product (GDP.)

Who then will pay for a massive overhaul of the social security system? The rich with more taxes? This will create domestic social-political problems as it will break the social contract established after the 1989 Tiananmen crackdown.

That contract encouraged people to get rich without paying taxes provided they stayed out of politics. If now people have to pay taxes, they will be unhappy and at least they will want to see how their money is spent – after all, there is the old problem of “no taxation without representation.”

In old imperial times, the issue was solved brutally: “the rich bribed the officials and didn’t pay taxes, which were paid by the poor. This periodically in each dynasty created a double crunch.”

The state gradually had a financial shortage, as the poor couldn’t cough up enough money. The poor hated and felt cornered by the rich and corrupt officials, and thus they rebelled. The new dynasty redistributed land at the beginning and then someone became richer while others were poor and the cycle started again.

Now, Xi wants a new “welfare system” to take care of the less fortunate. But if the rich have to pay and have nothing to say, their dynamism that drove China’s growth over the past four decades could tumble and eventually economic growth could sputter.

Another way would be to go for an even greater trade surplus, i.e. have the world pay for China’s welfare system. But this will exacerbate existing frictions with the US and other countries already annoyed by China’s surplus and by what they see as currency manipulation to boost exports.

Another potential way would be to tap into a larger spread between interest on deposits and interest on loans. This would de facto further tax middle-class savings.

The middle class is the backbone of Chinese society but if it feels deprived of a just reward on its savings, it may look for other riskier investment vehicles and if they lose their money, they will be unhappy – or will just try to keep their stash out of the banking system.

China’s middle class is the backbone of society.

Another strategy, skirting the above problems, could be to boost internal growth. The next plenary session of the Chinese parliament, the National People’s Congress (NPC) which opens on March 5, is expected to include an announcement that will float non-agricultural land in the market and urbanize some 25% of the population.

This would mean that rural houses, which so far could not be freely bought and sold, could go on the market.

The floating of these assets and the urbanization of some 300-400 million people could drive economic growth for a decade, but could also create immediate social problems. The money earned on the sale of rural houses of newly urbanized ex-farmers could be wasted overnight, and it will not be easy to guarantee full employment for hundreds of millions who could then become an angry, dissatisfied urban proletariat.

Internal social security using artificial intelligence can keep tabs on them, something that people could accept but may not make them happy. Anyway, all of this could be manageable if China had a positive international environment. But if it doesn’t, the situation will become far more complicated.

The NPC also promises SOE reforms, with private capital investment and greater freedom in exchanging capital accounts. These are all moves in the right direction, but they have been attempted in the past and failed to bear huge fruit as they only dent underlying problems.

Private entrepreneurs are loath to invest in SOEs, as it puts their money under state control. Such investment doesn’t buy them state assets and is not a free exchange of the RMB, which would burst the bubble of a system with a massive and chaotically recorded debt-to-GDP ratio (more than four times, as we said).

This all happens when taxing incomes is a great difficulty, according to the finance minister.

A general view of the opening ceremony of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.

These measures can help China to buy time and move the country to a triumphal 2022 Party Congress.

In the meantime, the US is trying to assemble an alliance of democracies and technologically advanced countries that excludes China and creates a basic backbone for the new Cold War.

In this alliance, technology, military, ideology, strategy and geopolitical concerns will be aligned following a common paramount worry – China’s cumbersome and inattentive growth that stumbles and trudges on legitimate interests of the world and of its people.

It won’t be easy for China to present the Party Congress next year in this atmosphere. In 2007,  there were concerns of a crisis around the 2022 Party Congress and recommendations were made for democratic reforms well before that time to pre-empt the crisis.

After 2008, however, China felt democracy was unreliable and shelved the idea. Some 15 years ago, even modest democratic reforms would have sufficed to buoy the country, given the overall global support for China at the time.

Presently, China would need not only democratic reforms, but also a redefinition of its political and strategic ambitions vis-à-vis its neighbors. That is, China would need to concede political reforms and territory in exchange for peace and development.

But Beijing may feel it doesn’t need that as its system emerged from the Covid crisis stronger than ever and it expects 8% GDP growth for 2021.

Moreover, it conversely sees its main adversary, the US, as confused and fumbling around. All in all, this is a recipe for war.

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