Miriam O’Callaghan had the Chinese ambassador to Ireland on Prime Time last night. The questions were pretty softball as the ambassador laid out the extreme measures China utilised to contain the virus in Wuhan and the rest of the Chinese provinces. Then O’Callaghan asked a question, the phrasing of which annoyed me intensely. She was contrasting how a state like China might be able to respond to the coronavirus a little differently than to say a democracy. She described China as ‘ a one party state ‘.
China isn’t a one party state. There is no option of a second party. China is run by the Chinese Communist Party. The President is Xi Jinping. We all know this – So why are we playing make believe?
China in essence is the world’s smartest dictatorship. They have until recently managed to convince the rest of the world to ignore this fact. Now the main reason I’m so annoyed is that the phrasing used by Miriam O’Callaghan wasn’t picked out of thin air. I would be very surprised if there wasn’t editorial discussion before the programme to decide on the specific wording to use. It was a cop-out by RTE. I would be very interested to know if the Chinese embassy made any stipulations to Prime-Time before they agreed for the ambassador to appear.
Until the arrival of Xi Jinping – the Chinese Communist Party – at least had term limits for it’s leaders. Zero democracy but a President could serve only two terms. President Xi Jinping came into office and changed all that, and in 2018 removed these limits. He is leader for life.
Since the economic crash of 2008 China has increasingly began to invest heavily in Ireland. Huawei, the Chinese technology giant, is one of the most visible examples of this investment. They now employ hundreds of workers in Ireland. A question the next Irish government will be faced with is whether certain types of inward investment from China pose a risk to Ireland. A risk of aggravating the United States. The US have taken a very strong and aggressive stance against China in trade negotiations and specifically against Huawei as a company. For all intents and purposes they are viewed as a threat to US national security. The explosion of the coronavirus around the world is going to intensify the US Chinese stance long-term. Ireland’s greatest accomplishment in the Donald Trump years has been to largely avoid the gaze of his administration. The decision to allow Huawei Ireland to be a part of the infrastructure of the 5G network here is the type of decision to grab their attention. Rightly or wrongly.
China is the the engine of the world’s manufacturing supply chain. As the coronavirus gathers strength around the world the full meaning of my previous sentence will be seen in our pharmacies, factories and retail outlets. 6 weeks into the crisis, China is attempting to get some of it’s factories back up to full capacity. They are between a rock and a hard place. The Chinese economy can’t cope with a continued containment of the virus. Equally, in jump-starting their factories they risk creating a second wave of the virus.
This isn’t meant as an assault on the Chinese people they are arguably the most hardworking in the world. Especially, as we gradually comprehend the herculean efforts, hardships, bravery and stoicism of the ordinary Chinese people that have attempted to contain this virus. Unfortunately though they have failed. They have failed because of their leadership, a failure of the Chinese authorities to reveal the problem in time to their own public and the world at large. That failure is not of the people but of the Chinese communist party. RTE should have put these questions to the ambassador.
No matter what flavor of communism we have seen around the world and no matter in what age we have seen it – at the core of all of them has been a culture of secrecy and repression. In terms of this coronavirus outbreak, that core has been the gasoline that’s fuelled this disease into a pandemic. If RTE and Prime-time can’t play hard-ball with the Chinese ambassador on the national airwaves then why have him on at all. Are we in the propaganda business for the Chinese Communist Party now?
In the United States they have watched over 5 million of their manufacturing jobs shipped off to China in the last 15-20 years. Globalist elites have gone from millionaires to billionaires in the interim. Their job essentially – to manage the decline of industrial America and middle income families were the collateral damage. Low wages, long hours and low safety for Chinese workers have equated to exponentially larger profits for these elites. Pipe-dreams that once China started reaping the benefits of Free-Trade they would gradually move to a liberalization of their society were mere fantasies. Instead the Chinese communist party doubled down on tyranny. And largely the western world stood by. Ireland stands by when Miriam O’Callaghan refers to China as ‘a one party state’ instead of a communist regime.
The coronavirus is the cost of doing business with an unchecked Chinese Communist Party for 20 years. If and when the dust settles on this pandemic I think we will find that the Teutonic plates of world order will have shifted even more and Ireland will have to decide whose side it is on.
Sitting on the fence may not be an option anymore.