of guessing games and scapegoats

So what’s happening at the top? Inquiring minds want to know.

First, I come across this image of the Hunan Health Commission Vice Director Huang Huiyong being convicted of accepting 24.87 million yuan in bribes and kickbacks in corona testing. And yes, I too am wondering about the optics of wearing a Big White suit to the sentencing when no one else is dressed up to conduct a building sweep or poke throats. The image implies that the Big Whites, their ops and their actions are under the supervision of the CCP. Those pesky and anonymous Big Whites are responsible for the crazy and THEY will be held accountable for social disruption. Because they independently enforced extreme testing? Kind of like Shanghai wasn’t officially re-opened…hmmmmm.

Then, I saw this. A banner calling for the downfall of the (literal translation follows) “Han-raping country-selling criminal, Li Kejiang.” So, the Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, ostensibly the second most powerful man in the country is being called a traitor in language reminiscent of the Cultural Revolution. As the yellow characters comment, all that’s missing from the big letter banner are the titles: “traitor and scab.”

What do these two images mean? Why are they circulating now? Are they even truthful representations of something larger than staged photo-shoots to manage public opinion?

It seems that elite squabbles in preparation for the 20th National Congress of the CCP are leaking and presenting us with scapegoats for what’s gone wrong. Zero-Covid–it seems they’re saying–hasn’t failed because it was a crazy policy, it has failed because of sloppy enforcement that was caused by subordinates, including high-ranking subordinates who failed to loyally and properly support their leaders (one translation of 配合). The unspoken tagline: thus, there’s no reason not support Xi Jinping’s bid for a third term as General Secretary of the CCP.

But what do I know? There is obviously dissent at the top and trouble stirring in the streets. Hopefully, it won’t spill over into society more generally. This was, after all, the fear surrounding what’s gone down in Shanghai–popular discontent leading to social disruption leading to changes at the top? Thus, like everyone else outside the black box that is Zhongnanhai, I’m just playing guessing games with limited–and possibly outdated–cards.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s