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The Coronavirus and the Future of China

Disease Virus China Communist Party Outbreak Chinese economy

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#1
SkittleBlu

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This thread is about the coronavirus outbreak  underway in China, it’s possible aftermath and what it may mean for the future of China.
 
A highly disruptive coronavirus originating in China has triggered alarm around the world and unprecedented measures have been taken to contain its spread. There is a lot still not known about the virus, and any information pertaining to its status will continue to evolve quickly.
 
However, there is good reason to believe this virus will not hit the world very hard, at least not directly. Science, technology and medical procedures have advanced greatly since the SARS coronavirus outbreak almost two decades ago. As of this writing, no large outbreaks have occurred outside of China. The fatality rate of this virus also appears milder than that of most previous ones. While it’s true that this could mutate into something more serious, the fact that the world is much more alert and equipped than before means the risk of a worldwide pandemic remains extremely low.
 
What may prove to be much more impactful than the virus itself is the panic that it is generating. Travel restrictions and criticisms over authorities handling the crisis could have adverse economic and political effects. And nowhere will these effects be more acute than in China, the source of the virus and where the majority of cases are to be found.
 
China has decided to impose the largest quarantine ever undertaken in human history. An estimated 40 million people in over a dozen cities are in a lock down. This is happening during a time of the year when many Chinese are traveling and when holiday spending is supposed to provide a boost for the Chinese economy. Combine this with travel restrictions implemented elsewhere around the country, and by other countries to regions within China, and such measures are certain to have an extremely negative impact on China’s economy. The SARS outbreak triggered nowhere near that level of disruption, but it still caused Chinese annual economic growth to contract by 1-2%, with nearly US$30 billion lost to its GDP, at least according to official statistics: https://www.ncbi.nlm...les/PMC6046118/. That outbreak also occurred just as the world was emerging from the Dot-com crash. Today the world is on the cusp of a global economic slowdown. China is also dealing with the US trade war and a slew of unrelated structural economic problems. Not only could this outbreak cause a much more severe and prolonged contraction of the Chinese economy, it may be the catalyst that causes its collapse.
 
Why did China start taking such drastic measures to contain a virus that, at the time, only caused a dozen or so deaths, knowing very well that these measures would be catastrophic to its economy? It could be that the outbreak is bigger than the government is letting on. Remember, the bureaucratic system in China is designed so local authorities are incentivized to report encouraging data to appease the central government, even if it is false. At the start of the outbreak, this incentive was still hard-wired into the system. Despite its best efforts, the Chinese government probably was unable to get a handle on the situation during the early stages of the outbreak due to faulty local data, and is now underreporting its extent to not cause even more panic and to create the impression that it had it under control.
 
Or it could be that it was just worried about the virus spreading as China was about to celebrate the Lunar New Year. During this holiday, millions of Chinese both within and outside of the country travel to meet with family. An unrestricted movement of such a large amount of people while this virus was floating around could’ve led into an explosive situation. The Chinese government is also deeply aware that if it didn’t take actions that made it appear like it was taking things seriously, it would’ve faced even more criticism at a time when it is facing growing illegitimacy both at home and abroad.
 
Whatever the reason, it is clear that these measures have failed to contain its spread. They may have slowed it down somewhat, but many cases are still popping up all around China. Many more cases have without a doubt been missed or not been reported. The government has failed to protect its people, its primary function, and that just amplifies the fear. To be sure, this outbreak will die down eventually and the virus will be contained. But the government will continue to stumble and the population will be paralyzed before that happens.
 
In the end, this outbreak will not turn out to be a major global event. It will, however, be a very big event inside of China, due to the fear and disruption it has created. Fear compels people to take drastic actions, and few things are more scary than an invisible illness that runs rampant and takes the lives of those around you. People expect their governments to protect them, and when they fail to do so that can lead into resistance. Imagine what is going through the minds of millions of Chinese right now, where mayhem is already present. Many are fearing for their lives, and are seeing their government lock them up to contain the spread of a virus but failing to stop it. A major resistance is all but certain to form.
 
Another contagion may soon spread within China. But rather than a virus, it could be a thought --- the thought that the Chinese government is unable to care for its people and so must be taken down. Given the Chinese government’s poor track record of trying to contain other contagions, it’s quite unlikely it would be able to contain this one as well. 
 
Some sort of major blow back is likely in the coming months. Chinese political power, already under immense pressure, may start to fracture as a result. This could be the beginning of the end of Communist China. 
 


#2
Cyber_Rebel

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Some sort of major blow back is likely in the coming months. Chinese political power, already under immense pressure, may start to fracture as a result. This could be the beginning of the end of Communist China. 

 

 

Didn't people say the same thing about the Hong Kong protest? Or the stock scare some few years back? I'm sorry, but saying that is a bit premature. The corona-virus would need to be extremely horrific in death toll to warrant a domino effect of this scale. I don't believe the sensationalist in regards to its reach and potential outbreak. We get scares like this almost every few years now. 

 

Yes, China has quarantined 40 million people in many of its major cities, but this seems to be the response of an authoritarian (evolving back into totalitarian) nation which could use said crisis to lock down further state control on the Chinese people. In other words, it could very well have the opposite effect of what you're envisioning. 

 

Perhaps I'm wrong, and it's much worse than what I'm thinking. Bust considering "scare tactic" trends from the past in regards to these issues, with the exception of climate change, I'll take healthy skepticism. 



#3
Set and Meet Goals

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It might imped on there goal of having a moderately prosperous society in all respects by the centenary of the founding of the CCP in 2021

#4
caltrek

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I tend to agree that the China seems to be over-reacting to the menace, although I can't be sure in that regard.  If they are over-reacting, then the question becomes: why?

 

Here are a few reasons why they might be over-reacting:

  • Those that travel about relative frequently, or are in touch with those who travel about frequently are the most vulnerable to a spread of the disease.  The elderly are also most vulnerable.  Communist party officials fit into both of these categories.  So they are more likely to see themselves as personally threatened. 
  • China wants to be seen as a wealthy country.  Wealthy countries exert control over nature.  An inability to control a natural virus undermines claims to be wealthy.  China can be a victim of unfair stereotyping in that regard.  Statistically based arguments may not be as persuasive because of a certain stereotypical way of viewing such things that is prevalent in the world. So China is highly motivated to appear to be in control.
  • Arguments against massive mobilization tend to be based on personal inconvenience caused by such measures.  In a collectivist oriented society, personal inconvenience does not carry as much weight as in a more individualistic society.  So there is not much traction to be gained by complaining of excessively cautious measures. After all, nobody wants to see their father, mother, uncle or aunt die of this disease.

The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#5
starspawn0

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They're reacting the way one expects someone to react when facing down an exponentially-growing threat, about which one knows very little (including the exact growth-rate of said exponential).  Exponentials can be frightening, indeed -- just ask the Lion from The Whiz:

 

https://www.youtube....h?v=AuKJOUMQNi8



#6
SkittleBlu

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China Penalizes 400 Local Officials as Public Ire Mounts

 

 

BEIJING -- The Chinese Communist Party has acknowledged "shortcomings" in the response to the coronavirus and has punished hundreds of local officials in a bid to defuse public anger toward the party for failing to nip the outbreak in the bud.

 
The Politburo Standing Committee, China's top decision-making body, concluded in a meeting Monday that the nation's emergency management system must be improved, Xinhua reported.
 
More than 400 local officials had been removed or otherwise penalized over poor handling of the outbreak as of Monday, media reports show.

 

https://asia.nikkei....blic-ire-mounts



#7
Yuli Ban

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My, how quickly the winds have shifted.

 

No longer do I particularly believe that China is being pushed past its breaking point from coronavirus.

Indeed, the longer this runs, the more obvious it has become that Western countries are actually in a state of great danger.

We presented an air of stability and competence that China seemed to lack. Of course China would bungle the coronavirus response, because they're China.

The idea that we could falter so totally was unthinkable, unreasonable, complete lunacy... and you'd go to an asylum for suggesting it.

 

Yet now there is mass panic buying and rampant conspiracy theories. Italy is effectively shut down. The US stock market has been routed like no other time since 1987 in an era where we're especially vulnerable due to the trade war and massive overleveraging. Western countries presumed to be rational are completely denying that there's a problem at all. And the USA has turned on itself with gusto, suffering from one of the most stupendously incompetent pandemic responses possibly in world history, barring the Western disinterest in Spanish Flu.

 

Meanwhile, even though it may just be a paper tiger, China has managed to bring themselves back from the precipice and are even going out of their way to herald themselves as the saviors of the West, sending their own doctors to other countries to treat the sick. 

 

It remains to be seen how this will develop, but China survived the bad hand they were dealt and are now on the offensive while the tables turned and turned hard on America.


And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future.


#8
Guyverman1990

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The Coronavirus may not be the beginning of the end for Communist China, but it could eventually spell doom for other regimes.

#9
PhoenixRu

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My, how quickly the winds have shifted.

 

Yeah, I feel a bit embarrased rereading this:

 

A highly disruptive coronavirus originating in China...

 
However, there is good reason to believe this virus will not hit the world very hard, at least not directly. Science, technology and medical procedures have advanced greatly since the SARS coronavirus outbreak almost two decades ago. As of this writing, no large outbreaks have occurred outside of China...
 
China has decided to impose the largest quarantine ever undertaken in human history...  Why did China start taking such drastic measures to contain a virus that, at the time, only caused a dozen or so deaths, knowing very well that these measures would be catastrophic to its economy? Whatever the reason, it is clear that these measures have failed to contain its spread...
 
In the end, this outbreak will not turn out to be a major global event. It will, however, be a very big event inside of China, due to the fear and disruption it has created...

 

And this part may still turn out to be prophetic, if you replace the words "China" and "Chinese" to Western country names:

 

Fear compels people to take drastic actions, and few things are more scary than an invisible illness that runs rampant and takes the lives of those around you. People expect their governments to protect them, and when they fail to do so that can lead into resistance. Imagine what is going through the minds of millions of Chinese right now, where mayhem is already present. Many are fearing for their lives, and are seeing their government lock them up to contain the spread of a virus but failing to stop it...



#10
Cyber_Rebel

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Yes, China has quarantined 40 million people in many of its major cities, but this seems to be the response of an authoritarian (evolving back into totalitarian) nation which could use said crisis to lock down further state control on the Chinese people. In other words, it could very well have the opposite effect of what you're envisioning. 

 

How silly and foolish, @Cyber_Rebel 

 

Merely two months into the future, and your world is about to irrevocably change. The Republican Party are now (temp) DemSocs, and the rest of the first world is adopting swift nationalization, working class consciousness, & adoption of UBI. Italy is on the verge of obliteration, Iran as well, and the almighty United States stands on the precipice as China looks on from a position of strength.

 

Libertarianism has met a very swift and painful end, with even its social variant being questioned with the new advent of "social distancing" being implemented to safeguard an increasingly collective minded society. 

 

Silly fool; wash your hands. You're about to get sick.



#11
lantovenice

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Hi everyone, I'm a new member, and I'm from Vietnam. My country is very close to China, so we understand this dictatorship more than anyone. They concealed Corona, as early as November, when the first victims were infected. In Vietnam, currently only about 250+ people are infected. Because the media at Facebook and people's precautions here are quite high. China suck!



#12
eacao

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Vietnam rep-zent :)

 

I'm half viet, much love hombre.


If you're going through hell, keep going. - Winston Churchill

Opportunity lurks where responsibility has been abdicated - Jordan Peterson
Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power. - Abraham Lincoln.


#13
Yuli Ban

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My, how quickly the winds have shifted.

 

Yeah, I feel a bit embarrased rereading this:

 

A highly disruptive coronavirus originating in China...

 
However, there is good reason to believe this virus will not hit the world very hard, at least not directly. Science, technology and medical procedures have advanced greatly since the SARS coronavirus outbreak almost two decades ago. As of this writing, no large outbreaks have occurred outside of China...
 
China has decided to impose the largest quarantine ever undertaken in human history...  Why did China start taking such drastic measures to contain a virus that, at the time, only caused a dozen or so deaths, knowing very well that these measures would be catastrophic to its economy? Whatever the reason, it is clear that these measures have failed to contain its spread...
 
In the end, this outbreak will not turn out to be a major global event. It will, however, be a very big event inside of China, due to the fear and disruption it has created...

 

And this part may still turn out to be prophetic, if you replace the words "China" and "Chinese" to Western country names:

 

Fear compels people to take drastic actions, and few things are more scary than an invisible illness that runs rampant and takes the lives of those around you. People expect their governments to protect them, and when they fail to do so that can lead into resistance. Imagine what is going through the minds of millions of Chinese right now, where mayhem is already present. Many are fearing for their lives, and are seeing their government lock them up to contain the spread of a virus but failing to stop it...

 

It's only gotten much worse in that regard. Coronavirus barely affected Chinese society or political stability, it seems. At least it's no worse than it usually is, and the larger chaos has forced people to delay or outright ignore giving China their just due. If the CCP has only covered up the damage on the homefront, they must be wizards because there's been little evidence of any ongoing mayhem and discontent. It's less like Chernobyl where people were saying the USSR did very well and proved they were capable of handling disasters and navigating their systemic flaws for another century circa 1989 and much more like the Eastern front in some ways and how Western leaders and publications circa 1941 into early 1942 were declaring that the Soviet Union was within weeks of collapse and thus already a nonexistent political entity, only for everything to turn around within months.

 

Meanwhile, it's completely gored world perceptions of the USA in an already tenuous time for us while ripping our society apart at the seams over masks. Anyone who unironically says that the USA did well, that we've handled the virus competently, and that history will look fondly on our response is a fool. It's become increasingly obvious that the virus came instead at the absolute worst time for the USA, hitting at a very critical moment where our response would make or break our future geopolitical relevance. Needless to say we didn't just fuck up, we completely and masochistically threw everything away in a psychotic stupor.

 

With China, it could go either way. If it's proven they intentionally released it or covered it up to maintain temporary stability (the latter of which is so certainly what happened that I'd put money on it), history won't be quite as kind to them. But barring a sudden resurgence that the CCP utterly bungles worse than America, there's little chance of them being painted as the literal geopolitical clowns of the late Y2K epoch that the USA will end up being in the history books and Wikipedia articles.

 

Of course, it's possible that the virus has run its course by now and that things will start improving, which would leave it as a harrowing experience but one we could recover from and learn from our mistakes. In which case, I could see countries ganging up on China, asking many questions and taking action when they're inevitably left unanswered.


And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future.






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