Three factors determine that the treaty signed on Wednesday 15 January 2020 by China and the US will collapse, and the trade war will escalate. If there is a place where I can place a bet, I will put my share of our family home on it.
1. China is going opposite direction
Since Xi Jin-Ping took over China, there has been a mentality change. The economic success of China in the last decade or two had been viewed by the world and most Chinese as a great success or miracle, but in the eyes of Xi Jinping, it is a rather a mishap, because the private sector of the economy became the driving force. The wealth and the power that comes with it shifted from CCP’s control to the people. In Xi’s eyes, this is the root cause of the dwindling of CCP’s dominance and the large-scale corruption, the two elements that he believes are corroding CCP’s foundation. He had made it very clear, many times, that he placed CCP’s survival above the interest of his people.
Therefore, CCP has started a undercurrent that is not yet so ostensible but is determined, to increase the dominance of state-owned economy. The process to deprive the wealth of the giants of the private sector, such as Alibaba, is well underway. Jack Ma’s forced retirement marked the start of the new era.
CCP knows that the efficiency of state-owned enterprises are far worse than the private sector, but in their view, having a one-trillion-dollar economy which they (via state-owned enterprises) control 70% is much better for them than a ten-trillion-dollar economy which they control 10%. To them it is a matter of life and death.
This fundamental shift of direction is the opposite to the direction that the US wants to force China to go through the trade war it started. Therefore, the chance of signing the second-stage agreement, which leads to the structural change that the US demands, is zero.
2. It is in their culture and blood
Although Chinese do not talk about Confucius principals these days, but one of its fundamental principles remained pervasive and deep-rooted until today. It continued to affect decisions Chinese make, from those concerning the survival of the empire, down to how commoners deal with their spouses, friends and colleagues. In Confucius ideology, people are classified into only two categories: gentlemen and crooks. Crooks must be rooted out mercilessly. None of the fairness rules apply when dealing with crooks. You can b savage, you can tear up the treaty you signed before the ink dries. Whatever you do, if you eliminate the crooks, you are a wise man and hero. Gentlemen should NEVER EVER contemplate coexisting with the crooks, those who do so automatically become crooks. There were countless times in history when emperors and generals stubbornly refused to compromise with their enemies who were many times stronger than them, and ended up losing their empire and lives, taking half or even 80% of the Chinese population with them.
In the western culture, a peace treaty, even with an archenemy, is meant to be an intention of both sides to stop hostility and seek common ground to coexist, but in the thousands of years of history of China, it has never been the case. Instead, a treaty had always been a tactic to gain some time to prepare for the next assault.
CCP regards the democratic west as crooks. Therefore, you can rest assured that they will not observe this treaty and any treaty they have signed with the west, and they break these promises without any guilt or shame. This explained why CCP had never observed any treaty they previously signed with the west, such as the promises they made when they joined WTO. Instead of taking this opportunity to join other countries on a level playing field to prosper together in a win-win situation, like all the other hundreds of countries did, CCP devised the most sophisticated and successful plot in human history to wield what they gained from WTO as a weapon to jeopardize the interest of the democratic west, to weaken them and make itself strong.
Therefore, CCP can only treat this trade treaty with the US as a tactic or trick to temporarily halt the attack from the US, so that they can catch a breath and have some time to devise a new workable strategy to win the war against the US and the western democracy.
3. They are incredibly stupid, but they think they are very smart
If CCP is really smart, they should see that, to really catch a breath and gather enough strength so they can come back to deal a decisive and fatal blow to the US, they need to observe this treaty they just signed, and agree to at least some of the reforms US demanded, for a rather long period. It is good for their own economy too. But they will not. They are very stupid. I am not sure you have worked in a factory in the west. I have. Pick the dumber and more bigoted half of the factory workers. CCP’s intelligence is about at the same level as them. They have completely lost the capability of correcting their own mistakes. Just look at the Hong Kong protests and the Taiwan elections. Every one in the world knows that what the CCP has been doing, all the bullying and coercing gestures, is hurting themselves, but they can never see it. They have been consistently helping the pro-independence Democratic Progress Party (DPP) of Taiwan to win elections ever since 1984, through their coercion. They helped all three DPP candidates, Lee Teng-hui, Chen Shui-Bian and Tsai Ing-wen, whom they dreaded and hated, to win the elections.
They will do it again.
Why were they so stupid? The root cause, which may not seem obvious, is that the Chinese people has largely lost their conscience. Obviously I do not mean all of them. But the average conscience of the Chinese population is perhaps 25% of the average conscience of Australians and Americans.
Recently a news broke my heart. A university student Wu Hua-Yan (吴花燕) was so poor that she could only afford to eat plain rice and chilly powders for years. Her weight was only 22 kg. She was recently hospitalized for severe malnutrition, and the Chinese Children’s Charity launched a donation campaign on her behalf, which raised one million yuan (AU$170,000), but they only passed on 20,000 Yuan (AU$3400) to her, and pocketed the rest. She died because she did not have the money to do the operation needed.
If the national Children’s Charity, which is meant to be the last line of defense for the destitute children, has such a sordid conscience, then, what is the moral standard of the general public?
If she walks into a university campus in Australia, within a day she will be buried by food donations from her classmates and teachers. Within a week, government agencies would have launched inquiries to find out who is responsible for such severe malnutrition. Within a month she would have a million dollar donation, in HER OWN pocket.
But in China, in the span of years, thousands of people, her neighbors, her doctors, government employees, classmates, teachers, walked pass her and did not give a damn.
Conscience means disagreeing with or even standing up against wrong doings, even if it is done to someone else. But despotism cannot work if the people have conscience. It will only work if everyone’s mentality is, “Whatever injustice that is happening, as long as it does not hurt me and my family, I don’t give a damn. ” Therefore, in the past two thousand years, the Chinese ruling class had been consistently suppressing such conscience in the population through extremely savage oppression. On top of suppressing it using brute force, since China opened to the world in the 1990s, CCP had been systematically corrupting Chinese people’s conscience with money. Now, not just the politicians, people in every trade knows only one God, which is money and power. Now, for many Chinese, their principal is this, “Whatever injustice that is happening, as long as I can profit, I will join.”
Good job, CCP!
The higher position you go, the less conscience you have. To be promoted to the level that can be consulted by Xi Jin-Ping, a communist official has to go through many levels of selections. In every selection, you win not on your talent, but on your loyalty to the party and how shameless and creative you can get to display it. For example, one of Xi’s trusted officials gained his trust by inventing a now very famous couplet: “If you are not absolutely loyal (to Xi), then you are absolutely disloyal.”
Therefore, people with talent and conscience would have been filtered out on the first selection. When you have reached the level that can be consulted by Xi, you have to be someone who is utterly shameless, free of conscience, extremely good at lying, and know little about what your position demands you to know simply because you never have time, need or interest to learn it.
There are exceptions such as the vice premier Liu He, who is said to be a competent economist. Firstly, he became prominent in the era when Jiang Ze-Min was China’s leader. Jiang, like Deng Xiao-Ping who opened China to the west, are judicious leaders. They also believed that the western democracy are crooks, but at least they were smart enough to understand that China needs to prevent the west to realize its hostility so it can grow stronger. Secondly, on subjects that are not politically sensitive, such as technology and economy matters, people who are both technically capable and loyal to the party can still go up. But in the field of politics, CCP officials, including Xi Jin-Ping, are dumb dream-walkers who know nothing about the western culture and mentality, and are afraid to learn it.
Therefore, when Xi Jin-Ping asks his aids and think-tank for advice on how to win over the war against the western crooks, they will not tell him what they truly think. Even if they know the right answer is “We should probably stop coercing Taiwan because it can only antagonize its people and push them toward the DPP”, they will not say it. Instead, what runs through their mind is, “What can I say to please Xi and maximize my opportunity to be promoted? What is Xi thinking now? What answer strikes a chord in him, and pleases him the most?”
Therefore, knowing Xi Jin-Ping regards the western democracy as the biggest threat to CCP, and he, like Chairman Mao, believes power can only come out of the barrels of guns, their answer can only be, “Let’s show the Taiwanese the strength of our military and our implacable will to use it!”
Therefore, the combination of the three factors – the going back to state-ownership, CCP’s implacable hostility toward the west, and the vacuum of talent and conscience in them, will surely see CCP consistently playing tricks which they believe in their degenerated brains are smart, to hurt the US and the west, and do nothing sincere to address the issues that the US wants them to address.
Therefore, the trade war can only escalate.