China concluded its four-day 6th plenum of the 19th Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party on Nov. 11. The plenum issued a communique, which praised the Party's “major achievements and historical experience” over its 100-year history. Upon close inspection, the communique is just a propaganda campaign.
The plenary session is the last meeting before the party congress in 2022, China's most anticipated political event. The 20th party congress will mark the beginning of the second centenary of the establishment of the CCP, which will involve a reshuffling of senior officials, with Xi Jinping seeking a third and perhaps life-long term. Party congresses are held once every five years. Plenums, or plenary sessions, are held in the intervening years.
The communique boasts “new major achievements” of the CCP in the past year, and claims that socialism (with Chinese characteristics) is the only system that can save China.
However, the communique is just another CCP propaganda campaign to deceive the Chinese people and the world.
New Major Achievements in 2020?
The communique states that, despite the COVID-19 pandemic and the “complex and grave external environment,” the CCP’s Politburo (the top decision-making body) has managed to “accomplish new major achievements” that include the following:
A “good economic momentum.”
Positive progress of “scientific and technological self-reliance.”
"Further advancement of reform and opening up."
"Alleviation of poverty."
"Improvement of people’s livelihood."
"Maintenance of social stability."
"Modernization of the national defense and the armed forces."
"Holistic advancement of diplomacy with Chinese characteristics."
"Victory over multiple severe natural disasters."
Under Xi, did the CCP really accomplish all of the above?
Let's take a look at the "achievements" mentioned in the communique and compare them to the real situation in China.
The CCP’s initial coverup of COVID-19 has brought disasters to China and the world. Instead of experiencing "a good economic momentum," China suffers a major setback.
To conceal the economic crisis, the CCP does not dare to release the actual number of bankrupt Chinese enterprises and its unemployment data.
The South China Morning Post, however, disclosed in April 2020 that over 460,000 Chinese companies “closed permanently” in the first quarter of last year.
China is also facing an energy crisis. Various cities in China have been experiencing blackouts and power cuts. Factories are forced to ration electricity and even shut down operations. This has disrupted not only China’s manufacturing sector, but the global supply chain as well.
“Xi’s crackdown on ‘everything’ is destroying China’s economy,” according to China economic analyst Antonio Graceffo.
Science and Technology
China has never been self-reliant in its development of science and technology. It has been stealing intellectual properties–first from the Soviet Union, and then from the United States and other Western countries in the past decades.
FBI Director Christopher Wray said on July 7, 2020, that the FBI was “opening a new China-related counterintelligence case about once every 10 hours.”
Now that the United States and the European Union have been imposing trade and technological sanctions on China, it may be more difficult for the Chinese regime to continue stealing and plagiarizing advanced technologies from the United States and other Western countries.
Reform and Opening Up
Since the CCP took control of China in 1949, it ruined the country’s economy with political campaigns that suppressed the private sector.
In 1948, only three years after China ended its decade-long fight with the Japanese invasion and was still embroiled in a civil war between the ruling Nationalist government and the CCP, China’s per capita GDP ranked 40th in the world. However, in 1978, China’s per capita GDP was the second lowest in the world.
The weak economy threatened the CCP's legitimacy and it was desperate to hold on to power. Thus, in 1978, the CCP began to invite foreign investment and companies to China.
Now it appears that China is heading toward closing its economy. In 2020, Xi urged the implementation of an "internal circulation" economic policy, which means the country is self-sufficient and mostly relies on domestic markets to provide goods for the country's population, from raw materials to manufacturing. This contradicts the communique's "further advancement of reform and opening up."
The regime claimed to have eliminated poverty in China, according to a report released on Sept. 28—which is regarded by critics as a political propaganda campaign. China’s extreme poverty line is set at a per capita annual income of $620, or $1.69 per day at current exchange rates; while the World Bank’s international poverty line is $1.90 per person, per day for the world’s poorest nations.
It's noteworthy that Premier Li Keqiang disclosed last year that approximately 600 million Chinese citizens earn around $140 a month.
The high unemployment rate and low consumer spending reveal that poverty has not been eliminated. Furthermore, Beijing will soon roll out a pilot property tax plan, which would further impact the middle-class citizens. The Chinese peoples' livelihood has not improved—it is getting worse. And this could negatively impact social stability as many people struggle to make ends meet.
Despite the huge military budget, China copies and steals its military technology from countries like the United States, Russia, and EU countries. Chinese-made aircraft has engine failures and problems.
The Liaoning, China’s first-ever aircraft carrier, was dispatched for combat exercise training in April this year, but it was stuck for three days in China’s southern Hainan Island. It was rumored that it had to do with the ship’s engine.
The Chinese regime’s wolf warrior diplomacy, and increasing global assertiveness, have deteriorated its overall diplomatic relations worldwide.
The EU decided to freeze the Comprehensive Agreement on Investment (CAI) with China in May over the CCP's sanctions on several European entities and political representatives and the EU's concerns of the human rights situation in China.
Lithuania pulled out of Beijing’s “17+1” platform, the CCP’s effort to engage Central and Eastern European countries.
“This [17+1] format was accompanied by divisive tendencies in the EU and greater political pressure from China,” said Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis on May 22.
Since last year, severe flooding has wreaked havoc in various parts of China, killing thousands of people and destroying homes. The communique, however, states that the CCP was successful in dealing with "multiple severe natural disasters."
A Chinese water expert, who now lives in Germany, criticized the CCP for constructing poorly designed dams.
Wang Weiluo told The Epoch Times that there are at least 98,000 reservoirs and dams in China, accounting for half of the world’s total.
“There is no river in China without reservoirs and dams," said Wang, and he pointed out that 40 percent of them are dangerous due to poor design and construction, and lack of maintenance. “These are time bombs that may explode at any time,” he said.
In July, in Zhengzhou of China’s central Henan Province, floods inundated one of the city’s subways, trapping hundreds of passengers. A major expressway tunnel was flooded, trapping drivers and passengers who did not have time to get out, as the water level rose too quickly.
The actual death toll is still unknown. Local officials did not do much to help residents, nor were they held accountable for the disasters.
The CCP has no victory at all over these disasters. On the contrary, the CCP is the origin of these disasters.
To be continued.
Views expressed in this article are opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.
Zhong Yuan is a researcher focused on China’s political system, the country’s democratization process, human rights situation, and Chinese citizens’ livelihood. He began writing commentaries for the Chinese-language edition of The Epoch Times in 2020.