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When the outside world intrudes into the repressive narrative

I read the following article about the civil unrest in mainland China, caused by anger and frustration over the endless cycle of lockdowns and repression:

The sight of thousands of international football fans celebrating in stadiums in Qatar, without a face mask or testing station in sight, has broken the spell of the Chinese Communist Party’s propaganda.

My first thought was that maybe the Qatar World Cup has something to recommend it after all (beyond watching the outstanding Brazil football team, which I hope wins it). Maybe the thugs running the CCP and China hadn’t realised that the sight of thousands of fans not wearing masks and having a jolly time (even if beer is not being sold in the grounds – ye gods!) would be seen by the Chinese public. Just as Ron DeSantis’s relatively sane approach to lockdown in the US, or those of Sweden on the same issue, have been impossible for the “sensibles” to ignore, so has the very existence of un-masked folk in Qatar.

A further irony is that in the United Arab Emirates, that jurisdiction (not a democracy) managed the pandemic relatively sanely, with strict restrictions for a few weeks, then mask mandates, then vaccines, but normality was restored fairly fast, and done in a way that made sense. I went there on business last November, and colleagues went there in November 2020 when many other places such as Singapore and Hong Kong were completely shut. Hong Kong has suffered immense financial damage and people have left.

Public events can have a power beyond the imaginations of those who put them on. I doubt if the crooks and characters who have made the Qatar World Cup possible ever wondered that one result of the jamboree would be to inspire Chinese people to say that “enough is enough” over zero-covid.

17 comments to When the outside world intrudes into the repressive narrative

  • Paul Marks

    It was all going so well for the Communist Party Dictatorship in China – their virus (whether it was released by accident – or deliberately) had allowed them to fan panic in the West, the West they have long planned to destroy, with fake videos of people dropping dead in Chinese cities and-so-on – their friends in the international health bureaucracy (such as Tony Fauci) were able to impose lockdowns to smash Western societies (there was never any health motive for the lockdowns), with Early Treatment of Covid systematically smeared and (later) toxic injections pushed.

    But now things have gone wrong for the Chinse Communist Party Dictatorship – to be consistent (important even for a dictatorship) they had to impose the same policies in CHINA that they pushed in the West – policies which the Chinese people (not being stupid and trusting – unlike Westerners) know are complete nonsense.

    Locking people in their flats, to starve or to burn to death in fires, when an (unreliable) test says they have a disease, a disease that is treatable (as ordinary Chinese people know very well – as they are not gullible Westerners who believe the lies they see and hear in the media), is not acceptable.

    The Chinese people have had quite enough of this nonsense. I repeat, they are not gullible Westerners, they know when the government is lying to them, and they know that the government could not give a damn about their health (neither do Western governments give a damn about the health of Western populations – but Westerners are not yet as cynical as ordinary Chinese people and Russians).

    Perhaps the Chinese Communist Party Dictatorship will stay in power – but perhaps it will not.

    It will be interesting to see.

  • WindyPants

    My hope is that Qatar ’22 shall become remembered as the event that finished the CCP. No deaths of migrant workers would ever be ‘worth it’, but I’d like it to be a curious footnote that it took a corruptly awarded football tournament in a medieval tin-pot shithole to bring down history’s greatest murder machine.

  • Gene

    The sight of thousands of international football fans celebrating in stadiums in Qatar, without a face mask or testing station in sight, has broken the spell of the Chinese Communist Party’s propaganda.

    Ah, another triumph of hope over experience.

  • Steven R

    A month from now the unmasked masses in Qatar will be long forgotten and the CCP will still be firmly in control in China, with their foot on the neck of the Chinese.

  • Paul Marks

    Steven R – it may be so, but let us hope it is NOT so. Let us hope that the CCP regime falls.

    And let us hope that the regimes, the government and corporate bureaucracies, that have supported similar policies in the West – ALSO FALL.

  • X Trapnel

    I can only imagine the 180° spins in the BBC editorial suite about this. Two years ago the gleefully maskless were existential threats, with their selfish, beery obsessions and horrid table manners. Now they’ve flipped into Vital Forces for Change. Only last year, the BBC Child Propaganda unit was teaching that hugging in celebration at sports events was wrong.

    I’d like some MSM editors strapped to chairs with angle-poise lamps in their smug faces having to answer “Where was your love of freedom in 2021? What did you do to complain about unprecedented, unjustifiable restrictions in your own back yard?”

  • bobby b

    My slightly irrational fear is that China knows something about Covid that we do not know.

  • scooby

    Are you sure that any significant number of people within China are seeing the maskless crowds?

  • Jim

    This reminds me of how bootleg copies of Dallas circulating clandestinely in eastern Europe, showing JR Ewing being sued by little people and them winning against him, contributed to breaking the spell of communism in the 80’s through refuting the lie that, in capitalist systems, there was no justice and that the wealthy were uber-untouchable.

  • MobiusSlit

    My Canadian friends were wonderfully discomfited when I facetiously mentioned that I hoped these rowdy Chinese covid protesters would have their bank accounts taken away. Then I realised that thanks to the CCP’s social credit system that’s probably exactly what will happen once they’ve suppressed the riots and geo-fenced all the protesters.

    It doesn’t help when companies like Apple deploy versions of their mobile OS specifically to prevent Chinese citizens sharing information as happened with the latest iOS update. Everybody, me included, with the latest version of iOS now has the same blocker on their phones, just in case. More and more it appears that here in the West we may talk about supporting the protesters but in reality we handled protests just as badly as the CCP, with the support of many of the populace, and our governments and corporations are directly colluding with the CCP in their suppression of defiance.

    I don’t share Paul’s hope.

  • Kevin Jaeger

    These last two and a half years in Canada have been a very sobering reality check on any illusions that we have any deep seated attachments to liberty and free expression in western countries. Trampling protesters with horses, freezing bank accounts and effectively full martial law in the centre of the capital while practically every official institution cheered them on and demonized all opposition to the regime’s authoritarian measures was quite the spectacle to live through. Canada was vey bad, but not necessarily the worst of the supposedly free and democratic western countries.

    I do hope the Chinese protestors will be successful, but I no longer think our governments have any credibility to lecture anyone on rights. Our institutions fundamentally no longer support any ideas of free expression, as the official reaction to Elon Musk makes clear.

  • My slightly irrational fear is that China knows something about Covid that we do not know. (bobby b, November 29, 2022 at 5:55 pm)

    The same idea was raised in the Kilmartin household. Discussion led to the conclusion that believing in a hypothesis that depended on Xi having a sensible medical reason for what he was doing was indeed irrational. 🙂

  • Jim (but not the Jim at 10:47pm)

    “My slightly irrational fear is that China knows something about Covid that we do not know.”

    Even if they did know something, there’s not much that could be done to stop it now. Zero Covid cannot physically happen, even with all the dictatorial power of the CCP behind it. The cat is out of the bag, and its not going back in, whatever covid has in store for us we are going to have to deal with, like it or not.

  • Steven R

    I think it has less to do with medical necessity as much as Xi not being able to admit his commandments were over the top and wrong. It goes back to that losing face concept. He simply can’t be wrong, period.

    That and the ever-present control the CCP has over Chinese lives. I sometimes wonder if there hadn’t be some rumblings in Shanghai and other places before Covid and it was a convenient excuse for Xi to be able to remind the locals there that he was in control by simply shutting down their cities entirely. And now thanks to everything being connected by computers and social credit scoring, he can even shut down their bank accounts, shut down their trains, shut down their grocery stores, etc., all from his office in Beijing.

  • Stonyground

    Wasn’t part of the East German government’s problem that their citizens could watch West German television? They could see first hand that life in the West wasn’t universally awful as government propaganda was trying to claim.

  • Paul Marks

    Yes – as others have rightly pointed out, the establishment media (and officials and politicians) who are supporting the protests in China now, are the same people who denounced protests in Western countries.

    BLM Marxist looting and burning (and murdering – remember David Dorn and other victims) in the United States was fine – as “racism is a public health emergency” (Diversity, Equity and Inclusion – the agenda that Conservative Central Office says it supports, because they do not understand it), but anti lockdown protests? Oh, dear me no – send in the police, not to give the protesters water and soft words (as with leftist protests – the police even join in with “Pride” marches and so on, throwing away all pretence of being neutral and unbiased) – with anti lockdown protestors, and anti vax protestors, no the police were there to use physical force (which they did – with gusto). No silly things like treating protests equally – no there are “good protests” and “bad protests”, depending on whether the establishment approves of the cause or not.

    But now such protests are a Good Thing (TM) because they are in China.

  • Steven R

    If the big corporations were really upset with China, they could simply pull their manufacturing from there en masse and let the Chinese know exactly why they were doing it. That they don’t is telling.