With the U.S. still focused on the election and coping with rising coronavirus cases, Xi Jinping and Co. are continuing ahead with plans to monopolize industry… and then some.
How is everyone feeling right about now?
This past week has been quite the year. The election is finally over and it looks like Joe Biden is going to be the next president, even if the current commander-in-chief still hasn’t come to terms with it. Meanwhile, COVID-19 is surging, tens of millions of Americans remain out of work, and businesses large and small continue to announce closures.
All the while, China has been making moves.
About two weeks ago, while the United States was consumed with election-related matters, Chinese leader Xi Jinping and about 360 top Chinese Communist Party (CCP) officials held a four-day, closed-door meeting to come up with the country’s next five-year plan.
China’s government is big on five-year plans, and has been doing them pretty much ever since the CCP came to power. Although everything the regime does is highly secretive and not open to public criticism, the five-year plans do provide a window into big picture goals, both in terms of how the government may function in the coming years and what the regime has set its sights on.
This time around, it appears that China is aiming to become more of a global powerhouse by expanding its economic might, growing its technological capabilities, and strengthening its military. And one of the cornerstones of the latest five-year plan will be continuing one of the big goals from the last one: Made in China 2025.
Essentially, China has picked out several key industries (everything from robotics to artificial intelligence to biopharmaceuticals) and is doing everything in its power to build a global monopoly in these areas. But while the regime’s actual Made in China 2025 playbook may be a closely guarded secret, it is easy to figure out the game plan if you follow the action close enough.
For example, China is aiming to dominate the global rail industry via one of its “state champions,” the China Railway Rolling Stock Corporation (CRRC). Since CRRC is owned and controlled by the Chinese government, it is able to heavily underbid its competitors for railcar contracts in both the United States and other nations.
CRRC’s goal isn’t to make money on any individual contract. Instead, it is aiming to run its rivals out of business, so it can eventually dominate the entire global railcar industry. In the meantime, CRRC is handing any helpful information it learns back to China’s government, the CCP, and the Chinese military.
Now, China was doing all of this before the coronavirus even struck. But as researchers at Horizon Advisory warned earlier this year, the pandemic is likely to make the situation even more challenging for the United States.
As of now, the virus is basically contained in China, allowing the regime to begin to focus on the future. Meanwhile, the United States continues to break records for the number of new cases. Even if a vaccine is ready by the spring (and the Biden administration puts a plan in place to effectively deploy it), it is likely going to be a long, dark winter.
The United States is going to be distracted for a while, and that’s probably a net positive for China.
Now, all of this may have you thinking that the United States shouldn’t even bother with China. We’ve got our own problems, after all. Who cares if Xi Jinping and some of his communist buddies put together a list of goals? Good on them!
But the United States can’t ignore China, because China is a problem for the United States.
As noted above, the Chinese regime has very clearly stated its ambition to dominate global industry, and that is a direct threat to the United States. Millions of jobs are at risk, as are critical parts of our economy and our national security.
But it is more than that.
There are a couple of other things that have happened over the past weeks and months in China that likely would have received more attention if things were less chaotic in the United States.
On Wednesday, Hong Kong’s remaining pro-democracy lawmakers resigned en masse, the latest in a months-long struggle to keep democracy alive in the city following a crackdown for greater control by the Chinese regime. Although protesters took to the streets to demand China uphold its promise to allow Hong Kong to follow more open economic and legal systems until at least 2047, the regime responded with force and didn’t relent.
The resignation of the lawmakers likely marks the end of democracy in Hong Kong.
Meanwhile, in the Xinjiang region in Northwest China, it is believed that the regime has built nearly 400 internment camps where it has forcibly detained up to 3 million Uyghurs and other ethnic Muslim minorities. It is suspected that many of these people have also been forced to work in factories to make products for Western brands; China also stands accused of conducting forced abortions and sterilizations to cut Uyhgur birth rates.
Many experts consider what is happening in Xinjiang to be genocide.
Look, the list of problems facing the United States is long. We even saw our own mass protests this summer, the latest chapter in a centuries-long struggle to deal with the entrenched impacts of slavery on these shores.
But if the United States fails to counter the rising threat of China, it will only exacerbate many of the problems we already face. Losing millions of good-paying jobs, many of them unionized, will only worsen economic inequality, for example.
Meanwhile, allowing a regime that does not abide by any rules of democracy to dominate the globe will be a major setback in the fight for greater human rights and freedom for all people.
China’s regime is sticking to its game plan. Now, it’s time for the incoming Biden administration to join together with U.S. allies to formulate a response.