Saturday 16 September 2023

Zoo Time at Operation Circe: How the Wolf Warrior was invented

Anna's new website: ANNA CHEN

Zoo Time at Operation Circe: How the Wolf Warrior was invented

by Anna Chen, first published by Asia Times, 5 September 2023  

When China’s vice-premier and top trade-war negotiator Liu He arrived in Washington in May 2019* to finalise the trade agreement with the USA at the end of tortuous negotiations, neither he nor his hapless opposite number Robert Lighthizer realised he’d walked into an ambush sprung by the capricious president. Even as Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced that the trade war was on hold, and Wall Street broke out the bubbly, Donald Trump harshed their mellow with yet another round of tariffs and trade blocks.

Gloating that he’d compelled China to buy huge amounts of agricultural products they didn’t need, it was yet another humiliation through which the dignified Chinese politician stoically ploughed in the interests of his country and the global economy.

Accusations had been blasted at China in a character-assassination broadside by both sides of the House from which neither facts nor history could save it. China, not Trump, had reneged on the trade deal. China was stealing IP. It was a currency manipulator, despite the fact that, far from undervaluing the yuan, China was spending vast amounts of its reserves propping it up. China, not the top one percent of the US that now owned as much as the bottom 90 percent, was the cause of America’s misery.

You might suspect, from all the invective in high places, that the US didn’t actually want a stable relationship with its successful partner. China may have saved the world from America’s Great Crash of 2008 when the capitalist system itself was imploding but, suddenly, it was decreed that the rising superpower could do no right and the USA no wrong.

But still China kept a stiff upper lip.

Insult after insult from slap-happy politicians eager to outdo each other drew comment that China was outstandingly polite, exemplary and grown-up, if a tad too passive. A nostalgic fondness grew for old-school diplomacy rather than shoot-from-the-lip grandstanding.

Which was frustrating for the stone-throwers in their glass houses.

For them it was all one big Yo Mama case for the prosecution, with no defence permitted for the country that hadn’t had a war in over 40 years. Western media and politicians made hay with the 2019 Hong Kong riots trashing the city, despite zero protesters being killed in the same year that US cops somehow managed to kill over a thousand civilians. Later that year, a “strange pneumonia” mysteriously erupted in the central transport hub of Wuhan, marking the start of the pandemic.

To everyone’s amazement — part dignity, part rabbit in the headlights — China didn’t buckle even when the far-right Usual Suspects immediately accused it of creating the virus in the lab. Nor did China return the insults, instead turning the cheek to every barb.

After initial fumbles, not only did the Chinese draw up a remedial roadmap and eradicate the coronavirus by Day 43 of an unprecedented 76-day lockdown, they identified, sequenced and shared the genome with the world within days of its discovery. However, if anyone thought America would take stock and say, “Well done, old chap, you came through like a champ,” they were in for a shock.

The leader of the free world, largely aped by the UK, had already closed the US pandemic team and their Beijing CDC office. He delayed action; played down the virus; called it a hoax; held super-spreader rallies; allowed concerts and sports events; misdiagnosed early Covid deaths as ‘flu’; suggested injecting disinfectant, and pumped up the markets into the Mother of All Bubbles while insisting everything was fine.

Then the Black Swan, awaited by a nervous financial press for months, swooped in the day after politicians sold their stocks at all-time-highs, did the damage and disappeared back into the ether. The Trump Pump over and his Phase-One trade deal signed, the president U-turned on Covid in March, declaring an emergency, stating, “I don’t accept responsibility at all,” and launched his “Wuhan Kung Flu” attack.

One Chinese minister finally had enough. Having endured several years of non-stop verbals, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lijian Zhao dared to talk out of turn and posted THAT tweet, raising the Wuhan Military Games as a possible point of infection, opening as it had on 18 October 2019: the same day as Event 201, the table-top pandemic exercise laid on in New York by various illustrious institutions.

Primed, locked and loaded, the western media exploded in an entirely uncoordinated wave of outrage as one. Montgomery Burns might as well have howled, “Unleash the hounds!” In one short pithy Tweet, China was transformed from placid scapegoat into Wolf Warrior for defending itself on this one occasion. And the points made remained uninvestigated. Overnight, Americans who’d been strangers to history and the world outside their borders, instantly knew everything there was to know about China and that “Sin Chang” which they continually fail to find on a map.

Articles blared out lurid “Wolf Warrior diplomacy” headlines in a joint “Gotcha!”. Old tropes linking target groups to filth and pestilence were wheeled out, Secretary of State Pompeo demagoguing that “China has a history of infecting the world.”

Debate was debased to the point where Fox News broadcast a rant extolling “Type-A men”‘s desire to “sit on a throne of Chinese skulls”. People now talk openly of nuking cities-full of people into glass, as if this was normal only five years ago.

And lo! We have always been at war with Eastasia.

Psyops successful.

This, children, is how the wolf warrior got his fangs. Drawn on by hawks with crayon.

In classic Greek mythology, Circe was a sorceress who turned men into beasts, a neat trick if you are prepping your country for conflict. Not only are America’s opponents being dehumanised as fierce, bloodthirsty creatures, but to entertain the new barbarism, the population of the world’s most advanced nation is being dragged to new depths by state magicians and their little helpers on bloated budgets who know how to flip everyone’s amygdala en masse.

The more you hate, the less you think.

The tactic of dehumanising human beings in order to eliminate them is as old as Greek myth, even if the closest the US gets to Homer is Homer Simpson. First we had the Thucydides Trap, then ancient Greek gods and monsters. Is the West plagiarising the cradle of western civilisation for inspiration in its desperation?

This potent force has been tapped by western psychological warfare and financed by President Biden’s $500 million propaganda bounty on China’s head. Operation Circe seems to have succeeded in turning men into beasts.

First, we had to destroy the village in order to save it. But we never thought the village would be ours. Or that the ‘beasts’ would be us.

* * * * *

* EDIT NOTE: The date of Liu He’s visit to the US was originally given as May 2018. This piece has been corrected to May 2019.

READ MORE: For the timeline of America’s 21st Century war on China, see Shakedown

Anna's website: ANNA CHEN

Wednesday 13 September 2023

The Guardian on China and spying

Anna's new website: ANNA CHEN

A shorter version of this piece first appeared as a Guardian comment in response to the Editorial: The Guardian view on China and spying: we need less heat and more light, 13 September 2023. This version published at Anna Chen, 15 September 2023. 

As no charges have been brought against the parliamentary researcher after all these months since his arrest and release in March, all that’s left is smear and innuendo where balanced coverage might have yielded the additional light aspired to in the headline.

Despite no evidence of spying, the Guardian insists, “… whatever the truth of this case, there are reasons to be particularly concerned about Chinese intelligence efforts and Britain’s response. One is simply that China is increasingly powerful, forceful and hostile to the west, and more repressive at home.”

But it’s not so “simply,” is it? America spends as much on its military might as the next nine nations put together, including China. It surrounds China with a noose of hundreds of bases, Obama strangling it further when he started embroiling its mainland neighbours in his Pivot to Asia, having wrecked the Middle East and Libya. Trump bludgeoned China with an unnecessary backfiring trade war and other unpleasantness, doubled down on by Biden’s “not on my watch” objective and a $500m a year propaganda bounty.

Only an idiot would have read THAT room and not taken measures to defend its citizens from the economic and hot warfare being aimed at it. And the Chinese are no idiots.

Self defence is no offence.

You’d have thought the press would have learnt their lesson from the embarrassment of the stray weather balloon, shot down in February last by excitable Don Quixotes tilting at windmills, which it turned out wasn’t collecting intelligence after all (China has perfectly good satellites). Balloons can be sent higher or lower. However, they have no engines to determine horizontal direction so that’s a pretty useless bit of spy equipment. Unlike Pegasus or any of the other surveillance the West is so good at, as attested to by Edward Snowden and the NSA files.

Why would China have wanted to screw things anyhow, just as they were raising 800 million out of absolute poverty, creating a middle-class almost twice the size of America’s entire population and building stunning infrastructure for themselves and around the world? The rising superpower was doing very nicely, catching up with the US without a shot being fired in over 40 years, fattening western corporate profits and providing affordable goods.

Wonderful trade deals with China were promised to Brits once we exited the EU. The UK was riding the wave of China’s rise. They even saved the world economy from America’s greed-fuelled Great Crash of 2008. No-one had any interest in hostilities except for the declining hegemon glowering in the corner.

Cue US pressure to nobble the rival. Trump raged at Boris Johnson in February 2020 for not ceasing trade with Huawei and ripping out billions worth of 5G infrastructure as instructed to by the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo the previous February, and in May 2019, a US delegation to the UK yelled at GCHQ in a five-hour “hair-dryer” treatment. US Vice President Mike Pence said darkly that the Trump administration had made its disappointment with the UK “very clear to them”. Former British ambassador to the US, now Lord Kim Darroch, says there were no “compelling technical arguments that undermined GCHQ’s case” and that the US case was “political”.

Johnson finally caved in, ripped out the Huawei 5G we’d paid for, and it was all downhill from there, unchallenged by the media. We were left nailed to the USS Titanic, torpedoing our global lifeboat and growth engine.

The poisonous tone of the broadsheet’s editorial hit new depths in a line straight out of the 1930s, pointing out who the targets were. “Those who were born in China, and those of Chinese descent, are often most at risk from espionage.”

Good grief. Pogrom, much? What’s the ratio of light to heat here? Are there no grown-ups in the room who will call this out?

Oh, and that 9-dash line was originally the US-approved 11-dash boundary for its Republic of China/Taiwan ally, based on a 1935 map. Later reduced to nine by the CPC.

* * * * * See Shakedown: A Timeline of America’s 21st Century War on China — the Opium Wars on steroids

My Asia Times column 29 September 2023: Don Quixote in the White House – Hollywood deconstructs the narrative

Anna's website: ANNA CHEN

Sunday 3 September 2023

Covid in the UK in 2023

Anna's new website: ANNA CHEN

Covid in the UK 2023

Anna Chen – 3 September 2023

COVID IN THE UK: Here’s the state of Covid in Britain as we head into winter with rising numbers of cases.

A new variant, Pirola AKA BA.2.86, we know little about. Is it dangerous? Meh, who knows, who cares?

No free testing. Buy your own, £2 a pop or £50 for PCR.

Vaccines for care homes and over-65s only. Is it the traditional vax being used? The dreaded big pharma MRNA? The media aren’t telling. The rest of us can’t even buy it for love nor money.

From today’s Guardian article: ‘It is not clear how prevalent Covid has become in the UK. Detailed tracking of the disease has been cut back. “In a sense that is a pity but, on the other hand, we need to be clear about our priorities”‘. Our lives not being one, apparently. Again, this plays down the pandemic, ignores Long Covid and the fact it shortens our lifespan. But, hey, as long as capitalism keeps rolling along on the cheap.

The damage to our immunity T-cells is another major feature. “… findings suggest that SARS-CoV-2 infection damages the CD8+ T cell response, an effect akin to that observed in earlier studies showing long-term damage to the immune system after infection with viruses such as hepatitis C or HIV.”

A reminder that vaccines were specifically never supposed to be a magic bullet. They were supposed to lessen the effects if you caught Covid, while we were eliminating the virus by quarantining, to protect us and to stop the NHS being overwhelmed. Now we have neither vaccines nor quarantine. I did say in March 2020 that it looked like Big Pharma interests were trying to create a Covid industry, facilitated by closing down months too late and opening too early just as we neared zero virus, keeping a reservoir of the virus in the community.

Contrast this with the roadmap drawn up for us by China when it eradicated the coronavirus by day 43 of its 76-day lockdown January 2020. A blizzard of China-hate by a compliant media diverted our attention and denied Brits this strategy while the virus seeded and spread. Three years later, the bombardments of variants we stewed up finally overwhelmed China’s defences they finally reopened in December last year.

The SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus is RNA, not complete DNA, so it needs a host to survive and reproduce itself. Lockdown deprives the virus of hosts and starves it to extinction. Unless you sabotage the quarantine.

Why were we diverted by government advisers pushing “herd immunity”? This was effectively a mass murder policy; scientists knew one reason it was never going to work was that chickenpox and measles, for instance, mutate very slowly. SARS-CoV-2 mutates FAST.

Where are Boris Johnson’s What’s App messages covering this period & his closure of the UK pandemic team July 2019 and what do they say? Let’s hope the Covid Inquiry finds out.


Anna's website: ANNA CHEN