By An Icelander  ( The Author’s pseudonym  )

A few years ago, my peer, a marginal member of the CPC princelings told me straight to my
face that I was not qualified to hold the presidency of any China-related overseas student
association. In one’s words, my blood is not “red” enough, and the Chinese should and only
be governed by the elites like him/her. For a while, Chinese President Xi Jinping, a real
“prince”, has repeated that the regime should be inherited by young generations with the
“red” genes.

Notwithstanding how profoundly excruciating these comments can be to anyone from a
“plain” background, it would be compromised if Xi and my acquaintance were capable
enough to take on the job. However, my contact holds a bachelor’s degree in a foreign
language from one of the best Chinese universities but does not speak a word after living in
the country for years. One admitted flamboyantly to me that the academic admission back in
China was purely because of family ties.

Worker-Peasant-Soldier Dr. Xi clearly went even further. As a president for life, his grand
reign includes the slowest economic growth since Deng Xiaoping’s reform, diminishing
entrepreneurship, oppressed civil society, ruined relations with the West, and disastrous
Covid-zero policy.

That said, both of them assert that they own the country. The forbidden city was their
childhood play yard; in their veins flows the privileged blood that other inferior Chinese, like
me, were deemed not able to compete with. In their minds, there are only two classes in
China: the rulers and the ruled.

It comes as no surprise that the young Chinese born without silver spoons in their mouths
choose to lie flat in China. This is a savvy and realistic calculation. The young consciously
understand the unbearable cost to stand up against the system: unemployment, constant
harassment, surveillance, and prison, from the slightest to the worst. Nevertheless, being
completely obedient to the system means a rat race with ever-diminishing returns, and loss of
independent personality and autonomy, which the majority of self-aware well-educated
youths cannot accept. That explains why they do not want marriage and children within
China. In 2022, births are predicted to fall to record lows by dropping below 10 million from
last year’s 10.6 million.

A dramatic case appeared in May this year. One Chinese citizen shouted “this is our last
generation” to rebuff an officer’s threat that his future three generations would be punished if
he disobeyed an unreasonable quarantine order. Written by Lao She, a Chinese novelist who
died from barbaric torture during the Culture Revolution, faced with the massacre by the
Japanese occupation army, an old Chinese man said they can kill us, but we can give birth to
brand new children.

Pathetically enough, living under the so-called “Chinese dream”, average young people in the
most populous nation in the world are afraid of having infants. By comparison, my
acquaintance now has at least two toddlers, and one plans to have more, which may be the
privilege of the ruling class. The question is who these elites are going to rule if the ruled are
choosing to become extinct.

Ironically, despite being as red as my contact is, it does not seem promising to proceed with
his/her career as one of these rulers in this system, as the family does not possess Xi’s DNA
or any real connections with him. Whilst China’s 20th Politburo Standing Committee are
stacked with Xi’s loyalists, how robust an official is bonded with Xi should be the only gold
standard test to assess how high an acolyte can fly in the Chinese politics.

Nothing good will come from this. After thousands of years of vicissitudes of political
changes, China finally evolved from someone’s China to a party’s China, while nowadays it
has receded to the previous stage. When an economic miracle cannot be delivered, deliberate
manipulation of nationalism will become a common occurrence to justify Xi’s legitimacy. In
a predictable future, the military threat to Taiwan and blaming the West will be the day-to-
day repertory of Xi. The once popular anti-corruption campaign has descended into an empty
excuse to purge political opponents. Suddenly, my once arrogant acquaintance is becoming
more humble, and told me secretly that he/she is also currently the ruled. Oh, one is also not
red enough!