How do the Chinese view the original balloon incident?
While the entire United States is discussing the Chinese spy balloon that was shot down by an F-22 fighter jet off the coast of South Carolina on 2/4, Chinese public opinion generally believes that the United States is making a fuss and it is just a balloon, that Americans are ostentatiously overreacting. However, the remarks that have appeared in the past few days may reflect the real thinking of the top leaders of the CCP.
A widely circulated article says:
Staged all over the world, this is a good show of monkey opera [a traditional Chinese form of light entertainment] in the Year of the Rabbit.
The script outline for this play is:
- I came in and you didn’t notice.
- You found out, but couldn’t do anything about it.
- You finally shot it down but you were fooled.
- Our simultaneous attack from the north and the south is astonishingly powerful
Through this incident, we observed three things:
- Chinese unmanned airships can easily sneak into US airspace.
Montana is located in the northwestern United States. It houses an important intercontinental missile base. It was supposed to be heavily guarded, but the US didn’t spot the airship at first. In the end, it seems as if it was only discovered by the public. For a while, the air-defense system of the US military was reduced to a laughing stock.
- The US air defense system is far weaker than imagined.
Entering the sky over the United States, the balloon hovered at a height of about 30,000 meters at the beginning, a height that happened to be the blind spot of the U.S. air defense — F22 fighter jets can only fly up to 22,000 meters, and the interception space for air-defense missiles is either lower than 20 kilometers or higher than 40 km. For a while, the U.S. military was helpless against this unexpected guest.
So, our little balloon strutted over Montana for a few days, and after having a great time, it suddenly fell to an altitude of 18,000 meters, and only then quickly elicited fighters to shoot it down.
- Wandering balloons can not only cover a great distance but also point to targets. This kind of aircraft, difficult for you to monitor and which leaves you almost helpless after it is discovered, can be said to be a real sword of Damocles. [Note: this is a direct translation.] Such a thing hangs over one’s head without being noticed. When all is said and done, adding a few bombs to this giant balloon can easily turn it into a military weapon.
Community canteens closed
In October 2022, the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development and the Ministry of Civil Affairs jointly issued the “Notice on Carrying out the Pilot Work for Improving Community Project”. It is clear that the relevant departments will spend two years carrying out the construction of community complexes, including community canteens.
The purpose of these community canteens is to prepare food for the disabled elderly, the busy young working class, and children who lack parental care. The fee charged is relatively low. Beijing hopes the move will demonstrate the central government under Xi Jinping’s leadership really cares about the well-being of the people. Regrettably, this business model labors under the shadow of the Iron Rice Bowl model from the Mao era [referring to the disastrous Chinese communes, and the dining arrangements therein, from the 1950s]. People’s limited income is not enough to cover operating costs such as rent, labor, and food. Furthermore, there is no ongoing state subsidy. In less than half a year, the operation of the first batch of community canteens in many places was difficult, and there was a wave of closures.
Xi Jinping has been working hard to accomplish his ideal of socialist common prosperity. Community canteens are one of the important symbols of communism. But this model defies the laws of economics, trying time and time again to do what history has proven inevitably fails.
Wuhan retirees take to the streets to protest medical reform
On February 8, tens of thousands of retirees in Wuhan braved the rain and gathered in front of the city government building to protest, expressing their dissatisfaction with the new medical-reform regulations and demanding the restoration of the original medical-insurance provisions altered by the city government. Some retirees said that the new medical insurance has reduced the original 260.93 yuan provided per month to less than 88 yuan. This adjustment means the retirees who need this medical insurance will face the dilemma of having no money to see a doctor. Some netizens wrote, “Not only Wuhan medical insurance, but many places in the country have changed like this. The monthly insurance allowance for retirees can’t even pay for cold medicine. Is this for the sake of ordinary people?”
As the financial difficulties faced by the central and by local governments continue to worsen, and as people’s vital interests have been seriously damaged, more and more across the country have taken to the streets to express their dissatisfaction in the past six months. In July 2022, when Henan Rural Bank’s finances collapsed, depositors who were victims gathered at a Zhengzhou branch of the People’s Bank of China to protest. In November 2022, employees of Foxconn in Henan had clashed with the police because their employer changed their contract without authorization.
The “white-paper” movement appeared at the end of November 2022; in February 2023, parents at a Qingdao middle school were dissatisfied with threats by the school and protested collectively at the school gate.