It was the worst way to start a year for China. On the New Year’s eve of 2020, Chinese social media were full of rumors about re-emergence of SARS virus from 2003. Chinese New Year was about to begin in three weeks, which would involve hundreds of millions of people traveling all over the country. Xi Jinping had already warned officials a month earlier that the US-China trade war and sanctions would make 2020 a very challenging year. Now an unknown virus was about to decimate the economy and shred the China dream into pieces.
Worse, as time went on, China was not only left alone to fend for itself, but the anti-China forces piled on with Psy-ops. Social media attacked the Chinese people and blamed them for “eating bats” — a popular video of a Chinese blogger drinking bat soup went viral, although it turned out that she had the soup three years earlier in an island (Palau) thousands of miles away from China. Pundits and politicians gloated on TV that the pandemic would bring China to its knees. Trump bragged that the U.S. was the best prepared country in the world to face a pandemic.
US media, filled with Shadenfreude, kept saying “deadly coronavirus” (until it spread to Europe and the US) and shouted out malevolent things to mock and frighten China:
- “CCP has lost its heavenly mandate”
- “Novel coronavirus is China’s Chernobyl“
- “China is Asia’s sick man” (referring to a racist trope from the Century of Humiliation)
- “Coronavirus will end China’s role as global manufacturing hub“
China was accused of lying and hiding everything — origin and nature of the virus, its prevalence, how many people were dying, and so on. Even though China had warned the WHO on Dec 31, 2019 and released the full genome of the novel coronavirus by Jan 11, western media keeps repeating that China hid some truths about the virus. (Never mind that the SARS-Cov-2 virus was spreading in the U.S., as well as in France, Italy, Spain etc. all through December).
Twitter and Facebook in January and February were full of fake videos showing Chinese people collapsing and dying on Wuhan streets. When Chinese mobile companies lost 21 million customers in March, Americans shouted that all those people had died from COVID. Western journalists who were allowed to visit Wuhan wrote only gloom-and-doom stories. Later, even US politicians were spreading conspiracy theories about the virus escaping from a Wuhan lab. In a highly cynical move, American media and politicians tried to turn a Wuhan eye doctor, Li Wenliang, into a whistleblower and an anti-CCP martyr — he was neither. And Chinese people living in the West were being physically assaulted by xenophobic and ignorant idiots.
It was a lonely, heart-wrenching, and an incredibly frightening moment for China. But the country ignored the judgmental, cruel world and came together as a family. That’s what Confucianism and collectivism (a core principle of socialism/communism) are all about.
China’s Incredible Response
China did the only rational and scientific thing possible: completely shut down Wuhan and even Hubei province (with 57 million people). Tens of thousands of doctors, nurses, volunteers, and even PLA soldiers were sent to Wuhan. People were restricted from leaving their homes; and communist party members volunteered to deliver food for millions of people. Doctors wore diapers and worked 14 hours a day, while sweating inside the suffocating PPE; nurses cut their hair to reduce cross-infection; and healthcare workers stayed in hotels for many weeks to protect their families. Hi-tech corporations came to the rescue with drones to deliver food, robots to deliver medicines, big data to detect clusters, and AI to read CAT scans. The inimitable construction workers of China built two new hospitals in two weeks. People with mild symptoms were put in stadiums and college dormitories to stop the spread of the virus.
Everyone in China did their part. Corporations built mask and PPE factories in a week; and workers slept in those factories for weeks to ramp up production. Within a couple of weeks, Chinese scientists built huge labs that could do hundreds of thousands of COVID tests per day. Doctors worked meticulously, exploring different drugs — including Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) — to treat the new virus; and scientists were racing to develop vaccines. When big cities like Shanghai and Beijing had to shut down for 2-3 weeks, everybody cooperated and followed the guidelines. Later, when there were mini-outbreaks — like in Qingdao and Xinjiang — China tested millions of people in less than a week. Test, trace, treat — China diligently followed the principles of science.
After 76 days of incredible human drama, Wuhan came out of lockdown. Thanks to China’s “authoritarian”, “draconian” and “human rights-violating” measures, China had contained the pandemic and was ready to roar.
Meanwhile, the world was just coming out of its delusion. Having wasted precious three months gloating about China’s suffering, America started plunging into COVID19 lockdowns in April. The rest is history. By the end of the year, the USA had 20 million confirmed cases and 350,000 deaths.
Looking at COVID-19 deaths per million population, China was 3 and the U.S. was more than 1,000.
This is how China ended 2020 — with celebrations and large parties of Merry Christmas and Happy New Year:
China’s other impressive achievements in 2020
Xi Jinping and Beijing officials must have spines made of steel. In spite of the horrifying events of the year, Chinese officials kept working on their individual objectives. Here are some commendable and unbelievable achievements of China in other areas:
- China’s GDP grew 2.3% in 2020 and reached ¥102 trillion. (link)
- China is the only major economy to have GDP growth in 2020 and the biggest growth in the next two years.
- Xi Jinping announced a new strategy for growth — “dual circulation.” It basically means that Chinese economy will depend more on domestic consumption (in addition to exports). This also fits perfectly with China’s plan to gradually become a developed nation over the next 30 years.
- Had record exports and trade surplus.
- In 2020, China’s international trade (exports + imports) was eye-popping $4.8 trillion; and the trade surplus was $530 billion. (link)
- China’s economy created about 12 million new jobs in 2020. Pretty darn impressive!
- Opened up the financial services industry to Wall Street’s delight. Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, BlackRock, you-name-it all eagerly opened up numerous ventures in China.
- Signed two landmark trade deals — RCEP and CAI.
- RCEP is the world’s largest free trade agreement (FTA) — with 15 Asian countries accounting for 30% of world’s GDP. It’s also the first time that Japan and South Korea have signed FTA with China.
- CAI (“Comprehensive Agreement on Investment”) is a China-EU investment deal that was under negotiations for six years. While the incoming Biden team tried to stop the deal, Germany quickly wrapped it up just before the year-end.
- In both these treaties, notice that the U.S. is left out. Now, China is even ready to join TPP, which Trump quit.
- In 2021, China’s contribution to the growth of world economy/GDP will be more than 33%, according to OECD/IMF forecast.
- Eradicated extreme poverty for the first time in China’s history! Zero percent, including Xinjiang and Tibet. That’s real human rights.
- Donated countless number of masks, PPE, ventilators and diagnostic test kits to countries all over the world. Chinese experts traveled all over the world to train doctors and nurses. China donated and exported about 40 billion masks and 12,000 ventilators to the U.S. Some countries like Italy were very grateful.
- Stock market (CSI 300 Index) up 48%
- Mainland China’s stock markets reached a market capitalization of $10.6 trillion by the end of 2020.
- Yuan up almost 10% from pandemic lows (from ¥7.18 to ¥6.52 per $1)
- Record Foreign Direct Investment (FDI)
- World’s #1 in IPO’s
- Surpassed the U.S. in global Fortune 500 list (124 v. 121). (link)
- Surpassed the U.S. as the European Union’s largest trading partner.
- Also surpassed the EU in GDP (since the UK had left the EU).
- China became the #1 automobile market in the world (for total number of cars)
- Surpassed the U.S. to become the #1 box office in the world
- Installed more than 700,000 5G base stations, accounting for 80% of the world’s market share. Next year, China plans to install another 600,000 5G base stations!
- Chinese companies sold 163 million 5G phones in China!
- Went to the moon and came back with lunar samples in just 23 days! (Chang’e-5)
- Sent a spacecraft to Mars (Tianwen-1)
- Successfully launched Long March-5B, which will be used for constructing China’s space station next year
- Completion of Beidou-3 constellation, a competitor to America’s GPS. Beidou-3 now has 35 satellites and covers 165 countries.
- Managed 39 space launches, probably making China #1 three years in a row
- Had the most number of vaccines in Phase 3 trial; successfully tested in many countries like Brazil, Turkey, UAE etc. Approved Sinopharm vaccine for use; and promised cheap vaccines for developing nations (while the US and Europe have refused to do the same). This will save billions of lives in Asia, Africa, and Latin America.
- TikTok became the #1 app in the world
- Quantum supremacy: China’s system was 10 billion times faster than Google’s
- Nuclear fusion: China turned on its “artificial sun” — HL-2M Tokamak. Still a long way to go for sustained and large scale power generation, but a major breakthrough nonetheless.
- Semiconductor: Chinese companies like SMIC and Yangtze Memory made significant progress, in spite of vicious American sanctions. This is the last frontier that China needs to conquer.
- Deep-sea submersible (“Fendouzhe”) went 10,000 meters below the ocean to study the bottom of the Mariana Trench, the deepest place on earth! It ranks second in the world for the deepest dives.
- Announced that China will reach carbon neutrality by 2060.
- Tested digital Yuan/RMB (DCEP) in many cities. This lays the groundwork for internationalization of Yuan in 2022.
China made significant progress in sustainability and climate action.
- Beijing had 276 days of “good air quality.” Why? Use of natural gas (instead of coal), more green energy, and proliferation of electric cars. And one didn’t need scientific instruments to measure pollution. Just look at the sky!
- China’s total renewable energy (installed capacity) reached more than 840 GW. (This is 3.5x the US). The breakdown is as follows: hydropower = 360 GW; solar energy = 240 GW; wind power = 220 GW; and biomass = 20 GW.
- China installed more than 40GW of solar capacity in 2020. This includes China’s largest solar farm (of 2.2GW capacity) in Qinghai province. It missed the title of world’s largest solar farm by a tiny margin of 0.05GW!
- Between 2016 and 2020, China planted billions of trees that covered a total area of 350,000 sq km — that’s twice the size of California! Now more than 23% of China is covered by forests. Such afforestation/reforestation efforts take a lot of money and efforts, but China is serious.
- Controlled the massive floods that ravaged vast regions of China for many weeks. (Predictably, western media and many social media citizens drooled about the possibility of the Three Gorges Dam crumbling and destroying China).
- Increased the high-speed rail (HSR) network to about 39,000 Km.
- Xiongan Smart City made tremendous progress, including a new bullet train station
- Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) kept advancing. Turkey is now linked to Xian, China. More than 1,200 freight trains per month link 92 European cities to China.
Here are are some photos of driverless (a.k.a self-driving or autonomous) subway trains, new metro stations/lines, battery-powered trams, highways, and bridges that China built in 2020. Even Wuhan added a new line and some artistic metro stations — check out the last two photos. (Ask yourself why America can’t afford such luxuries anymore).
- China quietly stopped Hong Kong’s insurgents and put an end to U.S. shenanigans. Beijing called out Washington’s bluff about sanctions and passed the National Security Law, which also kicked out American spies and fake NGO’s like NED, which specialize in brainwashing and color revolutions.
- In the midst of all these problems, America’s vassal states — India and Australia — saber rattled in ominous ways. However, the border conflict with India was de-escalated, while letting both sides save face. Australia was spanked very hard as a warning to other vassals. If Australia slips into a recession, the next Prime Minister will be a lot less racist and uncouth. And perhaps Australia will be more careful about committing war crimes in Afghanistan and elsewhere.
- China also made a momentous and long-term deal with Iran, cementing China’s influence in the Middle East.
- Reasonable success in thwarting the persistent atrocity propaganda about Uyghurs in Xinjiang. China’s new extradition treaty with Turkey in 2020 should help capture some Uyghur terrorists who are fighting in Syria alongside of ISIS and Al Qaeda.
- Trade deals RCEP and CAI have strengthened China’s inclusion and ties with Europe and Asia, thus diminishing America’s chances for proxy wars. The vision of Eurasia became much clearer in 2020.
- Military drills and more strategic alliance with Russia in 2020 should improve china’s security posture.
If your neighbor’s house is on fire, you should help them. In Jan/Feb, the U.S. gleefully watched China burn and bragged about American exceptionalism. That’s when the US and the EU should have given generous aid to China to contain the pandemic. Then, from April on, western societies refused to learn anything from China. Filled with hubris and undeserved overconfidence, the West kept fumbling for months. Incompetent governments and irrational public couldn’t agree upon simple things like wearing masks or even if COVID-19 is real.
As the West imploded, China soared to the skies.
To put it succinctly, China had a stellar year. And with Trump’s loss, the U.S. is more polarized than ever before. By the time Biden’s administration gets its geopolitical strategy together, everyone from Asia to Europe would see the writing on the wall — that China will inevitably be the #1 economy soon. 2020 started out as a terrifying year, but ended up as the most pivotal year that sealed China’s unique status in the 21st century.