Corporate newspapers and social media have been flooded with horrific images of the Shanghai lockdown for the last week, a massive enterprise that has confined millions of Chinese to their homes for weeks and has resulted in the implementation of severe restrictions on access to basic supplies.
Images of citizens yelling from their apartments in frustration, or screaming heartfelt protests in moving soliloquies, videos of drones and robots patrolling the empty streets of Shanghai, present us with a terrifying vision of the totalitarian rule by technology that so many have predicted.
The underlying message is that China is the source of this nightmare.
The official story put out by the city of Shanghai, and not denied by the Chinese Communist Party, is so extreme as to invite ridicule.
A new “zero tolerance” policy for COVID-19, which is a bogus non-existent disease in the first place, was imposed on all Shanghai citizens, first on the East side of the Huangpu River from March 28, and then for the entire city from April 1st.
Supposedly all citizens will be tested for COVID-19. According to media reports, only 26,087 new cases of COVID-19 have been found, and of those, only 914 were symptomatic (and there were no pictures of bodies on the ground, as was in the case in Wuhan at the end of 2019).
That is to say that the justifications for the lockdown are so absurd as to make the entire process farcical, perhaps an action intended to show citizens that they must do exactly what they are told to do, no matter how ridiculous and groundless the premises are.
The Western corporate media had a ready answer for what was going on: The Chinese Communist Party, following its undemocratic socialist ideas, is violating the fundamental rights of citizens that we Westerners respect.
The American Jack Posobiec, who refers to himself as a “veteran Navy intel officer,” posted extensively on Twitter about the lockdown, blaming Communism and making statements like “This is what the CCP is doing to the 26 million people of Shanghai.”
Human Rights Watch was quick to condemn China for its human rights violations in Shanghai, stating on April 6 that “The Chinese government should respect the right to health and other basic rights in its response to the Covid-19 surge in the country,” but did so without any reference to similar, or worse, policies being carried out around the world.
The problem is that although this lockdown is blamed on Communism, there is no precedent for the shutdown of a major city too be found in the Chinese communist tradition; no part of the imposition of technofascism can be traced back to the calls of Mao Zedong and Zhou Enlai for class struggle and for resistance to imperialism.
The model for the Shanghai lockdown, it turns out, is the lockdown of Boston after the Boston Marathon bombing of April 15, 2013, exactly nine years ago. On that occasion, the United States Federal government, specifically the FBI, used a murky charge of a terrorist attack (about which serious doubts remain) as an excuse to lock down vast sections of the city of Boston and to confine citizens to their homes while armed police patrolled the streets.
The question we should ask is whether what is taking place in Shanghai is being organized by the same people who organized the Boston lockdown, and similar lockdowns around the world over the last two year, and not by the Chinese Communist Party—or not primarily by the Chinese Communist Party.
Horrific videos of Chinese committing suicide by jumping from their windows were also widely circulated, and they may have been real, but there is no reason to assume anything is true just because it was broadly circulated.
Another popular video featured a dog-shaped robot (that resembles a Boston Dynamics SpotMini) patrolling the streets with a microphone on its back telling the people of Shanghai to stay inside. Anyone who looked at the video with critical eyes had to be doubtful. The speaker was carelessly strapped to the back of the robot with barricade tape in what appears to be a careless stunt, and it was most certainly not representative of government policy.
But the giveaway that this lockdown has silent partners who had nothing to do with the CCP bureaucracy was the constant harping in the Western media on the suffering of animals in Shanghai. Images of live cats rounded up and put in bags for disposal were pasted all over the internet, along with a video of a Chinese man cruelly holding a dog in pain with a device and then dropping it into a container with other injured dogs. Although the video certainly was disturbing, I dare horrified Americans to watch a video of a factory-scale slaughterhouse in the United States for even few minutes.
The focus on cruelty to animals is a standard in the operation to demonize Russia in the Ukraine. For example, a call by “Soi Dog co-founder John Dalley” for help to rescue the dogs and cats of Ukraine has been broadly circulated in the United States.
There are numerous indications that the Shanghai lockdown is being marketed for the Western audience as the equivalent of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The narrative presented is of a cruel totalitarian Communist government in China that oppresses the poor citizens of Shanghai who yearn to be free from these unreasonable “zero covid” restrictions (but no suggestion is offered that covid restrictions themselves are wrong).
“There are videos of locked-up residents chanting ‘we want food’ and ‘we want freedom.’ In a video, citizens are seen going to their balconies and protesting against the lack of supplies.”
But the videos, the reports, are just too perfect, too carefully staged.
Shanghai Shutdown as war by other means
The details of the actions by American operatives in collaboration with corrupt Chinese officials to plan, and to carry out, this Shanghai lockdown are not available to me. Granted the completely speculative, and often blatantly wrong, reporting that passes for journalism these days, however, I hope that I can be forgiven if I infer, based on the ample evidence I have read in English and Chinese, as to what may be going on behind the scenes.
The Shanghai lockdown must be seen first in proper geopolitical perspective.
China has been subject to high level pressure from Washington D.C. over the last two months in an effort to thwart any possible cooperation with the Russian Federation since Russian troops entered the Ukraine.
Let us consider the critical events leading up to the lockdown.
US President Joe Biden warned the People’s Republic of China on March 18, in a conversation with President Xi Jinping, that there would serious consequences for China if it offered any support for Russia, economic, or, especially, military. White House press secretary Jen Psaki explained,
“He made clear what the implications and consequences would be if China provides material support to Russia as it conducts brutal attacks against Ukrainian cities and civilians.”
We do not know what Biden said, but just three days later, on March 21, China Eastern Airlines Flight 5735 was heading for a smooth landing at the Guangzhou International Airport when it suddenly plunged inexplicably into a nosedive. The cause of the crash has yet to be explained—even three weeks later.
Many Chinese believe the arguments made in videos posted on Weibo (and elsewhere) soon after that incident that the crash was the result of a remote hijacking (similar to the 9/11 crashes) probably conducted by United States. The story was confirmed by the American intelligence investigative blog State of the Nation. Moreover, the egregious decision to include a seven-member team from the United States in the formal investigation of this domestic crash suggests something a bit unusual.
Then, on March 28, the Shanghai Municipal People’s Government, not the central government in Beijing that had been easing restrictions, suddenly launched a radical COVID-19 “zero tolerance” policy.
If intelligence operatives for the United States were looking to give China its own “Ukraine,” and to find a new field for the trouble making that they funded in Hong Kong previously, Shanghai was the logical choice.
Shanghai is riddled with global financial interests, with the head offices (or certainly the major branch) for all major multinational investment banks and multinational corporations located there. Their impact on the Chinese economy remains immense.
Shanghai has a history of over a hundred years as a center for global capital with a parasitic relationship to the rest of the nation. It was Shanghai, after all, that offered extraterritoriality to citizens from imperial powers until the 1940s.
Following that tradition, Shanghai today has the most extreme special economic zone policies of any city in China, policies that allow foreign corporations to engage in a broad range of activities without the authorization of the government.
As part of its drive to meet the demands of multinational corporations, the Shanghai government has privatized services and promoted technological solutions to just about everything. Shanghai has been so enthusiastic in adopting smart grids, 5G, online governance, and automation that it won the top rank globally as smart city from Juniper Research this year.
Shanghai has rolled out the red carpet for global finance, giving special privileges to select institutional investors, opening up to just about any investment from offshore, expanding the derivatives markets, and permitting investment banks to create their own “wealth management joint ventures.”
Who might be involved on the Chinese side in this Shanghai shutdown?
There are plenty of billionaires active in Shanghai with close ties to global finance who might be tempted to play the role of an Igor Kolomoisky, the billionaire who created current president of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky in response to American encouragement.
For example, we know that the billionaire Ma Yun (Jack Ma), who took enormous amounts of funding from Goldman Sachs and other American investment banks when he created Alibaba as a global marketing and distribution giant that rivaled Amazon, was very unhappy with Chinese policies.
Ma is popular figure among the globalists, and he is a member of the board of trustees of the World Economic Forum.
Although the details are obscure, Ma’s push for the globalist agenda in China ran afoul of state planners in Beijing, Xi Jinping included, two years ago.
Ma established the Ant Group, a financial institution intended to revolutionize finance by creating an unregulated banking system.
The story is that he delivered a speech on October 24, 2020 in which he called for sweeping changes in the banking system. As a result, the central government cracked down on his activities and he has rarely been seen in public since.
Alibaba is headquartered in Hangzhou, near Shanghai, and has its largest presence in Shanghai.
There are also American billionaires interested in using Shanghai as a way to muscle in and open up China to foreign capital. For example, Stephen Schwarzman, CEO of the private equity firm Blackstone, has bought off many intellectuals and government officials in the Chinese Communist Party with his money, especially the more than 100 million USD he gave to establish, among other things, the prestigious “Schwarzman Scholars” Program at Tsinghua University.
Another American billionaire heavily invested in China is John Thornton, founder of the John L. Thornton China Center at Brookings Institution. Thornton is a member of the International Advisory Council of the China Investment Corporation (China’s sovereign wealth fund) and he is constantly pushing to increase foreign influence over China’s financial policy.
Shanghai Lockdown and Global Economic Disruption
The economic disruption caused by the Shanghai lockdown is already being promoted in the corporate media as the reason for delays in the production and delivery of electronics, automobiles, and other household goods that are produced in, shipped through, or dependent on parts manufactured in Shanghai. Although this disruption is true, there is every reason to believe that this situation will be exploited and exaggerated to justify efforts by the super-rich to destroy the global economy further and to impoverish the Earth’s citizens.
Combining a Ukraine crisis that justifies a sudden scarcity of agricultural goods, raw materials, natural gas, and manufactured goods with a Shanghai crisis that shuts down global trade offers globalists an opportunity to explain just about any disruption.
Already plans are in place to adopt a similar zero tolerance policies in the city of Guangzhou, another major manufacturing and finance center. The resulting economic slowdowns, disruptions in supply chains, increasing inflation and shortages will be just what the doctor ordered.
The economic crisis of the Shanghai lockdown has also been employed as an argument for increasing vaccinations in China, predictably, and for introducing the first Chinese-made mRNA COVID-19 vaccines, according to China’s National Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
Differences between Russia and China
There are clear differences in the nature of the attack on Russia through Ukraine and on China through Shanghai. The United States and China, although talk of war has become a constant theme over the last decade, are also highly integrated economies that involve deep cooperation even in the midst of radical political theatre. Moreover, China has refused to respond to the efforts to goad it into military action in Taiwan, Hong Kong or the South China Sea. The attack, therefore, had to be launched in a covert and obscure manner so as to make it appear as if the Chinese Communist Party that the source of the problem because it is abusing the people of Shanghai. As of this moment, there is not a trace of the American hand anywhere in the public discourse.
Russia, by contrast never had the rapprochement with the United States that China had after President Richard Nixon’s meeting with Chairman Mao Zedong in 1972, nor are the economies of the United States and Russia that integrated. There were Russians who studied in the United States, but study in America did not have the same appeal for Russians that it had for Chinese over the last thirty years.
Thus, although there is American investment in Russia, and American interference in Russia, Russia is not so deeply integrated into the American logistics and supply chain, and American investment banks have fewer ties and fewer financial interests.
What needs to be done
The Chinese have been subject to their part of the Great Reset, serving as guinea pigs for social credit systems that allow for constant surveillance and for the evaluation of citizens via AI, and for the required use of digital payment systems. The globalists most likely targeted China for these experiments, before broader application in the world, because the emphasis on technological development in Chinese society, and Chinese naivety about the negative impact of technological innovation on human society, made the Chinese ready victims.
These technofascist policies are promoted by many bureaucrats in the Chinese Communist Party, but they did not originate in China. They are but a part of a global strategy for control of the world’s economy by the financial elites, cunning men who flatter the Chinese about the effectiveness of their response to COVID-19, and their potential to be innovation leaders through AI.
What is desperately needed in response to the current effort of globalists to induce needless conflicts between nation states, and within nations, through operations like the Shanghai lockdown, is an alliance of citizens in China, Russia, the United States, and other countries against the predations of multinational investment banks and corporations, an alliance that resembles the internationalist anti-fascist movements of the 1930s.
The Shanghai lockdown was designed to increase the isolation of the individual in a technological prison while also creating greater distance between Americans (Westerners) and Chinese who ought to be cooperating to respond to the threat of techno-fascism. It is time for us all to come together in response.
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This article was originally published on Circles and Squares.
Emanuel Pastreich served as the president of the Asia Institute, a think tank with offices in Washington DC, Seoul, Tokyo and Hanoi. Pastreich also serves as director general of the Institute for Future Urban Environments. Pastreich declared his candidacy for president of the United States as an independent in February, 2020.