The lockdown in China: if the powerful are doing something that looks stupid, is because whatever they’re doing IS actually stupid
I received several comments on my post “The Shanghai Lockdown: a Memetic Analysis,” and I think that some were so interesting to be worth reproducing in a full-fledged post. The first comment comes from an anonymous commenter living in China. It seems to me believable, and also consistent with my interpretation. In practice, the Chinese were (and are) not the only one who are conditioned by factors such as avoiding a loss of face. Italians did the same during the lockdowns of 2020 and 2021. There seems to be an enormous psychological problem that when you discover that you have been conned, you don’t want to admit that. It makes little difference if you are Chinese, Italian, or another nationality. There follows a comment by “Mon Seul Desir” on which I fully agree. So much that I used it in a condensed version for the title of this post. When something looks insane, most likely, it IS insane. (UB)
A comment on “The Shanghai Lockdown: A Memetic Analysis”
I am in Shanghai. I have been living here since 2007. I can read/speak Chinese at a high level of fluency. I also travelled extensively in the country.
There is something that most foreign analyst do not grasp: the Chinese Mind (the “collective subconscious” if you wish.)
-The Chinese Mind likes to be seen in the Struggle doing things to fight in the Struggle (no matter what the Struggle is, whether those actions give tangible results or not, at least they make great photo ops for the media.)
-The Chinese Mind is hive-like, it’s blindly obedient, and it lashes out at the “Enemy” (whether real or imaginary)
-The Chinese Mind is a bit childish, it is for sure stubborn, and non-rational/logical (non-Cartesian)
-The Chinese Mind is constantly under ideological propaganda, everywhere, every time, from childhood til death, from home to the workspace…
-The Chinese Mind is never guilty, it always blames the Other (and the object of the blame is constantly shifting)
-The Chinese Mind hates losing face (what face, nobody knows) and hates being criticized (just shut up and put it under the carpet)
Remember the famines? One day they wake up and decide to kill all the birds (that were eating bugs that were eating crops…)
Shanghai has always been seen as the most “civilized” city in China. Shanghai is often called Le Paris de l’Orient, it is an “international” first tier city… probably the top Chinese city in terms of openness, quality of life and access to medical care.
Nobody expected to see such levels of insanity in Shanghai… in other areas of the country, yes, but not here. Looking at the conditions in the quarantine centers… Containers without doors in a field, tents set on a highway, toilets flooded with feces… open air zoo.
They come take positive cases in big buses and ambulances almost daily. The police is patrolling streets at all times and we are unable to even set foot on the sidewalk. Every building that had a positive case is either: shut down with barriers OR has 1–2 men in a tent monitoring 24/7 (imagine all the manpower required.) Currently there are 3–4 of those tents in my compound. It’s basically Martial Law.
The psychological toll is quite high. The monetary one must be hard of lower classes. Some neighbors have mental breakdowns. Some people spray alcohol in the air while walking to get tested… You’d think the Plague is upon us.
Some people were getting messages in group chat about “foreign spies” and “foreign media fueling anti-China conspiracies.” Good ol’ shift the blame tricks.
I have been in lockdown since mid-March, got tested 35 times, and lost about 12 pounds. The local governmental commune gave us a little bit of food, but barely enough to survive.
Luckily we had some preps and were able to order some food. Now most delivery guys are not allowed to deliver to our address. We can get a bit of food, but we need to get imaginative to create new recipes (boiled/sweet and sour/spicy/fermented cabbage.)
My take is:
It could be a test for something much bigger (ie., war, energy crisis) or they are truly afraid of the unrest if lots of old people were to die. Chinese people tend to get emotional and the last thing the authorities want to deal with is mobs lynching doctors in the streets.
Is the frog slowly boiling in the pot?
I think so.
Except the whole planet is pot and we’re all frogs.
Posted by “Mon Seul Desir”
I think that there’s far too many attempts to rationalize the conduct and policies of the powerful as being part of some astonishingly clever plan, myself I use Occam’s razor, if the powerful are doing something that looks incredibly stupid, self destructive and utterly insane, then it is because whatever they’re doing IS actually incredibly stupid, self destructive and utterly insane. I don’t buy the myth that those in power are unusually clever, informed or are far seeing. Here in Canada I’ve been witnessing the follies of our child-rulers for the past few years and the bungling of senile Brandon south of the border and this is governance on the level of Honorius and Arcadius and their corrupt intrigue filled courts. As for China, I saw a report on Xi’s appearance before the Congress of Peoples Deputies and I wondered. How many of the deputies applauding him are actually plotting against him?
Note added after publication. Latest news from China:
“Our prevention and control strategy is determined by the party’s nature and mission, our policies can stand the test of history, our measures are scientific and effective,” the seven-member committee said, according to government news agency Xinhua.
“We have won the battle to defend Wuhan, and we will certainly be able to win the battle to defend Shanghai,” it said.
They have clearly realized that they made a huge mistake, but they cannot admit that and they cannot back down. The usual disaster. And, by the way, they completely confirm my interpretation that they really believed that the lockdown in Wuhan had been a success in eradicating the virus.