The Zhou (1046–256 BC) created the ‘Mandate of Heaven’ idea that there can be only one legitimate ruler of China at a time and this ruler has the blessing of the gods. If that blessing is removed, then the ruler’s legitimacy is also removed.
As millions are caught in a Coronavirus lockdown the dictator/thug Xi Jinping will be perceived as having lost the mandate and thus potentially beginning the end of his rule. If you think this id far-fetched you don’t understand anything about China.
Expect more and more secrecy and lies about the virus’ spread, and brutality combined with extreme measures to contain the contagion as it threatens the entire Communist Party’s rule. Combined with Hong Kong’s push-back and Taiwan’s election of staunch independence-favoring leadership something very big is unfolding.
Add in China’s self-inflicted population unbalance (they are getting older with too few younger people and 20 percent of their female population missing due to aborting girls in favor of sons and years of “One Child” madness) and the idea that China is going to be a global power may not be a given. The real China “threat” is not military but the utter chaos that will unfold as the empire is thrown into a period of turmoil. That too has historic precedent.
In Wuhan, where the outbreak began, anxiety and anger prevailed as worried residents crowded into hospitals and teams of medical workers in hazmat suits sought to identify the infected. “Shortage of medical supplies, request help!!!” the Wuhan Children’s Hospital said Thursday in a post on Weibo, a Chinese social network.
Signs that a particular ruler had lost the Mandate of Heaven included peasant uprisings, invasions by foreign troops, drought, famine, floods, and earthquakes and… mass illness. The Communist Party’s secretiveness will be its undoing. Nothing spreads mass outbreaks faster than trying to hush them up.