The Communist Party of China (CCP) is currently entering a period of instability.
About 20,000 elderly people gathered outside Wuhan’s Zhongshan Park on February 15, protest Chinese Communist Party’shealth care reform. ” It was the second mass gathering senior citizen in the city. The first protest took place on his February 8th. An old man was beaten when authorities arrived to block the road. Protesters shouted “Overthrow the repressive government!”
Large-scale protests against “medical reform” also took place in Dalian, Liaoning Province.
People seem to have the courage to stand up to China’s dictatorship. Last year’s “white paper campaign” forced Chinese Communist Party President Xi Jinping to abandon his zero-coronavirus policy. From New Year’s Day to the Chinese New Year (January 22nd to he February 1st), people all over the country completely ignored the CCP’s fireworks ban, and the CCP police could do nothing.
One detail many people overlook is that the February 15th protest was decided on February 8th and announced publicly online. The Chinese Communist Party spent a full week preparing for and suppressing the protests, but the number of protesters was only double what he had on February 8.
As early as 1998, former Chinese Communist Party leader Jiang Zemin set out a policy of “nipping all instability in the bud.” This policy he has been enforcing for over 20 years. But why did it fail this time?
First, I will briefly introduce “medical reform” and explain why it puts the CCP in a dilemma.
The protests began when retirees found their monthly deposits in their Medicare accounts had been cut by about two-thirds. The explanation from Beijing was that the money was diverted to the pool. This means that those in need can get a portion of their medical bills reimbursed from this pool, and the government will manage the money for them. This may sound like a good idea, but in reality, the Chinese public has a deep mistrust of the regime.
According to Voice of America, China’s GDP is the second largest in the world, but social security costs are the lowest in the world at only about 3% of GDP. Elites, including officials at the state level and above, reportedly account for about 80% of health care costs, but contribute nothing. This creates severe inequalities in health care resources between governments and people, especially rural residents, who benefit little from this health system.
In this way, China’s medical insurance is not “robbing the rich to help the poor”, but “robbing the poor to help the rich”. Ordinary people believe that once their money is in the pool, it is likely to be diverted to CCP executives, so they are advised to keep it in their own accounts and make it freely available. To do.
Why is the Chinese Communist Party pushing ahead with “medical reform” now?
Local government funding may be lacking. A Reuters report on Feb. 15 said the Chinese province will spend at least 352 billion yuan (about $51 billion) to deal with the latest wave of coronavirus infections in 2022, amid a slowing economy. increasing pressure on provincial finances.
China’s local finances are now riddled with holes. Zero COVID policies, including lockdowns, have dried up local government savings. Due to the economic downturn, China’s property market has declined, making the property sector the most important source of local income. Local debt at all levels has reached his 65 trillion yuan (about $9 trillion), far beyond the ability of local governments to repay.
All these severe financial pressures have forced local government officials to take salary cuts ranging from 20% to 40%. At the same time, local governments should share about half of the cost of medical insurance with the central government. As a result, local governments are forced to reduce medical costs.
It is surprising that the February 15 protests announced a week ago were not suppressed by local authorities. This is also related to the depletion of local finances. The Chinese Communist Party’s “stability units” (police, intelligence, opinion monitoring, grassroots organizations at all levels, etc.) spend more in his year than the military, and 90% of this spending Funded by local sources. When local treasuries run out of money, the ability to maintain stability also weakens. Moreover, parents of police officers are also victims of this “medical reform”.
The Chinese Communist Party has long sought popular support in exchange for economic development. However, as the macroeconomic situation worsens, the CCP is rapidly losing popular support. Wuhan-like protests will become more frequent in the future.
The Wuhan protests pose an unprecedented threat to the CCP and leave the CCP in a dilemma. The price of repression is too high as “medical reform” affects the lives of her two million retirees in Wuhan. Implemented nationwide, the policy will affect hundreds of millions of older people. For the CCP to oppress hundreds of millions of people with one million police officers is simply unbelievable.
On the other hand, if the CCP compromises in Wuhan, it will also create two serious problems. First, the Chinese Communist Party has no money. Second, if the CCP compromises, it sends a signal to the people that their protests will be effective. So when people feel that other rights are violated, they come out again to protest. If this trend continues and public opinion always prevails, China will become a democratic society. People will inevitably seek political freedom, and the Chinese Communist Party’s dictatorship will come to an end.
While it is difficult to predict the outcome of the Wuhan protests, we must remember that the theme of the protests is not the most important thing. It is the protest itself that matters, because it is the process of gradually removing the fear of the CCP from the minds of the people. And fear is the most important pillar for maintaining control of the Chinese Communist Party. If this pillar collapses, the CCP regime will be in great danger.
Views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The Epoch Times.