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FTR#1313 Update on The Destabilization of China, Part 2

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FTR#1313 This pro­gram was record­ed in one, 60-minute seg­ment. 

Great Wall of Chi­na
Pho­to Cred­it: Wikipedia

Intro­duc­tion: This pro­gram updates the ongo­ing desta­bi­liza­tion of Chi­na.

The pro­gram begins with a long blog essay in a very con­ser­v­a­tive pub­li­ca­tion: The Nation­al Inter­est.

Pre­sent­ing a nec­es­sary and, frankly, refresh­ing analy­sis of the devel­op­ment and suc­cess of the Huawei elec­tron­ics com­pa­ny, Chan­dran Nair high­lights the fac­tors behind the company’s suc­cess includ­ing: An employ­ee friend­ly work struc­ture; a demo­c­ra­t­i­cal­ly orga­nized man­age­ment hier­ar­chy; a cor­po­rate cul­ture that fac­tors in both the good and errant fea­tures of oth­er com­pa­nies around the world; pri­or­i­ti­za­tion of renew­able ener­gy projects; an inter­na­tion­al devel­op­men­tal struc­ture that is inclu­sive of pro­gres­sive indus­tri­al projects in Third World coun­tries; fis­cal man­age­ment that has avoid­ed employ­ee lay­offs even dur­ing hard times; a larg­er share of com­pa­ny finances devot­ed to research and devel­op­ment than oth­er, com­pa­ra­bly large cor­po­ra­tions.

By way of com­par­i­son with the first arti­cle in the pro­gram, we present an analy­sis from a British econ­o­mist liv­ing in Chi­na who details data emphat­i­cal­ly refut­ing the fore­casts of impend­ing eco­nom­ic col­lapse for the world’s sec­ond-largest econ­o­my.

It should be not­ed that Chi­na is still a [very quick­ly] devel­op­ing coun­try, and that some of the data com­par­ing its rate-of-growth with more ful­ly devel­oped coun­tries should be fac­tored into the analy­sis.

Next, we present a sto­ry that high­lights the neg­a­tive spin put by the West­ern press on devel­op­ments in Chi­na. The Guardian eclipses analy­sis of a Chi­nese ini­tia­tive facil­i­tat­ing peace­ful inte­gra­tion of Chi­na and Tai­wan by stress­ing mil­i­tary maneu­ver­ing by the PLA.

We con­clude the pro­gram with intro­duc­tion of the top­ic of the next broad­cast: Covid-19.

Fol­low­ing dis­cus­sion of soar­ing rates of SARS Cov‑2 infec­tion in the U.S., we reprise a 55-sec­ond clip, orig­i­nal­ly fea­tured on Twit­ter, but now delet­ed. The speak­er is Pro­fes­sor Jef­frey Sachs, for­mer head of The Lancet’s com­mis­sion on the ori­gins of Covid.

He is “pret­ty con­vinced” it came from a U.S. bio­lab.

1.“The Side of Huawei We Don’t Know” by Chan­dran Nair; The Nation­al Inter­est; 09/11/2023.

Though often con­demned and sus­pect­ed by West­ern pol­i­cy­mak­ers and experts, the company’s ori­gins and unique gov­er­nance sys­tem are poor­ly under­stood.

China’s mete­oric rise in the short space of thir­ty years to become the sec­ond-largest econ­o­my in the world and a glob­al pow­er has been by far the biggest sto­ry of the twen­ty-first cen­tu­ry. It has also unfor­tu­nate­ly been accom­pa­nied by a great deal of wor­ry by a fear­ful West, which togeth­er with the glob­al main­stream media, has paint­ed an ugly pic­ture of the country’s remark­able pace of devel­op­ment.

One of the most vis­i­ble man­i­fes­ta­tions of this progress is Huawei, a Chi­nese com­pa­ny and now the world’s largest mak­er of tele­coms gear. Yet the company’s growth has been accom­pa­nied by fear and mis­trust from the West—particularly from the Unit­ed States, which regards the firm as a poten­tial threat to U.S. nation­al secu­ri­ty.

A great part of Huawei’s sup­posed infamy can be boiled down to two things. The first is that the com­pa­ny is actu­al­ly very well-run and extreme­ly innovative—a fact that West­ern­ers, con­vinced of their own tech­ni­cal supe­ri­or­i­ty and the rela­tion­ship between tech­no­log­i­cal inno­va­tion and a par­tic­u­lar set of political/cultural val­ues, find unnerv­ing. The sec­ond is the view that because it is a Chi­nese tech firm, and its founder was in the mil­i­tary as well as a mem­ber of the Chi­nese Com­mu­nist Par­ty (CCP), it must be con­trolled by the Chi­nese gov­ern­ment. This lat­ter view demon­strates how lit­tle is under­stood of mod­ern Chi­na, espe­cial­ly the rela­tion­ship between China’s com­mer­cial ecosys­tem and the state.

This lack of knowl­edge relat­ing to Huawei’s ori­gins, method­ol­o­gy, and rela­tion­ship with the Chi­nese stake makes it a recur­ring tar­get. It would behoove Wash­ing­ton to know more about the com­pa­ny and how it came to be first.

Huawei’s Ori­gins

For those unaware of the strug­gles with­in Chi­na after the cre­ation of the People’s Repub­lic of Chi­na in 1949, it is worth remem­ber­ing that even in the 1970s and 1980s there were parts of Chi­na where famine was not unusu­al. One such region was Jiang­su province, where peo­ple were forced to for­age in the for­est for berries, nuts, and any­thing edi­ble they could get hold of to sur­vive. Bear in mind that this was also a time dur­ing which neigh­bor­ing Hong Kong (and Sin­ga­pore, too) saw fast food like McDonald’s and KFC become ubiq­ui­tous. This peri­od of per­sis­tent pover­ty and suf­fer­ing in Chi­na was a result of ongo­ing inter­nal strug­gles and ill-con­sid­ered poli­cies that failed to sup­port the coun­try.

One man who grew up dur­ing this peri­od was Ren Zhengfei. His fam­i­ly was so poor that he would for­go some of his mea­ger rations so that his sib­lings could eat, and would instead mix his meals with rice bran to sus­tain him­self. He used to go into the for­est to pick any­thing edi­ble for the fam­i­ly to sur­vive.

An ear­ly life of strug­gle moti­vat­ed him as a young man to embark on a most remark­able jour­ney. Ren joined the Chi­nese mil­i­tary after study­ing archi­tec­ture and engi­neer­ing. He even­tu­al­ly left the army with big­ger entre­pre­neur­ial plans, dri­ven by a desire to con­tribute to soci­ety. He taught him­self the work­ings of com­put­ers and oth­er nascent dig­i­tal tech­nolo­gies. After sev­er­al failed for­ays into busi­ness, and in a last roll of the dice in 1987 at age 43, he formed Huawei, mean­ing “com­mit­ted to Chi­na and mak­ing a dif­fer­ence,” with the inten­tion of sell­ing pro­gram-con­trolled switch­es.

The com­pa­ny is now, in many ways, one of the most rec­og­nized brands in the world—partly due to its inno­va­tions and mar­ket cap­i­tal­iza­tion, and part­ly for being caught in the geopo­lit­i­cal strug­gle between the West and Chi­na.

Ren’s sto­ry of depri­va­tion and des­per­a­tion stands in stark con­trast to that of many of the founders of today’s tech giants. It should also pro­vide a clue into the resilience of the com­pa­ny, the sense of pos­i­tiv­i­ty that it is imbued with, and how it plans to with­stand cur­rent exter­nal pres­sures. The launch of a new smart­phone, demon­strat­ing that Huawei has man­aged to over­come U.S. sanc­tions and can inno­vate by itself, has drawn rapt atten­tion. Sim­i­lar­ly, although it did not make the glob­al head­lines, the com­pa­ny also recent­ly announced the intro­duc­tion of its own Enter­prise Resource Plan­ning soft­ware, which ends its reliance on Oracle’s soft­ware. Many more inno­va­tions are expect­ed, prov­ing the old adage that neces­si­ty is the moth­er of inven­tion.

What makes Huawei so inno­v­a­tive? Under­stand­ing this requires look­ing at three aspects of the com­pa­ny and how it is run, which pro­vide insights for observers.

Huawei’s Gov­er­nance and Own­er­ship Sys­tem

It is often wrong­ly assumed that Huawei oper­ates as a com­mer­cial exten­sion of the CCP, and is run sim­i­lar­ly, where the founder Ren Zhengfei holds absolute author­i­ty, close­ly over­see­ing a very top-down, hier­ar­chi­cal sys­tem.

The real­i­ty appears rather dif­fer­ent­ly. The pri­vate­ly-held com­pa­ny is 100 per­cent, employ­ee-owned with Ren hold­ing 0.7 per­cent of the company’s shares. This gov­er­nance struc­ture is unique to Huawei and draws from exten­sive stud­ies of best prac­tices from across the world, cus­tomized to suit its needs.

The com­pa­ny oper­ates under a col­lec­tive lead­er­ship mod­el with numer­ous checks and bal­ances, where share­hold­er rep­re­sen­ta­tives and those sit­ting in deci­sion mak­ing bod­ies are demo­c­ra­t­i­cal­ly elect­ed. The share­hold­ers’ meet­ing, the company’s pre­mier deci­sion mak­ing forum, decides on the company’s major mat­ters such as cap­i­tal increas­es, prof­it dis­tri­b­u­tion, and elec­tion of the mem­bers of the board of direc­tors and super­vi­so­ry board. Employ­ees are rep­re­sent­ed by the Trade Union Com­mit­tee, and the Rep­re­sen­ta­tives’ Com­mis­sion is the employ­ee vehi­cle through which the Union ful­fills share­hold­er respon­si­bil­i­ties and exer­cis­es share­hold­er rights. The share­hold­ing employ­ees with vot­ing rights elect the Com­mis­sion on a one-vote-per-share basis, after which the Com­mis­sion elects the company’s board of direc­tors and super­vi­so­ry board on a one-vote-per-per­son basis. These events are trans­par­ent and even live-streamed to all employ­ees.

As the founder of Huawei, Ren’s influ­ence and author­i­ty comes from the respect he has gained for his achievements—a par­tic­u­lar­ly Chi­nese approach towards orga­ni­za­tion­al har­mo­ny and order, root­ed in a cul­ture of respect for elders and lead­ers.  While Ren car­ries veto rights on board deci­sions, it is a mat­ter of record that he has exer­cised this right only a few times and typ­i­cal­ly on tech­nol­o­gy and busi­ness direc­tion, as is com­mon in most pri­vate­ly held firms any­where in the world. He is depict­ed inter­nal­ly as one who prefers to share his vision and ideas through com­pa­ny-wide address­es that serve as guid­ance on direc­tion mak­ing.

The main moti­va­tion for set­ting up such a gov­er­nance struc­ture is to ensure the com­pa­ny’s longevi­ty and to enable it to achieve sus­tain­able growth. Being a pri­vate­ly held com­pa­ny has allowed Huawei to design struc­tures and set tar­gets for the long-term, able to focus on its core vision and mission—inclusive of cus­tomers and employ­ees.

While recent sanc­tions have impact­ed Huawei’s smart­phone busi­ness and short-term prof­its (there was a 69 per­cent year-on-year decline in net prof­it in 2022), Huawei has con­tin­ued to make strate­gic invest­ments and devot­ed even more cap­i­tal to research and devel­op­ment (R&D). In 2022, they invest­ed 25 per­cent of their rev­enue in R&D, equiv­a­lent to 161.5 bil­lion yuan, more than any com­pa­ny in the world out­side Amer­i­ca in absolute terms, and more than the tech giants as a per­cent­age of rev­enue. For com­par­i­son, Ama­zon, the world’s biggest spender on R&D, and Alpha­bet invest­ed around 14 per­cent of their rev­enue on R&D in the same year.

Despite not being able to launch high-end 5G phones glob­al­ly, the smart­phone busi­ness units have not laid off any staff. This is also a cul­tur­al dif­fer­ence that is often mis­un­der­stood and unap­pre­ci­at­ed, where the employ­ee is seen as being part of the fam­i­ly. This is such that, when hard times arrive, every­one bears with it and goes into “sur­vival” mode. The launch of the new Mate 60, Mate 60 Pro, Mate 60 Pro+, and Mate X5 which is a new ver­sion of its fold­able phones, is a tes­ta­ment to the wis­dom of this strat­e­gy.

Huawei’s gov­er­nance struc­ture is what allows it to rein­vest in the com­pa­ny, its facil­i­ties, R&D, and its employ­ees, even dur­ing times of busi­ness down­turn and exter­nal pres­sures.

A Cul­ture of Learn­ing from the World and Glob­al Open­ness

Huawei’s empha­sis on hard work, based on the Con­fu­cious tra­di­tion of col­lec­tive resilience, has enabled it to attract tal­ent who firm­ly believe they can over­come obsta­cles and cre­ate solu­tions that best achieve the company’s offi­cial goal of “Stay­ing cus­tomer-cen­tric and cre­at­ing val­ue for cus­tomers.” Employ­ees are not dri­ven only by the finan­cial rewards on offer, but also by a sense of pur­pose and the need to be engaged in find­ing solu­tions to prob­lems. The company’s appeal has enabled it to attract the best tal­ent Chi­na has to offer.

In com­ing up with the company’s cur­rent cor­po­rate gov­er­nance mod­el, what is note­wor­thy is that Huawei’s lead­er­ship spent time study­ing the gov­er­nance mod­els of suc­cess­ful, long-last­ing com­pa­nies from around the world, includ­ing Japan­ese fam­i­ly-owned com­pa­nies and cor­po­ra­tions from France, Ger­many, and the Unit­ed States. They active­ly con­sid­ered the mer­its and weak­ness­es of dif­fer­ent mod­els, learn­ing from lessons of suc­cess and fail­ure, tak­ing these ideas and cus­tomiz­ing them for Huawei.

The design of Huawei’s super­vi­so­ry board is a good exam­ple. It drew inspi­ra­tion from Ger­man cor­po­rate gov­er­nance struc­tures and the gov­er­nance prin­ci­ples devel­oped by Fred­mund Malik. How­ev­er, Huawei’s struc­ture is dif­fer­ent from Ger­man com­pa­nies in that the rep­re­sen­ta­tives of share­hold­ers sit at the top. In addi­tion, the super­vi­so­ry board does not only super­vise the board of direc­tors but plays an active role in devel­op­ing the lead­er­ship pipeline at dif­fer­ent lev­els of the com­pa­ny and set­ting reg­u­la­tions for how the com­pa­ny oper­ates.

The par­tic­i­pa­tion of employ­ees is also unique. All mem­bers of the super­vi­so­ry board and board of direc­tors are Huawei employ­ees. It is also a require­ment that share­hold­er rep­re­sen­ta­tives nom­i­nat­ed to the board have con­tributed to the com­pa­ny and demon­strat­ed the req­ui­site lead­er­ship skills.

A sim­i­lar mind­set of learn­ing from dif­fer­ent mod­els was applied to suc­ces­sion plan­ning and the estab­lish­ment of its rotat­ing co-chair sys­tem five years ago. Huawei places an empha­sis on devel­op­ing lead­ers with­in the com­pa­ny. To achieve the sys­tem it want­ed, it stud­ied dif­fer­ent lead­er­ship struc­tures from estab­lished com­pa­nies with sim­i­lar approach­es, includ­ing fam­i­ly-found­ed com­pa­nies.

By retain­ing top tal­ent, the com­pa­ny believes it can over­come the lim­i­ta­tions of any one indi­vid­ual and pro­vide checks and bal­ances. Huawei present­ly has three rotat­ing co-chairs. When co-chairs are off duty, they vis­it oth­er coun­tries, meet employ­ees, learn about the busi­ness, and, impor­tant­ly, have space and time to think, which is giv­en a lot of empha­sis.

Huawei’s open world­view and its appre­ci­a­tion for oth­er cul­tures are most dra­mat­i­cal­ly reflect­ed in its R&D cam­pus in the city of Dong­guan, nick­named the “Euro­pean city,” where 30,000 staff work in twelve dif­fer­ent “vil­lages” mod­eled after nine dif­fer­ent Euro­pean coun­tries. Man­i­cured gar­dens sur­round life-size repli­cas of the most famous cities and archi­tec­ture in Europe, includ­ing the Palace of Ver­sailles, Hei­del­berg Cas­tle, Ams­ter­dam, and Verona. Dot­ted across the vil­lages are numer­ous restau­rants and cafes, a reflec­tion of Ren’s advo­ca­cy of cof­fee cul­ture. There is also an elec­tric train ser­vice so that no one needs to dri­ve with­in the cam­pus. The con­cept for the cam­pus was con­ceived as part of a design com­pe­ti­tion and was select­ed for its unique­ness, set­ting it apart from the usu­al tech com­pa­ny or Chi­nese-inspired designs.

The orga­ni­za­tion and its employ­ees clear­ly con­tin­ue to have an appre­ci­a­tion for pro­mot­ing glob­al cul­ture exchanges and learn­ing from non-Chi­nese mod­els of suc­cess. Promi­nent observers have tak­en notice of this.

A Com­mit­ment to Social Oblig­a­tions and Mak­ing a Dif­fer­ence

Many might be sur­prised to learn that Huawei con­sid­ers sus­tain­abil­i­ty to be an inte­gral part of its busi­ness pri­or­i­ties. It has four sus­tain­abil­i­ty strate­gies, all of which are aligned with its vision and mis­sion: Dig­i­tal Inclu­sion, Secu­ri­ty and Trust­wor­thi­ness, Envi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion, and Healthy and Har­mo­nious Ecosys­tem. Each of these strate­gies is inte­grat­ed with the company’s busi­ness and prod­uct devel­op­ment. For exam­ple, Huawei’s prod­ucts and solu­tions are increas­ing­ly designed to help the busi­ness and their clients reduce ener­gy con­sump­tion and CO2 emis­sions.

While the com­pa­ny does release annu­al sus­tain­abil­i­ty reports, these do not adhere to the typ­i­cal West­ern ESG (envi­ron­men­tal, social, and cor­po­rate gov­er­nance) or CSR (cor­po­rate social respon­si­bil­i­ty) report­ing. Sim­i­lar­ly, the com­pa­ny does not place too much of an empha­sis on phil­an­thropy and has not set up a foun­da­tion or phil­an­thropic arm. Instead, it invests in devel­op­ing cost-effec­tive and sus­tain­able solu­tions using its tech­nol­o­gy and work­ing with local and mul­ti­lat­er­al part­ners to achieve its objec­tives in coun­tries where the needs are most crit­i­cal. 

Con­sid­er TECH4ALL, the company’s long-term dig­i­tal inclu­sion ini­tia­tive, ded­i­cat­ed to pro­duc­ing inno­v­a­tive tech­nolo­gies and solu­tions that enable an inclu­sive and sus­tain­able world. They have applied AI and cloud to learn the sound of endan­gered ani­mals, rain­forests, and wet­lands, to remote­ly mon­i­tor and pre­vent ille­gal hunt­ing and log­ging. This appli­ca­tion has been used in many coun­tries in Latin Amer­i­ca and Europe and has the poten­tial to be deployed in oth­er fields.

Anoth­er exam­ple is Rural­Star. As part of its com­mit­ment to rur­al devel­op­ment and bridg­ing the dig­i­tal divide to boost devel­op­ment in remote areas, Huawei invest­ed in inno­vat­ing sim­pler and small­er tech­nol­o­gy for data trans­mis­sion. The Rural­Star solu­tion allows a base sta­tion to be con­struct­ed on a sim­ple pole instead of a ded­i­cat­ed tow­er, with low-pow­er fea­tures that can be pow­ered using six solar pan­els. Rural­Star is wide­ly rec­og­nized as one of the green­est and most cost-effec­tive solu­tions avail­able for remote and rur­al com­mu­ni­ties. Notably, the busi­ness deci­sion to ser­vice rur­al areas comes at an esti­mat­ed 30 per­cent reduc­tion in prof­it mar­gins com­pared with the tra­di­tion­al focus on high-den­si­ty urban areas only. Glob­al­ly, this tech­nol­o­gy ser­vices small vil­lages of sev­er­al thou­sand res­i­dents at a 70 per­cent cost reduc­tion com­pared to tra­di­tion­al solu­tions. Fol­low­ing its first pilot in Ghana in 2017, over six­ty coun­tries have imple­ment­ed Rural­Star and over 50 mil­lion peo­ple in rur­al areas have ben­e­fit­ed. As an exam­ple of how such projects are fund­ed, in 2020 in Ghana, the Min­istry of Com­mu­ni­ca­tions and the Ghana Invest­ment for Elec­tron­ic Com­mu­ni­ca­tions signed a financ­ing agree­ment with Export-Import Bank of Chi­na for Huawei to deploy more than 2,000 Rural­Star sites for Ghana to pro­vide voice and data ser­vices for over 3.4 mil­lion peo­ple.

With­in its goal to dri­ve dig­i­tal­iza­tion, Huawei has also been con­sis­tent­ly invest­ing in green trans­for­ma­tion. Beyond a sig­nif­i­cant increase in the use of renew­able ener­gy with­in their own oper­a­tions (a 42.3 per­cent increase from 2020), an increased ener­gy effi­cien­cy of their prod­ucts is also an impor­tant met­ric in their inno­va­tion process. A com­pa­ny reports a 1.9 times increase in ener­gy effi­cien­cy in their main prod­ucts since 2019, which in turn helps their cus­tomers and indus­try part­ners reduce their car­bon foot­print.

More broad­ly, Huawei’s dig­i­tal pow­er tech­nol­o­gy is being deployed and used in many solar farms glob­al­ly. The idea is to man­age watts with bits to help bet­ter pro­duce clean ener­gy and cut emis­sions. By the end of 2021, Huawei Dig­i­tal Pow­er had helped cus­tomers gen­er­ate 482.9 bil­lion kWh of green pow­er and save about 14.2 bil­lion kWh of elec­tric­i­ty. These efforts have result­ed in a reduc­tion of near­ly 230 mil­lion tons in CO2 emis­sions, equiv­a­lent to plant­i­ng 320 mil­lion trees.

The abil­i­ty to choose to meet its social com­mit­ments and to take con­crete steps towards real­iz­ing its cor­po­rate vision beyond the mis­sion state­ments is rel­a­tive­ly unique to Huawei. At a time when com­pa­nies are striv­ing to meet ESG goals and over­come the fun­da­men­tal ten­sion between short-term pri­or­i­ties and invest­ments for sus­tain­able growth, Huawei works to over­come such chal­lenges by see­ing its prod­ucts and ser­vices as key enablers of sus­tain­able devel­op­ment. It is com­mit­ted to devel­op­ing infor­ma­tion and com­mu­ni­ca­tions tech­nolo­gies for reduc­ing car­bon emis­sions, pro­mot­ing renew­able ener­gy, and con­tribut­ing to the cir­cu­lar econ­o­my.  Huawei strives to pro­mote ener­gy con­ser­va­tion and emis­sion reduc­tion in its own oper­a­tions and to use more renew­able ener­gy. This is pos­si­ble to achieve due to inter­nal con­sen­sus across the lead­er­ship team to make strate­gic choic­es aligned with their sus­tain­abil­i­ty agen­da, the desire to invest in long-term ambi­tions, and the capac­i­ty to inno­vate new prod­ucts that allow them to achieve their sus­tain­abil­i­ty goals.

A Com­pa­ny That Isn’t Going Away

Huawei’s suc­cess on the glob­al stage, based upon excel­lence in deliv­er­ing new inno­va­tions, demon­strates that Chi­na has much to teach the rest of the world. Yet this suc­cess came about via a strat­e­gy of open­ness and a will­ing­ness to learn from oth­ers. The company’s crit­ics, scram­bling to respond to recent devel­op­ments, ought to take note.

Chan­dran Nair is the founder and CEO of the Glob­al Insti­tute For Tomor­row (GIFT). He is the author of Dis­man­tling Glob­al White Priv­i­lege: Equi­ty for a Post-West­ern World.

2.“The News Is Full of News about Chi­na’s Eco­nom­ic Collapse–Ignore them” by John Ross; Learn­ing from Chi­na.

About: John Ross was the first non-Chi­nese cit­i­zen to be appoint­ed to a full time post at a lead­ing Think Tank in Chi­na — Chongyang Insti­tute for Finan­cial Stud­ies, Ren­min Uni­ver­si­ty of Chi­na.

The appoint­ment was based on work begin­ning with his 1992 study ‘Why the Eco­nom­ic Reform Suc­ceed­ed in Chi­na and Will Fail in Rus­sia and East­ern Europe’- which accu­rate­ly pre­dict­ed that Chi­na’s eco­nom­ic reform would pro­duce rapid eco­nom­ic growth while the ‘shock ther­a­py’ alter­na­tives in the for­mer USSR and East­ern Europe would be a fail­ure in com­par­i­son.

He is a prize-win­ning res­i­dent colum­nist in pri­vate (Sina Finance Opin­ion Lead­ers), aca­d­e­m­ic based (Guancha.cn) and state (China.org.cn) media in Chi­na with over 200 arti­cles pub­lished on Chi­na and the inter­na­tion­al econ­o­my includ­ing in Sina Finance, Inter­na­tion­al Finance News, Chi­na Finance, Peo­ple’s Dai­ly, Glob­al Times, Guancha.cn, and Shang­hai Dai­ly.

His book The Great Chess Game became the no.1 best sell­ing book on Eco­nom­ic Pol­i­cy on Ama­zon Chi­na. His work has been pub­lished in Eng­lish, Chi­nese, Span­ish, French, Indone­sian, Russ­ian and Por­tuguese. He appears reg­u­lar­ly on TV & radio.

John Ross has almost one mil­lion fol­low­ers on Wei­bo — Chi­na’s equiv­a­lent of Twitter/Facebook and receives over 10 mil­lion hits on his Wei­bo each month.

John Ross was for­mer­ly Direc­tor of Eco­nom­ic and Busi­ness Pol­i­cy for the May­or of Lon­don and a con­sul­tant to FTSE 100 com­pa­nies.

A com­plete list of his pub­li­ca­tions in Eng­lish and Chi­nese since 2013 may be found here.

Once again, the West­ern media Estab­lish­ment, and sad­ly some on the left, are talk­ing up an impend­ing eco­nom­ic dis­as­ter in Chi­na, when the truth is quite the oppo­site, shows John Ross

IN THE last four years, cov­er­ing the peri­od of the Covid pan­dem­ic, China’s econ­o­my has grown two-and-a-half times as fast as the US, 15 times as fast as France, 23 times as fast as Japan, 45 times as fast as Ger­many, and 480 times as fast as Britain.

To add in small­er G7 coun­tries, Chi­na has grown four times as fast as Cana­da, and 11 times as fast as Italy.

China’s out­per­for­mance of advanced cap­i­tal­ist coun­tries is even greater in per capi­ta terms — a still bet­ter mea­sure of pro­duc­tiv­i­ty changes and poten­tial for increas­ing liv­ing stan­dards.

China’s per capi­ta GDP grew three times as fast as the US, five times as fast as Italy, 44 times as fast as Japan or France, and 260 times as fast as Britain — while per capi­ta GDP fell in Ger­many and Cana­da.

China’s out­per­for­mance of devel­op­ing cap­i­tal­ist coun­tries shows the same pat­tern — China’s per capi­ta 4.4 per cent GDP annu­al aver­age growth com­pares to 2.6 per cent in India, 1.3 per cent in Brazil, or 0.9 per cent in South Africa.

What is impor­tant about such eco­nom­ic growth, of course, is not abstract sta­tis­tics but its mean­ing for the real lives of ordi­nary peo­ple.

The Inter­na­tion­al Labour Organ­i­sa­tion data on real, infla­tion-adjust­ed, wages shows that up to the lat­est avail­able data — for most coun­tries to 2022, and for India to 2021 — China’s annu­al real wage growth was 4.7 per cent.

For Britain it was 0.1 per cent, for the US it was 0.3 per cent, in France it was minus 0.4 per cent, in Ger­many minus 0.7 per cent and in India minus 1.3 per cent.

Giv­en this enor­mous eco­nom­ic out­per­for­mance by Chi­na of cap­i­tal­ist coun­tries, any ratio­nal dis­cus­sion that should be tak­ing place in West­ern main­stream media about the inter­na­tion­al eco­nom­ic sit­u­a­tion would be, “why is China’s econ­o­my huge­ly out­per­form­ing the US and the rest of the cap­i­tal­ist West?” and, “what lessons are to be learned from China’s social­ist econ­o­my that is so out­per­form­ing the West?”

For the left, the issue that needs to be assessed and pub­li­cised is, “Why are real wages ris­ing 18 times as fast in Chi­na as in the US, 44 times as fast as in Britain, while in France, Ger­many or India real wages are falling?”

Indeed, the present author would argue that much greater stress should be placed on the lat­ter point. The inter­na­tion­al left has begun to absorb that Chi­na has lift­ed more than 850 mil­lion peo­ple out of World Bank-defined pover­ty in 40 years — by far the great­est pover­ty reduc­tion achieve­ment in human his­to­ry.

But it has not yet inter­nalised how rapid­ly not only the poor­est but aver­age liv­ing stan­dards are ris­ing in Chi­na — far faster than in any West­ern coun­try.

But, of course, this real eco­nom­ic sit­u­a­tion can’t be dis­cussed in the main­stream media, because its con­clu­sions would be too dam­ag­ing for the cap­i­tal­ist West.

Instead, a type of mad dis­cus­sion is unfold­ing, with US claims about China’s econ­o­my becom­ing increas­ing­ly bizarre — one might say deranged — as they get fur­ther and fur­ther out of touch with real­i­ty.

Pres­i­dent Joe Biden, for exam­ple, recent­ly made a speech claim­ing China’s eco­nom­ic growth rate is “around 2 per cent,” when it was 5.5 per cent in the first half of this year and, as already not­ed, China’s econ­o­my is grow­ing two-and-a-half times as fast as the US.

Biden bizarrely claimed that in Chi­na “the num­ber of peo­ple who are of retire­ment age is larg­er than the num­ber of peo­ple of work­ing age” — entire­ly false, and inac­cu­rate by a fig­ure of many hun­dreds of mil­lions of peo­ple.

Dis­cus­sion in the US finan­cial media equal­ly refus­es to face real facts. Because I am an econ­o­mist, every morn­ing, after the over­all news, I switch on Bloomberg TV to catch up on the lat­est eco­nom­ic data. Dis­cus­sion there is like Alice Through the Look­ing Glass — the book the prin­ci­ple of which is that every­thing is reversed com­pared to the real world.

Appar­ent­ly, accord­ing to Bloomberg’s analy­sis, China’s annu­al aver­age of 4.5 per cent a year growth in the last four years is an econ­o­my in severe cri­sis, where­as the US’s 1.8 per cent is alleged­ly strong growth — not to speak of Britain’s 0.1 per cent. Sim­i­lar rhetoric, out of all con­tact with fac­tu­al real­i­ty, per­vades the Finan­cial Times, The Econ­o­mist, or the Wall Street Jour­nal.

The left is well used to such US polit­i­cal lying — the com­plete­ly fake claim that North Viet­namese ships attacked US naval ves­sels on August 4 1964 in the Gulf of Tonkin, used to launch the Viet­nam war, or the equal­ly untrue claim that Iraq had weapons of mass destruc­tion to jus­ti­fy the US inva­sion, were clas­sic exam­ples.

Today, the US sys­tem­at­i­cal­ly lies about the state of Chi­na and its own econ­o­my because it is cru­cial for US cap­i­tal­ism to pre­vent its own cit­i­zens, and close allies, from under­stand­ing the real eco­nom­ic trends.

It is fur­ther proof, if one were need­ed, of the truth that if the real world and a the­o­ry do not coin­cide only one of two things can be done. One is to aban­don the the­o­ry, the oth­er is to aban­don the real world.

In this case, the the­o­ry is that the US, because it is cap­i­tal­ist, should out­per­form social­ist Chi­na. The real world is actu­al eco­nom­ic per­for­mance — in which Chi­na con­tin­ues to out­per­form the US and oth­er cap­i­tal­ist coun­tries by an enor­mous mar­gin.

Unable to aban­don its the­o­ry the US is there­fore forced to aban­don the real world — hence the dement­ed denial of com­par­a­tive eco­nom­ic per­for­mance not­ed at the begin­ning of this arti­cle.

While the left should expect lies from cap­i­tal­ism what is rather shame­ful is that some sec­tions of the left repeat such non­sense — appar­ent­ly believ­ing that if they put in a few left phras­es into an analy­sis tak­en from the West­ern press this con­sti­tutes “social­ist” com­men­tary.

For exam­ple, an arti­cle in the New Left Review’s Side­car called Chi­na a “zom­bie econ­o­my.” Some “zom­bie” when China’s econ­o­my is grow­ing any­where between two-and-a-half times and 480 times as fast as any major cap­i­tal­ist econ­o­my.

The real data shows the real­i­ty is sim­ple. Chi­na has far out­grown any West­ern cap­i­tal­ist econ­o­my for more than 40 years. It con­tin­ues to do so.

The result in Chi­na is by far the world’s most rapid rise in liv­ing stan­dards — not only for the poor­est but for the whole aver­age pop­u­la­tion. It is known as the prac­ti­cal advan­tage of social­ism. It is fact. We know why the US has to make up big lies about it. There is no jus­ti­fi­ca­tion for sec­tions of the left echo­ing them.

This arti­cle was orig­i­nal­ly pub­lished by the Morn­ing Star.

John Ross Senior Fel­low at Chongyang Insti­tute at Ren­min Uni­ver­si­ty of Chi­na and the win­ner of China’s top book award for for­eign writ­ers on Chi­na.

3.  “Mea­sures include mak­ing it eas­i­er for Tai­wanese peo­ple to live and work in Chi­na, but the plan comes amid major mil­i­tary exer­cis­es” by Helen David­son; The Guardian; 9/13/2023.

China’s gov­ern­ment has unveiled a “new path towards inte­grat­ed  devel­op­ment” with Tai­wan, includ­ing pro­pos­als to make it eas­i­er for Tai­wanese peo­ple to live, study and work in Chi­na.

At the same time, it sent the largest num­ber of war­ships to gath­er in years to the waters on Taiwan’s east, in what ana­lysts said sig­nalled a choice between peace­ful “reuni­fi­ca­tion” and mil­i­tary vio­lence, just months out from Taiwan’s pres­i­den­tial elec­tion.

The new mea­sures, released by the rul­ing Com­mu­nist party’s Cen­tral Com­mit­tee and the State Coun­cil on Tues­day said the coastal province of Fujian would become a “demon­stra­tion zone” for inte­grat­ed devel­op­ment.

The 21 mea­sures include facil­i­tat­ing Tai­wanese peo­ple to live in Fujian and access social ser­vices, expand­ing enrol­ment of Tai­wanese stu­dents in Fujian schools, and deep­en­ing indus­tri­al coop­er­a­tion.

The move is aimed at deep­en­ing cross-strait inte­grat­ed devel­op­ment in all fields and advanc­ing the peace­ful reuni­fi­ca­tion of the moth­er­land,” said offi­cial state media out­let, Chi­na Dai­ly.

The Glob­al Times, a hawk­ish state-backed news out­let, described the doc­u­ment as “equiv­a­lent to out­lin­ing the future devel­op­ment blue­print of Tai­wan island”.

Chi­na Dai­ly said that “pair cities” of Xia­men and Kin­men, and Fuzhou and Mat­su would play “an even more promi­nent role”. The islands of Kin­men and Mat­su sit just a few kilo­me­tres from the Chi­nese main­land and have some cul­tur­al and eco­nom­ic ties, but are gov­erned by Tai­wan.

Taiwan’s media exten­sive­ly cov­ered the announce­ment, with a par­tic­u­lar focus on mea­sures encour­ag­ing Tai­wanese to buy homes and invest in Fujian. Respons­es were scep­ti­cal, with many point­ing to the prop­er­ty mar­ket cri­sis in Chi­na.

“The Chi­nese gov­ern­ment has cut leeks among its own peo­ple, now they turn to the Tai­wanese,” said one com­menter, using an idiom that refers to finan­cial indus­tries tak­ing advan­tage of gullible investors.

In cen­tral Taipei on Wednes­day, sev­er­al res­i­dents told the Guardian they were not attract­ed by the pro­pos­al. Ter­ry Hung, a 37-year-old phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal indus­try work­er, said it looked “very risky”.

“I do not want to invest in prop­er­ty in a com­mu­nist nation, shar­ing my prop­er­ties with that gov­ern­ment. I do not want to work in an auto­crat­ic coun­try because human rights and labour rights are all con­trolled by the gov­ern­ment,” he said. “If one day your opin­ion does not align with the government’s stance, you will be at risk of arrest or deten­tion.”

Ms Hsieh, a retired teacher, said young peo­ple could make their own deci­sions but “the polit­i­cal envi­ron­ment, the sur­round­ings, etc, in Chi­na are so dif­fer­ent from Tai­wan that the Tai­wanese may not adapt”.

Not all were opposed. A young TV pro­duc­tion assis­tant, Shin, said she was inter­est­ed in the pro­pos­als to broad­en exchanges for stu­dents and for the TV and radio indus­try.

“I believe that any oppor­tu­ni­ty to pro­mote cross-strait exchanges and mutu­al ben­e­fits is excel­lent,” she said. “If there is an oppor­tu­ni­ty I would be inter­est­ed in going to Chi­na.”

Xi Jin­ping wants “reuni­fi­ca­tion” with Tai­wan with­out war, although he has said he is pre­pared to use force. The inte­gra­tion plan coin­cid­ed with the mass­ing of Chi­nese war­ships in the west­ern Pacif­ic for what appeared to be major mil­i­tary exer­cis­es.

On Mon­day the People’s Lib­er­a­tion Army (PLA) sent a car­ri­er strike group past Taiwan’s south­ern tip into the west­ern Pacif­ic Ocean, led by the air­craft car­ri­er Shan­dong. Dozens of war­planes were also detect­ed by Tai­wan fly­ing new and longer pat­terns over the medi­an line of the Tai­wan Strait, and to the islands south as they accom­pa­nied the strike group.

On Tues­day, Japan’s defence min­istry detect­ed two flotil­las of eight war­ships sail­ing through the Miyako Strait south of Oki­nawa, on a course that ana­lysts said could con­verge with the Shan­dong-led group. Anoth­er 36 war plane sor­ties were detect­ed on Wednes­day morn­ing, Taiwan’s defence min­istry said. Should the groups con­verge, it would form the largest ever manoeu­vres seen involv­ing a Chi­nese air­craft car­ri­er, Su Tzu-yun, an ana­lyst at the Insti­tute for Nation­al Defense and Secu­ri­ty Research, told the Finan­cial Times.

In Tai­wan a senior mil­i­tary offi­cial, Gen­er­al Huang Wen-chi, told media on Tues­day the Shan­dong “undoubt­ed­ly pos­es a new threat”.

Chi­nese author­i­ties have made no announce­ment about the exer­cis­es, and as of pub­li­ca­tion there were no nav­i­ga­tion­al warn­ings issued for the area. The PLA last held major exer­cis­es with the Shan­dong to Taiwan’s east in reac­tion to a meet­ing between Tai­wan pres­i­dent Tsai Ing-wen and US House speak­er Kevin McCarthy. Ana­lysts have told the Guardian they sus­pect this week’s activ­i­ty is in response to recent tran­sits of the Tai­wan Strait and joint exer­cis­es involv­ing the US and allies, and a con­tin­u­a­tion of mil­i­tary threats to Tai­wan.

In Jan­u­ary, Tai­wan will have its next pres­i­den­tial elec­tion, and it is wide­ly expect­ed that Bei­jing will seek to influ­ence vot­ers dur­ing the cam­paign, as it has done in pre­vi­ous years. It is most opposed to a vic­to­ry by the rul­ing Demo­c­ra­t­ic Pro­gres­sive par­ty (DPP), which is the most stri­dent in assert­ing Taiwan’s sta­tus as a sov­er­eign nation. Vice-pres­i­dent Lai Ching-te, the DPP’s pres­i­den­tial can­di­date, is the present fron­trun­ner.

How­ev­er oppo­si­tion par­ties – and a grow­ing major­i­ty of Taiwan’s peo­ple – also reject the prospect of Chi­nese rule. After Tsai came to pow­er in 2016, Bei­jing cut off for­mal com­mu­ni­ca­tions with Taipei.

Ror­ry Daniels, man­ag­ing direc­tor of the Asia Soci­ety Pol­i­cy Insti­tute, said Wednesday’s dual sig­nals of a peace­ful inte­gra­tion plan, while simul­ta­ne­ous­ly stag­ing inten­sive mil­i­tary exer­cis­es were a sign of the con­fused mes­sag­ing.

“How are the Tai­wanese peo­ple sup­posed to inter­pret this? Go to the main­land for great eco­nom­ic oppor­tu­ni­ty, but fly over the war­ships we’ve sur­round­ed your island with?”

3. “COVID levels are so high, they’re hovering near 2020’s initial peak,   as the WHO urges those at high risk to take any booster they can get   their hands on” by Erin Prater; Fortune; 09/16/2023.

U.S. COVID infec­tions are hov­er­ing near lev­els of the pandemic’s first peak in 2020, and approach­ing the Delta peak of late 2021, accord­ing to waste­water sur­veil­lance and mod­el­ing by fore­cast­ers.

It’s yet anoth­er sign that while the offi­cial pan­dem­ic state may be over, the days of COVID are far from it.

Viral waste­water lev­els are not far behind all of the pandemic’s 2020 peaks except for one—the ini­tial peak of March 2020, which they’ve already sur­passed. And they lag just slight­ly lev­els seen dur­ing the dead­ly Delta peak of late 2021, accord­ing to Biobot Ana­lyt­ics, which mon­i­tors such data for the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment.

A fore­cast issued this week by Jay Wei­land, a lead­ing COVID mod­el­er, came to the same con­clu­sions. On Thurs­day, Wei­land esti­mat­ed that 650,000 Amer­i­cans are becom­ing infect­ed dai­ly, with 1 in 51 Amer­i­cans cur­rent­ly infect­ed with COVID. 

An addi­tion­al 7% to 10% of the U.S. pop­u­la­tion will be infect­ed over the next month and a half, Wei­land pre­dict­ed.

Both Biobot data and Wieland’s mod­el­ing show U.S. cas­es begin­ning to recede. But they may not fall much more, if any, before the antic­i­pat­ed fall and win­ter surge.

WHO flags concerning trend

Infec­tions aside, COVID hos­pi­tal­iza­tions and deaths are con­tin­u­ing to rise, accord­ing to the lat­est data avail­able from the U.S. Cen­ters for Dis­ease Con­trol and Pre­ven­tion. Hos­pi­tal­iza­tions rose near­ly 9% from Aug. 27 through Sept. 2, the most recent peri­od for which the fed­er­al health agency made data avail­able. And deaths rose near­ly 5% from Sept. 3–9.

The World Health Orga­ni­za­tion con­tin­ues to receive reports on con­cern­ing COVID trends, includ­ing a grow­ing num­ber of coun­tries report­ing an increase in infec­tions, hos­pi­tal­iza­tions, and ICU admis­sions, Maria Van Kerk­hove, tech­ni­cal lead for COVID-19 response, said at a Thurs­day news con­fer­ence.

Vac­ci­na­tion, in addi­tion to ear­ly diag­no­sis and access to care, can pre­vent severe dis­ease and death, she said. WHO offi­cials encour­aged those at high risk for poor out­comes from the virus, like the elder­ly and immuno­com­pro­mised, to obtain a boost­er ASAP—even if it’s not the lat­est XBB for­mu­la being rolled out in some parts of the world.

Vac­ci­nat­ing and boost­ing with any avail­able ver­sion “remains vital­ly impor­tant to sav­ing people’s lives now,” offi­cials said.

U.S. approves updated XBB boosters

All Amer­i­cans ages 6 months and old­er are eli­gi­ble to receive an updat­ed COVID boost­er tai­lored to the XBB Omi­cron strain, the CDC announced this week.

The agency’s Advi­so­ry Com­mit­tee on Immu­niza­tion Prac­tices vot­ed 13–1 Tues­day to approve updat­ed jabs from Mod­er­naPfiz­er, and Novavax for the vast major­i­ty of U.S. res­i­dents. Short­ly there­after, the fed­er­al health agency announced that it had accept­ed the committee’s rec­om­men­da­tion, and that vac­cines would be avail­able lat­er in the week.

The U.S. Food and Drug Admin­is­tra­tion has yet to approve Novavax’s updat­ed for­mu­la. But the agency autho­rized such boost­ers from Mod­er­na and Pfiz­er on Mon­day.

The CDC antic­i­pates hav­ing ade­quate boost­er sup­ply and shouldn’t need to pri­or­i­tize cer­tain groups—like the elder­ly or immunocompromised—for first dos­es, fed­er­al health offi­cials said at the Tues­day com­mit­tee meet­ing.

All eli­gi­ble should get the new boost­er when pos­si­ble, Dr. Georges Ben­jamin, exec­u­tive direc­tor of the Amer­i­can Pub­lic Health Asso­ci­a­tion, told For­tune on Tues­day.

“It is clear that the vac­cine remains safe and effec­tive at all ages,” he said. “Peo­ple at high risk will espe­cial­ly ben­e­fit from the vac­cine.”

In a state­ment pro­vid­ed to For­tune, the Amer­i­can Med­ical Asso­ci­a­tion on Tues­day said it wel­comed the committee’s rec­om­men­da­tions, con­tend­ing that the updat­ed jabs would pre­vent about 400,000 hos­pi­tal­iza­tions and 40,000 deaths over the next cou­ple of years.

“We con­tin­ue to strong­ly urge every­one to stay up to date on their COVID-19, influen­za, and RSV vac­cines to pro­tect them­selves and their loved ones from severe com­pli­ca­tions, hos­pi­tal­iza­tion, and death,” the orga­ni­za­tion said, adding that it expect­ed an increase in infec­tions this fall and win­ter.

New boost­er, dying strain

Last year’s updat­ed Omi­cron boost­ers, released around Labor Day, were biva­lent, tai­lored to both Omi­cron and the ini­tial strain of COVID. This year’s boost­ers are mono­va­lent, mean­ing they’re tai­lored to just one strain of the virus: XBB.1.5 “Krak­en,” which dom­i­nat­ed in the U.S. and else­where late last year into ear­ly this year.

The strain is now near­ly extinct. XBB.1.5 was esti­mat­ed to be respon­si­ble for just 2.2% of U.S. infec­tions Fri­day, accord­ing to the lat­est vari­ant data the CDC has made avail­able.

While the newest jabs are tai­lored to a dying strain of Omi­cron, they’re still expect­ed to pro­tect against severe dis­ease and death from cur­rent­ly cir­cu­lat­ing strains, the vast major­i­ty of which are mem­bers of the XBB viral fam­i­ly.

The for­mu­la for the new vac­cines “is high­ly sim­i­lar to the EG.5‑related vari­ants cir­cu­lat­ing now,” Dr. Stu­art Ray, vice chair of med­i­cine for data integri­ty and ana­lyt­ics at Johns Hop­kins’ Depart­ment of Med­i­cine, told For­tune on Tues­day.

Recent­ly released pre­lim­i­nary data shows that refreshed boost­ers should also offer decent pro­tec­tion against new, high­ly mutat­ed Omi­cron spawn “Piro­la” BA.2.86. It’s not a mem­ber of the XBB fam­i­ly, and is instead thought to have evolved from so-called “stealth Omi­cron” BA.2.

The updat­ed vaccine’s pro­tec­tion against Piro­la won’t be as good as the pro­tec­tion it offers against EG.5 and oth­er XBB vari­ants, Ray said. Still, there is more to immu­ni­ty than anti­bod­ies, pro­duced by B cells in response to infec­tion and vac­ci­na­tion. The oth­er, oft-for­got­ten half of the immune sys­tem, T cells, pro­vides pro­tec­tion against severe dis­ease. While T cells can’t pre­vent infec­tion like B cells can, they still help soft­en the blow—of a BA.2.86 infec­tion, EG.5 infec­tion, or oth­er­wise.

Rising concern for troublesome ‘flip’ mutations

While the Unit­ed States’ “vari­ant soup” remained large­ly unchanged Fri­day, accord­ing to new data released by the CDC, experts con­tin­ued to sound alarm bells about a ris­ing pro­por­tion of vari­ants that share the same con­cern­ing muta­tions.

Around 93% of U.S. COVID sequences over the past month con­tain the muta­tion F486P, Raj Rajnarayanan—assistant dean of research and asso­ciate pro­fes­sor at the New York Insti­tute of Tech­nol­o­gy cam­pus in Jones­boro, Ark., and a top COVID-vari­ant tracker—told For­tune on Fri­day. The muta­tion, locat­ed on the spike pro­tein, increas­es the virus’s abil­i­ty to effec­tive­ly infect by bind­ing more tight­ly with human cells. Raj­narayanan refers to it as this season’s sig­na­ture muta­tion.

About half of U.S. sequences in over the same peri­od picked up the F456L muta­tion, also in the spike pro­tein, he said. The muta­tion makes the virus bet­ter at evad­ing immu­ni­ty from vac­ci­na­tion and pri­or infec­tion. All top U.S. lin­eages have this muta­tion, he added.

What’s more, top lin­eages are also begin­ning to pick up the spike muta­tion L455F, which prof­fers fur­ther ease of infect­ing cells, Raj­narayanan added. 

Vari­ant track­ers refer to the F456L and L455F muta­tions as “flip” muta­tions, for com­plex sci­en­tif­ic rea­sons involv­ing amino acid changes. The duo is becom­ing one of the most con­cern­ing trends of the sea­son, experts say, with near­ly 20% of waste­water sam­ples tracked by Biobot con­tain­ing such muta­tions.

Once again this fall and win­ter, no one vari­ant may gain a major advan­tage over oth­ers, experts say. But vari­ants with the “flip com­bo” like­ly to become dom­i­nant and pose this season’s largest issue.

What’s more, it’s like­ly that high­ly mutat­ed vari­ant “Piro­la” BA.2.86 picks up “flip” at some point, Raj­narayanan said, mak­ing it more of an issue—and poten­tial­ly grant­i­ng it the abil­i­ty to spread more effec­tive­ly.


One comment for “FTR#1313 Update on The Destabilization of China, Part 2”

  1. Chi­na grad­u­ates more engi­neers per year than the entire world com­bined. How­ev­er, I’d like to point out that Chi­nese tech com­pa­ny Aliba­ba was the biggest IPO in Wall Street his­to­ry. Aliba­ba is com­mon­ly cit­ed as the cre­ator of what is now called the “social cred­it sys­tem.” For more infor­ma­tion see the book The Tao of Aliba­ba.

    Posted by Magnificat | October 22, 2023, 8:10 pm

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