China this week revived its favorite pastime: Cracking down on stuff – on anything really. The Communist Party dares you to find something it can swoop in on and shut down. Word is the Organizational Department and the Discipline and Inspection Agency might merge to form the Ministry of Probe and Smackdown. But in that case, they would also need an independent crackdown watchdog, one to crack down on crackdowns.
Here’s where all the fun is happening:
Google services don’t really work these days. The party had enough of gmail and Google search. On the technology forefront, cadres also tired of Microsoft products this week. If you use Windows 8 and you’re a bureaucrat functionary in a Kafkaesque party organ, be prepared to use a Chinese developed operating system. Wait, does that even exist?
People say China’s economy is slowing but the government has started to crack down on that. It’s printing yuan as fast as the presses will let it. Watch out IMF! Your latest economic forecast might attract a crackdown of its own. While China might want its banks to lend more, don’t get any crazy ideas about lending money on your own – because you know what will happen.
It’s a bad time to border China. If crackdowns are the new pastime in Beijing, Vietnamese fishermen will have to stay out of their traditional fishing waters until the phase wanes. Malaysia’s effort to bring order to nearby seas will certainly earn it the hastiest of crackdowns. Even distant counties should beware. If the US wants to avoid a sickle-and-hammer-style smackdown, it should forget about solar tariffs and simply accept the fact that China will never let it review the working papers of its state companies.
CER isn’t sure what might have inspired all the crackdowns this week. But one thing’s for sure: The crackdowns are far reaching. Whether you’re a copper trader, a CCTV anchorman or just some guy that wants to open a free trade zone somewhere, the crackdown frenzy has probably touched your life.
Hell, China might even crack down on you personally. But don’t take it the wrong way.