A week has gone by, and still little has emerged as to the precise policies to be rolled out by the new leadership team, although there has been continued solid confirmation of the basic policy direction—central control, self-reliance and common prosperity being our shorthand summary. There have been rumors about relaxation of COVID controls, but they could well be planted by securities companies trying to ramp the market, and in that they have been successful. The bottom line seems to be—this is the new normal, get used to it.
A virus outbreak near the massive Foxconn facility in Zhengzhou, which has 300,000 workers, led to a breakout by seemingly thousands who did not want to be locked down. This factory produces something like 80% of the iPhones for Apple, and one can only presume that Tim Cook is currently mulling changes to the all-eggs-in-one-China-basket manufacturing strategy that he and Steve Jobs put together a decade and more ago. The world is changing and the unthinkable might become thinkable.
But a thought to end the week. What is the problem that the Party has with women in its upper echelons? In fact, in just about all levels of its structure? There are no women at all in the new 24-man Politburo unveiled a week or so ago, and the few women in the hierarchy are definitely notable as exceptions more than anything else. It’s ridiculous. Chairman Mao, the patron saint of the party, once famously said that woman hold up half of heaven (妇女能顶半边天), and maybe they do, but they don’t hold up half of the Chinese power structure. What is the reason for this men-only club approach? In the private sector, so many strong females have emerged as corporate leaders and the male-only club approach is not necessarily a part of Chinese culture either. The island across the way has a female leader, for instance. Most of the women in the leadership since 1949 have been wives of the male leaders, and it seems the Chairman was actually being polite and he viewed females as important largely as a labor resource and as child-bearers. The current campaign to get couples to have a third child sort of echoes this. Is it a male self-confidence issue? Or they don’t want the ladyfolk to be too aware of the decision-making process for some reason? Or the whole thing is based on relationships and women…well… you have to be careful? “It’s because women are ‘different’ and it requires more effort to include them,” one lady suggested. “Women often have different priorities than men and might not agree on the chosen direction.” We don’t know, but it is truly puzzling.
And with that, we wish all, male and female, a great weekend.