Editor’s note for Monday, April 13, 2020

Dear Access member,

The only people in the world who seem unaware how much the Trump administration has eroded the world’s confidence in the U.S. — especially since the COVID-19 pandemic hit America — seem to be members of the Republican Party. But China’s image may suffer a much bigger blow:

“China is in its deepest international crisis since 1949. Yes, it’s worse than in 1989.” That’s a tweet from the anonymous Twitter account “I might know China,” which seems to be run by an insider or former insider from the state media apparatus. He goes on:

Economist Huá Shēng 华生 has consistently proved to be the sole sane Chinese voice with a profile all along [examples: 1, 2]. Read his latest post [in Chinese, backed up here if deleted]…

I strongly agree with Hua that Beijing’s unwillingness to get to the bottom of this and punish those responsible is rooted in deep fear, the fear that if we indeed get to the bottom of this then that will be cited as evidence domestically and internationally for retribution

If we go down this path, everything will be f**ked: no lesson will be learnt, no foreign relations will be restored. It’s a bit like the Cultural Revolution. What Beijing managed was always a half-assed lesson. So to this day we are still hunted by its ghosts.

Plus, the initial boast of Xi himself [personally] overseeing everything from the very beginning has also effectively LOCKED us out of the political feasibility of finding a way. Following that boast, it’s very difficult to find any meaningful political compromise…

Propaganda, diplomacy, lack of transparency domestically, political culture, cult, nationalism, brainwashing, everything, everything is now coming together to paint this picture we are in right now.

I wasn’t here for one day or two then I found out Chinese people are attacking Thailand now?

Thailand??? What the f**k have my compatriots become? [See story 2 below.]

For more on this, see our top story below, and also:

Our word of the day is pipa, a Chinese lute: 琵琶 pípá. Today we published a Sinica Podcast extra, with music, about Liú Déhǎi 刘德海, a virtuoso of the instrument who sadly died at the age of  83 on the weekend.

—Jeremy Goldkorn, Editor-in-Chief