By: Raúl Zibechi
You have to go back to the periods of Nazism and Stalinism, almost a century ago, to find examples of population control as extensive and intense as those happening these days in China with the excuse of the coronavirus. It’s a gigantic military and sanitary panoptic, which confines the population to live enclosed and under permanent vigilance.
The images that reach us about daily life in wide areas of China, not only in the city of Wuhan and Hubei province, where 60 million people live, give the impression of an enormous open pit concentration camp because of the imposition of quarantine on all its inhabitants.
Deserted cities where only health and safety personnel travel. Everyone’s temperature is taken at the entrance to supermarkets, shopping centers and residential complexes. If there are family members in quarantine, only one member has the right to go out every two days to buy food supplies.
In some cities those who don’t use masks can end up in jail. The use of disposable gloves and pencils is encouraged for pressing elevator buttons. China’s cities seem like ghost towns, to the point that in Wuhan you hardly find people in the streets.
It’s necessary to insist that fear is circulating faster than the coronavirus and that contrary to what is believed, “the main killer in the history of humanity was and is malnutrition,” as an essential interview in the Comune-info portal emphasizes.
What’s usual in history has been to place infected people in quarantine, but millions of healthy people have never been isolated in this way. Vageesh Jain, doctor and academic at the University College London Institute of Global Health, wonders: “Is such a drastic response justified? What about the rights of healthy people personas?”
According to the WHO, each person infected with coronavirus can infect two more, while the measles patient infects 12 to 18 people. That’s why Jain assures that more than 99.9 percent of the inhabitants of Hubei province are not contagious and that: “the vast majority of the population trapped in the region are not feeling ill and are unlikely to become infected.”
Bulletin 142 of the European Laboratory of Political Anticipation (LEAP, its initials in Spanish) reflects: “China triggered an emergency action plan of unprecedented magnitude after only 40 deaths in a population of 1.2 billion people, knowing that the flu kills 3,000 people in France every year.” In 2019, the flu killed 40,000 people in the United States. The measles kills 100,000 people each year and the flu kills half a million worldwide.
The LEAP maintains that we are faced with a new social model of crisis management, which has the approval of the West. Italy followed that path by isolating 10 towns with 50,000 inhabitants, when there were only 16 people with the coronavirus.
China exercises a sophisticated control of the population, from video-vigilance with 400 million cameras in the streets to the “social credit” point system that regulates citizens’ behavior. Now control is multiplied, including territorial surveillance with “volunteer” brigades of neighbors in each neighborhood.
I would like to enter into several considerations, not from the point of view of health, but rather from one that leaves the management of this epidemic to the antisystemic movements.
The first is that China being the future global hegemon, the practices of that State towards its population reveal the type of society that the elites want to build and propose to the world. The forms of control that China exercises are extremely useful to the ruling classes of the entire planet for keeping those below within bounds, in periods like the deep economic, social and political convulsions, of the terminal crisis of capitalism.
The second is that the elites are using the epidemic as a social engineering laboratory, for the purpose of tightening the siege on the population with a double mesh, on a macro and micro scale, combining a minute control at the local level with another general and extensive control like Internet censorship and video surveillance.
I consider that we are facing a test that will be applied in critical situations, such as natural disasters, tsunamis and earthquakes; but especially before the great social convulsions capable of provoking devastating political crises for those above. In sum, they are preparing for eventual challenges to their domination.
The third is that the peoples still don’t know how we are going to face the powerful mechanisms for control of large populations, which are combined with the militarization of societies in the face of revolts and uprisings, as is happening in Ecuador.
Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada
Friday, February 28, 2020
Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee