President Xi Jinping made his first public appearance in nearly two weeks, finally squelching the rumors of him being under house arrest.
Numerous rumors rapidly spread online last weekend about President Xi possibly being put on house arrest, but we reported on September 24, “It seems highly unlikely at this point [that President Xi was put on house arrest], but the internet rumors are stirring. Right now, it is mainly India-based news reports that are carrying the details of the story and this comes on the back of high discontent in China.”
The earliest indications we had that the rumors were false came from team members on the ground in Beijing and though the rumors were not true, there are FIVE reasons why the unconfirmed reports still circulated. We will discuss these fully in our next podcast which will be posted soon.
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The FIVE primary reasons for why the President Xi rumors persisted are important, because China is going through major changes. These changes are impacting the church in a major way and has already changed how the government is treating unregistered fellowships.
The rumor of President Xi’s arrest catered to the weaknesses rising in China that are simply not being reported. These weaknesses are not highlighted in China’s government-controlled news outlets or in foreign mainstream media.
The FIVE primary reasons that rumors about President Xi persisted and why they point to a bigger problem are:
- Numerous Indian news outlets ran with the story, but India may not be the most reliable source for information. Pakistan has always been India’s top nemesis, but today a battle is brewing between the land of the Dragon and the land of the Elephant. Aggressive and deadly border skirmishes between Chinese and Indian troops are taking place around Pangong Lake, a disputed area between China and India. The rapid fire release of articles flowing out of India about the possible demise of President Xi points to a bigger problem that China has with its giant neighbor to the south.
- Deadly protests are taking place all over China, but are not being reported. China’s Zero-Covid Strategy is clearly no longer about public health – it is about control. While the rest of the world has opened up and abolished all, or most, of Covid regulations, China has remained in lockdown and has implemented some of the most draconian Covid-19 control measures in the world. Citizens have been forcefully locked in their homes, travelers restricted to zones, and tens of thousands have been dragged to government quarantine camps. Businesses have been shut down, livelihoods have been destroyed, and the banking system is in the tank. This has led to citizens feeling helpless and led to deadly clashes in the street, but is being hidden by the Chinese media and largely ignored in mainstream media.
- Several top government leaders in China who were not fully behind President Xi have been arrested and some even sentenced to death. China’s former justice minister, Fu Zhenghua, for instance, who spearheaded several corruption-fighting campaigns, was arrested for bribery and just last week, sentenced to death. Fu’s death sentence follows the sentencing of three other former provincial police chiefs last week. All four men were accused of being disloyal to President Xi. This string of death sentences for President Xi’s political enemies points to a bigger problem in the political stream and gave life to the rumors circulated over the weekend.
- Not many financial institutions are reporting it, but in reality, China’s economy is bleeding. Breakneck construction projects leading to massive ghost towns can no longer be sustained, the people no longer trust their money to the central bank, China has become inhospitable to foreign investors, and experts are warning that China might be on the cusp of experiencing a “lost decade.” China’s dictatorship has been tolerable because of the economic growth, but as that growth comes to a screeching halt, the unrest is starting to bubble up. This economically-charged unrest points to a larger problem in China that also contributed to the rumors of President Xi’s house arrest.
- An unexplainable number of flights were reportedly canceled in the days leading up to the rumored military coup against President Xi. It was reported that 60% of flights or about 9,583 flights were cancelled across China on Wednesday, 21 September 2022, with the Beijing Capital International Airport canceling 622 flights alone. Shanghai, Shenzhen, Chengdu, and several other large airports reported cancelations. The unusual disruption in flight cancelations around China also contributed to the rumors.
The bottom line in China is that things are not looking good for the future. Since the government launched a concentrated focus against the house church in China in 2019, things have gone downhill. Throughout history, stable societies and growing economies have always relied on freedom of religion. Even though the rumors about President Xi were not true, the Communist Party of China will enter into a new era of confirming an unopposed leader in a manner that has not happened since the days of Mao Zedong. If President Xi does not want to see China go through the same hardship that it did under Chairman Mao, then perhaps it would be a good idea to once again, open the doors of religious freedom.