Sunday, October 25, 2020

Even as China provokes India in Ladakh, its domestic woes reveal the country is in deep crisis

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Even as China opens fronts along its border, its domestic woes says country is in deep crisis

— Consider reading the article Even as China provokes India in Ladakh, its domestic woes reveal the country is in deep crisis on OpIndia website —

On the intervening night of August 29 and 30, a contingent of Chinese soldiers stealthily attempted to transgress into Indian territory on the southern bank of Pangong Tso lake in Eastern Ladakh, triggering a fresh wave of confrontation between the Armed Forces of the world’s two most populous nation.

However, Indian forces, having had the first-hand experience of Chinese treachery in Galwan Valley, were vigilant of the possibility of another clandestine attempt by China’s PLA troops to nibble away at Indian territory. This time Indian forces outfoxed the Chinese manoeuvres and pushed back about 400-500 Chinese soldiers while managing to take control of a previously unoccupied ‘strategic height’ in the area.

While the Chinese proceeded on a surreptitious plan to renew hostilities along the simmering Line of Actual Control, its penchant for inciting provocation belies the raft of domestic woes that are staring the authoritarian ruler Xi Jinping in his face.

China facing a food crisis as floods inundate large swathes of the country

China is also suffering from a looming food crisis. However, this crisis has been spun by the Chinese premier as a crusade against food wastage. China’s food shortage was also tacitly acknowledged by Xi Jinping when he launched a campaign against food waste. Jinping launched a campaign known as “Clean Plate”, urging people to order fewer plates of food while visiting restaurants and avoid wasting food.

Reports claim that farmers in China are hoarding crops. They believe that a shortage of food supply might be imminent. A senior agriculture minister has issued reassuring statements that consumers should not resort to panic buying. But, it appears that such reassurance have fallen on deaf ears.

Excessive rains and subsequent flooding have already disrupted the production of wheat, rice and other crop production in the provinces along the entire Yangtze River.

The campaign calling for judicious use of food came after southern China witnessed mass flooding, wrecking farmers and ruining tons of farm produce. Since early June, China has been severely impacted by massive downpouring that has inundated large tracts of Southern China.

The catastrophic floods, described as the worst since 1998, had reportedly affected more than 63 million people and cause a direct economic loss of more than $26 billion.

China’s agriculture is also pummeled by the scourge of African swine flu that has led to the death of more than a million hogs. Last year, the African flu killed more than 180 million swine, about 40 per cent of China’s pig population. Meanwhile, the locusts have devoured about 3 millions of acres of cropland along their way. The onset of the floods has only exacerbated the government’s efforts to control the spread of the locust damage and the raging infection among the swine.

China’s top banks reporting enormous losses

China is currently in the throes of grave economic crisis, with its banks reporting inordinate losses. Chinese banks–Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, China Construction Bank, Agricultural Bank of China, Bank of China and Bank of Communications have lost billions of dollars in profit. One of the reasons is because the Chinese government has pressed them into “national service”, wringing money out of them to support the economy that is staggering under the coronavirus crisis.

As per reports, the Chinese Communist Party has asked its banks to forgo 219 billion dollars and to reduce the lending rates and postpone the payments on loans. Besides, Chinese banks have to deal with non-performing loans of worth $ 480 billion, a statement released by China’s top banking regulator says.

Oil companies in China staring at cratering losses

In addition, China’s oil companies are also reeling under the coronavirus-induced lockdown across the world. Sinopec, one of Asia’s biggest refineries has reported a staggering loss of $3.2 billion, as the demand for oil has plummeted amidst pervasive lockdown. This is Sinopec’s world ever loss over a period of 6 months.

Another Chinese oil behemoth, Petrochina, the country’s biggest oil producer, has posted an even bigger loss of approximately $4 billion.

Beset by a host of domestic problems, China’s bold pursuit of aggressively claiming overlapping territorial disputes with more than 14 of its neighbours, including India, betrays that it might be a ploy by the embattled Chinese premier Xi Jinping to cause a distraction away from the internal woes, and rally support by leaning on nationalism.

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