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"Big Game" Strategy: A Self-Directed We-Media Farce In China

In the past month, power outages took place in a few of China's cities and towns, especially the northern area. The outages were unplanned and sometimes without official Notice, which caused significant inconvenience to local people's lives. Traffic accidents occur, and the security of jewelry shops is threatened at night. Domino effects on other industries follow as well. Also, a series of conspiracy theories were hyped, and among all, the so-called "Big Game" Strategy.

The topic about Power outages and local brownout policies went up to the top trending on the Internet in early September, propelled by the people's complaints and arguments. People complained about the power outage's inconvenience. Remarkably, the arguments about the reasons accounting for the brownout policies are the primary argument.

As usual, a mass of We-Media, including industry experts and analysts, participated in the discussion and expressed their opinions spontaneously on the social media platform. They used thousands of words to elaborate, combined with detailed data, quoting with diverse data and authoritative reports, adapting different analysis methods, thus, bringing forward a so-called "Big Game" Strategy.

# What is the "Big Game" Strategy about?

According to those We-Media, the "Big Game" Strategy comprises four objectives:

  1. China's power outages aim to reduce the domestic production activities, thus foreign trades and the US dollar inflows.

  2. China's power outages are to prevent domestic factories' dumping at low prices.

  3. China's power outages will push up inflation in the US.

  4. China's power blackout is a strategy to strive for pricing power internationally.

In Summary, China is now experiencing a Financial War against the western economy. The import prices of raw materials (coal, natural gas, chemical materials, etc.) have skyrocketed internationally. Meanwhile, China's enterprises received many overseas orders, which resulted in overproduction. These situations, from their perspectives, are unfavorable to China. Hence, the government has to restrict the power supply to reduce the production capacity. The advantage is said that once the production capacity is lowered, China's demand for imported raw materials will decrease, and raw materials prices will also drop. And less production capacity will lead to fewer exports. Thus, the export price will rise, which sets China on the favorable side in the trade. As a result, China's enterprises can better survive in the so-called Financial War.

Following that logic, China's people have to support and stand with the government and promote the implementation of the government's "Big Game" strategy.

# The loopholes of the "Big Game" Strategy

Some people point out that the "Big Game" strategy ignores the critical fact that the outages only affect ordinary people when the production activities of factories are actually not interrupted at all.

# Why do people buy the "Big Game" Strategy?

After receiving extensive complaints from residents and noting various incidents, China's Power Grid Center claimed responsibility for the power outages and set to increase the power supply and production capacity to ensure electricity for residents.

However, this claim didn't make a positive impact but fomented many independent News Media's confidence in the strategy they speculated.

"We never doubt China's electricity supply, it is just because of 'Big Game' strategy that government restricts the power use." Said one of We-Media. "China's Power Grid Center did nothing wrong. And their apology is just an excuse to cover up their real purpose and makes people calm down." They firmly believe the government is scheming a magnificent and confidential project to hedge against western conspiracy, and all government's actions and regulations are for the people's good.

"I actually didn't believe those independent thinking media, industry experts in the beginning, but when more media are joining the line, and even China's 'Buffett' is forwarding the same content. It's hard to tell they are wrong. How can you deny those successful people's authority and judgment." Zhang Chengyu shared his perspective.

Xinyuan, a Chinese radio host, who doesn't buy the strategy, said: "Many media are taking the advantage of people's patriotism and sentiments to hype this strategy and gain people's recognition and subscriptions. The 'Big Game' Strategy actually is nonsense. It's like someone stole your phone, and you covered up for him by saying he must have done it because he thought I should change a new phone."

# The collapse of the "Big Game" Strategy

At the end of September, China Central TV, the most authoritative and official news agency, clarified the main reasons that induced the blackouts in some places. The coal shortage is one of them but secondary. The primary reason is the cost of coal and the benchmark electricity price are heavily inverted. Simply speaking, for each kilowatt-hour the power supply companies provide to the residents, they will lose 0.2 RMB. The loss looks small, but it accelerated exponentially on a large scale. Therefore, to reduce losses, some regional power plants no longer generate electricity.

China's power outages disclosed that power supply companies fail to make adjustments during the industrial upgrading. And their energy management needs to be improved. CCTV reiterated that there is not so much game playing in the power restriction action. The so-called "Big Game" strategy looks insightful but violates the basic common knowledge, creating information haze. Thus, CCTV calls for a stop in hyping the "Big Game" Strategy.

Although the official clarification came out, many people were still skeptical about it. Some think the clarification is a smoke bomb for covering up the "Big Game" Strategy and is to make sure the strategy is well adopted and implemented in China.

"'Big Game' has become a popular mode of thinking applied by many of China's We-Media in the past few months while analyzing government's actions and policies. They mix domestic and foreign policies, hot-spot events, and international politics and economy to generate a 'profound background', 'far-sighted thinking and insights'. And every China's action is over-interpreted by them." Alex Zhang pointed out, "They just link all together and use sophistry to make their analysis comprehensive and in-depth, but it doesn't make any sense when you take a close look."

# Upcoming rules on Independent News Media to regulate broadcasting

The propaganda of the "Big Theory" Strategy attracted the attention of regulators. On Oct 8, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) solicited public opinions on the negative list for market access (2021 version). According to the draft, illegal news media-related businesses will be prohibited. Specifically, non-public capital shall not be engaged in newsgathering, editing, broadcasting, etc.

"The regulation mainly focuses on the unregulated We-media and independent media which are broadcasting political and economic news. We try to prevent them from creating unnecessary anxiety and misleading audiences by editing, overinterpreting, overstating hot social events. The main goal is to regulate them." said Wang Sixin, a professor of the Communication University of China.

Wang also pointed out that We-media and other independent media should also not be allowed to stir up the public sentiments by hyping their unrealistic analysis.

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