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Enzolytics Inc (OTCMKTS: ENZC) Major Reversal Brewing as Biotech Gains Traction in HIV Market (Update on: ITV-1 EMA Approval, ITV-1, anti-HIV Treatment & IPF Immune US Launch)

Enzolytics Inc (OTCMKTS: ENZC) is easily one of the most exciting stocks currently trading on the OTCQB; trading 3 tenths of a penny over 52-week lows…

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Enzolytics Inc (OTCMKTS: ENZC) is easily one of the most exciting stocks currently trading on the OTCQB; trading 3 tenths of a penny over 52-week lows of $0.054 the stock skyrocketed to highs of $0.958 per share in February 2021 and it still boasts a massive following of investors accumulating at current levels who believe this one is going back to where it ran to last summer. ENZC is “pink current” fully compliant and looking to uplist to sec filing OTCQB. While the stock has gotten cheaper the underlying Company has been busier than ever; since our last report on ENZC in January the Company has added Dr. Suraj Kumar Saggar to its Advisory Board, entered the booming $68 billion diagnostics market with its patent application covering identification of antigens and epitopes of SARS-CoV-2 that can be used in vaccines and to produce antibodies. They launched IPF Immune, its immune modulator into US markets initially at the ECRM’s Weight Management, Nutrition, and Vitamin Convention and ENZC wholly-owned subsidiary Virogentics has made significant progress toward the production and use of its ITV-1, anti-HIV immunotherapy treatment in the Central and Eastern regions of Africa for patients with HIV/AIDS. When ENZC runs it runs hard and once a major reversal is initiated here, the upside will be fast and furious. 

Microcapdaily has reported on ENZC many times before, we were one of the first on the scene back on September16, 2020 when ENZC started taking off after closing at $0.0009 on September 15 with our article: BioClonetics LOI Sparks Enzolytics Inc (OTCMKTS: ENZC) 9/16/2020 long before ENZC when on a serious tear and rocketed up over $0.90 per share in the early months of 2021.We have reported on the initial merger with BioClonetics on to their work at UCLA and with HIV and Covid. Enzolytics flagship compound ITV-1, is a patented ITV-1 (Immune Therapeutic Vaccine-1) a suspension of Inactivated Pepsin Fraction (IPF), which boosts the immune system controlling HIV/AIDS according to recent studies. Enzolytics is in the process of taking its ITV-1 anti-HIV therapeutic to clinical trials and distribution throughout Europe. The Company’s ITV-1 anti-HIV therapeutic earlier progressed toward certification under the Bulgarian Drug Agency (BDA) but that process was interrupted before completion. However, in that process, significant positive clinical trial results in patients were documented. These positive results give the Company total confidence that the now planned clinical trials under the European Medicines Agency (EMA) will likewise be successful. Recently the Company brought on Scendea USA, Inc. a leading international product development and regulatory consulting group, to advance its anti-HIV therapeutic ITV-1 to production, clinical trials and market approval under both the European Medicines Act (EMA) and the U.S. FDA regulatory process. ENZC could become a major player in the enormous $30 billion annual HIV market expected to reach $37 billion in the next 5 years. In a market primarily controlled by Gilead who sold $17 billion in HIV drugs last year Enzolytic’s HIV treatment is immunotherapy, not chemotherapy. One of the things that makes Enzolytic’s  ITV-1 stand out from the pack is its safety profile. ITV-1 is really a form of immunotherapy that strengthens the immune system. Most of the HIV drugs are part of the Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy (HAART) which does its best to use chemotherapy in multiple ways to disrupt the proliferation of the HIV virus. The point to make is all the drug has to do is keep the viral load at bay and the safety profile will be what drives the approval process forward.  

Enzolytics Inc (OTCMKTS: ENZC) is a drug development company committed to the commercialization of its proprietary proteins and monoclonal antibodies for the treatment of debilitating infectious diseases. The Company is advancing multiple therapeutics targeting numerous infectious diseases. One patented and clinically tested compound, ITV-1 (Immune Therapeutic Vaccine-1), is a suspension of Inactivated Pepsin Fraction (IPF), covered by U.S. Patent Nos. 8,066,982 and 7,479,538. Studies have shown it to be effective in treating HIV/AIDS. ITV-1 has also been shown to modulate the immune system.  

The Company is also implementing its proprietary technology to produce fully human monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) against infectious diseases, including HIV, rabies, influenza A, influenza B, tetanus, and diphtheria. Its proprietary methodology, covered in its pending U.S. Patent Application for producing fully human monoclonal antibodies, is currently employed to produce monoclonal antibody therapeutics for numerous infectious diseases, including the CoronaVirus (SARS-CoV-2) and HTLV-1. ENZC has partnered with Intel to publish a white paper titled, “Optimizing Empathetic A.I. to Cure Deadly Diseases,” highlighting Intel’s Artificial Intelligence Analytic tools and Enzolytic’s innovative approach and groundbreaking contributions to create universal, durable, and broadly effective treatment targeting all virus variants. This collaborative effort approaches the future of medicine; a future wherein the process of healthcare evolves from reactive to anticipatory, as exemplified by P4 Medicine. 

Enzolytics has a great management team behind it which speaks of big things to come here. The Company is led by majority shareholder and CEO Charles S. Cotropia, a well-known intellectual property attorney who has litigated over 200 patents in his career and served as lead counsel in several landmark patent disputes litigated in Federal Courts and the US Patent and Trademark Office They recently appointed Ronald Moss, M.D., to the Medical Advisory Board. Mr. Moss has been an executive with numerous biotech’s over the past 25 years. He has extensive clinical and regulatory management expertise in guiding programs through Phase I, II, and III clinical trials, including IND and NDA experience. The Company’s Chief Science Officer, Mr. Henry Zhabilov has managed several clinical trials utilizing therapeutic proteins. He is the inventor of several U.S. patents related to the immunotherapy of HIV and cancer and an immune enhancer based on the company’s IPF platform. ENZC also just added Dr. Suraj Kumar Saggar to its Advisory Board,  

ENZC has been busy since we last reported on them in January; they announced plans for entry into the diagnostics market and filed a comprehensive U.S. and foreign Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) Patent Application covering its invention of a novel, innovative technology for identification of highly conserved antigens and epitopes of SARS-CoV-2 that can be used in vaccines and to produce antibodies. The patent also covers the discovery of using these identified antigens and epitopes as targets for detecting and diagnosing SARS-CoV-2 infection. 

The Company’s Artificial Intelligence platform has been used to build 3D Models of the conserved targets. The analysis of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein revealed that all epitopes identified by the Company are linear on the spike proteins, accessible by antibodies, neutralizable, and unaffected by mutations. Enzolytics is developing tests that diagnose SARS-CoV-2 based on the presence of the conserved sites that remain unaffected by mutations.  

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ENZC

Using its Artificial Intelligence technology, all the conserved sites identified by the Company have remained present in all of the variants of concern and variants of interest. Enzolytics is currently working with diagnostic companies with track records for taking this technology and the tests produced under it through regulatory approval, leading to patient use. The global in-vitro diagnostics market was valued at approximately U.S. $68.41 Billion in 2020. The market value is expected to increase to U.S. $91.25 Billion in revenue in 2026, with a CAGR of 4. 90% over the forecast period. 

In March ENZC reported IPF Immune, its immune modulator, is hitting US markets; it was initially introduced by the Company’s representative Nutritional Products International (https://nutricompany.com/) to large and small retailers at the ECRM’s Weight Management, Nutrition, and Vitamin Convention. IPF Immune is a liquid nutritional supplement that acts an immune modulator to benefit the immune system by fortifying it against infections.  

The active components in the supplement have been registered with the FDA for use in the U.S. under NDI reg. no. 1083. The product is produced and sold by the Company pursuant to U.S. Patent No. 8,309,072. The Company’s ‘072 Patent, entitled “Irreversibly-Inactivated Pepsinogen Fragments for Modulating Immune Function”, covers the use of Irreversibly Inactivated Pepsin Fragments (IPF) which has been shown in tests to perform an immune modulating function. In tests, this therapeutic has demonstrated significant beneficial effects for various diseases, whether used alone or as a concomitant therapy, by bolstering the immune system. The North American dietary supplements market size is large, valued at over $50 Billion in 2020. 

The Company’s wholly-owned subsidiary Virogentics, Inc. recently announced its progress toward the production and use of its ITV-1, anti-HIV immunotherapy treatment in the Central and Eastern regions of Africa for patients with HIV/AIDS. Toxicology, pharmacodynamic and pharmacokinetic studies (toxicology studies) of the immunotherapy are planned, a prerequisite to use of the immunotherapy in certain African countries. These toxicology studies will also be used in the Company’s progress toward clinical trials necessary for EMA approval.  

The ITV-1 therapeutic has succeeded in clinical trials earlier and the Company is planning additional trials leading to EMA approval. As that approval is underway, the ITV-1 therapeutic will be provided to the Central and Eastern regions of Africa once toxicology studies are completed. The only therapy for treating infected patients is antirational (ARV) drugs, but these drugs are not available to 27% of those infected. The ARV therapy Biktarvy produced by Gilead costs $42,635 per year. The global HIV market is estimated to be over $30 billion this year and is expected to grow to over $36 billion globally by 2027. 

On March 25 ENZC reported on its PCT patent application covering discovered target epitopes on the SARS-CoV-2 and HIV viruses. In submissions under the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT), Enzolytics, Inc. has pending international patent applications covering the use of any of its discovered numerous conserved Coronavirus epitopes or conserved HIV epitopes in the production of monoclonal antibodies, the production of vaccines or use in diagnostic tests for detecting the viruses in patients.  

By using computer analysis (AI), the Company has analyzed over 2 million different isolates of the Coronavirus. From that analysis, the Company identified 19 conserved, immutable sites (epitopes) on the virus. The 19 conserved sequences identified on the isolates analyzed have been identified on the basis that they are 98.71% to 99.29% conserved over the entirety of the over 2 million Coronavirus isolates which have been analyzed by the Company using AI. Additionally, the Company has analyzed over 100,000 HIV isolates using AI and has identified 9 conserved sites, some with over 98% conserved sequences. 

In its PCT Patent Applications, the Company has claimed its discoveries including the use of these identified conserved epitopes for (1) producing a therapeutic monoclonal antibody to treat HIV or the CoronaVirus, (2) producing a vaccine against HIV or the CoronaVirus, or (3) for use in any diagnostics to identify whether a person has HIV or the CoronaVirus.  

Charles Cotropia, the Company CEO, said: “The breadth of patent coverage that is sought and expected is extremely far-reaching based on the discovery of the critical target epitope sites necessary to effectively neutralize these viruses. The Company has also identified conserved epitopes using its AI platform on multiple other viruses, including HIV-2, Influenza A and B, H1N1 influenza, Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), Small-Pox, Ebola Virus, Tetanus, Diphtheria, HTLV-1/2, Rabies, Herpes zoster, Varicella zoster, Anthrax, Mason-Pfizer monkey virus (MPMV) and Visna virus (VISNA). These findings will also be protected by patent coverage.” 

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Currently trading at a $162 million market valuation ENZC has 2,830,435,953 shares outstanding of which 483,789,585 are restricted. For a biotech, the most explosive sector in small caps ENZC has good numbers with $2.23 million in the treasury and manageable debt including some convertibles. ENZC is easily one of the most exciting stocks currently trading on the OTCQB; trading 3 tenths of a penny over 52-week lows of $0.054 the stock skyrocketed to highs of $0.958 per share in February 2021 and it still boasts a massive following of investors accumulating at current levels who believe this one is going back to where it ran to last summer. While the stock has gotten cheaper the underlying Company has been busier than ever. Currently ENZC subsidiary Virogentics, is seeing progress toward the production and use of its ITV-1, anti-HIV immunotherapy treatment in the Central and Eastern regions of Africa for patients with HIV/AIDS. Toxicology, pharmacodynamic and pharmacokinetic studies (toxicology studies) of the immunotherapy are planned, a prerequisite to use of the immunotherapy in certain African countries. These toxicology studies will also be used in the Company’s progress toward clinical trials necessary for EMA approval. The ITV-1 therapeutic has succeeded in clinical trials earlier and the Company is planning additional trials leading to EMA approval.  ENZC could become a major player in the enormous $30 billion annual HIV market expected to reach $37 billion in the next 5 years. In a market primarily controlled by Gilead who sold $17 billion in HIV drugs last year Enzolytic’s HIV treatment is immunotherapy, not chemotherapy. One of the things that makes Enzolytic’s  ITV-1 stand out from the pack is its safety profile. ITV-1 is really a form of immunotherapy that strengthens the immune system. Most of the HIV drugs are part of the Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy (HAART) which does its best to use chemotherapy in multiple ways to disrupt the proliferation of the HIV virus. The point to make is all the drug has to do is keep the viral load at bay and the safety profile will be what drives the approval process forward. Don’t underestimate ENZC potential here, it’s a biotech right at 52 week lows, has one of the biggest audiences on the OTCQB, recent highs near $1 and is seeing significant progress with multiple upcoming catalysts in several different billion-dollar sectors.  Microcapdaily first reported on ENZC on September 16 just as it was taking off after closing at $0.0009 the day before. We will be updating on ENZC when more details emerge so make sure you are subscribed to Microcapdaily so you know what’s going on with ENZC.

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Disclosure: we hold no position in ENZC either long or short and we have not been compensated for this article.

The post Enzolytics Inc (OTCMKTS: ENZC) Major Reversal Brewing as Biotech Gains Traction in HIV Market (Update on: ITV-1 EMA Approval, ITV-1, anti-HIV Treatment & IPF Immune US Launch) first appeared on Micro Cap Daily.

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How Inflation Changes Culture

How Inflation Changes Culture

Authored by Jeffrey Tucker via DailyReckoning.com,

The midterm elections are over (no Red Wave), but nothing…

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How Inflation Changes Culture

Authored by Jeffrey Tucker via DailyReckoning.com,

The midterm elections are over (no Red Wave), but nothing has changed. In fact, the Biden regime will probably become even more emboldened to pursue destructive economic policies because it will interpret the lack of a Red Wave as some kind of mandate.

Every day seems to be a day of spin, with every regime apologist assuring the public that inflation is getting better. Just look at the wonderful trend line! They point to the latest inflation numbers, which were down a bit from the month prior.

The regime insists that yes, inflation will vex us for a bit more time but will settle down in a few months. Plus, the president is working to fix this! And we know the American people are on board with him since no Red Wave materialized.

But in the footnotes, you’ll find the truth: it was a tiny drop and mostly for technical reasons and the main reason for the drop has already disappeared from the price trends.

Has any political propaganda on this topic ever been this ineffective? It’s truly a joke.

Where’s the Relief Coming From?

The producer price index that came out recently paints a clearer picture. It’s grim. It reveals no softening at all. In fact, it shows that there are plenty of coming price increases. Here is the index by commodities from 2013 to the present.

Remember how last year many people finally came to the conclusion that we had to learn to live with COVID? That was a smart choice because there was no way that the China-style suppression method could work.

Well, here we are now with a preventable inflation pandemic and the realization that we have to learn to live with inflation. Soon we’ll realize that we have to live with recession at the same time.

But what does this mean?

The impact will be felt not just in terms of economics but in culture. Inflation causes a society-wide shortening of time horizons.

True Prosperity

Let’s review some basics. All societies are born desperately poor, fated to live off foraging and just getting by. Prosperity is built through the construction of capital, which is the institution that embodies forward thinking.

To make capital requires the deferral of consumption: you have to give up some today in order to make tools that enable more consumption tomorrow. This means discipline and a future orientation. And it means, above all, savings that can be invested in productive projects. Only through that path can societies grow rich.

A key component of this concerns the stability of the medium of exchange. And not just stability: a currency that rises in value over time incentivizes saving and thus investing for the long term.

The late 19th century provided a good example of this. Under the gold standard, money grew more valuable over time, thus rewarding long-term thinking and instilling that outlook in the culture at large.

Live for Today

Inflation has the opposite effect. It punishes saving. It forces a penalty on economic behavior that is future-oriented. That means also discouraging investment in long-term projects, which is the whole key to building a complex division of labor and causing wealth to emerge from the muck of the state of nature. Every bit of inflation trims back that future orientation.

Hyperinflation utterly wrecks it.

Living for the day becomes the theme. Taking what you can get now is the method and the theme. Grasping and spending. You might as well because the money is only going down in value and goods are in ever shorter supply.

Better to live hard and short and forget the future. Go into debt if possible. Let the devaluation itself pay the price.

The Seeds of Destruction

Once this attitude becomes instilled in a prosperous society, what we call civilization gradually devolves. If inflation persists, this kind of short-term thinking can wreck everything.

This is why inflation is not just about rising prices. It’s about declining prosperity, the punishing of thrift, the discouragement of financial responsibility, and a culture that gradually falls apart.

Another factor in reducing time horizons is legal instability. This was my first concern when the lockdowns began. Why would anyone start a business if governments can just shut it down on a whim? Why plan for the future when that future can be wrecked by the stroke of a pen?

Many people had assumed that this new path would be short-lived. Surely the politicians would wise up and stop the madness. Surely! Tragically, it got worse and worse. The spending and printing began and ramped up over time. It was a perfect storm of sheer madness, and now we are paying the highest possible price.

The Hinge of History

We need to speak frankly about what’s happening to the global economy. It’s not just about supply chain breakages. Those can be repaired. It’s not just about inflation affecting every country. We are living amidst a fundamental upheaval in the whole world.

The most significant single danger to global prosperity now comes in the form of a devastating and deeply tragic wreckage of the country that was set to lead the world in finance and technology: China.

The WSJ summarizes the current pain:

China in 2021 accounted for 18.1% of global gross domestic product, according to International Monetary Fund data, behind the U.S. at 23.9% but ahead of the 27 members of the European Union at 17.8%. It accounts for almost a third of global manufacturing output, according to United Nations data from 2020. China’s economy expanded modestly at the beginning of the year but data for March and April point to a sharp slowdown.

The trouble there traces to the top. When Xi Jinping locked down Wuhan, the world celebrated him for achieving what no other leader in history had achieved: the eradication of a virus in one country. Even now, he gets accolades for this.

The rest of the world followed, and elites in all countries said that this path was the future.

Going Backwards

Now the virus is on the loose all over the country, and the eradication methods are intensifying. This is crushing economic growth and now threatening genuine economic depression in the country that only a few years ago was seen as the greatest economic engine of the world.

It’s truly the case that Xi Jinping has put his personal pride above the well-being of all people in China. The scientists in the country know that he is wrong about this but no one is in a position to tell him.

We cannot really trust the data coming out of China but officially the rate of infection in that country is one of the lowest in the world. Billions more people need to get the bug and recover in order to have anything close to herd immunity. This means that lockdowns are the way for years to come so long as the present regime remains in power.

American prosperity for decades has relied on: relatively low inflation, fairly stable rules of the game, and widening trade with the world and China in particular. All three are at an end. Yes, it is heartbreaking to watch it all unfold.

I’m not defending China’s human rights abuses. Far from it. But the best way to end these abuses is through engagement, not estrangement.

We all need hope right now but it’s very difficult to find, since we are on a course that is not likely to be fixed for a very long time.

Tyler Durden Wed, 11/30/2022 - 19:05

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Mish’s Daily: The Next Stop on This Fierce Bear Market Rally: A Global Recession?

Determining whether we are in a risk-on or risk-off climate is challenging, especially after a fantastic day of gains in every major US index.We should…

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Determining whether we are in a risk-on or risk-off climate is challenging, especially after a fantastic day of gains in every major US index.

We should be in a risk-on environment. The Chinese stock market even rose, with technology and electric vehicles leading, as investors hoped for a more liberal COVID-19 governmental policy. With a gain of 4.4%, the Nasdaq composite, which had been the slacker, led gains among major US indices.

The S&P 500 (represented above by the SPY ETF) also surpassed its 200-day moving average for the first time in seven months. Markets are also approaching critical technical levels, which can accentuate positive or negative data, so keep an eye out tomorrow for PCE, the Fed's favorite inflation gauge.

Regardless of today's market action, there are indications that a global recession is imminent, with part of Europe potentially already in a recession and the US possibly next year. In particular, a rare 20-year recession signal is flashing red.

Global bonds joined US peers in signaling a recession, with a gauge measuring the global yield curve inverting for the first time in at least two decades.

According to Bloomberg Global Aggregate bond sub-indices, the average yield on government debt expiring in 10 years or more has slipped below that on short-term bond yields. On the heels of Fed Chairman Powell's dovish remarks today, the stock market rallied with heavy volume. Yet global bond yields signal a recession ahead.

Market conditions are ripe with profitable trading opportunities. Investors should pay close attention to commodities, currencies, bond yields, and inflation. If the PCE print is higher than expected, one-third or even more of today's gains could be erased quickly. On the flip side, if PCE is lower than expected, stocks might continue to run higher.

It is crucial to proceed with caution, as there is the potential for significant volatility in the coming weeks and months. We believe this ferocious bear market rally still has some legs – but don't wait too long to make your move, or your portfolio might get clawed quickly. If you are looking to capitalize on this ferocious bear market rally, our team can help your trading to protect your portfolio while allowing you to benefit from bullish trends.

Rob Quinn, our Chief Strategy Consultant, can provide more information about our trading and Mish's Premium Trading Service. Click here to learn more about Mish's Premium trading service with a complimentary one-on-one consultation.

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Follow Mish on Twitter @marketminute for stock picks and more. Follow Mish on Instagram (mishschneider) for daily morning videos. To see updated media clips, click here.

Mish in the Media

Read Mish's latest article for CMC Markets, titled "Can the Commodity Super-Cycle Persist into 2023?".

Mish talks stagflation in her interview by Dale Pinkert during the F.A.C.E. webinar.

Watch Mish's appearance on Business First AM here.

Mish hosted the Monday, November 28 edition of StockCharts TV's Your Daily Five, where she covered some of the Modern Family. She also discusses the long bonds and gold with levels to clear or, fail.


ETF Summary

  • S&P 500 (SPY): 402 is support and resistance at 411.
  • Russell 2000 (IWM): 183 support; 191 resistance.
  • Dow (DIA): 342 support; 349 support.
  • Nasdaq (QQQ): 288 support; 302 resistance.
  • KRE (Regional Banks): 62 support; 66 resistance.
  • SMH (Semiconductors): 223 support; 232 resistance.
  • IYT (Transportation): 230 support; 237 resistance.
  • IBB (Biotechnology): 133 support; 139 resistance.
  • XRT (Retail): 64 support; 70 resistance.


Mish Schneider

MarketGauge.com

Director of Trading Research and Education


Wade Dawson

MarketGauge.com

Portfolio Manager

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Protests in China are not rare — but the current unrest is significant

Comparisons have been made to the 1989 demonstrations that led to the Tiananmen Square massacre. An expert on Chinese protests explains why that it half…

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Protesters march along a street in Beijing on Nov. 28, 2022. Noel Celis/AFP via Getty Images

Street protests across China have evoked memories of the Tiananmen Square demonstrations that were brutally quashed in 1989. Indeed, foreign media have suggested the current unrest sweeping cities across China is unlike anything seen in the country since that time.

The implication is that protest in China is a rarity. Meanwhile, the Nov. 30, 2022, death of Jiang Zemin – the leader brought in after the bloody crackdown on 1989 – gives further reason to reflect on how China has changed since the Tiananmen Square massacre, and how Communist party leaders might react to unrest now.

But how uncommon are these recent public actions? And how do they compare with the massive weekslong demonstrations of 1989?

Having written extensively on protest in China, I can attest that protests in China are not at all uncommon – but that doesn’t make what is happening now any less significant. Alongside similarities between the current street actions and more typical protests of recent years, there are also parallels between the demonstrations today and those in 1989. Yet differences in China’s international status and domestic leadership reduce the chances for liberal democratic transformation now.

Not so unusual, but still unique

The current protests are ostensibly about the Chinese government’s strict “zero COVID” policies. They were triggered by a deadly fire in the northwestern city of Urumqi on Nov. 24, with some residents blaming lockdown rules for hampering rescue efforts. Unrest has since spread to multiple cities, including Beijing and Shanghai.

The specifics are unique to the pandemic. But in many respects, what we are seeing is not new or unusual – protests, in general, are not rare in China.

In fact, from 1990 through the present, popular protests have been more frequent and widespread in China than they were in the years leading up to the Tiananmen Square-centered demonstrations.

According to Chinese government statistics, the yearly count of domestic “mass incidents” or “public order disturbances” – euphemisms used to refer to everything from organized crime to street protests – rose from 5,000 to 10,000 in the early 1990s to 60,000 to 100,000 by the early 2000s.

Despite the lack of official numbers since 2006 – which ceased to be published after that year – verbal statements by Chinese officials and research by scholars and nongovernment organizations estimate the number of yearly protests to have remained in the high tens-of-thousands.

When protests turn political

This is not to say the recent multi-city protests are unsurprising or insignificant. To the contrary, the current media spotlight is, I believe, well-deserved.

Nearly all the thousands of protests appearing every year in the post-Tiananmen Square period have been localized and focused on specific material issues. They occur, for example, when villagers feel they are unfairly compensated for land acquisitions, when private sector workers are not paid, or when residents suffer from environmental degradation caused by waste incinerators.

In contrast, the anti-lockdown protests have emerged in numerous cities – reporting by CNN suggests there have been at least 23 demonstrations in 17 cities. They are also all focused on the same issue: COVID-19 restrictions. Moreover, they are targeted at central Party leaders and official government policy.

For the the closest parallels in terms of size of protest, one has to go back to the late 1990s and early 2000s.

From 1998 to 2002, tens of thousands of state-owned enterprise workers in at least 10 Chinese provinces demonstrated against layoffs and enforced early retirements. And in 1999, roughly 10,000 members of the now-banned spiritual movement Falun Gong amassed in central Beijing to protest their suppression and demand legal recognition.

But these protests were directed at issues that specifically affected only these groups and did not critique China’s top political leaders or system as a whole.

The only post-1989 examples of overt collective political dissent – that is, public action calling for fundamental change to the mainland’s Chinese Communist Party-led political system – have been exceedingly small and transpired off the streets. In 1998, activists formed the China Democracy Party, declaring it a new political party to usher in liberal democratic multi-party governance. Though the party persisted openly for roughly six months, establishing a national committee and branches in 24 provinces and cities, its leaders ultimately were arrested and the party driven underground.

A decade later, a group of intellectuals led by writer Liu Xiaobo posted online a manifesto called “Charter 08” advocating for liberal democratic political reform. Liu, who later received the Nobel Peace Prize, was jailed as a result. He remained in prison until his death, from untreated cancer, in 2017.

And while the massive and sustained protests in Hong Kong over the past decade exemplify political dissent, protesters’ demands have remained confined to political reform in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China.

Calls for change and for Xi to go

So how much do the current anti-lockdown protests resemble the demonstrations that shook the regime in the spring of 1989?

Both have involved urban residents from various walks of life, including university students and blue-collar workers.

And in each case, the demands of protesters have been mixed. They include specific material complaints: In 1989, it was the impacts of inflation; in 2022, it is the effects of lockdowns and incessant PCR testing.

But they also include broader calls for political liberalization, such as freedom of expression.

A giant white statue with arm aloft stand above 100s of people.
The Goddess of Democracy stood as a symbol of protest during the 1989 Tiananmen Square demonstrations. David Turnley/Getty Images

Indeed in some ways, the protesters of 2022 are being more pointed in their political demands. Those on the streets of at least two major cities have called on President Xi Jinping and the Chinese Communist Party to step down. Demonstrators in 1989 refrained from such system-threatening rhetoric.

That reflects the changing political realities of China then and now. In early 1989, Party leadership clearly was split, with more reform-oriented leaders such as Zhao Ziyang perceived as sharing the activists’ vision for change. As such, demonstrators saw a way of achieving their aims within the communist system and without a wholesale change in leadership.

The contrast with today is stark: Xi has a firm grip on the party. Even if Xi were to miraculously step down, there is no clear opposition leader or faction to replace him. And if the party were to fall, the resultant political void is more likely to bring chaos than orderly political transformation.

Yet if the Chinese Communist Party is a different entity now than it was in 1989, its response to unrest shares some traits. Central authorities in 1989 blamed the protests on foreign “black hands” seeking to destabilize China. The same accusations have been raised in online posts now.

In fact, the government response to recent protests follows a pattern that has played out time and again in post-1989 protests. There is little to no official media coverage of the protests or acknowledgment by central Chinese Communist Party leaders. At the same time, local authorities attempt to identify and punish protest leaders while treating regular participants as well-intended and non-threatening. Central criticism – and possible sanction – of local officials portrayed as violating national policies follows. Meanwhile, there are moves to at least partially address protester grievances.

It is a messy and inefficient way to respond to public concerns – but it has become the norm since 1989.

Teresa Wright does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.

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