China’s Communist Party is facing another rebuke of its mandate of heaven claim on authority with the increasing occurance of power outages and factory shutdowns that have been occuring and, as of the writing of this article, are trending towards being more, not less, frequent.
The problem stems from the rising cost of coal and the nation’s dependence on the envirnmentally damaging source of energy. There may be other undelying causes such as the growing youth movment of ‘do nothing’ that has formed as a backlash to the ever-increasing demands that are being made on workers’ lives, professional or manual, that seems to be another trend happening in China today.
Still, the buk of the factor behind the rising power outages and factory shutdowns still appears to be mostly the rising cost of coal.
China is facing ongoing power shortages in its industrial northeast triggering a wave of factory closures, with traffic lights, residential elevators, and mobile phone coverage also affected in some cities.
Power rationing is already in place in more than 10 provinces including the northeastern province of Jilin, amid soaring coal prices.
Jilin provincial governor Han Jun called for more channels to secure coal supplies from Russia, Mongolia, and Indonesia, while dispatching teams to secure supplies from China’s northern region of Inner Mongolia.
According to an estimate by Goldman Sachs, as much as 44 percent of China’s industrial activity has been hit by power shortages, leading analysts to cut their 2021 GDP growth forecast for China to 7.8 percent from an earlier estimate of 8.2 percent.
Some shops and hotels in the northeast were lit by candlelight, while homes went without power and malls shut early, amid growing concern that power shortages could also affect water supplies.
Video posted to the social media platform Weibo on Sept. 27 showed traffic queuing in darkness in one city, with captions that quoted Chinese leader Xi Jinping as calling for greater efforts to protect power supplies to ordinary people and keep the generators turning.
The worst-affected areas are mostly concentrated in smaller cities and rural areas, according to media reports.
“The reason for the power outage is that coal is more expensive this year, and in previous years it was imported into China from abroad,” Jilin resident Wang Fengxia said. “So they can’t afford it this year.”