China has become obsessed with a couple million middle-aged members of a group that does a lot of strange exercises and whose leader lives in New York. Sensible people—like those at the New York Times —can’t understand why the Chinese government cares about Falun Gong when there are so many serious economic problems to worry about. That’s a good point, since China is in deepening economic depression. The reason China is so concerned is because the Chinese know that there is no solution to their economic problems. Therefore, they are bracing for the social and political consequences of long-term economic failure. Beijing understands that in times of misery, seemingly harmless groups can suddenly challenge the regime. The crackdown on Falun Gong expresses Beijing’s deep-seated insecurity. If China’s economy can’t recover, can the regime survive? President Jiang Zemin intends to do whatever is necessary to make certain it can (Stratfor’s Global Intelligence Update, Weekly Analysis, July 26, 1999).