Some interesting thoughts from Thom Lifson as regards the humiliation at the ballot box the Chinese Communists took from the people of Hong Kong the other day:

Xi faces multiple crises, and while he has purged many potential rivals under the guise of an “anti-corruption campaign,” members of the Politburo of the Chinese Communist Party — which controls the entire country — are already suffering thanks to President Trump’s trade war, which is costing the many newly minted billionaires financially. These elites also rely on Hong Kong as a means of getting some of their money out of China. The hard-line treatment (as in concentration camps on a vast scale) of China’s Uighur Muslim minority in Xinjiang is also weakening China’s international stature ad appeal. An emerging spy scandal in Australia is not helping matters, either.

Things could heat up under Xi in Beijing, with him getting blamed for badly handling multiple challenges. The inner workings of China’s real power structure in the Communist Party are not visible to outsiders, but even with the lifetime tenure he had himself granted, Xi Jinping’s hold on power is far from assured. While this could strengthen President Trump’s hand in extracting concessions from Chine on trade, if Xi gets tossed out, his replacement could be even more hard-line. That would be a setback not just for the U.S., but for China’s attempt to further integrate itself into the world order via its Belt and Road initiative.

My own sense has been that Xi is a narcissist in the extreme, and that if this lambasting makes any change in the vectoring of all this, at all, it’ll be that he won’t be taking this slap-in-the-face lightly.

Put another way, he’s got two choices. He could either get all Gorbachev or he could get all Stalin on us.

Thing is, with either of those two choices his power disappears. So, I suspect he’s going to try for a third path, one which allows him to retain power, which as I said the night of the elections in Hong Kong, wasn’t going to work either.

And all that assumes that he survives to make those attempts. That’s the thing about being president for life. You’re only president for life.

Xi has been taking a somewhat lower profile since August or so, mostly because he couldn’t shift the blame to somebody else for the economic failures that China has been experiencing lately.

I won’t be the least bit surprised if it’s reported in the international press that he suddenly has health concerns which prevent his maintaining his duties as leader of the party and so on… Possibly involving his sudden death.

I said back in August that the signs are that the Chinese government is not all that stable,.. that something large was about to go down.

For the reasons that both Lifson and I, and for that matter Gordon Chang suggest, there is no reason to withdraw that prediction.