Well the way I see it, the COVID19 virus was weaponised in Wuhan, rebased according to a plan. Whistle blowers punished/killed. Millions of Chinese died but in the big picture the CCP has never worried about death. During the Great Leap Forward (45 Million) and Cultural Revolution (20 million) more died. They locked down Wuhan to prevent spread domestically but the number of deaths in China was an acceptable number.
Expansion into South China Sea also without much fight why?
Because the enconomies of the West will need China market access so they will allow China to do anything. China’s army has only been used against its own people so there would never be military invasion. Chinese expansionism fuelled by Western greed. In the past few years the west has forgotten to shut up and has voices support of right of law in Hong Kong and protested concentration camps in Xinjiang. The virus provided a kick in the side of the West to remind them that when it comes to expansion, China will pull no stops. In the west we think this theory is impossible because “Chinese suffered too”. That is incorrect. Look at the conquests of China over the centuries. They used innocent civians to be human shields without hesitation. The Xi Empire is no different.