Companies applauded the Chinese government’s move to loosen travel restrictions and welcome foreign tourists. Executives from the firm claim that this would be the first step in reviving the economy, which is now suffering due to the consequences of the strict Covid restrictions.
China has a reputation for being one of the nations in the world that pursues Covid with tenacity. The Chinese government moves quickly to enforce lockdowns in essential cities and economic hubs when minor illnesses develop in numerous areas. As a result, financial centers like Beijing, Guangzhou, and many others have unavoidably been impacted by irregular and abrupt shutdown actions. The Chinese government was forced to loosen the limits to prevent the economy from collapsing, though, as the nation is now experiencing a downturn.
The Chinese government’s mandated lockdowns have had a massive impact on millions. And as a result, several Chinese residents have protested and demanded that the government relax the stringent Covid laws. A few months ago, people valiantly protested Xi Jinping’s Covid regulations, which frequently kept millions of individuals inside their homes and prevented businesses from making money. Some even demanded that Xi step down.
“We need to be braver! Am I breaking the law by holding flowers? We Chinese need to be braver! So many of us were arrested yesterday. Are they without a job or a family? We should not be afraid,” a man said.
“Every conscientious Chinese should be here. Of course, they don’t have to voice their opinions, but I hope they can stand with us,” said another demonstrator.
“We don’t want lockdowns, and we want freedom! Freedom of expression, freedom of the press, freedom of arts, freedom of movement, and personal freedoms. Give me back my freedom,” crowds shouted in Guangzhou, a city in southern China.
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The Chinese government needs to ease restrictions
Economists and other experts concurred that China’s government must abandon its economic stimulus measures. The epidemic has been going on for more than two years. As a result, Chinese businesses have lost billions in revenue, and the country’s people have struggled to make ends meet. People are urging the government to restore routine face-to-face activities now that vaccination has become widely accepted.
“Cutting the RRR now is just like pushing on a string, as we believe the real hurdle for the economy is the pandemic rather than insufficient loanable funds,” said the analysts from Nomura.
“In our view, ending the pandemic [measures] as soon as possible is the key to the recovery in credit demand and economic growth,” they added.
“For China’s official institutions, there are no easy paths. Accelerating reopening plans when new Covid cases are rising is unlikely, given the low vaccination coverage of the elderly. But, on the other hand, mass protests would deeply tilt the scales in favor of an even weaker economy and likely be accompanied by a massive surge in Covid cases, leaving policymakers with a considerable dilemma,” SPI Asset Management’s Innes said.
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The right corner
China had turned a corner, according to Colm Rafferty, head of the American Chamber of Commerce in China. He hopes that China will benefit from this turn of events. According to Rafferty, the “single biggest challenge” the Chinese community had to overcome in the face of the epidemic was the nationwide quarantines. And its cessation ought to help the economy gradually restore its vibrancy.
Executives from Chinese companies overseas told the Chinese government that if it continued to bar them from entering the country, they would desist from making investments there.
“The Chinese government has always followed the principle of science-based and targeted measures. [We must call for a] science-based response and coordinated approach to keep travel safe and promote a steady and sound recovery of the world economy,” said Wang Wenbin, a foreign ministry official who defended China for its handling of Covid.
As other nations’ Covid restrictions loosened, the Chinese governing party began to follow suit. China is establishing broad quarantines to cope with the virus rather than eradicate it. A few weeks later, there were other reforms, and the Chinese government declared it was trying to resuscitate the economy. Then, following widespread protests in numerous cities on November 25, the Chinese authorities made essential reforms.
Others, however, claimed that Beijing modified its policy too quickly after the onset of several waves of Covid cases. The Chinese government exclusively uses region-based counts rather than compiling data on all instances countrywide. Health officials said that the virus had been affecting people since the beginning of October, or one month before the Chinese government’s new restrictions took effect.
“Although the death rate of this disease is not as serious as at the beginning, the first shock has still been quite severe,” explained Lu Haoming.
The Chinese National Health Commission recommended that the government increase the immunization rate among seniors in response to the recent spike in Covid cases. Millions of deaths might be avoided with this plan. The Covid-19 infectious illness was lowered by the National Health Commission from Class A to Class B. Additionally, they are currently concentrating on high-risk locations for Covid testing. One to two million casualties are anticipated by other specialists until 2023.
Photo Credit: Aly Song for Reuters
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