The draconian Zero-Covid Policy is having deep impacts, not only on the Chinese economy but also internationally, reported Geopolitica.info
“China’s economy has frozen up even worse than in early 2000. The economic dislocations are now spilling into the larger world, fuelling inflation, disrupting supply chains, triggering a retreat of foreign business from China and increasing external concern over China’s deepening isolation,” said the Center for Strategic and International Studies in an article on China’s Zero-Covid Policy.
“Many Western multinationals are reassessing their future in China, many have held off adding to new capacity in China; some have begun to shift production elsewhere,” added Center for Strategic and International Studies.
In rare public criticism, a Chinese think-tank has called for a change in the Zero-Covid Policy under the Xi Jinping regime; pointing out that it was causing widespread disruption in trade and business, reported Geopolitica.info
The Anbound Research Centre has been quoted in several news agencies as saying in a report titled ‘It’s Time for China to Adjust Its Virus Control and Prevention Policies’ that the periodic shutdown of cities, disrupting trade, travel and industry was slowing down the economy.
On the contrary, the economies of the US, Japan and Europe were recovering after the easing of the pandemic restrictions.
Observers point out that it is rare for a think-tank in China to publicly disagree with the policy of the Communist Party of China and its top leader, reported Geopolitica.info.
Even the World Health Organization (WHO) has cautioned China against its Zero-Covid Policy. In May 2022 the WHO said the policy was not sustainable.
“When we talk about the Zero-Covid strategy, we don’t think that it is sustainable, considering the behaviour of the virus now and what we anticipate in future,” WHO Chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.
According to health experts, the Zero Covid Policy has left China dangerously vulnerable to infection, especially among the elderly, rather than reducing the infection.
As a consequence of the Zero-Covid Policy, an estimated 100 million Chinese people above 60 years of age have not received more than one dose of vaccine. Booster rates are low. Enforcing Zero Covid in the absence of targeted and sufficient vaccination and boosting of the elderly creates higher danger for vulnerable populations, reported Geopolitica.info.
Communities that have been locked down have complained of inadequate food, shortage of other essentials and lack of medical care. Onerous travel restrictions have left migrants separated from their families for months.
Residents in Beijing were asked to stay indoors on the mid-autumn holiday on September 10, 2022. In the first week of September, the 21.5 million residents of Beijing were undergoing mandatory Covid testing every alternate day; all this after the report of 21 local Covid infections in a day.
In outlying areas, the situation is often worse. In places in China near the Myanmar border, there have been almost constant lockdowns and businessmen have been forced to shift from these areas. The lockdowns have sparked protests online and confrontations with health workers and the police reported Geopolitica.info
The question is, why is China pursuing a draconian Zero-Covid Policy which is proving to be self-defeating? Analysts say it suits the interest of President of China Xi Jinping, who is likely to be handed over a record third term in power at the party congress CPC in mid-October 2022.