[The Epoch Times, January 17, 2023](Comprehensive report by Epoch Times reporter Zhang Ting) The CCP’s three-year “clearing” policy has severely damaged the financial coffers of local governments. Recent 2022 reports from multiple governments have revealed the huge sums they are spending to fight COVID. Among them, Guangdong Province’s epidemic prevention spending in the past three years has reached 146.8 billion yuan (22 billion U.S. dollars).
According to a provincial budget report released last Friday (January 13), Guangdong, the province with the highest economic output in the country, has spent a total of 146.8 billion yuan on the prevention and control of the COVID-19 pandemic in the past three years starting in 2020. Popularity. The money is used for virus testing, vaccination and a series of policy implementation related expenses. It excludes other health-related spending, including public health spending.
Over the past three years, COVID-related spending in the province has surged by about 50 per cent each year. In 2022, it will reach a peak of 71.1 billion yuan ($10.6 billion). The figure of 146.8 billion yuan exceeds the CCP’s expenditure on establishing a national chip fund. China Integrated Circuit Industry Investment Fund (Big Fund), established in 2014, with an initial investment of RMB 138.7 billion (US$21 billion).
Local governments are struggling with a cash crunch as a three-year “zero out” policy puts huge pressure on their finances, while a slump in the property market cuts into their revenues.
In addition to Guangdong, governments in several other regions have also reported huge COVID-related bills.
Beijing said on Sunday (Jan. 15) that it spent nearly 30 billion yuan ($4.5 billion) last year on epidemic prevention and control. This is a 140% increase over 2020. The city did not disclose its 2021 COVID spending.
Epidemic prevention spending in 2022 will be 13.04 billion yuan ($2 billion), a 56 percent increase from 2021, according to Fujian’s government budget released last week. These charges amounted to 30.5 billion yuan ($4.6 billion) over the past three years.
Shanghai suffered a two-month lockdown in April and May last year. The city reported that its Songjiang district spent more on fighting COVID than public healthcare last year. The district, home to factories of several chip-making giants including TSMC and SMIC, saw COVID-related spending hit 4.45 billion yuan ($664 million)
The country’s generalized fiscal deficit, which combines central and local government deficits, reached 6.66 trillion yuan ($944 billion) in the first 10 months of 2022, up from a year earlier, CNN calculated based on data from China‘s Ministry of Finance. nearly double. Economists estimate that the full-year deficit could reach a record 10 trillion yuan ($1.4 trillion) in 2022.
The CCP’s three-year-old “clearing” policy was abruptly canceled at the beginning of last month. The CCP’s official media Xinhua News Agency published a long article on the adjustment of the epidemic policy on January 8, inadvertently leaking and acknowledging the COVID-19 policy The failure of the CCP also gave the outside world an opportunity to gain insight into the changes in the CCP’s high-level policies. The article mentioned the huge cost brought about by the “zero clearing” policy.
“Just a month ago, new domestic epidemics continued to emerge, and the characteristics of rapid transmission became more and more prominent-affecting 31 provinces (autonomous regions, municipalities directly under the central government), and some local epidemics lasted for about 3 months, and the social cost of epidemic control has risen “The article said, “It is difficult to clear zero, and the social cost and price of epidemic prevention and control have become higher…”
The British media “The Spectator” (The Spectator) interpreted, “For the first time in history, the Chinese government has admitted the real reason for the relaxation of zeroing – the zeroing policy cannot control the Omicron variant virus.”
Responsible editor: Lin Yan#