Home World Weekly current affairs analysis: Is the new crown epidemic over? – FT Chinese Network

Weekly current affairs analysis: Is the new crown epidemic over? – FT Chinese Network

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Weekly current affairs analysis: Is the new crown epidemic over? – FT Chinese Network

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U.S. President Joe Biden’s statement on Sunday that “the new crown epidemic is over” caused an uproar in the United States and the world this week, because in July, the Biden administration once again characterized the new crown epidemic as a “public health emergency” “.

The root cause of Biden’s behavior is that as the country with the most infections and deaths due to the epidemic in the world, the American people are exhausted from the torment of the epidemic, which is used by the US government and politicians to achieve their political goals; of course, People all over the world are already exhausted and disgusted by the epidemic. At the same time, however, the Chinese say that “the last laugh is the loudest laugh”, and prematurely announcing that “the new crown epidemic is over” is not really conducive to solving the problem.

Biden uses the epidemic to build political momentum

The current reality is that the world has grown impatient with the COVID-19 pandemic. Especially for governments and politicians of various countries, the new crown epidemic has hindered the realization of their political goals. Therefore, politicians of various countries have taken advantage of the general fatigue and dissatisfaction of their own people over the epidemic to get rid of the shackles of the epidemic. The purpose, and Biden’s sudden announcement that “the epidemic is over” is undoubtedly directly serving his congressional midterm elections.

The mainstream media and political circles in the United States believe that Biden announced the “end of the new crown epidemic” to the media for the congressional midterm elections.

CNN revealed: When asked why his approval rating was “well below 50%”, Biden first blamed the “profound impact of the new crown epidemic on the psychology of the American people.”

The US “Washington Post” commented “No, President Biden, the new crown epidemic is not over”, saying: President Biden’s remarks may be because the mid-term elections are coming, and Americans have an “overwhelming” sense of fatigue .

Republicans in the U.S. Congress also questioned why the Biden administration would extend the public health emergency if the pandemic is over? To this, the American conservative radio host Sexton replied: Biden was wearing a mask outdoors two weeks ago, but because the mid-term elections are coming, he is now announcing that the new crown pandemic is “over”.

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Biden did this, of course, to please American voters who hate the epidemic. Under this motive, Biden’s announcement that the epidemic has ended is to give the public the impression that the Democratic Party has ended the epidemic. The purpose is to make the end of the epidemic a political achievement of the Democratic Party. win in.

Of course, Biden’s announcement that the “epidemic is over” also has certain basis: WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at a video press conference on September 14 that although the moment to finally defeat the epidemic has not yet arrived, “the end point has been in front of you.” Tedros released the judgment based on the fact that the number of deaths due to the new crown last week was the lowest since March 2020, and last week’s statistics showed that the number of infections fell by 12% from the previous week.

Moreover, WHO’s technical experts in charge of economic projects said: In the future, the epidemic may rebound, such as small-scale infections, but the current level of technology and drugs can deal with these situations and control the epidemic within a certain range.

But victory in the fight against the epidemic and “the epidemic is over” are two concepts. The purpose of Biden’s deliberate confusion of the concepts is of course the political purpose of the mid-term congressional elections. This verifies one of the judgments made by the author at the outbreak of the epidemic: in this global fight against the epidemic, the guiding ideology of the political anti-epidemic of various countries is – politics is in command.

Laugh last, laugh loudest

Biden’s behavior of using the anti-epidemic to build political momentum is not desirable for the smooth end of the anti-epidemic. On the contrary, it will be counterproductive. This is a side effect of anti-epidemic politics. Therefore, science must be respected.

The anti-epidemic politics in command is first of all not conducive to the promotion of vaccine boosters. CNN pointed out that the time for Americans to receive booster shots has lagged significantly. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, only nearly half of eligible Americans have completed the first booster immunization. Polls show that 43% of parents are reluctant to have their children vaccinated. This itself shows that Americans do not trust vaccines, and now Biden’s behavior is in the words of American Republicans: Biden’s words “basically close the door to approving new (vaccine) funds.”

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In addition, according to The Washington Post, the White House is currently conducting fall vaccinations and lobbying Congress to spend billions of dollars on more vaccines. Biden’s “epidemic is over” remarks caught senior administration officials off guard, with several anonymous officials noting that the matter would make it harder to lobby for funding that has fallen behind its stated goals.

For China, another world power, the situation is more complicated. First, China is the most populous country in the world. Once a pandemic breaks out, the result will be catastrophic. Second, although the proportion of Chinese citizens who are currently vaccinated is very high, China has not opened its doors since the global outbreak, and has been vaccinated. Serum antibody levels of vaccine nationals have never been actually tested, and these basic realities discourage the Chinese government from opening its doors. As the world‘s second largest economic power, this situation will not only seriously affect the development of China‘s domestic economy, but will also seriously affect the smoothness of the world‘s economic and industrial chain, and ultimately hit China‘s economic and social development.

On September 22, the European Chamber of Commerce released the “Proposal for EU Enterprises in China“, which pointed out the current problems of EU-invested enterprises in China caused by factors such as the epidemic, and put forward suggestions at the same time.

“When the rest of the world has basically returned to its pre-pandemic ‘normality’, China has been reluctant to reopen its doors,” said Woodke, president of the European Union Chamber of Commerce. “China‘s ‘glorious isolation’ not only restricted inbound and outbound travel, but also And it inhibits interpersonal communication. Now, China‘s voice is almost completely ‘blurred’, which is bound to make the world less and less aware of this great country.”

In the economic and trade field, Woodker pointed out that the EU’s investment in China is declining: the main investment comes from a few large enterprises, and the heavy market access barriers also discourage investors who intend to enter the Chinese market. At present, the combination of multinational companies and “hidden champions” in the Chinese market is relatively stable, but the contrast between the Chinese market potential and the actual market share of European companies is becoming more and more obvious. While those companies that have established roots in China are not leaving, they have begun to weigh whether to move planned or future investments to other more reliable and predictable markets.

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At the same time, China‘s investment in Europe has been on a downward trend for a long time, far from realizing its due potential. But the European market remains of unspoken importance to Chinese investors.

Woodker believes that trade can be used as a means to strengthen the relationship between the two sides, but the two sides are currently out of balance: China exports to the EU more than twice as much as it imports to it, and this imbalance is continuing, while EU imports to China are down on average year-on-year. 7.5%. In addition, although recent Chinese foreign trade data show that China‘s overall export growth has picked up, imports are still sluggish due to weak domestic demand and supply chain disruptions, and this trend is expected to remain in the future.

Regarding the confidence of EU companies in the Chinese market, Woodker said: The discussion on supply chain diversification is also becoming more and more enthusiastic. Given China‘s current widespread lockdown, European companies see a need to strengthen the resilience of their global supply chains. This is undoubtedly a rare opportunity for other emerging markets with suitable investment and employment environments, and companies are also evaluating countermeasures such as repatriation, near-shoring or “friend-ship outsourcing”. At the same time, China‘s preference for “self-reliance” and “purchasing domestic goods” will only drive China further apart from the rest of the world. Only by refocusing on the open road can the economy truly benefit.

Woodke’s above introduction paints a picture: China‘s current anti-epidemic policy has led to a decline in EU investment in China, and EU companies in China are preparing to flee from China.

Against the backdrop that Sino-US relations have fallen into a state of game, the above-mentioned perceptions of the Chinese market by European companies in China are actually heralding the disturbing future of China‘s foreign economic and trade.

The author believes that China certainly cannot imitate Biden’s approach, but China‘s anti-epidemic policy must be adjusted. It should be: general relaxation; special or special, relaxed anti-epidemic policies in key foreign investment areas. Otherwise, this round of worldwide epidemic will become an insurmountable hurdle for China‘s economic and social development.

(Note: The author is a policy researcher. This article only represents the author’s personal views. The editor-in-charge email [email protected])

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