China Press Review – March 24, 2020

Press review

Tokyo 2020: Olympic and Paralympic Games postponed because of coronavirus
The Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games have been postponed until next year because of the worldwide coronavirus pandemic.

China’s economic growth now depends on the West
China’s leadership expected that economic growth in 2020 would be a celebratory event, marking a doubling of the economy’s size over the past decade. But the new coronavirus (COVID-19) has obliterated those forecasts despite Beijing’s draconian measures effectively bringing the epidemic under control sooner than anticipated. The nationwide shutdown led to the epidemic’s slowdown in mid-February, but by then the extent and speed of the virus’s spread already paralysed Chinese society  More importantly, the US strategy to pair tariffs with trade restrictions is incompatible with new priorities, such as arresting the pandemic and ensuring producers have access to necessary parts. There are critical shortages in medicinal supplies emerging in the United States, for example, for which availability and cost have been aggravated by the White House’s tariffs and export restrictions. For better or for worse, the global economy is based on connectivity. The revival of world trade and well-functioning supply networks is essential to resuscitating growth in both China and the West.

China, America, and the international order after the pandemic
As people around the world fall ill, global markets convulse, and supply chains collapse, COVID-19 may also reorder international politics as we know it. No analyst can know when this crisis will end, much less divine the world we will meet at its conclusion. But as scholars have begun to note, it is plausible that China will emerge from the wreckage as more of a global leader than it began. International orders — the rules, norms, and regimes that govern international politics, supported by state power — typically shift as a product of great-power wars. For some time, foreign policy experts have observed power to be shifting in China’s favor and hoped for modest, peaceful change within the existing system, rather than U.S.-Chinese conflict. It now seems that some form of system change may be brought about by an era-defining, exogenous shock, in the form of a highly contagious virus. If world order as we know it is upended, however, it will not be the product of this pandemic alone, but of forces that began long before COVID-19’s discovery, including an American foreign policy that has sought confrontation with China while disengaging from broader international ordering efforts. It is far too soon to say how exactly the international order will change, and whether or not China will emerge stronger. Nevertheless, it is also clear that some aspects of U.S. foreign policy must be transformed if Washington is to retain a leadership role in the system. Finally, the United States ought not simply recommit itself to its capable European and Asian allies, but make allied coordination the basis of its strategy going forward — against traditional military threats, as well as those that may be less visible and just as deadly. As is more evident by the day, the alternative is a system in which Washington is increasingly sidelined. If China exits this epochal crisis as a confident leader it will not be the ineluctable result of a structural shift; Beijing will have Washington’s calamitous domestic mismanagement and myopic foreign policy to thank for it. If, as part of its own recovery, however, the United States can return itself to a strategy that seeks domestic security and prosperity through international cooperation, it stands a chance of helping to build new forms of order that prevent the next crisis. The prospect feels dimmer but is not yet lost.

How China can rebuild global supply chain resilience after COVID-19
As the number of COVID-19 cases in China falls, it is also recovering from the effects on industry.Companies have been exploring creative ways to restart global supply chains. More work is needed to ensure long-term resilience.China seems to be seeing the light at the end of the tunnel of fighting the COVID-19 outbreak domestically. Last week the country reported no new cases of coronavirus for the first time since the outbreak began, and people are returning to work and their daily lives. Yet there is much more work to be done for companies to resume their normal productions and respond to the economic effects of the crisis.

‘Not unreasonable’ for China’s economy to shrink 10% in the first quarter, independent survey shows
The China Beige Book conducts an independent survey of more than 3,300 Chinese businesses every quarter. The firm’s primary indicators for the first quarter have fallen to their lowest level in the firm’s nearly 10 years of tracking China’s economy, according to an early look brief released Tuesday Beijing time.  The China Beige Book said it’s “not unreasonable” that gross domestic product will contract 10% to 11% in the first quarter, even with a slight upturn in the last few weeks of this month.

China’s US$7 trillion spending spree aims to save economy – but will its reliance on fossil fuels put the planet at risk?
Environmentalists warn that plans to build more coal-fired power plants could leave it locked into a high-carbon policy for decades  One report warned that continuing on this route threatens to undermine the global agreement to limit the rise in temperatures to 2 Celsius

Coronavirus: fears mount that China’s transition to a greener economy may be shelved amid recovery
Faced with increasing economic headwinds, there is concern China’s green transition may be set back by the coronavirus  Vaunted carbon emissions trading scheme, due for national implementation this year, likely to be delayed, observers say

Coronavirus: US stocks soar as lawmakers near a deal on stimulus plan
Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped more than 1,000 points, or 5.8 per cent, at start of trade; S&P 500 was up 5.1 per cent and Nasdaq rose 5 per cent    The rebound from Monday’s sell-off was fuelled in part by US President Donald Trump’s statement that ‘we cannot let the cure be worse than the problem’

Asian markets rally after Federal Reserve launches unlimited bond buying to shore up coronavirus-battered US economy
US Congress said close to deal over a relief package that has been valued between US$1.8 trillion and US$2.5 trillion    Most Asian markets finish broadly higher, with Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index closing ahead 4.5 per cent

Nearly 2 million people have used Alipay to find a job
Alipay is looking to attract workers looking for employment to its platform and is offering contactless job fairs that it says so far 60,000 companies have registered for

European Commission hits out at online Covid-19 scams, writes to tech platforms including Alibaba, Amazon and Facebook
The coronavirus outbreak, which has infected more than 334,000 people globally, has sparked what the WHO calls an ‘infodemic’

EU fires warning shot at China in coronavirus battle of the narratives
The European Union’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell has called on the bloc to be ready for a ‘struggle for influence’ with Beijing    Comments reflect growing unease that Chinese aid is aimed at undermining European unity

China seeks united coronavirus front with Europe amid blame game with US
In calls with the leaders of France and Britain, Xi Jinping urges stronger cooperation in response to the pandemic     Countries should maintain safe and open global supply chains and work together to ensure economic growth, Xi says

Comment: Finding opportunity in a Chinese crisis
Even as investors have been spooked by the recent market volatility, they can look to companies with competitive business practices that can better create cash flow and thrive in challenging times. Yu Xiaobo explains why Chinese stocks offer a compelling opportunity at this time.

Trade war and the coronavirus will bring China’s quietly raging consumer debt crisis to a head
Online lenders and other more traditional nonbank players are sinking further into trouble as a weakening Chinese economy takes its toll  Given China’s weak legal infrastructure and the government’s populist bent, expect the fallout to hurt banks and destroy many nonbank financial institutions

China After COVID-19: How Foreign Companies Can Leverage Key IT Solutions
At the best of times, China’s cyberspace environment can be difficult for foreign businesses to operate within. The country’s strict internet controls can significantly affect the performance of company networks, and its complex cybersecurity regulations can make planning and maintaining compliant and well-performing infrastructures very challenging.COVID-19 has now propelled these issues to the crisis forefront for daily operational productivity, cost optimization, and security. The unprecedented need of foreign companies based in China to suddenly implement and shift to scaled and adaptable virtual work or telecommuting regimes for nearly all their company processes, means daily exposure to a challenging internet ecosystem, and the need to do so immediately and cost effectively.

Regional Roundup: Asia Dares Covid Disaster
With the numbers of those infected by the Covid-19 coronavirus rising inexorably every day, it is increasingly clear that disaster is possible for significant parts of the countries that make up 70 percent of Asia’s population unless authorities can find ways around it.

China’s factories work 24/7 to build medical ventilators for Milan, New York amid spreading global Covid-19 pandemic
As the global death toll from the coronavirus crosses 15,000, doctors from Milan to New York are desperately seeking ventilators    In severe cases, the availability of a ventilator can determine if a Covid-19 patient lives or dies

Luxury brands join the fight against Covid-19 as retailers use their factories to churn out medical supplies
Prada, LVMH, Inditex and other retailers use their facilities to make masks, surgical gowns, hand sanitiser and other medical gear to help fight the coronavirus    Chinese companies that supply foreign retailers are forced to close their factories after orders are cancelled in view of falling demand

The race is on in the drug battle against the coronavirus
Researchers are looking to repurpose existing pharmaceuticals to target a disease that has already killed thousands around the world   Some have potential in helping those at greatest risk, virologist says

Chinese people overseas are turning to online health platforms amid global coronavirus panic
This surge follows increasing demand for online health services at home amid the coronavirus outbreak – which can be spread by human water droplets.

Coronavirus: China’s stranded citizens offered medical advice via free service from Alibaba founder Jack Ma
The service has been launched as China has come under a growing pressure from imported cases having seemingly bought the domestic outbreak under control    It is Jack Ma’s latest effort to combat the virus having already donated masks and test kits to other countries

Coronavirus: Spain running short of mortuary space and Britain enters lockdown as Europe’s pandemic battle grows
World Health Organisation warns spread of Covid-19 is accelerating and US could become new centre of pandemic    Madrid ice rink turned into temporary morgue as number of new cases in Spain rises at faster pace than seen in Italy or China

India announces nationwide lockdown to stop spread of coronavirus
India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced on Tuesday that the entire country will be locked down for three weeks beginning at midnight in an effort to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

Coronavirus: India to enter ‘total lockdown’ after spike in cases
India has seen a sharp increase in coronavirus cases in recent days
India is to impose a nationwide lockdown in an attempt to slow the spread of the coronavirus, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has announced

Fact vs fiction: Timeline of a coronavirus war of words between Beijing and Washington
How the US and China descended into a childish blame game over who was responsible for the pandemic that is killing thousands and disrupting economies globally

Here’s When Bill Gates Predicts We Can Reopen the Economy
We can follow China’s success, but need to execute social distancing and ramp up testing

Italian professor repeats warning coronavirus may have spread outside China last year
Giuseppe Remuzzi’s comments were seized on by Chinese state media amid the acrimonious row with the US, but he says the key question is how far Covid-19 had spread before it was identified   Academic says ‘strange pneumonias’ in Italy last November suggest it may have reached Europe before anyone knew what the disease was

Helping US healthcare stakeholders understand the human side of the COVID-19 crisis: McKinsey Consumer Healthcare Insights
Healthcare stakeholders on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic must understand not only the disease itself, but also consumers’ questions, concerns, and behaviors. Our recent rapid-research effort in the US provides some early insights.

Doubts and Decoctions: TCM on the Coronavirus Front Line
Traditional Chinese medicine practitioners say an ancient remedy has proven highly effective as a treatment for COVID-19-induced pneumonia. But some patients remain wary.

Coronavirus: global lockdown to hit China’s supplies of steak, lobster and fine wines
The virus will hit China’s access to premium food imports, but could also lead to a shift in spending patterns among wealthy shoppers    Seafood from Iceland, Australian steak and Spanish wines could be off the menu in China, but individuals say they are already cutting down

Coronavirus: Wuhan lockdown to end in two weeks as China gets people back to work
Outbreak’s initial epicentre set to lift draconian restrictions in force for over two months   Hubei province to ease traffic controls on Wednesday for those with QR code showing they are healthy

Asia may have the edge in battling the coronavirus, but property prices don’t reflect the severity of the crisis
The assumption that Asia will be first in, first out of the virus-induced downturn is questionable, as it is still unclear how quickly China’s economy can resume without triggering a rise in new infections

COVID-19 exposes cracks in Pacific regionalism
At the time of writing, there are 63 reported cases of COVID-19 in the Pacific. This includes one in Papua New Guinea, three in Fiji, seven in New Caledonia, 23 in French Polynesia, 29 in Guam and suspected cases in Samoa. The number is relatively low but there is a sense that tragedy is unfolding in slow motion across a region where health sectors are already under-funded and poorly equipped.

Chinese airlines take proactive measures to salvage business
Civil aviation is among the industries worst hit by the COVID-19 epidemic. As the situation across China gradually shows signs of improvement, airlines are taking proactive measures to make up for their losses.   According to the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC), passenger traffic of China’s airlines in February plunged by 84.5 percent year-on-year to 8.34 million trips, and the whole aviation sector suffered losses of 24.59 billion yuan (about 3.46 billion U.S. dollars).

Tourist attractions reopen as outbreak eases in China
With many provinces in China lowering their coronavirus emergency response levels, people are stepping outdoors as normal life resumes. Last weekend, which was the first weekend after the spring equinox, many parks and tourist attractions reopened with regulations, allowing people to embrace the spring

China’s new solar telescope is the biggest in operation … for now
Scientist says it will be used to monitor solar activity and provide more accurate data to support research and space weather forecasting     The world’s largest and most powerful – with a 4-metre aperture – is in Hawaii, and is expected to be ready for use in July

A blueprint for remote working: Lessons from China
As home to some of the world’s largest firms, China offers lessons for those that are just now starting to embrace the shift to remote working.

Alain Gillard
Information Officer
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