China has long dreamed of being the dominant power on the planet. Until recently, it seemed well on the way to succeeding, with the stamp “Made in China” appearing on nearly a third of the world’s manufactured goods.
What a difference a pandemic makes.
On Friday, Chinese officials said their country’s economy shrank by 6.8 percent from January to March 2020, compared with one year ago.
The “China Dream” of dictator Xi Jinping is now on life support, in grave danger of succumbing to the same novel coronavirus that he and his fellow communists have unleashed upon the world.
I say we turn off the ventilator.
This sentiment seems to be even more infectious than the disease itself. A Harris poll released on April 6 found that 77 percent of the US population believes China is to blame for the pandemic. Before this thing has run its course, most of the world’s seven-plus billion people will likely agree as well.
It was just three years ago that Xi made a triumphal entry into Davos, celebrated as the new champion of free trade by Europeans leery of Trump’s America First policies.
DON SURBER: Red Chinese Disease blacklash begins.
“Whether this was by design or accident, Chairman Xi and Red China unleashed COVID-19 on the world, and now the world will make them pay for their multi-trillion dollar deception. Britain became the first to deliver economic sanctions against the communist country. Chairman Xi and WHO lied about the seriousness of this disease.”
As nations around the world struggle to deal with outbreaks of the Wuhan coronavirus, China is now experiencing the first phase of what could be considered social distancing on an international scale.
To begin with, it is being reported that China suffered its worst economic contraction since the 1970s, with a serious hit to its factory activity.
The world’s second-largest economy shrank 6.8% from a year ago in the three months ending in March after factories, shops and travel were closed to contain the infection, official data showed Friday.
That was stronger than some forecasts that called for a contraction of up to 16% but China’s worst performance since before market-style economic reforms started in 1979.
Some forecasters earlier said China, which led the way into a global shutdown to fight the virus, might rebound as early as this month. But they have been cutting growth forecasts and pushing back recovery timelines as negative trade, retail sales and other data pile up.
“I don’t think we will see a real recovery until the fourth quarter or the end of the year,” said economist Zhu Zhenxin at the Rushi Finance Institute in Beijing.
There are now signs that China’s lack of transparency and its failure to contain the spread of the virus internationally is slowing down its economic recovery. It is now apparent that European governments are hardening their positions toward China as they weigh future business activity with the nation.
French President Emmanuel Macron accused Beijing of not being upfront over its handling of the epidemic, while in the U.K., Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s plans to involve Chinese tech giant Huawei Technologies Co. in the nation’s next-generation mobile network may fall prey to mounting opposition.
The European Union’s position on China has been relatively measured, but leaders are beginning to call for a more thorough examination of its activities amid accusations Beijing has covered up the true scale of the epidemic. American intelligence officials are said to have concluded that China concealed the extent of its outbreak and under-reported the number of cases and deaths.
“Let’s not be so naive as to say it’s been much better at handling this,” Macron told the Financial Times in an interview published Thursday, referring to China. “We don’t know — there are clearly things that have happened that we don’t know about.”
When you’ve lost Macron . . . .
As global leaders weigh the actions taken by the Chinese Communist Party in the wake of the pandemic, little things like bad test kits and underwear-based masks add up. So it is not surprising that some countries are reassessing their plans to be part of China’s 5G global empire.
The UK is moving to drop Huawei as a vendor for the country’s 5G cellphone network in a major blow to Communist China over poor coronavirus transparency.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson, now recovering from COVID-19, gave the Chinese company a role in 5G infrastructure this year, squashing opposition last month by 24 votes in the 650-seat House of Commons.
But now, concern about the Chinese Communist Party’s inaccurate reporting on the coronavirus has lawmakers crafting plans for a retreat.
“We need to devise a proper, realistic exit strategy from relying on Huawei,” Conservative Member of Parliament Damian Green told Bloomberg News. “Our telecom providers … need to know the government is determined to drive down Huawei’s involvement to zero percent over a realistic timescale.”