Zaobao associate editor Han Yong Hong shares her observations of a post-pandemic Beijing, noting the subtle differences in consumer habits and the people’s reluctance to talk about politics. How will China continue to change on its path of 'China-style modernisation'?
Central vs local government
Data from the Chinese Ministry of Finance shows that revenue in the local general public budget dropped 2.1% to 10.9 trillion RMB in 2022. As massive tax relief, “zero-Covid” outlays, and a property market meltdown drained their coffers, China’s local governments struggled to balance revenue and spending last year. One state-backed think tank warns that the fiscal strain could continue to plague localities in 2023.
China’s anti-corruption agency announced on 5 February that three CCP cadres were under investigation for disciplinary issues — specifically, corruption. While the CCP’s anti-corruption efforts have apparently shown results, those under investigation usually come under scrutiny after they leave their posts. Zaobao correspondent Yu Zeyuan looks at how effective such crackdowns are.
With Chinese New Year around the corner, the wave of human movement during the period could trigger a fresh wave of Covid-19 in China, not least in the rural areas with its villages and less than readily available healthcare. Zaobao correspondent Wong Siew Fong recounts her visit to a rural area in Zhangjiajie to find out if the rural villages are prepared to handle a surge in Covid-19 cases.
Zaobao correspondent Yu Zeyuan explains the delicate relationship between private enterprises and local governments, in which both depend on each other for mutual benefit. But once the tenuous relationship runs awry, there is little recourse to right the situation.
Lianhe Zaobao journalist Tai Hing Shing examines the reasons for the seeming initial lack of enthusiasm in travelling from mainland China to Hong Kong, including slow visa processing and changing consumer habits. Will traveller numbers pick up over the next few weeks or months?
China’s sudden opening up has taken many by surprise, and it seems that it was not just the people who were unprepared — the government itself appeared not to have planned for the aftermath of lifting all measures, leading to a shortage of medicine and vaccines, and a squeeze on healthcare resources. If anything, the three years of Covid-19 have highlighted the shortcomings of China’s political system. Chinese college student Anthony Shen shares his thoughts.
China is reopening after three years of it zero-Covid policy, but the ongoing development raises fundamental questions about the “great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation”, says East Asian Institute senior research fellow Lance Gore. The project needs to be grander, if it is to provide some universal significance for the Third Axial Age. Among other things, it might be worthwhile for China to pay attention to developing the personal and social levels of the nation, and to sow the seeds of building a healthy, mature society.
With the easing of Covid measures in China, many cities saw the return of New Year countdown celebrations, with major crowds congregating in droves. While the mood is upbeat, worries remain. Lianhe Zaobao’s China Desk looks at the people’s hopes for 2023.