China’s Hubei province — most badly-hit by the Covid-19 pandemic — has pressed the reset button on its economy, becoming China’s first province to implement an economic revitalisation package following the pandemic. Although policy details are not yet released, academics interviewed predict that Hubei will receive more financial subsidies than any other province or city, and industries like auto manufacturing and infrastructure will benefit from industry support policies. Hubei’s revitalisation scheme will also give an idea of how the country’s yet-to-be-released economic stimulus package will look like. While help is on the way for Hubei, due to the enormous economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak, making a fast and effective recovery is going to be a tall order.
The pandemic has exposed the flaws of a globalised world characterised by interconnectedness. Dr Yu Hong asks: "If there are no safeguards in place for risk control and management, would it still be in the interest of each country to pursue globalisation? Do the economic and trade benefits of globalisation outweigh the impact of its potential systemic risks? How should each country safeguard domestic public health while driving economic globalisation forward?"
The Covid-19 outbreak that started in Wuhan, China has spread with a vengeance to the rest of the world. The public health crisis will have longer-term impacts on the global economy and geopolitics. How has China and the rest of the world responded to the pandemic thus far? How will these responses change the league table of nations in international relations? How can China build on its strength and take full advantage of the situation to emerge a winner? Former Singapore Cabinet minister George Yeo ruminates on these questions and concludes that we are standing before a historic opportunity to build a safer world.
Yang Danxu notes that netizens are making mountains out of molehills and imposing their judgements on others. She points out the danger of politicising issues to the point that no one feels free to even make innocuous comments about the weather.
Beijing’s control measures against the coronavirus outbreak look set to be in place for some time, perhaps for the rest of the year. With stricter rules for people moving in and out of China’s capital, residents and visitors will need to adjust to the new normal. Zaobao correspondent Chen Jing finds out how ordinary people are affected.
With the lockdown on Wuhan about to be lifted on 8 April and the annual Qingming Festival just over, families in Wuhan are coming to terms with their losses. They want accountability from those who covered up the initial outbreak, even as they deal with the psychological impact of the coronavirus and lockdown.
To help businesses get back on their feet, the Wuhan municipal government recently announced that it is raising 20 billion RMB to roll out a rescue package for small and medium enterprises (SMEs). On the ground, many companies find themselves in more dire straits now than when the city was under a complete lockdown, and business owners are generally not confident of surviving the present downturn.
Mao said that “the Chinese people have stood up” when he proclaimed the People’s Republic of China in 1949. Lance Gore from the East Asian Institute says, more than 70 years later, if a Chinese person cannot speak his mind without fear of recrimination, one can hardly profess that the Chinese people have truly stood up.
In these days of Covid-19, the world needs hope. As spring descends and the world renews itself, the cherry blossoms in Wuhan — where the coronavirus was first reported — remind us to take heart that no matter how long it takes, this too shall pass. (Did you know that the cherry blossoms in Wuhan University were first planted by the Japanese army during WWII?)