Yu Zhi

Professor of Economics, Renmin University of China

Yu Zhi is an economics professor at Renmin University of China. He is also a research associate at the China (Shanghai) Free Trade Zone Research Center and the US Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas. He received his PhD in Finance from Renmin University of China and PhD in Economics from Georgetown University. He has previously conducted research at China's National Commission of Development and Planning, the International Monetary Fund, and the US Department of Commerce. His research focuses on international trade and international finance. His papers were published in academic journals such as Journal of International Economics and International Economic Review. His policy comments have appeared in various media worldwide, including China Business Network, Associated Press, Bloomberg, Sputnik News Agency, Financial Times, and Lianhe Zaobao.

People walk in Qianmen street in Beijing on 17 February 2021. (Noel Celis/AFP)

Respect rules of market economy and human diversity: China needs to align its domestic and foreign policies

Chinese academic Yu Zhi notes that both the US and China need to align their domestic and foreign policies. The US needs to get the coronavirus pandemic under control and prove that a democratic system still works and that the US is still a leader in universal values. China, on the other hand, needs to take a more market-oriented approach to economic and industrial development and show that its respect for global diversity extends domestically as well.
A government supporter wearing a protective mask holds Chinese and Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) flags to celebrate the passage of a national security law in Hong Kong, China, on 30 June 2020. (Lam Yik/Bloomberg)

There will be no peaceful rise — China-US relations enters a new phase

In a recent report outlining its approach to China, the US indicated that it will be guided by “principled realism” in strategic competition with China. Chinese academic Yu Zhi believes that this is a sign of the two countries moving into a “curtailment and containment” phase in their relations. Whoever the next President is, the US line on China looks set to hold. This stance harks back to the beginning of US-China relations, albeit with some adjustments. In any event, both countries are bracing themselves for a rough ride ahead.
A man looks at a globe in a park in Wuhan, 8 April 2020. (Hector Retamal/AFP)

What is China's next move? It has two alternatives

Economics professor Yu Zhi points out that the ball is in China’s court as to whether it will continue being plugged in to the international economic system and whether globalisation itself will continue on its path. In the medium- to long-term, he sees that it is in China’s interest to stay the course and scenarios of decoupling between China and the West are much exaggerated. However, how China sees its strategic role in the world in the future is something its leaders and people have to give great thought to, not in the future, but right now.
The fearless girl statue and the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) are pictured on 20 April 2020 at Wall Street in New York City. (Johannes Eisele/AFP)

Will the pandemic undermine the long-term leadership capability of the US?

With the coronavirus rampaging through the West, especially the US, some people think that this might signal the start of a decline in the leadership status of the US, with China ready to step up in its place. Chinese professor Yu Zhi does not agree.