Asia

Protests against China’s strict zero-COVID policy up pressure on slowing economy: Analysts

SLOW, CAUTIOUS APPROACH TO REOPENING

While China is looking to reopen, it is adopting a slow and cautious approach, said observers.

The country has to find a balance between growing its economy and keeping the number of cases down, said Mr Einar Tangen, senior fellow at think tank Taihe Institute. 

“But this idea that somehow China wants to sabotage its own economy, I think is erroneous,” he told CNA’s Asia First. 

“Obviously, they put GDP (gross domestic product) and growth at a very high premium. Not above human lives, but they certainly are paying a tremendous amount of attention to this.” 

On Monday, Chinese security forces filled the streets of major cities such as Beijing and Shanghai following online calls for another night of protests to demand an end to lockdowns.

China will be trying to stop any such demonstration before it starts, said Mr Tangen, adding that protesters will find other means, including on the Internet, to voice their concerns. 

China’s early success in dealing with the coronavirus has become a trap now, with residents wondering why the country is not opening up when others have done so. 

“But the fact is that long COVID does exist. There are 300 subvariants out there and some of them are able to get around even vaccines,” said Mr Tangen. 

Beijing has been stressing the need to bring in more foreign investments and rebuild its small- and medium-size enterprises, which account for about 80 per cent of jobs. 

“This is where their real concerns are, the issue is how to get them there and have a safe opening in terms of COVID,” said Mr Tangen. 

Source: CNA

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