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Wednesday, December 1, 2021

China’s self-isolation is a global concern




The most important invited guest of COP26 did not appear. As the President of China, Xi Jinping’s carbon dioxide emissions exceed those of the United States and the European Union combined. However, unlike other world leaders, Xi Jinping did not speak at the climate summit.Instead, he submitted a Written statement The conference website does not exceed 500 words.

Xi Jinping’s dismissive attitude towards climate negotiations is not so much the middle finger as it is the middle finger. But the Chinese leader’s refusal to travel to Glasgow to attend COP26 — or the previous G20 summit in Rome — is part of a broader national self-isolation model.

In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, China has installed one of the most stringent border control and quarantine systems in the world.Entry of foreigners or Chinese citizens must be strict isolation For one at the lowest limit Two weeks. If they enter Beijing, where the leadership is located, additional control is required.

This system actually prevents foreigners from visiting China without staying for several months, or most Chinese people cannot travel abroad.Xi himself has Did not leave China For nearly two years. The last time he saw a foreign leader in person was when he met with the President of Pakistan in Beijing in March 2020. The upcoming summit between Xi Jinping and President Biden will be held via video.

When most parts of the world are under lockdown, the extreme nature of China’s measures does not seem to be so compelling. But as most parts of the world return to normal, China’s self-isolation has become more and more abnormal.

The impact on international business is already obvious. China continues to trade and invest with the outside world. But business relations are breaking down. China’s foreign chambers of commerce report that international executives are leaving China without being replaced. Hong Kong’s role as a global business center has been hit hard.

The Chinese leadership may actually welcome some of these developments. Yu Jie, a researcher at the Chatham Institute in London, believes that the pandemic has accelerated Xi Jinping’s path to a path he has already embarked on-toward national self-reliance. This policy started long before the pandemic, the “Made in China 2025” campaign, which promoted domestic technology and production.

But with Covid-19, the emphasis on economic self-sufficiency has become a broader inward shift-with dangerous effects on China and the world. China’s extraordinary rise in the past 40 years was triggered by Deng Xiaoping’s embrace of “reform and opening up” in the 1980s. Deng saw that the isolation of Mao Zedong’s Cultural Revolution led to poverty and backwardness. He humbly realized that China can learn from the outside world.

The current mood in China is very different. Lana Mitte, Professor of Chinese History at Oxford University pointed out the danger that “closed borders will lead to closed thoughts.” After 40 years of rapid development, China has become confident.

The Chinese media portrays the West, especially the United States, as an unstoppable decline.The Chinese government believes that China is far ahead in some key technologies in the future, such as e And artificial intelligence. Beijing may think that the world now needs China more than China needs the world.

The control of the epidemic is also closely related to the political legitimacy of Xi Jinping and the Communist Party.The official death toll in China is less than 5,000, by comparison 750,000 deaths In the U.S. The Xi Jinping government argued that although the United States brags about human rights, the Chinese Communist Party actually protects the people.

But China’s zero epidemic policy now risks becoming a trap. As the outside world transitions to a low standard of living, contact with foreigners may seem more dangerous for China-leading to a renewed emphasis on restricting interaction with the outside world.

In China, it is difficult to even loosen internal controls, because the Delta variant has caused a small outbreak of the disease in two-thirds of China’s provinces. Suppressing these outbreaks will encourage the Communist Party’s worst control freak, which uses technology to monitor citizens more closely. In one episode, more than 30,000 people were locked in Shanghai Disneyland for testing after a case of new coronary pneumonia was discovered.

These harsh policies have now caused some public debate in China. But deregulation is unlikely in the short term. This week, the Communist Party is holding a meeting to prepare for Xi Jinping to extend his time in power at the important party congress in November 2022. Before that, the Chinese did not want to take any political risks. After the conference, China will enter winter, when diseases may increase sharply. Therefore, many experts believe that China’s zero Covid policy — and the consequent closed border — will continue until 2023.

At that stage, China will be in self-isolation for more than three years. China and the world economy may be affected as a result, and global cooperation will also be affected.

However, the biggest and most intangible impact may be the impact on the Chinese people. If you have never seen a foreigner, it is easier to believe that they are dangerous and decadent. When China finally opens up, the world may encounter a country that has changed a lot.

gideon.rachman@ft.com




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