March 7th 2020


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Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY Beyond the Great Divide

EDITORIAL Holden, China, covid19: Time for industry reset

CANBERRA OBSERVED Political promises on the Never Never never never work well for the nation

CLIMATE POLITICS Business joins in climate change chorus

FOREIGN AFFAIRS Divided Democrats will help re-elect Donald Trump

GENDER POLITICS Project Nettie: Science takes on ideology

FOREIGN AFFAIRS Myth-busting China's 'soft power'

FOREIGN AFFAIRS Covid19 outbreak hits China's growth, imperils Communist Party

POLITICS AND SOCIETY What should the champions of democracy care about?

HISTORY Putting Lenin on the train: History's biggest blunder

NCC CONFERENCE 2020 Strengthening family, freedom, and sovereignty in a hostile world

HUMOUR Hooray for our premiers

MUSIC Handel: A composer who knew the value of a quick turnaround

CINEMA Emma: Handsome, clever, rich

BOOK REVIEW Useful but limited analysis of the breakdown of distinctions today

BOOK REVIEW The successive possessors of the West's first printed book

EBOOK: READ THIS

POETRY

AS THE WORLD TURNS

NATIONAL AFFAIRS Cardinal Pell's appeal in the High Court this week

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FOREIGN AFFAIRS
Covid19 outbreak hits China's growth, imperils Communist Party


by Peter Westmore

News Weekly, March 7, 2020

The rapid spread of the new coronavirus Covid19 throughout China is already having a dramatic, negative effect on China’s economy, with impacts already seen in the West, and, in China, rising hostility over the Chinese Communist Party’s failure to stop the outbreak.

Xi Jinping ostentatiously being tested
for covid19 
in Beijing, not Wuhan!

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has consistently claimed that the outbreak is “under control” and there is no cause for alarm. It repeatedly reports a decline in the number of confirmed cases, and reports an influx of health professionals from other parts of China into the worst affected city of Wuhan.

However, the facts on the ground contradict the Government’s optimistic tone. At latest count, the number of people infected is rising towards 100,000, and over 2,000 people have died, including doctors and nurses who have been treating patients.

The Government has imposed an extraordinary quarantine on 50 cities across China with a combined population of over 150 million, and closed off thousands of villages where infected people are living.

Additionally, The New York Times examined official government releases and estimated that “more than 760 million Chinese people live in communities that have imposed strictures of some sort on residents’ comings and goings, as officials try to contain the new coronavirus epidemic.” (February 18, 2020).

CHECKPOINTS

These restrictions range from having to pass checkpoints where temperatures are recorded, to strict bans confining people to their homes and allowing only one person per household to leave every three days to do shopping.

People suspected of having the virus are not allowed to go to work or travel on public transport and, as a result, industrial production has been severely cut and many shops remain closed, although the extent of disruption is still unclear.

Tourism has collapsed, and many schools and universities are closed.

Western corporations that have manufacturing operations in China are already reporting a downturn.

Apple, one of the world’s largest corporations that manufactures extensively in China and is a large seller of mobile phones, tablets and computers in the country, has warned of falling sales and profits in the current half-year, due to the virus.

Hong Kong-based bank HSBC has announced that it will cut 35,000 people from its workforce and cut spending by $US4.5 billion ($A6.7 billion) due to the coronavirus and disruption to its Hong Kong operations.

Motor vehicle manufacturers including Renault, Jaguar Land Rover, Hyundai and Fiat Chrysler have announced that the outbreak will have an impact on production in Western countries as well.

Although China has refused to cut its growth forecasts, Moody’s Investors Service has already cut its growth forecast from 5.8 per cent to 5.2 per cent, based on its expectation of “a severe but short-lived economic impact, with knock-on effects for economies across the region”.

If, as seems likely, the impact of Covid19 lasts longer than expected, the impact will be correspondingly higher.

One surprising aspect of the outbreak has been the response of the World Health Organisation (WHO), whose responsibility is to coordinate global responses to the crisis.

WHO has repeatedly congratulated the Chinese regime on its response to the crisis, when its tardy response and punishment of whistleblowers who reported the outbreak in the early weeks have contributed to the spread of the virus throughout China.

The explanation seems to be that WHO is still trying to get medical professionals on the ground in Wuhan to investigate the outbreak, and apparently fears that criticism of the regime will lead to government reprisals.

In any event, Chinese people themselves are showing their apprehension about the future.

Western media in China have reported on the fears of medical personnel, particularly in the epicentre of Wuhan, who have reported a chronic lack of rubber gloves, surgical masks and protective clothing.

Even in Australia, shopping centres located in areas of high Chinese population are nearly empty, as are supermarket shelves for items such as gloves, masks and hand sanitisers.

Many Chinese-born Australians, who follow events in China closely, blame the Chinese Communist Party and leader Xi Jinping for the crisis, saying that they allowed the spread of the coronavirus.

Media photos of Xi wearing a new surgical mask and using hand sanitiser have prompted further criticism.




























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Last Modified:
April 4, 2018, 6:45 pm