MERICS Members Event: Can China escape from its Zero Covid trap?
China is experiencing a critical moment. Beijing’s fight against the Covid-19 pandemic has seriously damaged the economy while, ongoing lockdowns are leading to social discontent and the costs of testing and enforcing quarantine are straining the budgets of provincial authorities. The authorities are signaling a cautious loosening of the so-called “Dynamic Zero Covid” regime, including for foreign visitors, but this poses big risks for a country in which many citizens are still not adequately protected by vaccines. An out-of-control outbreak of the Omicron variant would trigger a serious public-health crisis – and quickly bring back severe restrictions for the population and the economy. Can China escape from its Zero Covid trap?
MERICS had the pleasure of hosting a confidential discussion with Dr. Bernhard Schwartlaender, Global Health Envoy at the German Embassy in Beijing and former Assistant Director General and and Chief of Staff at the World Health Organisation (WHO). He was joined by Yang Xifan, China correspondent of German weekly newspaper Die Zeit, who shared insights on the social and political stress induced by the ongoing pandemic. Jacob Gunter, Senior Analyst at MERICS, explained the impact on the Chinese economy and the outlook for foreign businesses.
Bernhard Schwartlaender - Global Health Envoy, German Embassy Beijing
Yang Xifan – China Correspondent, Die Zeit
Jacob Gunter - Senior Analyst, MERICS
Claudia Wessling, Director Communications and Publications, MERICS
Please note that the meeting was confidential and by personal invitation only. This online event was part of our portfolio for MERICS Members and key stakeholders.