Is the Global Pandemic an Opportunity for China?

Chinese national flag flutters against the office buildings at the Shanghai Bund (AP Photo/Andy Wong, File)

China tracks everything, from the online shopping data to the citizens’ social media accounts, and practices the mass surveillance, and ‘score’ its citizens on the basis of their actions. But it failed in identifying the people, infected from a highly communicable virus, walking out of its boundaries. Unfortunately, they failed in tracking the virus originated in its own backyard— at the Wet Market in the Wuhan province. COVID-19 so far has infected over 2 million people and took lives of more than 150,000 worldwide.

It is worrying that the country of origin of this virus is taking an economic advantage and not sharing the essential information with the world, and its own citizens. Continuous denial of facts, and the spread of misinformation, by China, is a matter of severe concern for the entire world. Meanwhile, it is emerging as the first country to overcome this virus and has managed everything astonishingly.

The mostly tensed part of the world, today, is Europe and North America. The United States has crossed the 900,000 cases recently and, the last month, WHO declared Europe an epicentre of this coronavirus pandemic. In nutshell, the world powers are suffering and trying hard to manage. China has comparatively lower sufferings, and, it would not be an exaggeration to say that, is the only power standing.

United States’ raised an accusation against China, of conducting a ‘low-level’ nuclear test, recently. It also said, pointing towards china, that it was a ‘moral obligation’ for them to be transparent.

Read: China – a Revisionist Power?

On the other hand, People Liberation Army (PLA) has organized the long military drills, near to Republic of China (Taiwan). For Taiwan, it was not less than a threat. Not only near to Taiwan, but the PLA has also performed drills in the Tibet (the western part of China, near to borders of Nepal, Bhutan and India). Amidst of COVID-19 outbreak, the protests in Hong-Kong, which were affecting the reputation of China abroad has also reduced.

China is an only country, whose healthcare system sufficiently managed everything, whereas the countries above it, in the ranking, have suffered immensely.

Today, when the entire world is fighting the pandemic, China is using its economy as a weapon and, also, expanding its efficiency to fulfil the strategic objectives.

Read: China’s Mask Diplomacy – A Face Saving Act?

It is also extending its reach, taking advantage of the crisis, through investing in other countries. India recently proposed changes in its policy of (foreign) direct investments to ‘discourage the opportunistic investments’ from the nations sharing borders and protecting the domestic industries. Between January and March, China’s central bank purchased 17.5 million shares of HDFC bank, one of the largest banks in India in terms of market capitalization. Further, Chinese corporate houses have invested about $4 billion in 30 Indian startups. Similar concerns are raised in the US, too.

Staff members move medical supplies to be sent to Italy for the prevention of the novel coronavirus at the international airport in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province/ REUTERS

Even in Italy, which has become deadly chaos in this pandemic, there is an economic interest running deep on the hearts of Chinese investors. Pandemic changed the flourishing economy, of Italy, into a disaster. Bloomberg predicts, the Italian economy will shrink more than 18 per cent by the end of this year. The worry for Italy is that the falling economy will open the doors of opportunity for foreign investments, of which Chinese players can certainly take advantage.

This pandemic has jeopardized the world economy and the crisis has deep economic repercussions. But for Chinese investors, this is not less than an opportunity. During the pandemic also Chinese billionaires are earning and expanding their businesses.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Kootneeti Team

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Aru Bhardwaj

Aru Bhardwaj is a Third-year Economics undergraduate student at Punjab University, India. He can be reached at arubhardwaj@hotmail.com

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