Photo taken with a mobile phone shows a 98-year-old woman patient (in a wheelchair) and her daughter (3rd R) taking a group photo with medical workers before leaving the Leishenshan hospital in Wuhan, central China's Hubei Province, March 1, 2020. (Photo by Gao Xiang/Xinhua)
Some Western fortune-tellers predict that a "perfect storm" is coming to China. But China's performances in handling multiple challenges are the best response.
by Xinhua writer Chen Chen
BEIJING, March 2 (Xinhua) -- Some Westerners love to foretell China's collapse, though their records so far have been pathetic at best.
Now, as China is in a rigorous fight against the COVID-19 outbreak, those Western fortune-tellers have again sought to tap their crystal balls, predicting that a "perfect storm" is coming to China.
A perfect storm implies a critical or disastrous situation created by a powerful concurrence of factors. For those skeptics, China is under enormous pressure from many sides: the strike of the COVID-19 outbreak, a trade dispute with the United States, and a lackluster global economic prospect.
However, given China's past performances to ride out such storms, this new round of China-meltdown theory is doomed to failure.
A technician works at Guangyuanxincun Subway Station on Guangzhou Subway Line 11, in Guangzhou, south China's Guangdong Province, Feb. 26, 2020. (Xinhua/Lu Ye)
It is true that because of the epidemic, as well as China's forceful measures to contain the spread of the deadly virus, the Chinese economy is expected to take a hit in the short run. However, that impact is only temporary and manageable. The fundamentals of China's long-term sound economic growth remain unchanged.
One major factor is the country's solid and plentiful industrial and material foundation. China is now the world's second largest economy. It is also the only country in the world that has all the categories listed in the United Nations' industrial classifications.
When addressing the opening of the first China International Import Expo in 2018, Chinese President Xi Jinping compared the Chinese economy to an ocean, saying that "Big winds and storms may upset a pond, but never an ocean."
The current epidemic is the kind of wind and storm Xi mentioned.
Delivery man Fu Luqiang gives the takeaway food to a customer in Zhengzhou, central China's Henan Province, Feb. 25, 2020. (Xinhua/Li An)
While the outbreak has put pressure on some commercial activities like catering services and tourism, it has offered fresh opportunities for other industries like online shopping, long-distance learning, online entertainment, smart manufacturing and food delivery. Such a diversity of industrial capacity has been a result of China's more-than-four decades of reform and opening up and rapid development.
Another key secret ingredient in the formula of China's economic resilience is Beijing's readiness to fine-tune existing policies and formulate new ones based on the needs of particular stages.
To cope with the epidemic, the Chinese government has rolled out a package of policies such as tax and fee reductions, financial services, rent reductions and employment subsidies to help businesses get back up and running.
Also, with some positive signs in China's battle against the epidemic, the Chinese government is meticulously unfolding an orderly resumption of production. Such a move will also help stabilize global supply chains at this uncertain time.
A staff member assembles products at a production line of Hunan Comtom Electronic Co., Ltd in Changsha, central China's Hunan Province, Feb. 27, 2020. (Photo by Chen Sihan/Xinhua)
"The Chinese authorities are working to mitigate the negative impact (of COVID-19) on the economy," International Monetary Fund Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said last month in Riyadh. "In our current baseline scenario, announced policies are implemented and China's economy would return to normal in the second quarter."
In the final analysis, the victory over the epidemic requires everyone's input. Over the past few weeks, China's unique national governance system has well demonstrated its ability to effectively mobilize the whole country for a single purpose in testing times.
Commenting on the efficiency and massive scale of China's anti-epidemic moves, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the World Health Organization, said those measures, which are rarely seen in the world, are a reflection of the advantages of China's system.
In a speech at a recent meeting in Beijing, Xi said the Chinese nation has experienced many ordeals in its history, but it has never been overwhelmed. Instead, it has become more and more courageous, growing and rising up from hardships.
For those who always try to spell a sad endgame for China, the time-tested perfect storm rider will once again prove them wrong. ■