GT Voice: Western slander won’t undercut Shanghai’s global attractiveness
Published: Apr 07, 2022 08:23 PM
Lujiazui Photo:VCG

Lujiazui Photo:VCG

The European Union Chamber of Commerce in China warned on Wednesday that China's dynamic zero-COVID policy was harming the attractiveness of Shanghai as a financial hub, echoing analysts voicing caution over the economic toll of China's anti-COVID-19 approach, according to Reuters.

The warning from the EU's business group came at a time when Western politicians and media outlets have been playing up the economic impact of China's dynamic zero-COVID policy, which they claim will take a heavy toll on the Chinese economy by dislocating its supply chains.

These voices of doom have become more active than ever after Shanghai, which plays a special role in the Chinese economy, entered a so-called static management status, as it is struggling to contain the city's worst flare-up since 2020.  

But these anti-China forces in the West completely ignore the fact that China has avoided serious loss of life and mounted the most impressive economic recovery among major economies from the pandemic, because they are blinded by their bias toward China and has only focused on the most extreme situations in the country's broader fight against the virus and to keep ensure steady economic development.

There is no denying that the fight against the highly contagious Omicron variant, especially in Shanghai currently, has become particularly severe and complicated. The Shanghai municipal government's requirement for most people to stay at home and undergo nucleic acid tests are aimed at cutting off the chain of transmission, curbing the spread of the virus, and achieving dynamic zero-COVID as soon as possible, so as to minimize the public health and economic costs.

This complex and tough anti-COVID approach has been proven to be effective in many Chinese cities in several waves of the COVID-19 over the past two years. There is no reason to believe that Shanghai, with all of its strength and experiences, cannot pull that off. 

What's puzzling is that why at this time Western forces are stepping up their smearing campaign against Shanghai's battle against the virus. Maybe this has much to do with the fact that many Western countries have essentially surrendered to the virus, no matter what nice names they call it. 

If anything, the epidemic situation in Europe is a wake-up call about what would happen if China shifted to the so-called "coexistence" strategy. According to the WHO's weekly epidemiological update, for the week ended on Tuesday, 4.63 million new COVID-19 cases were reported in Europe, and more than 10,000 people died from COVID-19. 

By comparison, Shanghai hasn't reported a single COVID-19 death in the latest outbreak. Despite the strict epidemic prevention, the financial markets in Shanghai have been operating smoothly. And despite apparent challenges and hiccups, the city, whose population is larger than Romania-the 9th most populous European country, is still running smoothly. That's where the confidence in the city comes from. 

The EU Chamber of Commerce in China has a long history in China, so they should have a deeper understanding about the implications behind China's zero-COVID policy, not to mention that EU companies have already enjoyed the great benefits brought about by the strict anti-epidemic measures in China over the past two years. 

According to a survey released by the EU Chamber of Commerce in China in June 2021, 73 percent of the interviewed companies said they achieved profitability in the previous year, and about half of the surveyed companies said that their profit margins in China are higher than the global average, which is much higher than the 38 percent in last year's survey.

Another report released recently by the German Chamber of Commerce in China and KPMG showed that nearly 60 percent of German companies in China reported improved business operations last year and 71 percent plan further investment in the country. 

Of course, it is understandable for European companies to have some concerns over the economic impact of the current anti-epidemic measures in China, given Shanghai's economic importance. However, given their history and understanding of China, they should also learn to recognize and respect China's policy decisions based on the best interests of the country and its people - which should be aligned with the interests of foreign businesses operating in the Chinese market. 

In fact, in order to quickly rein in the epidemic and resume normal life and work, foreign businesses, including those from the EU, should play a responsible role in the current battle against the virus, instead of making fear-mongering remarks that help no one. Expressing concerns about potential impact is one thing, but biased smearing against China's lifesaving policy is counterproductive.