GT Voice: China’s zero-covid will be proven beneficial for world economy
Published: May 12, 2022 10:46 PM Updated: May 12, 2022 10:42 PM
Shanghai Photo: VCG
Shanghai Photo: VCG

As China battles its worst COVID-19 outbreak since 2020, its zero-COVID strategy has been repeatedly accused of undermining the global economy. It is a short-sighted viewpoint that will, ultimately, add more uncertainty to the global economic recovery. As China strives to find the most effective way to save the most lives at the least cost, it's hard to assess the cost at the moment, but what is certain is that we will have to pay more, if China chooses to "lie flat" against the virus as many countries have done.

Western economists may have misunderstandings about China's zero-COVID strategy. The dynamic zero-COVID strategy does not mean pursuing zero infections. Its goal is to curtail the viral transmission at the lowest possible cost, so as to provide a powerful guarantee for people's lives and ensure economic activity returns to normal in the shortest possible time span.

There is no denying that COVID-19 outbreaks have caused some economic volatility, but bringing the epidemic under control in the shortest time span can minimize the economic costs.

Under the current dynamic zero-COVID strategy, China has reported a fall in new COVID-19 infections. With the introduction of measures to tackle logistics and other disruptions and boost the economic recovery, economic activity hit by the COVID-19 outbreaks will gradually return to normal levels. The period of time will definitely be much shorter than that if China choices to "lie flat" and let the virus spread unchecked.

Those who blame China's dynamic zero-COVID strategy are short sighted. Some of them are just trying to smear, denigrate and undermine China. Whoever bets that China is at risk of a self-inflicted recession will suffer the consequences of their mistakes.

Perhaps we need not be too bothered by the "China collapse" theory, which resurfaces increasingly more frequently. China's 4.8-percent GDP growth in the first quarter of 2022 is higher than that of many developed economies that have decided to "coexist" with the virus.

Three years into the COVID-19 pandemic, the world is split in its response to the virus. Different countries have adopted different strategies. However, whatever measures a country adopts would bring short-term economic costs. Some Western media outlets push people to focus on the short-term impact created by China's anti-epidemic measures but keep silent on the long-term benefits of the dynamic zero-COVID strategy.

We are confident that as the epidemic is gradually brought under control, economic activities will return to normal in the rest of the year. China has set a growth target of around 5.5 percent for the Chinese economy this year. A 5.5-percent growth means China will still be one of the biggest, if not the biggest, drivers of global economic growth.

By contrast, some Western countries that have failed to curb the COVID-19 outbreak have become major trouble-makers for the global economy. In April, US consumer prices rose at an annual pace of 8.3 percent, staying at a nearly four-decade high. The US' sky-high inflation and its drastic monetary policy to tame surging prices pose the real risk for the global economy.

If China adopts Western-style anti-epidemic measures, its economy will suffer more from inflation and a series of other problems, including unexpected ones.

Dynamic zero-COVID is still the most suitable strategy for China to fight the virus and keep its economic overall stable. Time will prove once again that China can and will claim victory against the virus and will continue to play a major positive role for the global economy.