lørdag 23. januar 2021

New Covid infections pose challenge to China's growth and Xi's leadership

When Britain was in its second lockdown last November and the economy was contracting, China’s quarterly growth rate was hitting 6.5%. Figures last week showed that for the full year, the world’s second-largest economy could boast a growth rate of 2.3% while all its rivals in Europe and the Americas were going backwards.

The trend could be traced back to Beijing’s efforts to tackle the virus – albeit after a period of denial – and keep infection rates among the lowest in the world.

But the week-long new year public holiday from 11 February will be a stiff test of Beijing’s ability to keep the pandemic in check and its economy growing. Officials have told the many hundreds of millions of people who traditionally travel to visit relatives – and this year celebrate the year of the ox – that they should stay at home to keep the infection rate under control.