How China manages to remain global economic powerhouse despite pandemic

(Xinhua) 14:54, January 29, 2022

BEIJING, Jan. 29 (Xinhua) -- Late into the night, as has become a common sight in Zepu, a town in China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, the Shanlulin night market is bustling with activity.

Abulimit Mehmet's restaurant, opened just two months ago, was crowded with regular and new patrons waiting for a taste of his specialties, particularly spicy chicken and roasted pigeon.

About 200 km away, factories were working at full capacity in an industrial park, where the hum of machines, just like the buzz of the Shanlulin market, merged into the perpetual rumble of China's economic engines.

Guided by Xiconomics, Chinese President Xi Jinping's economic philosophy, China has managed to achieve a robust recovery while effectively containing COVID-19, and thus inject an urgently needed dose of stability and certainty into the struggling world economy.


Last year, in defiance of the great impact of the coronavirus pandemic, China recorded an 8.1-percent growth year on year, outpacing other major economies.

The strong performance resulted, to a large extent, from Beijing's coordinated approach to pandemic response and economic development, which features what is known as a dynamic zero-case policy.

In face of a scourge like COVID-19, no response measures come without any cost. Chinese policymakers believe that saving people's lives outweighs anything else, and also serves as a prerequisite for completely defeating the virus and reviving the economy.

If China were to follow the model of "coexistence with the virus," it would be reporting "hundreds of thousands" of daily new cases "even in a highly underestimated outbreak scenario and under the most optimistic assumptions," according to a study of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention. The resulting impact on people's lives and economic development would be hard to imagine.

"We should always put people and their lives first, and care about the life, value and dignity of every individual," Xi said at the General Debate of the 76th Session of the United Nations General Assembly last year.

"We need to both follow routine, targeted COVID-19 protocols and take emergency response measures, and both carry out epidemic control and promote economic and social development," he added, expounding China's holistic approach.

The strong domestic measures China has taken to control COVID-19 for the past two years have provided a solid basis to revitalize its economy, said Lawrence Loh, director of the Center for Governance and Sustainability at National University of Singapore.

Official data show that with economic vitality being boosted, more than 28.87 million market entities were newly established last year, marking a year-on-year increase of 15.4 percent, and including tens of thousands of foreign-funded businesses.

"China's high productivity, sophisticated industrial supply chains, and massive domestic market mean that China has and will remain attractive to FDI (foreign direct investment)," said Tommy Wu, a lead economist at Oxford Economics, an Oxford-headquartered think tank.

In the Shanlulin market, Mehmet said he could intuitively feel the warmth of the economic environment. "Business is getting better," he told Xinhua. "I'm thinking about adding some new dishes to the menu."


The economic warmth felt by the Xinjiang restaurant owner is actually being observed by many China watchers across the world.

"COVID has created an uncertain world, and therefore any country or supplier which can remove the clouds of uncertainty with the sunlight of certainty is to be welcomed and supported," said John McLean, chair of the Institute of Directors for the City of London.

With its economic engines roaring, China has played a major role in stabilizing and energizing global growth. Unfazed by the undercurrents of isolationism and protectionism, it continues to expand high-standard opening-up and promote international cooperation.

China's foreign trade reached 6.14 trillion U.S. dollars in 2021, up 21.4 percent year on year and crossing the 6-trillion-dollar threshold for the first time. Exports rose 21.2 percent, while imports went up 21.5 percent.

In the southern Chinese province of Guangdong, electrical appliance manufacturer Midea Group produces 47 percent of the world's magnetron, securing the pandemic-battered global supply chain for microwave producers such as Panasonic and Bosch.

"Amid the spread of the coronavirus, China is demonstrating abilities to rapidly restore business activities and economic growth," said Yana Leksyutina, a professor at St. Petersburg State University. "With a high rate of economic recovery, China has become a driver of global economic growth."

It will remain so in the time to come. Addressing the opening ceremony of the fourth China International Import Expo in November, Xi stressed that China will not change its resolve to open wider at a high standard, will not change its determination to share development opportunities with the rest of the world, and will not change its commitment to an economic globalization that is more open, inclusive, balanced and beneficial for all.

"China stands ready to work with all countries to build an open world economy," he said, "so that the spring breeze of openness will bring warmth to all parts of the world." 

(Xinhua writers Chen Nuo in Xinjiang, Huang Zemin in London, Shi Hao in Moscow and Wu Tao in Guangdong also contributed to the story.)

(Web editor: Zhong Wenxing, Liang Jun)


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