Shanghai – Chinese business leaders know better than to argue with Beijing. Leave the politics to the Communist Party, they came to a decision long ago, and the government will allow them to make money in peace.
A shocking viral outbreak has upended that formula. China’s generally supercharged economy is almost stagnant as authorities fight a coronary virus that has killed more than 2,000 people and sickened thousands more. Hundreds of millions of people are now living in isolation, as roads have sealed entire cities and local authorities have stopped reopening.
Chinese business leaders and economists are constantly saying, enough. China must stop the outbreak, they argued, with some of its methods affecting the lives and livelihoods of millions while contributing little to its efforts to control it.
“Protect a balance of life-saving balance,” James Liang, executive chairman of China’s influential online travel agency Trip.com, wrote in a widely publicized article this week.
Mr Liang warned that if the country becomes more impoverished due to the emergency health system, it could harm public health rather than the virus.
No one questions that the disease is still a serious problem, especially in the city of Hubei and its capital, Wuhan. According to official statistics, more than 5,000 people were affected. Foreign treatment experts say the actual total may be much higher.
Nevertheless, business leaders and economists are beginning to ask if mandatory 14-day quarantines, roadways and outposts are required in most areas of the country, especially in provinces where Hubei is rarely located.
The debate is unusual in a country where disagreements are usually censored or tended to. Even things like business and the economy are once considered a relatively fair game to discuss, As the Chinese economy slows, the Communist Party has become more sensitive as more aspects of Chinese life are strengthened.
Yet, even the Chinese government has acknowledged the wounds inflicted on the country’s economy, further aggravating the national debate on when that may be enough.
“The long-chain and labor-intensive industrial products, food and industry are expected to suffer huge losses if the epidemic continues for a long time,” said Foreign Trade Director of the Ministry of Foreign Trade, Law Jingkian, on Thursday afternoon. News briefing in Beijing.
Many are spreading beyond China, hitting companies like Apple, General Motors and Adidas. E-retailer giant Amazon is taking steps to keep its virtual shelves in stock.
Beijing is hitting an imbalanced law. It is calling on officials across the country to continue wages Xi Jinping, the country’s top leader, called the “people’s war”. At the same time, it urged workers and farmers to return to jobs and took steps to assist the business. On Thursday, it lowered the lending rate to give businesses more access to money.
Many businesses in China, especially small businesses, seem to be in trouble. According to a survey of thousands of business owners at Peking University and Xinhua University, one-third of small companies in the country are on their way to exceeding the cash limit in the next four weeks. And a third will be out of cash in the next two months.
The options in Beijing are risky. New data on Thursday showed that the number of newly confirmed infections has declined sharply. Most of that drop appeared to narrow the definition of a contagious infection.
Chinese health officials insist that the various measures they impose should be canceled soon.
Zheng Jin, a spokesman for the Shanghai Municipal Health Commission, said at a news briefing on Thursday that “we actively support restorative work and production, but we cannot relax our surveillance even in the slightest,” Shanghai Municipal Health Commission spokesman Zheng Jin said on Thursday.
With signs of growing concern in the economy, signs of progress together still call for Beijing to relax.
Originally a group of Chinese economists from Peking University and brokerage Huachuang Securities wrote a widely publicized online analysis last week that criticized the attempt to control it. They argue that in some coronavirus cases, many regions of China have tried so hard to stop the virus that they are preventing normal trade between cities.
“If all regions depend on blocking, they can block the virus, but they can also impede the economy,” the economists wrote in an article that was first published in Qixin, one of China’s most respected publications. “At that time, there could be a wave of corporate closure and unemployment that is worse than the current epidemic” “
No single business or city can start regular activities on its own, as every company and community needs materials and labor from somewhere else, Lu Zhengwei, chief economist at the Industrial Bank of Fujian Province, wrote in an online post this week. “To restore the economy,” normal city life needs to be restored, he added.
If it is possible for Beijing to return very quickly, it could bring a large number of workers to their factories and offices in a way that can redesign the spread of the coronary virus – something that business leaders or governments do not want to see.
Beijing-based online retailer e-commerce China Dangdang fell into that nightmare this week. On Tuesday, an employee of the company had a fever and by Wednesday evening, the Chinese Centers for Disease Control and Prevention identified the coronavirus as the cause.
The company said it ordered all employees to work from home. Employees sitting near the infected worker have been separated in their home.
Working from home can be an option for companies like Dangdang, but manufacturers do not have that luxury. Many factories around the world still operate in small factories full of miniatures, even as businesses around the world look to reduce their wages for products and components made in China.
Extensive steps are being initiated to offset the effects of harsh curbs imposed on people and commodity movements.
Cities are launching special trains to bring back migrant workers from their hometowns on a recent Lunar New Year holiday starting Hangzhou city has announced that they will return more than 600 workers from central China’s Henan province to return 50,000 workers from Sichuan province in western China. One is a high-speed train and the other is a high-speed train Made arrangements
Concerned about job loss, some executives are paying companies to hire. The city of Xi’an in the north-west has announced that they are subsidizing $ 25 a year for each worker employed by medical protective gear manufacturing companies, and paying $ 5 more per worker for large numbers of companies hired in any industry. .
Chinese officials are also monitoring the grocery bill. In the last autumn even before the Coronavirus hit, food prices in China have risen more than 5 percent a year. There was a different epidemic, African swine fever The main source of protein, swiftly killing half of the country’s pigs.
Now the coronavirus has threatened to send food prices higher. The Agriculture Ministry has directed villages across the country to take down roadblocks and checkpoints and allow livestock feed and livestock to flow. But already, there have been reports of poultry genocide in the absence of food and chicken prices have temporarily plunged – as a possible sign of panic sales.
“The overall effect of stopping agricultural production in the country,” Mr Lu of the Industrial Bank wrote this week, “cannot be underestimated.” “
Alexandra Stevenson contributed reporting from Hong Kong. Claire Fu from Beijing contributed to the study.