SARS-Covid Outbreak: a Meeting with Experts and Entrepreneurs

While the Shanghai lockdown (which must not be called a lockdown) continued, China’s state council held a meeting “with experts and entrepreneurs” on Thursday, to “analyse economic conditions and hear ideas and suggestions about the next steps”, Xinhua news agency reported on Friday. Li Keqiang chaired the meeting in his capacities as member of the CPC politburo standing committee and as chief state councillor.

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Also attending were people representing China Railway Materials and Qingdao AInnovation  Technology company, stating their opinions about economic operation, company situations etc., and making suggestions about safeguarding logistics and rural capital provisions, and about promoting entrepreneurial innovation.

Mentioned as participants were deputy chief state councillor Han Zheng, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences researcher Yang Zhiyong, Bank of China researcher Guan Tao, and, as party of state officials, Hu Chunhua (politburo member and deputy chief state councillor), Liu He (same functions as Hu), Wang Yong (former SASAC chairman, now a member of the state council in charge of issues faced by small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), Xiao Jie (member of the state council and Secretary General of the State Council), Zhao Kezhi (Party Committee Secretary of the Ministry of Public Security and heading the ministry as member of the state council), and He Lifeng (member of the state council in charge of the National Development and Reform Commission, NDRC).

Xinwen Lianbo, April 8, 2022, evening broadcast

Xinwen Lianbo, April 8, 2022, evening broadcast

You can probably imagine the importance of Zhao Kezhi’s attendance in the context of the meeting’s hardly-mentioned real topic – but it makes sense to take note of every participant mentioned in communiqués like this one by Xinhua. Their tasks may speak greater volumes than the description of the agenda.

It needs to be said that the article doesn’t exactly emphasize China’s current SARS-Covid outbreak – it is only “casually” mentioned, as one of a number of suddenly emerging factors in international and domestic environment that are confronting the economy with greater uncertainties and challenges.

The obligatory reference to Comrade Xi Jinping is made at the beginning,  although it is technically meaningless. It may, however, indicate the limits of what participants may describe or suggest during such a meeting, and also, you have to mention Xi anyway. With reference to the “sudden domestic Covid outbreak situation” (国内疫情近期多发), a need both  to keep up the faith and to face up to the difficulties is emphasized. More generally, “high-quality development” is restated, and so is a need to deepen reform and individual initiative, and “a flexibility in accepting the challenges” (应变克难). Focus is also given to stable growth, stable employment and stable prices (稳就业, 稳物价).

Li pointed out problems faced particularly by SMEs and self-employed workers & business people. Help and support them pass through the crisis is mentioned, some concrete measures too, but without detailed outlines. Concrete measures are an utmost pace by which to handle VAT rebates, and to make funds arrive at the accounts of those in need.

The primary sector is required to provide ample harvests (farming) and advanced coal production capacities (energy), and “marketization, rule of law and internationalization” are also given a mention.

The meeting ranked fourth as a news item in China’s main evening news broadcast of Xinwen Lianbo” today, after an “important speech” given by Xi Jinping at the end of the Paralympics, a reference to an editorial about the “spirit of the Beijing Olympics”, and news about a telephone conversation between Xi Jinping and the president of the Philippines.

One Comment to “SARS-Covid Outbreak: a Meeting with Experts and Entrepreneurs”

  1. The Shanghai lockdown finally confirmed for me that the policy of “living with COVID”, which I was pretty sceptical about at the start, is actually the right way to go. China continuing with “Zero COVID” is just a recipe for having these lockdowns every few months.

    Anf yet, Xi Jinping as 1-2-3 on Xinwen Lianbo makes me wistful for the days when there were people who used to argue that China wasn’t a dictatorship because there wasn’t a single dictator.

    Liked by 1 person

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