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Coronavirus Battle and China's economy
Consul General Lin Jing

Since the outbreak of the novel coronavirus pneumonia, acting with a high sense of responsibility to Chinese people's health as well as global public health security, the Chinese government has taken the most comprehensive and strict prevention and control measures against the epidemic. The entire Chinese people, while mourning those who died in the novel coronavirus pneumonia outbreak, have been mobilized to battle the epidemic.

At this critical time, most countries in the world appreciate and support China's efforts to fight against the novel coronavirus pneumonia. African governments and people, South Africa in particular, expressed sincere support to China through various means. Hardship reveals true friendship. China-Africa and China-South Africa friendship have withstood all tests.

Unfortunately, apart from the novel coronavirus, the Chinese government and people also have to fight against virus of ideology and Cold War mentality. While the Chinese government and people are combating the epidemic, certain politicians in the US have spared no efforts in their defamatory attacks against China out of malicious motive to disrupt China's stability and development, and some of them even gloat at the outbreak of novel coronavirus pneumonia in China and dream of profiting from it.

For many years, China has been the most powerful locomotive for world economy. In 2019, China's GDP accounted for 16% of the world's total, contributed to 30% of the global economic growth. In a highly interdependent and integrated international economy, the epidemic will not only exert negative impact on China's economy, but also inevitably affect the economic growth of the whole world, U.S. included.

Therefore, strengthening international cooperation is crucial to prevail against the epidemic at an earliest possible time, and bring the global economy back on the track of sound development. Some countries, the US in particular, have inappropriately overreacted and taken such excessive steps as imposing a travel ban on Chinese travelers, or suspending flights with China, which certainly runs counter to WHO advice. These overreactions, instead of helping fight the epidemic, will aggravate panic among the public, gravely disrupt international cooperation and the international air transportation market.

As of February 6, the Chinese government had allocated 66.74 billion yuan of epidemic prevention and control funds to fight the epidemic, and put in place a series of financial and tax support measures including reducing the financial guarantee and re-guarantee costs for the epidemic-affected enterprises. The People's Bank of China has set up a 300 billion yuan Special Refinancing Scheme with preferential interest rates to strengthen the financial support for key medical enterprises and living-materials-related industries. These policies and measures will undoubtedly greatly strengthen the fight against the epidemic and the gradual recovery of industrial production and people's livelihood.

At the same time, the Chinese government has been well equipped with regulatory tools to stabilize the market, and has enough policy tools to cope with the downward pressure of the economy. Cross border capital flows and foreign exchange supply and demand have remained basically stable. The performance of financial markets shows investors' confidence in the Chinese government's battle against epidemic and future economic growth.

What is more, as the second biggest economy in the world, the enormous development of China over the past 71 years has laid a solid institutional and material foundation for China's efficient and effective response to the massive emergency such as novel coronavirus pneumonia, as well as steady economic growth in 2020.

At the end of 2019, China's GDP stood at $14.38 trillion, with per capita GDP reached $10276. The foreign exchange reserves was 3107.9 billion US dollars. These figures represent the significant improvement in social productivity, agricultural production, industrial system, service sector, science and technology, culture and education, infrastructure as well as people's living standards in China.

With 1.4 billion total population, China has the largest middle-income group and the fastest-growing consumer market in the world. Urbanization is gathering momentum, and by the end of 2019, the urbanization rate of China exceeded 60% for the first time. Consumption, urbanization, as well as technological progress such as 5G, AI, cloud computing are bound to release immense potential and generate robust recovery of China's economy.

Therefore, China is fully confident of overcoming the epidemic, and the fundamentals of China's long-term sound and high-quality economic growth will not be changed by this short-term epidemic. The World Bank, IMF, and many well-known economists also expressed their confidence in China's economic prospects.

Even from short term perspective, there are new dynamism emerged in the service sector, including the rapid growth of online retail, online medical, online games, logistics and express delivery, which is expected to offset a considerable part of the losses in the tertiary industry.

Though 2020 starts with a rough opening, yet it is the decisive year to achieve China's first centenary goal of building a moderately prosperous society in all respects. Absolute poverty that has plagued the Chinese nation for thousands of years will come to a historic end. In the year, Beidou satellite navigation system will be completed and cover the whole world, 5G network coverage will extend to all prefecture-level cities in China. More people will enjoy the high-speed Internet experience brought by 5G, and a series of grand technological progress and industrial transformation will take place in China.

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