China Watching

A cura di Fabrizio Perretti

2020-05-04 Cecilia Attanasio Ghezzi

China’s Difficult Phase 2

For Beijing, announcing the date of the only annual meeting of the National People’s Congress means affirming that the epidemic is under control. So when the date was officially set for May 22, after a delay of two and a half months, for many it was confirmation of a return to normalcy. People have in fact resumed taking public transportation and moving around the country, provided that the health code of the potential travellers - assigned by a complex algorithm that combines the medical history, travel, and contacts of each single citizen - is green. This system functions with at least a hundred ...

2020-03-25 Cecilia Attanasio Ghezzi

Mask Diplomacy

They are already calling it “mask diplomacy.”[1] Selling medical devices in the time of Covid-19 is highly profitable, and China is starting to convert its economy. In just one month, it has gone from 20 to 116 million masks a day. And that’s still not enough. The new business involves both state-owned companies and small factories, incentivized with subsidies and tax reductions, interest-free loans and preferential channels to obtain the necessary documents and approvals. The result? Sinopec, that we could define as a state-owned multinational in the petrochemical field, has inaugurated ...

2020-02-24 Emanuele C. Francia

The Chinese Model of Internationalization. The case of ChemChina-Pirelli

Despite a slowdown in direct investment in the past two years, China's international expansion activities will continue at a strong pace[1] due to both the activism of large Chinese groups (that are often state-controlled), and due to the effect of the super-ambitious plan renamed the BRI-Belt and Road Initiative (or the "New Silk Road"). This advance is often perceived by foreign companies and their managers as a true attack on their economic system. In that regard, it is proper to ask whether this represents only a threat, or whether opportunities exist as well. The Chinese economic system is ...

2020-02-12 Cecilia Attanasio Ghezzi

Le conseguenze economiche del coronavirus

«Se la Cina starnutisce, l’economia globale si raffredda», si diceva ai tempi di Napoleone. E ora, di fronte a un’epidemia che la Repubblica popolare cinese sta cercando di combattere limitando al massimo gli spostamenti di 1,4 miliardi di persone, il mondo intero è con il fiato sospeso. I numeri di contagi e decessi hanno superato quelli dei nove mesi che tra il 2002 e il 2003 sconvolsero l’Asia orientale con l’epidemia di Sars (1). Si cerca di fare paragoni, ma allora la Cina era appena entrata nel WTO, oggi è la seconda economia del mondo, ovvero vale un sesto del PIL globale. Da ...

2020-02-12 Cecilia Attanasio Ghezzi

The Economic Consequences of the Coronavirus

"When China sneezes, the global economy catches a cold," it was said in Napoleon's time. And now, faced with a epidemic that the People's Republic of China is attempting fight by limiting the movements of 1.4 billion people as much as possible, the entire world is waiting with bated breath. The numbers of people infected and deaths have exceeded those of the nine months that between 2002 and 2003 shook East Asia with the SARS epidemic (1). People try to make comparisons today, but at the time China had just joined the WTO, while today it is the second largest economy in the world, representing ...

2020-01-29 Cecilia Attanasio Ghezzi

Coronavirus: quello che Pechino non racconta

Quasi tremila contagi in 16 Paesi e oltre 80 decessi (1). 16 città in quarantena, per un totale di circa 56 milioni di persone bloccate (poco meno del totale della popolazione italiana per dare un’idea). Da Wuhan lamentano supermercati vuoti (2), prezzi al dettaglio triplicati, mascherine e disinfettanti ormai introvabili, ospedali affollatissimi (3), letti e personale medico carente. E mentre la tv di Stato santifica la figura di Liang Wudong, medico in pensione richiamato per affrontare l'emergenza, contagiato dal virus e deceduto «sul campo», i social sono pieni di video di cittadini in ...

2020-01-29 Cecilia Attanasio Ghezzi

Coronavirus: What Beijing Isn't Saying

Almost three thousand cases in 16 countries and over 80 deaths. (1) 16 cities under quarantine, for a total of approximately 56 million people cordoned off (slightly less than the total of the Italian population, to get an idea). In Wuhan there are complaints of empty supermarkets (2) retail prices that have tripled, face masks and disinfectants now impossible to find, overflowing hospitals (3), and insufficient beds and medical personnel. And while state TV celebrates the figure of Liang Wudong, the retired doctor called back to face the emergency, who was infected and died "on the field," social ...

2019-12-23 Cecilia Attanasio Ghezzi

Digital Surveillance

The market for surveillance technologies will have a value of 62 billion dollars by 2023 (1), and it seems that in this field as well, China will be dominant. Eight of the ten most surveilled cities in the world are in the People's Republic (2) where facial recognition is already used in many rail stations, banks, airports, in some school buildings, many hotels, and in subway systems. And that is not all: starting this month, whoever wants to a SIM card will be required to submit to a facial scan (3). This is the result of an ambitious government program launched in 2017 (4) that foresees covering ...

2019-12-03 Cecilia Attanasio Ghezzi

The Dark Side of Beijing

When a semester ends, Chinese students usually return to their home regions to spend time with their families. For some years, though, those who return to the extreme western region of China, Xinjiang, find that friends, relatives, and neighbors have disappeared. "They are in a training school set up by the government," the police and Communist Party officials explain, also stressing that the interned people cannot leave, despite not being criminals. The officials then have to add: "I'm sure that you will support them, because this is for their own good, and also for your own good." These recommendations ...

2019-11-05 Cecilia Attanasio Ghezzi

If Beijing Goes to War (against Pollution)

The smog of large Chinese cities no longer makes the front pages of the newspapers. And this time it's not due to censure. According to a recent report from the UN, emissions in China have fallen by 70 percent since 2013, and atmospheric pollution by 36 percent (1). How did this happen? The political will was enormous, and goes under the slogan of "Environmental Civilization" launched by the Communist Party of China in 2007 and revived by Xi Jinping as a war against pollution. Coal-fired heating has been prohibited, factories have been moved outside of cities, and the most heavily polluting companies ...