China’s handling of the coronavirus which originated from Wuhan will result in repercussions that will affect its economy. Growing discontent about the information released by China last year and earlier this year about the transmission of the virus such as human to human and its severity and mortality numbers have also been questioned.
The US has also cast doubt on the origins of the virus, indicating the country is now investigating whether the virus originated from a virology lab in Wuhan. With US cases rising to more than a million and over 59,000 people succumbing to the virus during an election cycle in the country, headlines bashing the Chinese government have been on the rise in the US.
China facing a global backlash
Germany, the UK, and the US have all expressed their disappointment with the handling of the virus by China. cabinet minister Michael Gove, in an interview with BBC, said had failed to convey the “scale, nature and infectiousness” of the disease. The sentiments were also echoed by German chancellor Angela Merkel who added that the origin of the virus needed to be investigated.
The Consensus in Beijing is that the world will grow more hostile towards China which may hinder the country’s expansion through its belt and road initiative. President Xi, in response to these growing concerns, said the country must be prepared to handle the increasing global opposition.
However, experts in Beijing have indicated that times have changed and even though the threat of pulling western countries outside the country is scary, they indicated that China has built its own industrial infrastructure that is capable of taking over the business that vacates the country.
The global chain realignment, however, will be the most challenging facet of the backlash. China is exploring ways to handle a crisis, where western countries refuse to trade with it and realign with each other to challenge its dominance.
In recent years, the country has made progress in venturing into the Asian market, with the fruition of the strategy coming in the first quarter of this year, where China exported more in ASEAN countries than in Europe for the first time in its history. Replacement of Europe as China’s biggest trading partner will offset any backlash from the western countries due to coronavirus.
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