According to Bloomberg, a disagreement between Chinese President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang is paralyzing authorities in charge of the world’s second-largest economy. While Keqiang has pushed the authorities to strengthen the Chinese economy and meet pre-determined development objectives, Jinping has emphasized the importance of officials pushing for zero coronavirus infections.
According to Bloomberg, eight local government officials and financial bureaucrats familiar with the situation said that the uncertainty over who to listen to is producing instability in a country that follows the dictates of the Chinese Communist Party without challenging its judgments. On the condition of anonymity, four senior officials told Bloomberg that Li is attempting to establish agreement on the need of reviving the economy, but authorities are divided since many think that the COVID-19 epidemic should be their first concern.
Earlier, the country’s state broadcaster China Central Television (CCTV) said that Politburo’s highest seven-member Standing Committee committed to ‘fight against any statement that distorts, challenges, or opposes our country’s Covid-control policy.’ However, Hequiang subsequently informed a news conference that ‘difficulties in certain respects, to a certain extent, are stronger than when the virus hit us hard in 2020’.
According to Trey McArver, co-founder of research firm Trivium China, ‘Li is being put in the untenable situation of having to save the economy without being able to modify the one policy, zero-Covid, that is inflicting the most economic harm’. The Communist Party is attempting to prevent any blunders, notably in dealing with Covid outbreaks before its leadership conclave later this year. Political experts think that the party’s senior levels will be reshuffled if they fail to meet Jinping’s aspirations for a historic third term.