China winner, China loser
At the annual meeting of the National People's Congress, China has much to boast about – the fastest growth of any major economy, surging exports, control of the Covid pandemic and foreigners eager to invest and buy its stocks and bonds.
Externally, however, it is a different story. Relations with major countries, including the U.S., Japan, the UK, India and the European Union, are deteriorating. The Taiwan government and its people are increasingly hostile and there are calls to boycott the Winter Olympics in Beijing in February 2022.
First, the good news. China's economy last year grew by 2.3 per cent and will potentially expand in 2021 by six percent or more. Exports last year rose 3.6 per cent over 2019 to US$2.6 trillion, while imports fell 1.1 per cent to just over US$2 trillion.
Key to this success was control of the epidemic. The official death toll was less than 5,000 – even if under-reported, as many suspect, increasing that four- to five-fold would leave a figure far below those in countries in Europe and the Americas. ...