Cover Photo: Reeya Dutta, 2021. All Rights Reserved.
By RHEA MEHTA,
1st-year student in the Europe-Asia campus of LE HAVRE
Last year around this time, the world was struck by the novel coronavirus. It’ll be wrong if I say that the rest is history, since the pandemic hasn’t left our backs as of yet. However, as multiple changes were witnessed all over the world—battling drowning economies, stimulating the healthcare system, pointing fingers at who’s responsible—the global scenario got a lot more interesting.
It was just a few months ago when people all across the globe blamed China for wreaking havoc by birthing the new coronavirus. While China was still one of the major economies a year ago, it certainly took a hit due to its early rendez-vous with the virus. China’s international standing also took a hit with Xi Jingping’s handling of the situation and his increased belligerence at home and abroad. Bold and frustrated, a lot of nations spoke out against China, even vowing to boycott it in solidarity, which seemed quite believable at the time as nations were forced to go into lockdown. This made it worse for third world countries that were plagued with problems of their own. In the present scenario as well, U.S. President Joe Biden’s aim is to forge a united front of allies against China and its authoritarianism.
Amidst the anti-China drive, there is another perspective worth emphasising on. While the world threw tomatoes at China, it seems like China started manufacturing ketchup soon after. Since it was the first country to be affected by the virus, its early actions to curb the virus’s wrath may have aided in their rapid recovery. It may be difficult to conclude as to whether reported cases and the recovery rate in China were misreported or not. Yet, despite the said risks, The World Bank projects China’s economic growth rate to jump from a mere 2% in 2020 to a rebound of 7.9% in 2021.
Observing China’s rapid economic recovery, the question remains: “Are we still boycotting China?”
With the major Asian leader back in the game, it didn’t take Xi Jinping long enough to make promises of making China an indispensable global leader. A testament to this path of dominance, China has already signed a series of deals with multiple countries. China has appeased its neighbours by signing a trade pact with 14 Asian countries and has also pledged to reduce carbon emissions in cooperation to fight global warming. Its European counterparts, which threw mud at China just a few months ago seem to have also changed their minds. In recent times, China has signed an investment deal with major European countries allowing them to invest with loosened restrictions in China.
We’re yet to see whether China will be able to deliver after the numerous promises they’ve made. However, it is no secret that they’ve been successful in certain respects, as getting European support seemed almost impossible just a short while ago. These tactful moves by China make it seem like they only had to make modest concessions in order to overshadow their harsh policies as witnessed in Hong Kong and many other instances in the past.
This leaves us with another question: “Are we just temporarily giving in to China as a facade to something bigger or are we ready to forgive and forget already?” ▣