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How COVID-19 affects China and the global order?

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Assignment Topic : How COVID-19 affects China and the global order?

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Introduction

COVID-19 is a new form of Coronavirus. It belongs to the family of coronaviruses that have cold-like symptoms but in more severe states. COVID-19 was diagnosed first in December 2019 in China in a city called Wuhan. Since then, it has spread to almost all parts of the world with devastating effects. The latest report on the virus confirms that 2.99 million people have been diagnosed with COVID-19, 882,000 have recovered from it, and 207, 000 fatal cases.  It has become a global pandemic. The origin of the disease is still not currently known, but one working theory is that it is from bats and transferred to humans through snakes. The disease does not have a cure or vaccine yet, but there are preventive measures that are effective. Some of these preventive measures have meant putting a halt in most operations in the world. Schools and institutions have been locked down globally, businesses are not functional, traveling has been banned, and many other restrictions have been caused by COVID-19. The disease can be acquired by anyone, but the elderly and people with preexisting medical conditions in the society are at a higher risk due to their weakened immunity. The economy of the world has been affected significantly, with a recession in most economies, becoming a potential impact (Fernandes, 2020). The pandemic has exposed and put to shame the weaknesses in our medical systems, causing us to rethink a lot of issues. The virus has raised questions on China’s ability as pharmaceutical producers, together with other medicine producers worldwide. The virus has altered the routine life for everyone, and aside from having health effects, the virus will also have a profound impact on all other aspects of existence. This document addresses the impact of COVID-19 on global order and china.

How China has responded to the Corona crisis, together with the rest of the world, has raised questions on the profound world order. The first issue branches from the weakness in global response despite global governance high priority on collaborating to control the disease (Guerin, Singh-Phulgenda, Strub-Wourgaft, 2020). The World Health Organization is under scrutiny because of its leadership. The organization has retreated and left countries to deal with the pandemic individually instead of advancing as international cooperation. Countries in the European visa-free area have closed their borders despite progress made over the past decades of regional unification. Between the early 21st century and the late 20th century, there has been tremendous global governance and social integration progress, but the virus seems to be taking us back to the world that is dominated by states (Craven et al., 2020). The unity that was created is slowly vanishing as countries try to survive the pandemic by own means.

Another issue is the impact the virus has had on liberal democracy. Measures to control the pandemic effectively may involve fundamental constitutional human rights being curtailed (Sam, 2020). Considerations of the process depend on timely action. Democratic governments are required to act in accordance with the law by first declaring a state of emergency and ensure that people can understand their actions. The measures taken by the government are bound to affect elections. They will be driven by medical considerations as well as political ones. Social distancing and lockdown meanwhile have caused divisions of class and race to become visible. In some areas, for example, New York, the streets have become territories of color because low-income earners cannot stay at home, and so they deliver groceries to the citizens who are well-heeled. Divisions in class and racial segregation have been exposed by the pandemic. Ethnic groups are the ones who are still roaming the streets, serving the people who can afford to stay at homes like the whites.

The third issue is what the pandemic means to the economy of the world. In the past few years, the basis of division of labor internationally have been involved significantly in networks of supply chains globally (Sam, 2020). The crisis has affected people to move more than goods flow. However, the restrictions on human movement have also led to the curtailment of goods movement because of the air transport cutbacks. The question remains on whether the globe will be able to stage a comeback after the pandemic, or the epidemic will be marked as a turning point in history as nations embrace protectionism and economic nationalism moving away from globalization.

The prominent role played by China has brought attention to these issues. Beijing’s interactions and activities in the global community, for example, the “Belt and Road Initiative,” have always paid attention to transforming China’s national prestige and power. China has been on the pursuit of agendas that self-aggrandize it energetically. This comes even after President Trump’s first policies distanced himself from the global collaboration that former president Barack Obama had led while responding to the Ebola outbreak in 2009. Beijing has used the COVID-19 pandemic as part of its plan to tirelessly campaign for its international prestige and influence (Sam, 2020). Earlier on in the starting stages, when the virus was spreading from Hubei province at a town called Wuhan, the narrative was support for Beijing and China’s countermeasures by the international community.  The attention has now shifted to how China is assisting the rest of the globe because the domestic crisis seems to have been managed. The integrity behind this narrative is the all-out support by the Chinese government to the World Health organization’s neutral geographic designation of the Coronavirus and the opposition to names that reference Wuhan or China.

The core of the narrative is the domestic measures by China, which are severe in containing the Coronavirus. After the early missteps by the administration and cover-up in Wuhan that allowed the spread of the outbreak, a broad range of responses were coordinated in January to address the issue and were launched by the government. This directive led to Wuhan and cities in Hubei province to be placed under quarantine effectively and also restrictions were imposed on movement and transport to other places. The militia and army units were used to seal the cities off (Sam, 2020). Neighborhood committees, state-owned enterprises, and digital devices were organized to regulate people’s movements. Chinese scholars were also affected by being forced to stay at home while reporting their activities to institutions back at home in China to avoid coming into contact with people.  The government additionally has worked at neck-breaking speed to build new health care facilities in which significant numbers of people have been tested and the infected isolated. The reputations of Doctors who had been punished for telling the truth by local authorities has been restored by Beijing. However, Beijing still exercises centralized control tightly of information flow in regards to the pandemic. It has detained and silenced intellectuals who have challenged how the government is handling the outbreak publicly while putting to effect its machinery on propaganda. These strict measures that are not compromising have had effects taken together. Some experts who are not within the country have stated that the actions taken are rational for an epidemic like COVID-19. When viewing the measures from the perspective of efficacy solely, the ‘Chinese way’ is beneficial as an approach in the control of the COVID-19 pandemic. China can proudly acclaim that despite the domestic distribution bottlenecks of some goods, the Coronavirus epidemic has had less impact on the International Trade of China than what was earlier expected in the supply chain globally.

The pandemic origin can be traced back to China. The number of newly reported cases began to drop by mid-February, and by March, the government had started restoring a regular footing to the nation. President  Xi Jinping traveled to Wuhan on March 10th as a demonstration to the world of how well China was coping with recovering. Wuhan reported zero new cases of the disease through transmission domestically from March 18th -22nd (Sam, 2020). Having suffered from the virus first, China was bound to recover from it first and is eager to use that difference in time to create an impression for the country as well as the globe on the wisdom that is in the ‘Chinese way’ while providing aid that is appropriate from great power. It does this in hopes of improving the international prestige and also salvage the reputation that was caused by the early mishandling of the disease.

The recovery phase is being used by Beijing to rewrite the epidemics’ early history. The failure initially by central and local authorities inappropriately responding to the disease outbreak exposed the communist party and Xi Jinping to a wave of criticisms domestically. In the recovery phase, the government is detaining and denouncing critics on how it has handled the situation. It retroactively justifies the party and government actions (Sam, 2020). Some of the officials have even gone ahead to allege that the disease was brought to Wuhan by a foreign power. With the early missteps notwithstanding, the communist party has benefitted politically doubtlessly. This is from the exhibition of the capability to deploy vast organizational and human resources together with behavior control at the individual and group levels.  Given the early failure by the government to control the outbreak and the fact that national targets in 2021 are put beyond reach by the economic slowdown, Xi Jinping could suffer a setback threatening his regime’s long-term continuity. However, for now, the government of China seems to have been more convinced than ever that its governance approach is correct, and this will tighten the hold on Chinese society onwards.

However, Beijing’s propaganda has a danger of failing in regard to how successful its response was to the COVID-19 pandemic. Many citizens from China took heed in other countries because they deemed the crisis to be uncontrollable domestically. They are now returning to China in significant numbers after the president Xi Jinping declared the country to be safe. This has raised serious concerns that the people returning from overseas could doubtlessly include some infected in the countries they were in bringing the second wave of Coronavirus in China. Additionally, there are doubts lingering on the Chinese statistics regarding new cases. If the restrictions on traveling are lifted by the Chinese government based on doctored numbers, The regime of President Xi Jinping would have a hollow victory declaration based on false information. If this happens, Beijing’s self-justification backing down will be highly unlikely. Xi Jinping’s regime is left with the question of whether asserting its strength of being correct can measure up to the harsh reality’s weight. After the balance has tipped, no choice will be left for the government other than to take the same one as the one in late January when doctors reporting harsh reality could not be ignored any longer.

The pandemic will affect China’s relations to other countries like Japan. COVID-19 is still actively spreading across the globe as of this writing. However, in the following months ahead, the number of new infections will gradually subside, placing the pandemic under control. China’s positioning in the second wave or recovery phase will be central. They will have the ability to provide dire assistance to other countries. These countries, in turn, will be obliged to give ‘gratitude,’ which will lead to the provision of much fodder for external and domestic propaganda that has already been witnessed in Italy. Whatever will happen next will be critical.  Beijing will eagerly lift the emergency measures that are remaining and resume interactions typically with countries that have recorded the epidemic subsiding. Countries that are close to China appear to be reaching their post-peak periods because the virus was first discovered in China. This is keeping in mind that a second wave of the disease could be imminent. In efforts to bar another outbreak, China will probably be the first to make economic ties healthy among these countries. This is together with some of the countries which participate in the “Belt and Road Initiative.” China will do this before it normalizes economic ties with the West. This will establish a quasi-bloc for the movement of goods and people usually (Shokrani et al., 2020). The bloc could also be a mechanism for decoupling from economies of the West.

Singapore and Japan have also been relatively successful in the control of COVID-19. They may be the first two candidates for early relations normalization (Lee, Chiew, Khong, 2020). In conjunction with the postponed visit by Xi Jinping to Japan, only can the move of normalization in relations happens. However, Beijing has no inclination to soften its Tokyo stance towards territorial and security issues. How China and Japan relating to the landscape altered by post-COVID-19 world remains a question. The answer to the problem could have significant consequences for the region, the world, and also the bilateral relationship between the two nations. 

International relations scholars have made their predictions and assessments about politics in the world after the coronavirus period. Some argue that the post Corona era will begin the cementing of China as a central global power and globalization that is China-centric (Ratna and pulipaka, 2020). Others argue that the United States, as a predominant factor, will change policies regarding China. They say it will reduce engagement globally in an effort to balance China by using resources more effectively. This strategic retrenchment will reduce the global role of the United States. Other analysts argue that the balance of power will be more delicate with diplomacy games around the globe being more dynamic. It is stated that a greater role will be played by regional powers in the new system of power. There will be the development of alliances that are dynamic together with counter-alliances, which might cause proxy wars that are limited and regional tensions. These are some of the same scenarios that have been experienced in the last ten years.

Other critics argue that the impact of COVID-19 will deepen global problems because cooperation and solidarity are lacking between global powers that are important. If coordination cannot resolve global issues, then the world will be dragged into a wider crisis politically or may even lead to another world war (Maital and Barzani, 2020). However, solidarity may be demonstrated by humanity while facing a widespread epidemic like COVID-19. Governments may be pushed by the shared interests of humanity and its drive to survive, forcing them to work and cooperate on agendas that are shared. Most analysts side with the theory that after the pandemic, China and Asia will be playing a major role in regards to politics internationally. A more central part will be played by states of politics and the economy in a lot of fields. Institutional capacity and state strength in the new era may be an important asset. The Coronavirus crisis will greatly influence the domestic politics shaping of many countries.  The crisis of finances between the years 2007-2008 caused the right-wing and left-wing to strengthen their populists’ parties around the globe. The crisis that is ongoing may also cause further strengthening of authoritarian states. Institutions and liberal values in the years that are coming may dissolve. International institutions, Liberalism, multinational companies, and civil society will be most likely the losers after the COVI-19 period.

China will be central in destabilizing or constructing world economies in the post-COVID-19 period (Cose 2020). This will depend, however, on the report of damages after calculation of the pandemic. Previously China used an approach that was constructive when relating to the United States because the Western and American markets were important for the export and manufacturing of the Chinese. The relationship between the West and China is moderated by this dependency. After COVID-19, this might change if supply and production lines shift gradually to Chinese alternatives or back to the U.S. The relationship that is symbiotic may be transformed from pacified tensions to escalating the tensions increasing competition between China, Europe, and United States. In this scenario, all actors will lose before they adapt. This scenario also serves as potential damage to the European and American companies that globally compete (Barua, 2020). An alternative scenario is that China will restore normalcy rapidly after the COVID-19 impacts restoring trade and manufacturing. This scenario will give China a huge advantage competitively, and it may use this advantage to aid efforts of recovery in other actors internationally. However, the extent to which China might be willing to play this role is a question that will be answered in the months to come.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the global order after COVID-19 will be different. China might emerge as a central power; it plays a major role in cushioning countries’ impact after COVID-19. The nations that are open and flexible will prosper and persist in the new world. The economies that are more stable but have unwieldy systems might experience trouble. COVID-19 will potentially reshape the globe.

References

Barua, S. (2020). COVID-19 pandemic and world trade: Some analytical notes. Available at SSRN 3577627.

Craven, M., Liu, L., Mysore, M., & Wilson, M. (2020). COVID-19: Implications for business.

Fernandes, N. (2020). Economic effects of coronavirus outbreak (COVID-19) on the world economy. Available at SSRN 3557504.

Guerin, P. J., Singh-Phulgenda, S., & Strub-Wourgaft, N. (2020). The consequence of COVID-19 on the global supply of medical products: Why Indian generics matter for the world?. F1000Research, 9(225), 225.

Kawashima Sam, (2020) COVID-19, China and the World Order: Retrieved from; https://www.nippon.com/en/in-depth/d00553/covid-19-china-and-the-world-order.html

Lee, V. J., Chiew, C. J., & Khong, W. X. (2020). Interrupting transmission of COVID-19: lessons from containment efforts in Singapore. Journal of travel medicine.

Maital, S., & BARZANI, E. (2020). The Global Economic Impact of COVID-19: A Summary of Research. Samuel Neaman Institute for National Policy Research.

Sanjay Pulipaka, Paras Ratna (2020), COVID-19, and the mirage of a China-led international order. Retrieved from; https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/blogs/et-commentary/covid-19-and-the-mirage-of-a-china-led-international-order/

Shokrani, A., Loukaides, E. G., Elias, E., & Lunt, A. J. (2020). Exploration of alternative supply chains and distributed manufacturing in response to COVID-19; a case study of medical face shields. Materials & Design, 108749.

Talha Kose (2020) Scenarios for post-COVID-19 global order include the possible rise of China, expanded U.S. manufacturing; Retrieved from; https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/blogs/et-commentary/covid-19-and-the-mirage-of-a-china-led-international-order/

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