Chinese think tank warns of zero COVID policy

Chinese think tank warns of zero COVID policy

BEIJING ( Associated Press) – A Chinese think tank issued a rare public disagreement on Monday with the ruling Communist Party’s strict “zero COVID” policy, saying restrictions that cripple cities and cripple trade, travel and industry. affect, they have to change. To avoid “economic stagnation”

The Unbound Research Center did not provide details of possible changes, but said President Xi Jinping’s government needed to focus on accelerating growth. He stressed that the United States, Europe and Japan are recovering financially after easing coronavirus restrictions.

“Preventing the risk of economic stagnation should be a priority task,” the think tank said in a report, adding that “it is time for China to adjust its virus prevention and control policies.”

Even such mild public dissent with official policy is almost unheard of in a politically sensitive year, in which Xi, China’s most powerful leader since at least the 1980s, sought to expand his rule. hope to try.

The report, as of Sunday, was published on Unbound Research Center’s accounts on the popular messaging platform WeChat and the Sina Weibo microblogging service, but was removed from both sites on Monday afternoon.

Antivirus restrictions are widely expected to remain in place until at least after the Communist Party meeting in October and November, with Xi likely to break with tradition and give himself a third five-year term as leader.

Economists have warned that China needs to boost growth that hit just 2.5% in the first half of 2022 from a year earlier, after Shanghai and other industrial centers closed since late March. less than half of the official annual target. To deal with the virus outbreak.

“China’s economy is at risk of stagnation” because of the “impact of epidemic prevention and control policies”, the think tank said.

The economy is also under pressure due to a slowdown in real estate activity after Beijing tightened lending controls for the industry.

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