A leader of the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China has expressed his strong dissatisfaction at the growing economic losses caused by Beijing’s zero-Covid policy.
According to Reuters, the chamber’s President Joerg Wuttke has recently raised a rare critical voice against China’s Covid pandemic control measures, calling out the Chinese government over the economic damage from the strategy.
The draconian anti-Covid pandemic policy has led to frequent lockdowns across China and almost closed the borders of the country.
As an expat who has lived in China for 40 years, Wuttke has been especially vocal this year.
When the E.U. Chamber of Commerce in China released a report in September, Wuttke said the zero-Covid policy showed that ideology is now trumping the economy.
He warned that European companies have lost confidence in China and that Asia’s largest economy is gradually losing its attractiveness for investment.
Wuttke said that European companies’ investment into China is unlikely to increase as the country keeps its doors closed and companies perceive political, economic and reputational risks to be mounting.
According to the official page of the European Chamber, he added: “Companies are also crying out for transparency in the business environment, as they must now align their China operations with both corporate pledges and new supply-chain legislation in the EU and the United States.”
In August, Wuttke also warned that zero-Covid policy poses more problems than many of China’s crises over the past 40 years. He said that China is in a self-destruction mode.
The criticism from the E.U. Chamber of Commerce president has taken place ahead of the Chinese Communist Party’s congress this month.
Wuttke told Reuters that he has never had to use that kind of language before.
He said that Chinese officials are now in the “echo chamber”, constantly talking about “the West goes down, the East is rising” and how successful they are.
He said that he had to speak louder to wake up the Chinese officials and warned them that they are not on a good track.
Peking University economics professor Michael Pettis said that what Wuttke has said openly in his mind is incredibly rare in China.
In the past, Wuttke has been criticized for being “too pro-China.”