Hu Xijin, the former editor-in-chief of the Global Times, said that China’s economic data in April was shocking. He wonders how the progressive version of the Zero-Covid approach allows the nation to maintain its strict blockage while protecting public well-being.

As Bloomberg highlights, in March, retail sales contracted 3.5% from a year ago, worse than market expectations. The unemployment rate rose to 5.8%, the highest since May 2020. In the first quarter, GDP managed to reach 4.8%, much lower than the 8.1% recorded in 2021.

April data tends to weaken further, dragged down by China’s strict measures.

The Purchasing Manager Index dropped to 47.4%, down 2.1% points from March, indicating the overall decreasing prosperity level of the manufacturing industry.

Hu said that Chinese authorities must have seen the economic data that is very shocking to the society.

Under the current challenging times, Beijing would coordinate the various interests of the whole society, the immediate and long-term interests, and implement policies based on priorities.

If China keeps fighting the epidemic without thinking about the economy and the rest, difficulties will continue. However, this is never China’s style.

Hu believed China is exploring an alternative approach of the Zero-Covid measure against Omicron. Due to the quick spread of the Omicron variant and less experience with the variant, China puts more emphasis on controlling the epidemic.

However, according to Hu, the government should be responsible for the well-being of its people. China should find solutions to address these current situations, such as a drop in tax revenue, the bankruptcy of businesses, and a drop in residents’ income.

He concluded that China should find a more balanced strategy.

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