China's economy came out of the tough coronavirus year in surprisingly good shape. Contrary to all forecasts and expectations, tough measures to contain the spread of the coronavirus infection have allowed the country to stop the outbreak of COVID-19 much faster than in most countries. State incentive programs and local exporting companies that actively increase production also contributed to the economic revival of the Celestial Empire.
How can one explain China's success in 2020? Is it because the centuries-old experience or the "wise helmsmen" of the Communist Party that could calculate all the steps in advance?
We asked these and other questions in an interview with Alexei Maslov, Acting Director of the Institute of the Far East of the Russian Academy of Sciences.
In 2020, the word "China" would be mentioned almost as often as the word "coronavirus." This does not seem to be incidental at all. In 2021, China is celebrating the centenary of the Communist Party, and this year could be the year of China's real triumph.
Historically, China is susceptible to national and regional divisions. As soon as there is a crisis in China or anywhere in the world, some regions would simply separate. From time to time, China would split into at least two Chinas along the Yangtze line. Local elites would grow rich, they would seize power, and the central government could not handle the problem due to global or regional crises.
China experienced a variety of historical crises - from locust plague, floods and earthquakes to, for example, crop failures, uprisings and so on and so forth.
The year 2020 brought another, very serious crisis. We perceive it as an economic crisis. As a matter of fact, it was the threshold of a very serious national and political crisis, which the Chinese managed to avoid.
Everyone thought that China would collapse and fall - this is what many economists had to say about China in January and February of 2020. However, China extricated from the crisis and strengthened its economy. Today's China looks better than at least ten largest economies of the world.
The World Bank forecasts that in 2021 China will be able to achieve eight percent of GDP growth. This is higher than in the relatively healthy year 2019, when the growth was more than six percent.
Moreover, the Chinese managed to end the COVID year 2020 with an economic growth of 2.4 percent, while most countries experienced a decline of their economies.
All this has proved that the economic and political model that China has built is very stable. Many Western economists and political scientists deny the Chinese economic model, someone calls it absolutist, some others say that it will eventually lead China to collapse.
It just so happens, however, that China could handle the pandemic test very well, both on the national level and on the level of regional elites.
Some Chinese regions, for example, in northeastern China, which is adjacent to Russia, suffered a lot because of the pandemic. Many people lost their businesses there. However, the Chinese authorities took advantage of the crisis.
France is used to terminating large-scale contracts, as that was the case of the Russian-French deal on Mistral helicopter carriers