Analysis & Opinion

A team of health workers and volunteers check the identification of residents at a Covid-19 testing station in a neighbourhood where a suspected flare-up in cases occurred in Shanghai on May 9. Photo: Bloomberg
Opinion | Why China will not abandon its zero-Covid policy any time soon

China’s outbreak response system has evolved to serve a population with a large number of unvaccinated elderly and address regional disparities in social services and healthcare. The strategy is characteristic of Chinese policymakers’ willingness to incur short-term high costs to advance long-term development goals.

20 May 2022 - 9:15AM
Healthcare workers in an inflatable Covid-19 testing lab in Beijing’s Shunyi district. China wants there to be a Covid-19 testing booth within a 15-minute walk of citizens. Photo: Xinhua
As I see it | China is going big on Covid testing, so why not include vaccination too?

Authorities in China want to ensure every citizen has access to a nucleic acid test booth within a 15-minute walk, while vaccination of elderly people lags.

17 May 2022 - 11:00PM
A masked man walks past an Adidas store in Hong Kong on April 14. Photo: Reuters
Shades Off | Time for Hong Kong to drop its mask mandate

A respite from wearing masks in summer makes sense, although we should still wear them on crowded public transport. Such a move does not mean dropping our guard. It is more a statement of confidence.

17 May 2022 - 10:19AM
Illustration: Craig Stephens
Opinion | How China’s zero-Covid policy is tipping the world into recession

Persistent lockdowns and hardening political rhetoric suggest China’s zero-tolerance approach to Covid-19 will stay in place. Collapsing demand, falling middle-class income, supply chain disruptions and a weakening yuan will have consequences that ripple across the globe.

16 May 2022 - 8:45AM
A woman self-tests for Covid-19 using a rapid antigen test, or RAT, on April 8. Photo: Felix Wong
Opinion | Hong Kong’s ‘new normal’ still feels anything but

After two years of Covid-19, the return to ‘normal’ is underwhelming: new cases are still emerging, borders remain closed, and businesses continue to struggle. While John Lee may be focused on uniting our city, there is much work to be done to reconnect – and catch up – with the rest of the world.

16 May 2022 - 6:45AM
The entrance of a residential area is closed off during a lockdown in Shanghai on May 5. Lockdowns in major Chinese cities are just one of several factors weighing on sentiment towards the Chinese economy and equities. Photo: Reuters
Macroscope | Why it’s not all doom and gloom for China’s battered markets

While the mounting costs of China’s zero-Covid policy have become an important driver of global markets, there is more to this story. The Federal Reserve’s hawkish turn is an equally important factor in the global sell-off, and Chinese stocks are early in pricing in bad news.

12 May 2022 - 1:15PM
State media has mostly been silent about the plight of Shanghai residents. Photo: AFP
As I see it | Shanghai lockdown woes highlight need for greater media freedom in China

Allowing state media more leeway to report on what is happening in the city would help curb mounting anger.

11 May 2022 - 2:31AM
A girl places paper lights at a memorial for victims of the coronavirus pandemic, in Hanoi, Vietnam, on November 19, 2021. Photo: EPA-EFE
Inside Out | Why Hong Kong and the world urgently need a Covid-19 audit

As we attempt to move on from Covid-19, we cannot forget that if governments had acted more quickly to contain the outbreak, millions of lives could have been saved. While Hong Kong needs to reevaluate the zero-Covid strategy that served it well in 2021, globally governments must rethink ‘go-it-alone’ approaches.

8 May 2022 - 10:15PM
A man walks past a closed shop in Hong Kong on April 30. Falling growth figures could be a harbinger of continuing weakness. Photo: Bloomberg
Opinion | Hong Kong must reopen to the outside world, to save itself

The longer Hong Kong is closed off, the greater the risk of being surpassed by rivals and fading into economic irrelevance. If this means a further delay in reopening the border with the mainland, so be it.

8 May 2022 - 12:15PM
A man undergoes a Covid-19 test in Beijing on Wednesday. Photo: EPA-EFE
Asian Angle | If China abandons zero-Covid it could prove it’s better than the West

China is the one country with the dynamism and heft to revitalise the global economy – but doing so would require a major U-turn on its virus suppression policy.

9 May 2022 - 8:34AM
A health worker wearing personal protective equipment stands at a Covid-19 testing site outside a shopping centre in Beijing on Thursday. Photo: AFP
China Briefing | China may never abandon zero-Covid publicly, but an easing is inevitable

Beijing eventually relented on its Big Tech crackdown and is likely to do the same with its virus suppression strategy. Just don’t expect a sudden change – too much political capital is at stake.

7 May 2022 - 10:45AM
A man is seen with the Shanghai tower in the background, on March 29. The city hopes to see lockdowns end soon. Photo: EPA-EFE/
Macroscope | Outlook for emerging markets rests on how China deals with Covid-19

Unsurprisingly, China’s Omicron wave has cut growth, dragging down emerging market stock values. But current valuations are a reflection of recent challenges rather than a sign of things to come, as China looks to ease monetary policy and step up its vaccination drive.

7 May 2022 - 9:15AM
Chinese President Xi Jinping spoke out on the Shanghai outbreak for the first time at a meeting of the Politburo Standing Committee. Photo: Xinhua
Editorial | Essential for Hong Kong to strike balance as Xi Jinping digs in on zero-Covid

Words of Chinese president do nothing to raise hopes of an early reopening of the border with Hong Kong, which strives to remain an international finance hub.

6 May 2022 - 9:15PM
A woman shops at a grocery store in San Francisco on May 2. US inflation has continued to rise to levels not seen in decades. Photo: Bloomberg
Outside In | Pandemic, Ukraine war, China shutdowns top list of stagflation risk factors

On top of the obvious but potentially short-term stagflationary forces in play are far more structural, long-term issues that amplify the danger of protracted inflation and sharply reduced economic growth.

6 May 2022 - 12:30PM
Women in quarantine look through a window cut into a gate amid Shanghai’s Covid-19 lockdown on May 1. Photo: EPA-EFE
Macroscope | Why is China reluctant to ‘live with Covid’? It’s not just politics

China is not as medically prepared as many Western countries were before they opened up, with large numbers of elderly yet to have a third vaccine dose. A middle-of-the-road approach, with fewer draconian lockdowns while keeping many social restrictions, could help boost the faltering economy.

6 May 2022 - 1:35AM
A street in Hong Kong’s Central business district is quiet on a rainy afternoon on February 21. The pandemic and ensuing restrictions have led many to re-examine their career path and identity. Photo: Nora Tam
The View | ‘Spirit-preneurship’ could be antidote to pandemic’s Great Resignation

Around the world, not only are millions resigning from their jobs, there has been an uptick in business registrations in some countries. The collective reassessment of business priorities, profits and employees’ role in them should prompt employers to create and sustain deeper meaning to retain to staff.

4 May 2022 - 10:13AM
On Tuesday, May 3, people peer through a barrier used to lock down a residential area in Shanghai. Photo: Reuters
As I see it | China must rethink its reliance on centralised control for every problem

After China contained the Wuhan outbreak by locking down the city and the rest of the province in 2020, it began to apply the formula to other areas.

3 May 2022 - 6:39PM
A Covid-19 testing site in Beijing on May 1, 2022. Photo: AFP
My Take | A new normal in China: endless Covid tests for millions of urbanites

China is entering a new normal of “dynamic zero” Covid-19 policy, in which citizens are subject to frequent nucleic-acid tests regardless of a person’s likelihood of contracting the coronavirus.

3 May 2022 - 7:00AM
People walk next to the fence installed to block out a quarantined area in Shanghai. Photo: EPA-EFE
China Briefing | China’s lockdown dramas show Beijing must learn to trust its people

If the CCP wants to continue enjoying a high degree of faith by Chinese nationals, officials need to lock up their paranoia amid the Omicron wave of Covid-19.

30 Apr 2022 - 9:30AM
A woman walks up a deserted Pottinger Street in Central on February 15. Photo: Nora Tam
Opinion | To keep its competitive edge, Hong Kong must stem the brain drain

To safeguard Hong Kong’s value as a global finance, trade and transport nexus, it must reverse the loss of people with the expertise, experience and international connections vital to the city’s financial and entrepreneurial health.

24 Apr 2022 - 6:45AM