With Covid-19 Under Control, China’s Economy Surges Ahead

Oct 18, 2020 · 388 comments
Sensi (n/a)
"a binge of debt-fueled construction projects" [sic] I have been laughing, for years, every time i see an US article mentioning anything about China "debt" in ominous terms: it is less than half the US one in percentage to GDP but is somehow misrepresented -as part of a narrative- in extremist/sensationalist terms, like "binge": nice projection. Government debt to GDP (source: tradingeconomics), China: 50.5% (2018) US: 106.9% (2019)
Thérèsenyc1 (Greenport)
The Chinese dream is alive . The American dream on life support .
jnannis (bronx)
Yes I jealous. China may be at fault for unleashing this virus but no one can deny that they also took waged a comprehensive defense against it. They enforced mask wearing and social distancing and quickly waged attacks on hotspot flareups. Our country on the other hand has groups of people who are still locked into the ridiculous belief that this pandemic is a hoax and that mask wearing somehow is an assault against their constitutional rights. For this we all must suffer. We have been our own enemy by not strongly enforcing as well as by not adhering to the protocals that would have greatly limited the spread of this disease in United States.
topotriv (Los Angeles)
As someone who is moderate in my views on China, I was pleasantly surprised to see this article. The fact is that even with all of its problems, there are many things that China does better than the West (particularly the USA).
Observer (Canada)
American attitude and handling of the covid-19 pandemic can be compared to the Demolition Derby of bone-crushing self-inflicted damages, or a Horror Movie where the victims always wander into rooms and attics we know are life threatening. The only reason for tuning into Trump's super-spreader rallies on TV is to see how many people in the crowd wear mask. In both cases it is scary, exciting and weirdly entertaining to watch. There are those who parrot Pompeo's China-bashing script and disbelieve China's economic recovery data. Do Chinese leaders lose any sleep due to their doubts? Chinese planners probably watched the Sturgis motorcycle rally and estimated how many months it will set back recovery of American economy. Same with observing each Trump super-spreader events. The more Trump fans without mask in the rally crowds, the deeper the economic hole they dig by prolonging the pandemic. Another kind of Rocky Horror Picture Show.
alex65 (boston)
China’s relative success in containing the pandemic is due to the fact that its government is held to be responsible by the Chinese people. There is nothing to derails it’s legitimacy than masses of people die off of the pandemic. In the early phase, the Chinese government took in tremendous amount of public anger. It was able to do a much better job afterwards and has now completely turned the tide of public opinion.
topotriv (Los Angeles)
@alex65 This. It's a myth that China is undemocratic. They may not have direct elections for high offices, but the government is absolutely accountable to the people.
You Know It (Anywhere)
We don't take lessons from Asia and have been too Eurocentric in our world view. Every comparison I've seen is with Europe and a focus on Sweden. And that's where we lose, China has no qualms about learning from us. Name me a single thing we have learnt from China, arguably the most successful economy in the last forty years? To even mention something positive about China will illicit a knee-jerk lecture on authoritarianism and human rights. Go take a look at the earlier articles on contact tracing, we were so dismissive of it, citing Big Brother concerns. Now if we didn't want to use mainland China as a model, we could have at least considered Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong and even Singapore. They are Democratic and have successfully controlled the virus.
kaw7 (SoCal)
The relative health of the American and Chinese economies is due to forces that pre-date the election of Donald Trump. On July 13, 2001 the International Olympic Committee gave Beijing the 2008 Olympic Games. That spurred massive investments in infrastructure, not only in Beijing, but across China. On September 11, 2001, America was attacked by terrorists. Our response was spend roughly the same amount as China spent on the Olympics, but on counter terrorism and surveillance. Arguably, China has more than closed the surveillance gap; its citizens are monitored in myriad, highly sophisticated and often intrusive ways. However, America did not close the physical infrastructure gap. While the physical infrastructure enabled the Coronavirus to spread so quickly -- for example, Wuhan Railway Station (2009), Wuhan Metro line #4, (2013), Wuhan International Airport Terminal 3 (2017) -- it was countered by surveillance infrastructure of lockdowns, temperature checks and mandatory quarantines. There's no denying that America is a vastly freer society than China, but China's economy is on the upswing while America struggles with the pandemic. America is safe from terrorism, but we remain unsafe from each other in a country where so much of our physical infrastructure desperately needs to be rebuilt or replaced.
Viktor Z (Amsterdam, EU)
@kaw7 Remarkable statement that 'America is safe from terrorism'..or do you still belief that terrorism is something from 'the outside' only? Seems that you missed something domestically the last few months..
Joe (New York)
@kaw7 Freer in what sense? Freer of getting shot?
Robert Henry Eller (Portland, Oregon)
The PRC has Xi. The USA has Trump.
Theresa (Fl)
Surprise. Surprise.
Bob Faydash (Florida)
Two weeks ago a Chinese city experienced a virus outbreak of 12, yes 12 positive tests. The government’s reaction was to close the city and test 9 million - yes, 9 million - people. Light years ahead of the Trump admin’s dismal failure to save American lives.
Gene (Charleston, SC)
While China’s COVID success is impressive, their infrastructure campaign is truly admirable and forward thinking. Meanwhile the US has squandered a period of historically low interest rates when our government could cheaply borrow to restore and expand our infrastructure. We have crumbling bridges and roadways, zero high speed rail, deteriorating 19th century water and sewer systems, etc. Government funded infrastructure projects would create jobs and secure our future competitiveness. A win-win. Instead we lavish unnecessary tax breaks on corporations and the wealthy that create no ‘trickle down’ jobs and no investment in our future.
Ed (NY)
@Gene Do not forget the National Forests which need to be cleaned up to prevent major fires. Maybe let them return to their natural form instead of planting mono-cultures for the corporations.
caljn (los angeles)
@Gene But...liberty!
Theresa (Fl)
@Gene China has one million people in prison camps. It's belt and road project creates indebtedness from third world countries. China's state run enterprises are subsisted...that is why they win. This is an evil state. I lam a Democrat and hate Trump. But please do not excuse this dictatorial regime with plan to make inroads into most countries in a plan for global economic and political domination.
rob (Cupertino)
China has been able to shift from chaos to networks of complexity, supported by massive test and trace with rapid sensing of when Covid-19 outbreaks occur. The west has lost that option and must hope endemic infection and evolved responses eventually provide the same shift. The long game is still in play what ever the article implies about China's strategy
Elizabeth (Cincinnati)
Americans continue to use the Capitalist-Socialist/communist or Democratic/Autocratic label to "explain" the difference between the US and China, but those labels are in some ways misleading. A more appropriate label for China and other Asian countries would be a restoration of Confucianism as the driving cultural influence. In China and other Asian countries, it would simply be unacceptable for the government to pursue a policy that resulted in a much large percentage of seniors dying. They are also much more likely to judge their own behavior and misbehavior in on its impact not only on themselves, but also on others, including impact on their families, their cities and even their country. In other words, many American conservatives may well share many of the same outlook.
Leroy (Jackson)
I can't believe the NYT would uncritically repeat PRC economic data as if it were fact.
RP (NYC)
China has won the pandemic war.
ARETE’ (TEJAS)
It helps when a dictatorship exists that does not respect individual rights of citizens and orders these citizens to do or else. Since we do not operate accordingly, we are at a severe deficit in comparison. Therefore, it is plausible that China engineered this pandemic to get the jump on the rest of the world in all phases of their business model.
Leslie (Oaklandia, CA)
@ARETE’ This sounds like Q'anon nonsence, starting with "Therefore ..."
Wang An Shih (Savannah)
@ARETE’ Another conspiracy theory due to envy?
ARETE’ (TEJAS)
@Wang An Shih Envy of the Chinese? That will never be.
Zareen (Earth 🌍)
Don’t forget China also has human slaves (interned/tortured Uighur people) who are being forced to produce many of the products China exports to the U.S. (e.g., PPE) and other countries. So, the fact that China’s economy “surges ahead” is not laudable at all.
John (arytvbew5)
@Zareen Not a word about the fact America buys the goods made by slave labor? Not one?
Michael (Ottawa)
@John I don't see any concerted universal American outrage when they profit from buying cheap fruits and vegetables that appear on their grocery shelves courtesy of an underpaid and overworked labour force. It's slave labour that's being aided and abetted by American consumers - which include both Democrats and Republicans.
Viktor Z (Amsterdam, EU)
@Zareen Please widen your scope. Non-Chinese aware of the Uighur suppression don't seem to know that muslim minorities are still able to move around within the PRC. You can meet them in the Shenzhen subway for example finding their way through the World's workplace. Not that the Han Chinese trust them much as on every [!] subway station your luggage is x-rayed and water bottle checked on explosive content.
Darren McConnell (Boston)
Relax. Trump has this covered.
Katya (NYC)
Americans are too full of themselves. Preaching about their democracy and exceptionalism. But the reality showed us otherwise. Here, the communist country we thought was so inefficient proved to be much more organized and logical than ours. Nice job, China. And we are left to deal with the consequences of our “freedoms” of not wearing a mask.
jackie (Canton, NY)
@Katya You'd rather live in China where if you said the Chinese are too full of themselves, you'd might be arrested? I don't think anybody ever said they were "inefficient." It's easy to be efficient when the government controls EVERYTHING, including it's citizens.
BorisRoberts (Santa Maria, CA)
Plus we get to deal with it not being publicized in China until they couldn't control the virus or the internet in getting the word out about how contagious and deadly it was. Unbelievable how much you don't see when you have your blinders on.
Alka (Oslo, Norway)
@Katya are you referring to the reality China is communicating to the world? Nice job China.
Bender (Chicago, IL)
I’m not surprised. Chinese products are strongly, perhaps overly represented on internet sales platforms like Amazon, Walmart and their likes on Europe. China reaps the benefit of changed consumer behavior towards online ordering during the pandemic. But we must not forget that their products are manufactured in factories with dormitories for low wage workers, and sometimes with coerced Uyghurs. Import taxes do not sufficiently offset that “advantage” against middle class blue collar wages. I hope Joe Biden tries to level the playfield for American workers, instead of going back to neoliberal business as usual. Ross Perot was half right about that giant sucking sound: it turned out to be China’s terms of entering the WTO that did most of the job damage, with NAFTA a distant second.
Viktor Z (Amsterdam, EU)
What a nonsense! It was the neoliberal greed of developed nations that leaded to hyper-globalization. Think about when you buy your XXL sweatshirt at Walmarts. Just realize that during the administration of your beloved Leader the trade deficit grew instead of the opposite as one should expect due to his focus on China.
Gustav Aschenbach (Venice)
Meanwhile, the extremist minority want an American solution, one that doesn't infringe on their right to cause harm to others, one that doesn't tell them what to do and thus protects their fragility, one that's mavericky and thus feeds their myth of rugged individualism, one that doesn't smack of science, common sense and cooperation. If only the trump family had found a way to corner the market on masks, to make a different kind of killing from the pandemic, we might not be in this mess.
Luis Gonzalez (Brooklyn, NY)
Yeah, quite a few confuse hubris for freedom.
Andy (New York)
So glad that during this pandemic I started to learn Chinese and am now at the HSK-6 level.
justgimmesometruth (New York)
@Andy: You started at the beginning of the pandemic and are now at HDK-6! I'm impressed. Nice work.
Ockham9 (Norman, OK)
But meanwhile, Trump says just today that if he had listened to and followed the advice of scientists and public health experts, the US would be in the middle of a major depression. Make no mistake, we are suffering economically in this country because we haven’t taken care of the national infection. China, on the other hand, took severe measures initially, continues to test, trace and quarantine hot spots, and consequently has been able to open schools, shops, the economy.
JFC (Havertown Pa)
The problem here is that, just as with Trump, you can't believe anything China tells us. Look at all the wise and virtuous nations of Europe. They imposed and accepted the lockdowns last spring. That brought the virus under control. Then they opened up. Now the virus is roaring back. I think China is just hiding the numbers of cases and deaths.
Will (New York)
@JFC It's unfair to compare China with EU. China should be compared to the neighboring countries such as Japan , South Korea, Singapore, Malaysia, and etc... Btw, the European lockdown is a totally different concept of Asian lockdown.
Justin (NYC)
@JFC you can't hide GDP numbers like this. There are global corporations that track GDP growth using a thousand different data points.
Marvin (NY)
@JFC EU opened up borders in the summer prematurely before eliminating community transmission. China is still quarantining every single visitor for 14 days. Go figure yourself.
Ann (Billings MT)
It appears that China's brilliant strategy for destroying the United States is to... simply do the right thing. Then Americans, in their pathological hatred of China, will deliberately choose to do the opposite just to spite the Chinese. And ruining themselves in the process. If only you could eat vanity. Then the US would never starve.
Pigsy (The Eatery)
@Ann Yes, I have commented on this before. There has been a huge blindspot to China's success in managing COVID. The American press perseverates on "early mishandling" or "silencing doctors" and leaves it at that. Articles about countries enjoying some success against COVID often don't even mention China at all. This has been a huge disservice to Americans because we have been largely uninformed about the most effective COVID response of scale to date. As a result, many continue to believe that science has nothing to offer, that nothing works, and that individual freedom to parade around with AR-15s while maskless trumps all else. On top of this, our president, after being briefed in early February by China's, decided to withhold information from the American public and to focus on using the resultant American suffering to fuel anti-China propaganda. You don't have to embrace all of China's policies to learn from how they managed COVID. But we insist on doing the opposite, out of spite, racism, ignorance or ideological differences or some mixture as COVID continues to devastate us. MAGA not.
Irving Franklin (Los Altos)
China’s economy is now strong and increasing, and China now has Covid under control; while the US is now headed for a half million deaths by February—with cataclysmic effects on our economy. Thanks, Donald.
Callie (Maine)
Elections do have consequences. We elected a lazy, lying loser and we've lost.
Aftab Mirza (Toronto)
TO SAVE AMERICAN LIVES AND THE ECONOMY, DONALD J. TRUMP MUST BE DEFEATED DECIDEDLY AT THE POLLS With COVID-19 out of control, America's economy will continue to tank. Thanks to Donald J. Trump, who thinks he can revive the economy by killing and incapacitating a large portion of the American population. Two hundred and twenty thousand dead and over eight million Americans infected by the COVID-19 are the least of DONALD J.TRUMP'S concern. He and his newly recruited COVID-19 advisor, Dr. Scott Atlas want to promote HERD IMMUNITY, which according to the real health experts, would mean MASS MURDER. But Trump doesn't care. To him, the death of millions of Americans is a fair price for his reelection. And that is precisely what Trump has been trying to accomplish by holding massive rallies every day with no restrictions whatsoever for mask-wearing and social-distancing. While he forges ahead with his rallies with no qualms or compunction about his supporters' well-being, his followers are willing to sacrifice their lives for DONALD J. TRUMP, as their sacred duty. Is it any wonder that while the American economy continues to falter, the Chinese economy has taken off due, in large part, to the prudent actions taken by the Chinese government to control the spread of this deadly pandemic? The unfortunate fact is that more Americans will die along with the American economy unless Trump is voted out on November 3, 2020, and voted out HE MUST!
Kevin (San Diego)
It's sad that a quick return to the mindless consumption of meaningless material items is heralded as a good model for society.
justgimmesometruth (New York)
@Kevin: Easy to criticize consumerism when you live in one of the richest nations in the world. The Chinese have struggled economically since their 1911 revolution (and before). They particularly struggled through Mao's famines and the cultural revolution. People in China are quite happy now to enjoy the fruits of consumerism. I don't think Americans have the moral authority to tell the Chinese that they should eschew consumerism and become aesthetes.
J C Pope (UK)
It is not just China that has it under control. Taiwan with 24MM people has had 535 cases and 7 deaths. NY state close 20MM people has 33k deaths. Thailand 66MM people has 59 deaths. Asia has done much better as the citizens care about one another and it is not this "all about me" mentality. They have always worn masks when sick so this is not a "burden" as it seems to be in the US.
justgimmesometruth (New York)
@J C Pope: It's not just masks. People in Asian countries don't touch when greeting each other. In Thailand you put your palms together. If you try hugging a woman in China, you'll know immediately from her reaction that this isn't done. I think this has also helped.
cfc (Va)
Interesting title, and here we are in Trump's nightmare.
John (NYS)
Democratic (free) Taiwan had a total of 7 deaths from covid-19 and unlike China, was not the origin of the Pandemic. Why doesn't the NYT showcase Taiwan as the model of excellent management of the covid-19 pandemic China started. I have seen little in the press about free democratic Taiwan's skilled handling of covid-19 and wonder if perhaps the media ponders to main land China's one China policy. In my opinion free Taiwan has been a far better example of pandemic management?
JB (NY)
@John "perhaps the media panders," he says. Perhaps. (looks at Disney) Yeah. "Perhaps."
Will (New York)
@John Because Taiwan only has 23 million people while mainland China has 1.4bn. Mainland China is 267x bigger than Taiwan. The difficulty of containing the virus is not of the same magnitude. If the press writes about Taiwan, then why not South Korea, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, and etc...
John (NYS)
@Will Deaths / 1 Million numbers. Taiwan(0.3), South Korea(9), Singapore(5), Thailand(0.8), Malaysia(6), China(3) Source: https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/
David H (Northern Va.)
"China’s lead could widen further in the months to come. It has almost no local transmission of the virus now, while the United States and Europe face another accelerating wave of cases." No local transmission of the virus now? Really? Anywhere on Chinese territory, which encompasses 3.705 million square miles? Are the NYT editors on holiday today?
Sam Ding (Beijing)
Yes. Has been for 2 months without local transmission. Qingdao’s case got under control within a week. Apart from that, all cases are imported. Why wouldn’t we worry? Because all inbound travelers are subject to mandatory quarantine for 14 days, transported in isolation from the outside world with staff all dressed in hazmat suits. I’ve been through that and it just works. That’s how it’s gotten under control. And by the way, if you travel from other countries into the US, CBP doesn’t even do checks anymore. Let alone the distinction between domestic and imported cases.
David H (Northern Va.)
@Sam Ding Sure, and I have some beachfront property in Nebraska that I can sell you. I’ve never believed China’s lies, and I have no intention of starting to now.
justgimmesometruth (New York)
@David H: You can choose to believe or not believe anything you want, but that has no effect on whether things are true or or not. The country that lied about covid numbers is the US. Remember the woman who resigned from the Florida Department of Health because she was asked to report false covid numbers. All the evidence points to the fact that local transmission in China is currently very infrequent.
C (R)
All Americans need to learn about China and see for themselves how it is not like the hellscape they imagine it would be. More and more Chinese people enjoy a comfortable and modern lifestyle while the problems in America only see to increase in number or exacerbate. To anyone who want to make the case for "freedom & liberty", your job has become a lot harder.
Leroy (Jackson)
@C , some of us like freedom of speech, free press, voting, and the right to own property.
Zareen (Earth 🌍)
I’d much prefer to hold up New Zealand as a model for effective Coronavirus response and good governance rather than China. Way to go, Jacinda Arden. And congrats on your landslide election, too!
Marvin (NY)
@Zareen New Zealand is also in its deepest recession
Zareen (Earth 🌍)
@Marvin That’s true. But I think it’s going to rebound soon because of Jacinda’s leadership. http://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/oct/17/jacinda-arderns-labour-party-set-for-victory-in-new-zealand-election
Montessahall (Paris, France)
The incompetent leadership of the United States has led to first place in leading from behind in this pandemic. It is trump’s lies and keeping the American people in the dark about this deadly disease that makes it nearly impossible for the economy to recover anytime soon. As an American citizen working in France, I see a government responding to the pandemic with a consistent message that is saving lives and resources to combat the pandemic. Meanwhile, an undisciplined trump steps on his own CDC recommendations and offers ridiculous “turning the corner” campaign slogans that are totally meaningless while the virus surges and Americans die.
The Iconoclast (Oregon)
Americans are so selfish and petty it will be another year at least before they collectively acknowledge the concept of infectious virus. Our failure to arrest the virus does not bode well for our future.
ASHRAF CHOWDHURY (NEW YORK)
Is China doing better than America? We are the only super power in the world. Why we are the worst in controlling and containing the pandemic ? When our economy is sliding down and unemployment is going up, China is exporting goods all over the world? I feel stupid and angry. Why we have come to this point? Can we learn anything from China, South Korea, Netherlands , Japan and Germany about controlling the virus? Pandering to Putin will not help us. We have to wear masks and maintain social distance.
John Doe (Johnstown)
Who are the free ones and who are the repressed ones now? Pandemics love freedom I’m such to thrive.
Eric Harold (Alexandria VA)
Why on Earth would any rational person believe any “statistic” from a Chinese Communist Party organization? The CCP has been lying since Trump starting lying when he learned to talk.
Will (New York)
@Eric Harold a truly rational person would disregard the source and independently verify the statistics that CCP throws out. There are plenty expats living in China and posting their daily life amid pandemic on YouTube. I watched some. They are helpful.
David H (Northern Va.)
When you run a totalitarian government, anything is possible. Except greatness, of course.
Zed (NYC)
@David H That depends on the definition of 'greatness'. I'd say it's great for its government to lift 800 million people out of poverty.
Leroy (Jackson)
@Zed , the PRC government put those people into poverty in the first place. Under the Qing dynasty, China was 25% of global GDP. As recently as 1987 the communists had driven it down to 3% of the global economy.
Ann (Billings MT)
@David H Ergo China is not totalitarian, since it has already proven its greatness in multiple respects. There's a saying in Europe that Americans can subsist on hubris and vanity alone. How does it taste?
Mabel (USA)
murricans like the lies they hear on TV. Much of the world has run way past us.
David H (Northern Va.)
@Mabel Right. That's why the US dollar is the world's reserve currency. That's why foreigners line up around our Emabssies and consulates to get visas to live and work here. That's why our system of government and the freedoms that we enjoy are the envy of the world.
Viktor Z (Amsterdam, EU)
The US became a superpower thanks to exile Europeans and many other bright immigrants made the US what it is today. Don’t make it sound that you and the likes of you are rooted on US soil.
GWM (Singapore)
“That’s why our system of government and the freedoms that we enjoy are the envy of the world.” Very few living in the developed world envy your “freedoms” and your “system of government”. This greatly-misplaced sense of exceptionalism is what got you guys where you are. Some aspects of the US may truly be exceptional but by many of the measures that matter — how you treat the most vulnerable in your society for example; unquestioned access to affordable healthcare and education another example — the US is far from a beacon of inspiration for those of us living in developed nations. In fact, just yesterday, I remarked to my husband, how I cannot believe that in this day and age, a woman’s right to choose what she does with her body can, and is, a central election issue. The rest of the world has moved on, America. If you keep holding on to this vision of grandeur and greatness that is fast slipping from your grips, your very public (and pitiful) decline can only continue.
Kelly Grace Smith (Fayetteville, NY)
I feel quite sure before the day is out the Trump administration will wring out all of the truth and reality from this economic news from China. But it is, in fact, a slap in the face to President Trump - and our nation - that while we've been dithering, "protecting our Constitutional right to not wear a mask," opening and closing our economies like a revolving door, and politicizing the virus to death - not to mention 215,000 deaths and many more still to come before the year is out... ...the Chinese economy is humming along nicely. The damage this President, his administration, Republican Senators, and all of his misguided "followers" have wrought upon our nation in just four short years...is beyond the pale. It is up to "we the people" who are willing to see these truths and realities to stand up, speak up, and redirect the trajectory of our once great nation...now.
David H (Northern Va.)
@Kelly Grace Smith Let's not get overly impressed with China's alleged economic standing. The fact is that China is the world's largest open air prison, a totalitarian behemoth that most Chinese citizens have had little choice but to accept as the price for living securely. Would you pay the price? I certainly wouldn't.
Kelly Grace Smith (Fayetteville, NY)
@David H Agreed, however the President's failure, our resistence to masks and other sensible safety measures, and our acquiesence of our power to this administration...is the point.
Meadowlark Lemmy (High, Above the Rim)
@David H - Except wearing a mask isn't paying a price here in America. Unless respecting your fellow citizens by helping to keep them and you safe and healthy is somehow the losing end of a transactional exercise.
Austin Ouellette (Denver, CO)
So, so, so sick of this all or nothing approach to... well, everything. It doesn’t take a genocidal authoritarian regime with a hundred million party members that exert total control over every single aspect of life on a scale that Orwell himself never could have predicted to control a pandemic. All it takes is a group of citizens who value science and facts over politics in coordinated cooperation to keep the spread of the virus down. Literally, that’s all it takes. American Samoa has had 0 cases. None. It’s not a techno-authoritarian state. It’s just a group of islanders who thought to themselves, “Gosh, we would probably be devastated by this if It got here, so let’s do what we can to prevent that from happening.” Simple as that.
Steve Griffith (Oakland, CA)
Here is the clear counterexample of the oft-quoted sentiment attributed to Edward Gibbon: When the freedom they sought most was freedom from responsibility, they ceased to be free. For all of the phony bluster about rugged individualism and liberty by Trump and his paramilitary supporters,
C (R)
@Steve Griffith Why else would every issues being resolved through the courts rather than through legislation where politicians have to *gasp* work together and compromise.
Neal (Maryland)
Not only has Trump bungled the ridiculous trade war with China, his incompetence in handling the pandemic almost ensures our economy will crash with this second wave of covid 19, and end up much worse than the Chinese economy. In the meantime, China invests heavily in infrastructure for even more future growth, while Trump's infrastructure investment promise is an abject failure.
Ernest Ciambarella (Cincinnati)
Yes, China's President downplayed the virus but by the middle of January they had worked out the genome sequence for the virus and made the information known. This enabled Moderna and other vaccine companies to start working on their mRNA vaccine by the end of January.
Jordan H (Seattle / Hong Kong)
I would implore anyone who has never been to China (and has stereotypes of “Communist China”) to visit Shanghai and see for themselves. It blew my mind how clean, free, happy and technologically advanced it was. This may go beyond communism and possibly be attributed to (generations) Confucian and the thought that we go further as one. The African proverb “if you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” Seems the US may have reached our top speed and farthest distance. China still has a ways to go.
SBC (Fredericksburg, VA)
@Jordan H I would love to go to China as a tourist. But since a member of my family has technical expertise that the Chinese have been after for years, we would be followed at the very least. We would more likely be detained and not allowed to come home again and accused of spying. It has happened to others. Free and happy? Depends on who you ask.
Castanet (MD-DC-VA)
First and foremost, proven success in containing COVID-19 and getting the economy back to normal (that means people conducting business -- not the gambling table of the stock market) is newsworthy. Skip the rest of the slice-and-dice of Trumpian extremist politics which is nothing more than ignorant one-up-manship these days.
Skeptic79 (Oregon)
People must be asking themselves how a corrupt and inefficient organization like the Communist Party of China is able stop the virus and get the economy going again when competent and efficient officials in the West cannot.
Spider (Scotland)
"when the virus is brought firmly under control". A hostage to fortune - demonstrably so.
Roland Berger (Magog, Québec, Canada)
And China will be the first economy in the world. Trump will have to lie a lot against such a reality.
exo (far away)
pollution is back at its nominal levels! cheers!... :/
Annie (Canada)
Why would we believe any of the information that comes out of China? CCP are masters of propaganda, COVID numbers miraculously stopped increasing in March, a few days after many foreign journalists were kicked out of the country. Uighur muslims are being sent to labour camps, in the style of Soviet gulags, and despite video evidence and countless accounts to the contrary, the CCP categorically denies their existence. Virus under control? Unlikely. Economy surging? Has to be "alternative facts".
Yeukhang (Hong Kong)
Seems like you’ve never been to China or at least you are not there at this point. As someone living here and having relatives across the nation, I could tell you that covid is a past memory to most of the Chinese people. Everything has been back to normal. Don’t be so faithful to your prejudice. Learn the facts.
Annie (Canada)
@Yeukhang Thank you for your comment. I wouldn't be so fast to call me prejudice, I'm simply questioning a narrative that comes from a state government that systematically lie and deceive. I'm encouraging readers to think critically. By the way, my friends in Hong Kong tell me a different story than the one you've provided. Some useful links: https://www.vox.com/2020/7/28/21333345/uighurs-china-internment-camps-forced-labor-xinjiang https://www.economist.com/china/2020/10/17/how-xinjiangs-gulag-tears-families-apart
Mutt Furball (The Great Flyover)
Somewhere between Xi’s total control and Trump’s, “what, me worry” approach, lies the path to salvation.
John (Wisconsin)
@Mutt Furball I agree. It's really not that hard. The virus depends on us to reproduce. Masks to limit spread, social distancing to limit spread and contact tracing to identify carriers and limit the spread. I don't think that as many businesses needed to shut down as initially did. It should have been a coordinated response and the number of deaths would be far fewer.
Skeptic79 (Oregon)
@Mutt Furball So you think Xi Jinping can just walk in one day like Trump and announce a new program out of the blue?
MK (Germany)
I assume the numbers mentioned are official Chinese numbers, correct? How reliable are these numbers? The Chinese government does have a history of using economic data for political purposes.
Skeptic79 (Oregon)
@MK The financial markets believe those numbers. The market can't be fooled.
Carter (Connecticut)
@MK Most of the trade is in dollars. You cant fool the US banks on that. The numbers are subjected to usual revisions but are mostly correct. The only one questioning it are the people with agendas. I work in trade/finance and we believe the numbers
GMooG (LA)
@MK "The markets can't be fooled." No, of course not. That's why we had Enron, Lehman Brothers, WorldCom, Madoff, etc.
Dearson (NC)
Trump seems intent on encouraging Americans to catch the coronavirus. He is doing his part to ensure his followers have the opportunity to experience infection and death by holding "coronavirus spreading events" throughout the land. On the otherhand, the Chinese communist government used draconian measures to crack down, lock down, threatened against not wearing masks and served as an example to their people in suppressing the pandemic. Thousands of miles away in United States, it is basically every State for itself. The Chinese economy thrives, while that of the U.S. continues to struggle.
Kevin (Atlanta)
@Dearson You're high af if you believe CCP numbers...they claimed they had like 200 cases of covid 19 too! You believe them?? Sad to see so many Americans believe thr country that created coronavirus over their own Pres.
blgreenie (Lawrenceville NJ)
The recovery and continued rise of China indicates to me why our 18th century Constitution and concept of democracy is flawed and out of date. A nation cannot flourish in this era with policies that drastically change from one Administration to another. National leaders cannot be chosen by voters biased by religious, anti-science, narrow states rights, isolationist attitudes. China's leadership cares about the health and economic well-being of its people and their education for the modern world. In America, public health is laissez-faire, determined state by state. Economic well-being of citizens is less important to leadership than well-being of the very wealthy and of corporations because that's where donations come from. Public education is a matter of being lucky or unlucky where you live and even then, chances of a good science background for students are very uneven. The wake up call for America has long since happened and we've chosen to sleep in, clinging to the past.
s.khan (Providence, RI)
The important factor in controlling the pandemic is the competence of the leaders and the institutions. Authoritarianism and democracy binary don't explain the success or failure. South Korea and Taiwan are democracies and they handled the pandemic effectively. China and Vietnam are authoritarian and they were successful. An important factor distinguishing Korea, Taiwan and China is the discipline and the people's willingness to follow the orders from the authorities. In USA there was unnecessary controversary on wearing mask. People in the name of personal freedom refused to wear mask and gathered in the bars and beaches, many considering virus as hoax.White house downplayed it, issued inconsistent messages and CDC was incompetent. Perhaps this is the weakness of democracy where people can refuse to do the right thing. Many resisted wearing masks and became virus spreaders.
Skeptic79 (Oregon)
@s.khan The culture in East Asia is of a "we" rather than "me" culture.
LBob (NYC)
As always, @Keith Bradsher did a excellent job in timely reporting of new development of Chinese economy. His reporting on China, mostly on the economy, is fair and timely. Often times, we don't want to hear that China is doing better than us. After all, China belong to the other, the authoritarian (even totalitarian which people really don't know what it means), and we are a democracy. If America had been made "great" again, how come China is doing so well and we are not? Truth hurts. We must wake up and strengthen our institutions that have been so damaged by Trump. We now really need make American great again, by voting out Trump and reestablish the city on the shining hill.
Don (New York)
It's not just China. Asian countries where matters of personal hygiene and health are ingrained into the culture have faired better than western counties. Simple things like wearing face masks and removing shoes indoors is a nothing burger. China, South Korea and Japan have flattened the curve, all are infinitely more densely populated than Florida or Texas. This has nothing to do with "freedom" or authoritarianism. In Japan the public wears face masks during cold and flu season without hesitation. I've been in board meetings where people voluntarily wear masks because they didn't want to spread viruses to others. There is a sense of do simple things for the public good that exists in these countries that no long exist in the US. Republicans have fed Americans a diet of selfishness, that silo'ed the public. When you only think about yourself it's easier to divide and conquer. We no longer have a sense of shared sacrifice in order to conquer adversary or do great things. How far have we fallen from the greatest generation of WWII who went though rationing, blackouts and curfews, when the wealthy paid 90% effective taxes to win a war. Now we're a nation of cry babies who think wearing a piece of cloth is giving up their freedoms. They're willing to kill grandma so they can party it up at a bar. Sad.
John (Wisconsin)
@Don I was thinking the same thing myself. How does a country that sacrificed so much in the past become so selfish. I see people who look old enough to have personal experience of past sacrifices not wearing masks or complaining about them.
Kevin (Atlanta)
@Don Taiwan had no curve! Because they saw when North Korea closed their borders with China, something was up! You can't seriously believe the Chinese numbers or compare them with S Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, etc. Nothing that comes out of China is legit. Ever wonder why Chinese TV and cars aren't popular? Lol.
GMooG (LA)
@Don We never had 90% effective tax rates. Ever. 90% was the highest nominal rate
talesofgenji (Asia)
Why China is better in dealing with its epidemic It is an authoritarian government, with 24/7 A.I. assisted face reorganization at every corner, a Communist Party watch dog per city block, and a history of locking up dissident citizens without trial . And hence more successful than a Democracy in suppressing a virus that originated in its central region than a Democracy like the US There is no doubt, if the US had a similar 24/7 A.I. surveillance face recognition surveillance program of every one of its citizens, and a policy of locking up dissidents the epidemic would better controlled. But to praise the Chinese approach as a model for the US is to endorse a dictatorship over Democracy
John (arytvbew5)
@talesofgenji No it isn’t... it’s saying that wearing masks, washing your hands, and social distancing will control the plague, resurrect the economy, and save hundreds of thousands of lives.
Robert M. Koretsky (Portland, OR)
@talesofgenji exactly the opposite is true- America is the authoritarian dictatorship, and all of the characteristics you pin on the Chinese are really true here in the UXA. Just watch “The Trial of the Chicago 7.”
Kenneth Cowan (Florida)
China's "conquest" of COVID-19 is one of the greatest hoaxes ever perpetrated on the general public. For months, reported deaths have been at under 4,800 and reported cases have stagnated at around 90,000. These figures are patent falsehoods.
Han (New York, NY)
@Kenneth Cowan Hi, Wuhan native and NYC resident here. I agree with you that CCP under-reported the death toll at the initial outbreak of the virus. They did it intentionally, that is for sure. On the other hand, there were no tests that medical staff can use to tell if people contracted the virus or not. There is really no new cases identified at least in Wuhan, cause my family told me they can stay in public space without wearing masks.
Ann (Billings MT)
@Kenneth Cowan Right, they must have bribed the virus to stay put so that they could let a billion people out shopping and traveling with no outbreaks. Sounds like Trump must be your man.
Skeptic79 (Oregon)
@Han Even if the death toll was underreported by a factor of ten, it still wouldn't change the fact that China has been far more successful than say, India, which has roughly the same population.
Alex Bundgaard (Denmark copenhagen.)
Several key phrases, one of which is "The State Government says" whether the Chinese economy is growing or not is rather up in the air, their numbers has been quistionable for years now and people that take them for face value is the same people that let Bernie Madoff swindle people for more than 30 years and cost investors at least 18 billion $ When people gets told a number by a government that have a vested interest in keeping those numbers at a least 8% annual rate, then they are na8ive if they take those numbers as gospel.
s.khan (Providence, RI)
@Alex Bundgaard- Read the report again.Secondary factors like the restaurants being full, customers waiting for hours to be seated, long lines to buy shoes,etc. support growth. It is driven by exports and investment in infrastructure. The construction activity can be seen, not just the fantasy of staticians in Beijing. Increase in exports can be contradicted by the importing countries if it is false. No country has done so far. Brazil and USA can deny increase in exports to China for iron ore, soyabean and pork respectively. the data makes sense.
steve (hoboken)
Not that I'm in favor of China's political system but it has proven effective in combating Covid 19. With that said, if the administration had taken a different stance on the seriousness of this disease and the benefits of social distancing and mask wearing, we would also be much better off and much closer to pushing or economy ahead. By choosing to ignore basic science and even common sense, the Trump administration has given China a big leg up with regard to their economy and a much stronger bargaining position with respect to future trade negations. Good work...the Trump administration has managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.
Jonathan (USA)
This news will perplex many who are certain that communism must invariably lead to economic failure. I'd like to offer some reassurance on that point: China's economy isn't built on any version of communism that Marx, Engels, any of the instigators of the Russian revolution would recognize. China's economy is a market-based economy, not a planned and micromanaged one of the sort that repeatedly failed Russia. Additionally, while China has a totalitarian society, it's run by leaders who place as much importance on their nation's status and growth as they do on their own personal power and wealth. That priority doesn't exist in Russia. Instead, Russia has a handful of absurdly wealthy oligarchs and a dictator controlling them like puppets. Not one of those oligarchs cares about their nation. Why mention Russia? Because Trump has been blinded by the glare of power and wealth he sees and admires in Russia, and wants to create a new United States based on the Russian model. It would never occur to Trump to use wealth and power to achieve national greatness.
Eric (Minneapolis)
I wish I lived in a first-rate country like China.
Skeptic79 (Oregon)
@Eric Suppose we had a party like the CPC of 90 million members whose members from all walks of life were sworn to "suffer the people's woes first, and their pleasures last" as they were told when they were sent to the front lines to confront the virus. This has been China's main strength. This is NOT just propaganda. It actually happened. It happens during all natural disasters.
Jennie (WA)
@Eric New Zealand and Japan have done as well during this plague. The difference between us and these three countries is a leadership that values science and people who are willing to wash their hands and wear masks. Honestly, the people bleating about their freedom to not mask up are like people who want the freedom to put their dirty naked feet on dining tables, gross and unmannerly.
jason (ny)
@jennie vietnam has 25x the population of new zealand and only 10 more reported deaths; and a thousand less than japan. why just talk about those countries?
jennifer (Los angeles)
This is one side of an authoritarian regime and what it can do. The oppression of Wiegurs and Hong Kong is the other. A Hobson's choice.
Meadowlark Lemmy (High, Above the Rim)
Imagine a population willing to adhere to public health mandates. Or, God willing, suggestions. Here in the U.S., that would be most welcome.
Lilly (New Hampshire)
Agree. Hobson’s choice is no choice at all.
Skeptic79 (Oregon)
@jennifer Its "Uygurs", and they are doing better than ever. So is Hong Kong. Investment is flowing in and the US sponsored hooligans can go back to dealing with their corrupt British colonial era system.
Ski bum (Colorado)
The US is hobbled by a stunningly poor pandemic plan/response and will limp along for months if not years. A change in leadership will certainly help, and depending on the severity of the third wave, the country made need a hard shut down again to solidify gains and keep infections low enough that we can fully reopen the economy and schools in 2021. We’ve lost 8 months that will never be recovered and hundreds of thousands of lives needlessly lost too. Republicans have left a big mess for democrats this time; will the Dems be up for the,challenge? I hope so.
Never Trumpe (New Jersey)
The tactics used to achieve China’s control of the virus should have been made clear much higher up in this story. The real question is this: Now that we know how to do it, are we willing to give up our personal freedoms to do the same here at home? As I recall, New York City tracers we’re not even allowed to ask people who tested positive if they had recently participated in a mass BLM protest? It was deemed too intrusive.
Kevin (Atlanta)
@Never Trumpe Plus, China had many many more deaths than other countries unreported. How is it people trust the country that created covid so much and their own Pres so little...?
dingdong (fiji)
@Kevin you're anti china, we get it, you don't need to reply to everyone that praises china. truth hurts.
Austin Liberal (TX)
This story accepts at face value the statement by a Chinese government office, their National Bureau of Statistics, and apparently nothing more. That government has always manipulated reality to achieve goals. Believe it at our own risk.
Skeptic79 (Oregon)
@Austin Liberal The financial markets believe it. They ALWAYS know. That's why the Yuan is going through the roof, and investment capital is pouring in.
jason (ny)
and you believe everything your government tells you as well? as in the first three months of the outbreak when we were advised AGAINST wearing masks — a crucial period that could’ve saved us from the remaining 5 months and counting.
Kevin (Atlanta)
@jason Research the numbers. 200k dead? Regular flu kills 80k in one season. 7.5 million infected? Regular flu infects over 9 million annually. Try to keep perspective instead of just mouthing off on what you've been fed.
MIKEinNYC (NYC)
Key phrase, China has this "firmly under control", a result that we might expect in a communist dictatorship where you can get locked up upon the whim of a government official who toes the party line. That said, we are not China, who gave us The Virus, (thank you China), but we do need sensible, democracy-tinged enforcement in regard to careless, haphazard behavior by Americans. Fines and wider closures may be in order. Masks should be mandatory out of doors, even on clowns who are running for office and set a poor example, as is belied by the figures in this piece.
Skeptic79 (Oregon)
@MIKEinNYC "Masks should be mandatory out of doors" That's a violation of human rights, as we were told when China did this back in January/February.
s.khan (Providence, RI)
@MIKEinNYC , who gave N1H1 virus and financial crisis of 2008-09?
MIKEinNYC (NYC)
@Skeptic79 Making me stop for red lights violates my human rights! However, sometimes, for the greater good of society, restrictions upon or "rights" are put into place.
Lefty (Ohio)
Donald Trump and his campaign like to tell the tall tale of how his stewardship led to a soaring economy when, in fact, his pandemic response has led to the worst economy since the Great Depression of the 1930's.
HL (Arizona)
We don't have a dictatorship that can enforce a draconian shut down. We are dependent on trusted leadership, elected by the majority of Americans making the legitimate argument that it's our patriotic duty to stay at home, wear masks and practice social distancing. I suspect the problem in the USA is not the system. It's the leadership and the lack of patriotism that's tied to love of country and community and that we are in this together as Americans.
Lefty (Ohio)
New Zealand did it and they are a liberal democracy. I do agree with everything else in your post.
GMooG (LA)
@Lefty NZ is also in a very deep recession
Lefty (Ohio)
And we’re not? And neither is Europe?
DJ (Washington State)
Economic Warfare using the release of a biological weapon would give China an upper hand over world competitors. This article helps to justify such a theory.
jane (Brooklyn)
@DJ Regardless of whether COVID-19 was purposely created and deployed by China, we, here in America, have failed, miserably, to deal with it. Europe is experiencing a new wave of infections, but, rest assured, their leaders and citizens will work together to get in under control, likely before the end of the year, when the winter weather really sets in, while many here in America continue to act like toddlers, complaining about how wearing a mask, keeping distance, staying home when sick and trying not to go out all the time is an unacceptable infringement on our personal liberty.
John (arytvbew5)
@DJ DJ? Really? I think the real villain is much closer to home. In fact I think he’s right here...”DJ”.
Kevin (Atlanta)
@jane No we haven't. Research the numbers. Seasonal flu kills 80k+ and 9 million+ infections per the CDC stats. This is 200k and 7.5 million infections. What crushed us was the lockdowns, and that's something the President has pushed back on. The numbers of cases are also -over reported- here.
Andrew Pritzker (Kansas City, MO)
It’s amazing that a Communist Chinese government can run its version of a free market capitalist economy better than America's favorite fake billionaire. While Trump mismanages Covid-19 and allowing it to spread, he's given the Chinese yet another leg up. And what did the Chinese spend money on when their economy began to recover? Infrastructure. What has Trump only paid lip service to? Infrastructure. Like his mysteriously absent health care plan, failed trade war, battered agricultural export market, nonexistent relief bills, he's failing at running the business of America.
Skeptic79 (Oregon)
@Andrew Pritzker Effectively, the CPC told Chinese capitalists that, "You guys go ahead and organize production, go ahead and make huge profits, but you have to reinvest them and not buy back your stock. Also, we are increasing the minimum wage 10% a year. Also, you do not own the state, so you have to undersand that the CPC creates a broad plan, and you are expected to contribute to the development of society in an appropriate way.
Brian (Audubon nj)
The statement that China has a weak social safety net is a significant mischaracterization. 95% of people are covered and their is an organized system. Additionally, the government has been responsive and responsible about addressing health care issues. Please correct this because it is important to be highlighting the irresponsiblity of the current Republican governance in this nation.
CWS (California)
The NYT spinning this as a good thing is disturbing if not polarizing. Who can't grasp that when COVID is under control/over, the economy and way of life here returns quickly? China gave no money to businesses, nor printed trillions for it wealthy corporations for a bailout, the Chinese gov't subsidized all its impacted citizens to stay home until it was under control. They added martial law, removed personal freedoms, strict criteria and rules (law) for personal conduct (PPE, testing, quarantining) to enforced it. That would never happen in the land of the "free." When or government is corrupt from the money given to our politicians and encourages billions of dollars to be given by PACs to "elect" its political candidates for President, people die. It's that simple, and that should have been the point of the story.
Practical Thoughts (East Coast)
All true. However, Americans were asked to do some of the basic things the Chinese were compelled to do. Stay home except for essentials, wear a mask, socially distance and get tested if showing symptoms. We couldn’t do any of that. Not a single one. The reason why? Our ignorance knows no limits. Half the country following the words of an ignorant and uneducated President. We will never get out of this as long as the GOP is in charge.
Kevin (Atlanta)
@CWS heard about Taiwan? China had worse numbers than us, totally unreported. But the free and democratic island nation of Taiwan hasn't had covid impact all year! Don’t act like communism works better when we've got many free nations handling covid better than the sick government who engineered it.
GAF (WI)
As a country we have chosen a slow bleed. While some of our service businesses will open, often temporarily, for a quick buck most are dying on the vine long term.
Bun Mam (Oakland)
This is simple arithmetic that our stable genius and his cohorts just can’t compute. Healthy people equals a healthy economy.
David H (Northern Va.)
@Bun Mam The more important question is: can the American PEOPLE compute.
PJR (NYC)
"Look how good China is doing" is a bad take if you care about anything at all in life besides COVID mortality as of this exact date.
Wang An Shih (Savannah)
@PJR - Oh please! Traditional Chinese values include love and respect for the family, integrity, loyalty, honesty, humility, industriousness, respect for elders, patience, persistence, hard work, friendship, commitment to education, belief in order and stability, emphasis on obligations to the community rather just individual rights and preference for consultation rather then open confrontation. These values are generally shared by other Asians and are drilled into children from nursery school onward. Can't say the same for many Trump supporters.
Wang An Shih (Savannah)
@PJR - Over 200 years, through much pain and suffering, China has transformed the very core of its identity, changing itself from an inward- and backward-looking power to an outward- and forward-looking one. Since 1978, it has shown both flexibility and unyielding resolve in its continued pursuit of wealth and power. Now those goals are within reach and China stands on the verge of greatness.
Mary (NYC)
On verge of greatness with 1.5 billion people. What are the consequences of said greatness? Pollution as well as greediness to keep expanding while smaller and less powerful nations take the toll of their greed. China is the main buyer of Brazilian soy, mostly grown in deforested Amazon land. And what is that soy used for? Feeding their animals to keep on feeding the 1.5 billion people that is still expected to grow, why? To keep fueling their great economy.
keith (flanagan)
If only other countries like the US had the sense to install autocratic dictators that control their citizens with an iron fist. Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are so inefficient.
Robert (RI)
@keith If only the USA was smart enough to take basic safety precautions instead of fighting it at every turn.
Kevin (Atlanta)
@Robert we did...research the numbers! Any idea how much seasonal flu infects and kills? What crushed our economy was prolonged lockdowns, not covid deaths and infections.
Clark Landrum (Near the swamp.)
America has to divest itself of Trump and the Republicans. The current lack of leadership is a danger to our continued existence as a sovereign nation. We are just drifting along aimlessly.
Caesius (LINY)
large amounts of testing even for small outbreaks. nuff said. test till we've all been tested at least 3xs.
Gwenaël (Seattle)
Similar to data coming from the Chinese government on COVID-19 related deaths, I usually don’t give much credibility to information coming from a government telling the world that nothing wrong is going on in the Xinjiang region
Wang An Shih (Savannah)
@Gwenaël "I usually don’t give much credibility to information coming from a government telling the world that nothing wrong is going on . . ." Yikes! The Chinese too have Fox News and their own Kayleigh McEnany.
Grace (Tennessee)
@Gwenaël The fact that they had 600 million people travelling during the National Day Holiday can tell something.
John (arytvbew5)
@Gwenaël Amen brother! What’s more, I would never trust a government that tells this plague is fake news, a Democrat plot, going away in a few days, exactly like the flu, or that I should eat a sunlamp and swill a Clorox martini to wash it down. Like I said: Right there with you, man.
J. von Hettlingen (Switzerland)
China is the main source of many countries’ imports of personal protective equipment, providing some 83% of the four major types of PPE that medical staff wear - masks, gowns, protective clothing and glasses etc. Export has grown sharply as Covid-19 spikes across the world, with trade in medical masks alone growing from $900 million in January to $9.2 billion in May. This reliance fuels also resentment - an issue Beijing can’t ignore, given its handling of the virus at the beginning of the year. Countries around the world have been ramping up domestic production and diversifying sources considering China's track record of leveraging trade in foreign relations, notably in recent months. Citing Michael Pettis, a finance professor at Peking University. He said that as people in other countries supported by government subsidies continue to turn to China for products during the pandemic, “we’re going to see a resurgence of trade conflict, and not just U.S.-China, but global.”
RLW (Chicago)
China's example does tell us that a Top-Down Totalitarian government that totally controls all public aspects of its citizens' lives is more adept at controlling a pandemic and saving lives than a free-for-all libertarian government where everyone does whatever he likes and calls it personal freedom. Chaos is what Trump and his Republican cronies in the Congress and state governments have brought us. And let us not forget all those who voted for these incompetent clowns in 2016, 2018 and are planning to vote for Republicans again in2020. It's your "freedom" or your lives folks. Choose wisely or you may never choose again.
mrfreeze6 (Italy's Green Heart)
@RLW in Italy, the government recently tightened COVID restrictions to ensure that we don't have another outbreak. We must wear masks in public (inside and outside). There are new restrictions on gatherings, and strong recommendations have been made about private gatherings. There are hefty fines for those who don't comply. Everyone is wearing their masks. Italy isn't a country run by totalitarians. Far from it, yet, when the larger public health and safety are at risk, even the anarchist Italians expect leadership and direction from the government. In the end, it's all about accepting one's responsibility living with other people and actually having a government that can administrate "big stuff." Unfortunately, a large percentage of Americans don't believe in government. So, in the end, you get what you get.
s.khan (Providence, RI)
@RLW , The government in China doesn't control all aspects of life. Chinese are free to marry any one, pursue education at any institutions that can accept them, follow any profession, start their own business, travel anywhere in the country and outside, go to any restaurant and order food of their choice. This pretty much describe the lives of the people. Free speech is limited restricted if it poses challenge the authorities. In USA people can criticize Trump. Is he affected by the criticism or simply ignores it.
Wang An Shih (Savannah)
@RLW "totally controls all public aspects of its citizens lives" Obviously, you have never lived or worked in China.
Elsie Dubrow (Brooklyn)
The time is vast approaching when Americans will have to contend with the decades of Cold War propaganda that have clouded their judgment not only of countries like China but of the U.S. itself. This celebrated "freedom" that Americans believe they have is fairly laughable to outsiders. We have the "freedom" to die from lack of affordable health care. We have the "freedom" to take out thousands of dollars in loans and spend huge chunks of our life in debt just to get an education and health care. We have the "freedom" to have our tax money handed over to corporations and billionaires, all of whom happily drain the public coffer, destroying our infrastructure and leaving the country in a state of 3rd World status. We have the "freedom" to elect a narcissistic billionaire tv host as our president. We have the "freedom" to watch our Supreme Court get packed with pro-corporate stooges hiding behind a thin veil of religiosity as a moral cover. And let's also consider the claims that China is an authoritarian police state. Considering that the U.S. has 3 times as many people in prison than China, which has three times our population, I think Americans may want to spend a moment to consider who is really living in a police state. The truth is that no one but the rich are free in America. The reason Covid has destroyed so many lives here is because the average person's life in America is of no interest to the powers-that-be, all of whom have access to elite health care.
Sensi (n/a)
@Elsie Dubrow Population (2019 estimate, source: wikipedia): China : 1,400,050,000 USA : 328,239,523 As of last year China has over 4 times the US population. The US have the highest known incarceration rate in the world (if we put aside a handful of demographically insignificant nations and unknowns like North Korea).
Socrates (Verona, N.J.)
America impales itself on its juvenile, childish idea of 'freedom !' where citizens are so resistant to common sense and the common good that refuse to put on a simple mask as the bodies pile up around them. They can't even figure out that solving the pandemic problem is the same as solving the economic problem. Never underestimate the intelligence of the American people. Winner of the 2020 Darwin Award : Trumpistan. November 3 2020 Raise America's IQ.
Pubert Gaylord (Earth)
Education is key. It must be made free.
Kevin (Atlanta)
@Socrates So we solve the pandemic with more or less lockdowns? Lockdowns not a high number of covid infections caused the economic problem btw. We have 9+ million cases of seasonal flu and 7.5 million of coivd. So either you want more lockdowns and worse economy, or less lockdowns and support Trump.
Gustav Aschenbach (Venice)
Yeah, but we got our guns. U.S.A.!
Wang An Shih (Savannah)
@Gustav Aschenbach Most Americans won't fathom cynical humor.
Kip Leitner (Philadelphia)
Let's talk business dollars and sense here. Wikipedia's page for "Covid-19 Pandemic in the USA" shows a Trump supporter in his MAGA hat holding a sign that says "LOCKDOWN KILLED MY BUSINESS." Nope. To you, Mr. MAGA man, I say this: Trump's hardcore base, the 40% of Republicans who refuse to wear masks, are what killed your business. No matter what the rest of us who love and respect our fellow American's right to life do, no matter how much we wear our masks and practice social distancing, we will never be able to conquer the pandemic in America until those 40% of your non-mask-wearing Republicans friends who worship your false Trumpian god get onboard with the religion of E Pluribus Unum and don the true colors of America, which is respect to the right of life for your fellow citizens. I don't like wearing a mask. But I do it because it's required. Mask wearing is not some plot by twinkle toed, Birkenstock-clad snowflakes to take your guns and force your children to consider a genderfluid lifestyle. No, buddy, it's common sense, like brushing your teeth. If you don't brush your teeth then they start falling out of your mouth in your 40's. When people don't wear masks, the virus runs rampant and people are afraid to go out into public and do business. What killed your business was Washington didn't take the virus seriously and call on all Americans to sacrifice by wearing masks and observing distancing protocols. In a word, what killed your business? Trump.
Kevin (Atlanta)
@Kip Leitner No, research it. Lockdowns and business closing killed the economy not some crazy high number of covid cases. So we solve the pandemic with more or less lockdowns? We have 9+ million cases of seasonal flu and 7.5 million of coivd. So either you want more lockdowns and worse economy, or less lockdowns and support Trump. You can't claim numbers are high if you check out the 80k deaths normal flu causes seasonally. Fauci even said 2.2 million deaths and we're far off.
Jrochest (Saskatchewan Canada)
The number of comments declaring that the choice is between US freedom and Chinese authoritarianism are enraging. China is uniquely heavy-handed, but their public health measures are effective. However, ALL of the European nations, with the exceptions of Spain (which is having an appalling outbreak) and Belgium (which counts deaths differently from other nations) have fewer deaths per million and cases per million than the USA, because they have implemented and enforced public health measures. The vast majority of developed nations, from Germany to Canada to Korea to Finland to Australia, have done much better than the USA because they have governments that communicate, effectively and clearly, the best practices to keep the pandemic under control. And their people listen. It's not rocket science, it's just good government. The USA has infection and death stats comparable to Brazil, Bolivia and Peru because you are being governed like them.
Pubert Gaylord (Earth)
Yes, it’s seems freedom really does have its price. Pity too many can’t tell the difference between when community matters more the personal freedoms.
Kevin (Atlanta)
@Jrochest China is NOT effective. Can't believe you trust the numbers of the country that created covid and harmed the US Economy. What do think of Taiwans response?
T. Anand Raj (Tamil Nadu)
I have only one question lingering in my mind ever since the pandemic broke out. When the virus spread to different countires, all parts of every country were affected. How come China had only few parts of it affected? When all countries are still struggling to find a foot hold of economy, how could Chinese economy see such a surge? Something is beyond comprehension. Definitely a thorough and detailed investigation has to be madel at the origin of the virus. Something is amiss.
Lisa Erken (Bonn, Germany)
Easy, the Chinese Government made actual lockdowns and people are willing to wear masks and take other precautions to keep the spreading of this virus to a minimum. Here, people are demonstrating against any type of protection against COVID. Our economy could be back to normal as well, but we aren’t, because we decided that we don’t want to.
Damhnaid (Yvr)
@T. Anand Raj I get what you’re saying but I still don’t think it’s a massive conspiracy by the Chinese government. It’s not a democracy. People there don’t expect the government to answer to them, they expect it to be the other way around. If the government wants you to stay in your apartment, submit to mandatory tests, shop at a certain time of day and wear a mask, then you do those things. Plus, it had more direct experience with pandemics before, such as SARS. It was already a mask-wearing culture. At the same time, there is also a deep distrust there, an awareness that you are on your own so you better wear a mask and better wash your hands. In the west, there are people who feel the government has no right to tell them what to do, even if it is for the greater good, based on science and during a pandemic.
Gustav Aschenbach (Venice)
@T. Anand Raj Interesting that Chinese intelligence doesn't factor into your leading questions.
Steven A Bonomo Jr (United States)
Tighter lockdowns won't work here in the US. People are exhausted from them and demanding their rights. We will have to reopen our economy by letting the most vulnerable stay isolated while the rest of us work, mostly from home where possible.
Gustav Aschenbach (Venice)
@Steven A Bonomo Jr What industry in our country exists only on the participation and interaction of young people with no health issues? Education? No schools without teachers, administrators and staff. Food service? No food service without customers, management, deliveries, vendors. Uber? No. Gyms? No. Take a look at the photos of not just the Chinese, but the S. Koreans, New Zealanders, and all the other countries that have relative control over the virus. What are the citizens wearing? Look at HOW these countries have gained relative control. That's why they can move forward, and why we are still recording 50k to 70k new cases a day. This 40% extremist minority want solutions like herd immunity (aka as millions dead), or miracle disappearance, but simple, evidence based, tried and true solutions: "Nah, there must be a better way, an American way."
Wang An Shih (Savannah)
@Steven A Bonomo Jr "Tighter lockdowns won't work here in the US. People are exhausted from them and demanding their rights." Ask yourself. Are we a nation of wimps where individualism and selfish gratification triumph over the general welfare of the nation?
RLW (Chicago)
The United States "government" did the exact opposite of what the Chinese did. Under the totally incompetent leadership of Donald J. Trump, the federal government and too many state governments essentially tried to wish the Covid19 pandemic away. We elected a multiple-times bankrupt, not too intelligent businessman to be the leader of the country. Instead of showing leadership, he put on a very inferior "reality" TV show which totally ignored what those in the epidemiology community knew. And because of Trump's incompetence and bumbling action more than 200 million are now dead and many millions more will die. China followed the "Science" and their economy is booming while America's economy is failing. We are in such bad shape today because Trump was more concerned about his self image than anything else. We knew what an incompetent liar he was before 2016. Yet too many voted for him in spite of his lack of anything that would have told them that he would be a competent leader. Everything we know about Trump in 2020 is what we knew in 2016. The real question is how all those who voted for Trump in 2016 will explain that to their children? How can those running for public office today as Republicans explain to their constituencies why they still support such an incompetent self-serving delusional (or lying) narcissist??? America will be hurting for decades because of Trump's 4 years as POTUS.
GFE (New York)
Gotta love the gentleman in the foreground wearing a gray New York Yankees cap.
John (NYS)
As I understand and recall covid-19 history, the initial human infections from which all others stemmed very likely came from a wet market or virology lab under CCP rule. As I recall, there were safety complaints about the Wuhan virology site. Regarding the "Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market", the Wikipedia entry writes: Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Huanan_Seafood_Wholesale_Market#Items_sold "However, Time reported it to have "unsanitary" conditions.[13] It had narrow lanes and stalls in close proximity, where livestock were kept alongside dead animals. According to Business Insider, it was common to see animals openly slaughtered and carcasses skinned in the market.[14] The New York Times reported that "sanitation was dismal with poor ventilation and garbage piled on wet floors."" If the source was a wet market with conditions promoting a virus jump to humans, or a virology lab with poor safety and both are under CCP rule they are responsible for the start of the Pandemic IMO. If China covered then up the origin including punishing whistle blowers, and curtailed domestic travel from Wuhan as International travel continued, they bear responsibility for hastening the spread IMO. As a history reminder, here is a clip from a Jan 14th WHO tweet. "Preliminary investigations conducted by the Chinese authorities have found no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission of the novel #coronavirus (2019-nCoV) identified in #Wuhan, #China Flag of China".
Pubert Gaylord (Earth)
It simply DOESN’T matter where viruses begin. Laying blame is simply deflection and an utter waste of energy that should have been better directed towards taking effective decisive action. Incredible. Over 200,000 dead all the while examples around the world show what has worked, and yet, this...
John (NYS)
@Pubert Gaylord "It simply DOESN’T matter where viruses begin." Yes it does. Only by understanding how a tradegy occurred can we prevent the same thing from happening again. That's why the FAA does such rigorous investigations of airline accidents. An ounce of prevention is worth a pind of cure. Investigating an airline disaster does not save the lives of those who already died but may prevent many future deaths. If the world continues international travel with China it should understand and preferably mitigate the risks including those of coverup and whistle blower suppression.
Michael (Ottawa)
@John People don't want to put any blame on China because it interferes with their fixated anti-Trump narrative; i.e., "Trump is 100% responsible for the virus, and China is a model country for its handling of the pandemic."
Ed (NY)
From what I read here, your information is coming from China entities which are controlled by the CCP. They have been lying and/or withholding information ever since the the Covid problem started. They are not about to tell you the truth about their economy. They have been having crop failures due to massive flooding, several hot spots since the initial release and in general, continued with the abuse of minority populations in their borders. The Times needs to get reporters or sources back in China to see the truth. Until then, anything coming out of there should be considered suspect.
jchichila (Commerce, Michigan)
@Ed Should we be questioning stock market index numbers based on their information too?
Ken (NJ)
@Ed Why is it so hard to believe when someone else is simply doing better? You think all these were put together just to scam people from other countries? I trust at least the Chinese government knows what's their priority.
Future Paul (Lanzhou)
The photo for this article on the front page of the New York Times shows a photo of a crowd. Everyone in the photo is wearing a mask except for the Woman on the far right. On the ground on the far left is a lone mask. What does this mean, and more importantly - What do I win?
DK Webster (North Carolina)
If we had had effective leadership and a President who put his country first in our own country, this headline could have read "With Covid-19 Under Control, America's Economy Surges." Instead we have 220,000 dead with no end in sight.
Shaun Narine (Fredericton, Canada)
"A bullet train network connecting over 700 cities." Wow. And we wonder why the US is in precipitous and irreversible decline. I was on the Shinkansen in Japan last year, going from Tokyo to Kyoto. That was about 450 km, covered in less than two hours. And, of course, anyone who has traveled around Europe knows of the extensive train network there, though I don't think most are bullet trains. I was on the Chunnel train and I think it is a bullet train, but it may be exceptional. Even so, the investment in public infrastructure is a key sign of an advanced state.
glennmr (Planet Earth)
Debt around the world has ballooned. Economic survival based only on growth in not sustainable. This type of short term data may make financial sectors feel better, but the long term prospects continue to decay as debt is growing faster than the ability to service it.
DWS (Dallas)
In 2025 when the Chinese nominal GDP surpasses the US's (China's GDP PPP has since 2017), we will look back and identify the failures of the Trump administration as one of the reasons. And just another note, notice in the photographs, the sky, it's blue and clear. Having previously lived myself in Beijing for years on assignment, I can attest to frequent clear blue skies--they just don't make as interesting a picture as a dust storm. And with the world's most extensive subway system and much relieved automobile traffic, those blue bird days are more frequent.
Wang An Shih (Savannah)
@DWS Been to Beijing many times since '84. You can forget American exceptionalism and appreciate what China has accomplished.
Susanna (Edmonton AB)
NYTimes takes the PRC as a good model to control COVID 19. First, did the writer remember how brutally the local government detain the doctors and Chinese reporters who had alerted the virus. Some of them still disappeared. Secondly, no one exactly know what have happened in mainland even we have relatives there. I have family member there and can not be home, Hong Kong from Feb. The press support Biden who has good relationship with Xi and the CCP. At this moment, closed to the vote day, I wonder what the purpose this article.
Ken (CA)
@Susanna You apparently forgot that Trump calls Xi his good friend and has repeatedly praised Xi for being transparent about the virus!
Wang An Shih (Savannah)
@Susanna As of June 2020, the United States had the highest prisoner rate, with 655 prisoners per 100,000 of the national population. Trump said it is “frankly disgusting the way the press is able to write whatever they want to write” in a meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Threatened to cancel the broadcast licenses of media companies that offer negative coverage of him. In the USA, the average daily population of detained immigrants increased from approximately 5,000 in 1994, to 19,000 in 2001, and to over 50,000 in 2019. After three decades of expansion, the detention system now captures and holds as many as 500,000 immigrants each year.
Concerned Citizen (Anywheresville, USA)
@Susanna : the purpose of this article is to make liberal readers scared and paranoid over "China is now the most and best nation and we are left in the dust". Gee where did we hear that before? Krushchev in the 1950s -- "we will leave you in the dust"? How about the widespread anti-Japanese paranoia of the 1980s? they were so much better than us! stole our US auto industry! do nothing but work and save money! they are hardworking but WE Americans were lazy and stupid! Until the whole Japanese miracle was revealed as smoke & mirrors.... Make readers paranoid so they vote en masse for Hidin' Joe Biden, thinking "Joe will fix everything and then we can be NO. 1 again"....
RRI (Ocean Beach, CA)
Say whatever you want about their repressive regime, but China is evidently governed by serious people who care about their population's health and don't see it as antithetical to economic growth; whereas we are governed by a malevolent version of Captain Wrongway Peachfuzz, who doesn't care what happens so long as the market is up and he thinks he's still in charge on the bridge.
John (NYS)
@RRI Do you believe the right to govern comes from the consent of the governed? Do you believe in Freedom of Speech & the Press, religion, and assembly? Due Process, trial by jury or your peers? Do you believe in individuals being informed and making their own decisions, rather than a centralized government not having the consent of the governed making their decisions for them? Do you believe that China have per capita earnings well below Hong Kong and China, indicates main land China did a poor economic job considering both those areas were once part of China but differ in governance. Do you believe that with China having several times the population of the United States, it would have a much larger economy were if it had an efficient economic system? I do.
A man (On Earth)
If any of those you said is true then India would have become the largest economy already. What’s more important than democracy is the fact that the American whites grabbed nearly a whole continent in one century and still monopolize over its benefits over other ethnic groups. China’s border skirmishes seem almost childish in comparison.
Another man (on earth)
@A man - - That was done via a collective effort of a handful of European nations using other ethic groups for labour. Not American whites among themselves. If India and China were in the race to settle the new world, this would most likely be a Chinese majority.
RB (Michigan)
China owes Trump so much for restoring their economy.
Wang An Shih (Savannah)
@RB China doesn't owe Trump squat.
Hellen (NJ)
Good, then they should have enough money to settle multiple lawsuits and shouldn't have a problem with nations seizing their assets for compensation. It takes a lot of chutzpa to recklessly unleash death and destruction around the world and then gloat about how your nation is recovering. Since there are no independent fact checking verifications of their happy times are back again stories, I suspect China is lying again. However, if this is their story they are sticking to then nations devastated by their recklessness should take advantage of their purported prosperity.
Pubert Gaylord (Earth)
Good, then let’s start with the world making claims for the emergence of the Spanish Flu that very likely started in the US in the early 1900’s. Do you see now how silly your approach is?
Hellen (NJ)
@Pubert Gaylord Actually nations signed an agreement just so we wouldn't have a repeat of 1918. China signed that agreement and yet ignored all protocols. China lied and hid information that could have halted the spread. For this they are liable.
Larry M (Minnesota)
The irony is Trump would be in a much better position for re-election if he had simply done the smart and responsible things and set the proper examples early on. Then again, that would have required him to act and behave in ways of which he is incapable. Never mind.
Loomy (Australia)
How come people in America won't wear a mask saying its their fundamental right of freedom to choose not to ...even if by not wearing one they risk others becoming infected and ensures the virus will spread further and faster the more people not wearing them? And these so called "Freedom Fighters" are further motivated to not wear masks by the many Republican Governors and/or State legislatures that will not set mandates to wear masks because they also believe it's a matter of individual freedom being exercised and not a matter for Government purview or interference in an individuals rights/freedoms....Despite the threat and risk it imposed on all others? YET... Many of those "exercising their right to freedom" and their Republican led States and Politicians that agree with them nd their right...have no compulsion writing legislation that takes away a woman's right to choose and criminalizes abortions even if a woman becomes pregnant by rape (even by her father!) or loses her baby by accident . So much for personal Freedoms and Choice!
AT (Idaho)
Thank god. For a minute I thought the supply of cheap, throw away junk might be cut off or that CO2 levels might drop. On to the next crises!
Wang An Shih (Savannah)
@AT It's supply and demand. Take Economics 101 before posting again.
AT (Idaho)
@Wang An Shih Exactly. Cheap junk that we toss away (almost never recycled) and produces climate change that we displace to another country. Maybe you could try a class in environmental science? Economists seem to not get that a world where making money, regardless of it effect on the environment, is not a world anyone will want to live in before too long. Basically what China looks like now.
Flyingoffthehandle (World Headquarters)
LOL As if the information is reliable Ever read a bad report about their economy?
Susan M (Maine)
I'm struck by the photo of Apple and Nike stores in Beijing, where student protestors for democracy were shot down by tanks in Tiananman Square, in a country abusing the human rights of its Uighur population and snuffing out democracy in Taiwan. Back when the Times was doing excellent coverage of the initial Wuhan lockdown effort to beat COVID 19, I realized we were in for some bad times, as that type of lockdown is anathema to democracy. The irony of China's success in battling COVID 19 is all the more bitter, as the virus continues to explode in the USA, killing our citizens and taking our economy down, while Trump champions personal choice to wear masks and social distance as American freedom.
Steve (Columbus, IN)
China's leader probably just listened to their scientists and took control of a nationwide health problem rather than having a weak president deflectithe problems to their governors.
Margery weinstein (New York City)
This is precisely where the pandemic—the whole problem in the first place—began. Rather than running an article about China’s success at controlling the virus, a series on how it BEGAN, and how to prevent another one from beginning, would be wiser and more useful. Why has there been no talk (at least none that I have heard) of having an international task force come into China—against their will if necessary—to inspect, regulate and shutdown—exotic animal markets like the one where COVID started. Because we aren’t thinking about the origin of the virus enough—connected as it is specifically with China—there is a good chance another pandemic will arise, once again rooted in China.
RLW (Chicago)
@Margery weinstein Anyone who has learned anything from past "novel" virus epidemics knows that exotic viruses can arise anywhere. Covid19 in Wuhan, Ebola in W. Africa, perhaps a new super-virulent mutant influenza virus arising from a poodle living on Fifth Avenue in New York. We should be learning right here in America how to control and defeat new viruses instead of blaming others like Trump has done. "Exotic animal markets" and not-so-exotic animal meat markets selling pork, beef and other "domesticated" animals for human consumption should also be closed. But that will not stop Mother Nature from introducing exotic pathogens to human populations. We have human ingenuity and scientific intelligence today. But we also have human stupidity to counteract intelligence and progress. Look around at your fellow citizens to understand what we are dealing with.
Ken (CA)
@Margery weinstein NYT has a timeline of virus spread and you can read it here: https://www.nytimes.com/article/coronavirus-timeline.html. Bob Woodward's book has a timeline about the US response told by Trump! We had the first diagnosed patient in Jan. We should have a congressional investigation into all the screwups/dereliction of duties of the Trump regime instead, just like we had a 9/11 investigation!
Andrew B (Santa Rosa, CA)
Most Americans would not like to live the Chinese way. Following strict rules and social norms. The communist party has built its power base on a society that long has been used to severe restrictions on personal freedoms. Those are sacrifices made both out of necessity and out of deference to a greater cause, of family and society. That may be changing in the new China, but most people still must adhere to customs and norms that would make many Americans feel not only uncomfortable, but downright hostile.
Wang An Shih (Savannah)
@Andrew B China has a long historical tradition of promoting good moral behavior and that Chinese citizens have a completely different perspective on privacy and freedom.
A man (On Earth)
The native Americans also resented the way the whites were changing America back then. Land was divided up for sale when it should be left intact for the buffalos to roam free. A government was implemented when men were supposed to be born free to choose their own governance. Instead of a complex and diverse set of languages English was hailed to be the only tone their children could speak in. How beautiful America once was before the first white man set foot on it! We have lived our entire lives in the aftermath of an oppression that happened once upon a time... And now maybe we face now what the natives faced then. The world is not going our way any longer.
Mike (Wyoming)
This is devastating for the United States place in the future world leadership arena. Not only had we, over the past four years, mostly withdrawn from world politics, but our abject mismanagement of this pandemic is going to leave us as an afterthought over the next decade. And yes, we live in a global society/economy, what affects one country affects us all to some extent. This has significant ramifications on our position to influence and affect global economic policy. Our position as the world's largest economy of consumption may save us somewhat, but our external image as, basically, a laughing stock at best and a cautionary tale of how not to govern at worst, will diminish our perceived capacity to lead. China is and will continue to eclipse us. While I understand we cannot have the same draconian controls imposed on our lives as we see in some other countries, I believe we can do better, not only with the pandemic, but with how we participate in global affairs. We're one world connected in myriad ways through communication, climate change, energy needs, economy, commerce, investments, and strife. We can do better, but I fear the outcomes of how this pandemic were and are being handled will leave our already slipping global image of leadership irretrievably shattered - with confidence in our country something we'll have to earn rather than just bought. Moreso because we may soon not have the populace left with the spending power to consume as we have.
Srini V (New York)
China clearly has the environment to make and spread viruses and the autocratic regime to respond to them effectively.
P Locke (Albany NY)
It just shows what can be accomplished with a disciplined response to the coronavirus although China relies on authoritarian rule to achieve it. I would not be willing to give up personal freedoms and a democracy for it. The American people have still not realized the need to have a united front and care for your fellow man to fight the virus as was found during WWII. Yes, we are in a war where the enemy has invaded our home front but because Americans can't see it many can't appreciate the danger and we have a national leader who just doesn't care except for himself.
Usok (Houston)
The 4.9% GDP in the 3rd quarter is nothing to brag about. But the momentum will carry China into next year and beyond while we are still struggling with infectious disease. The lesson should be obvious. The hardship of Wuhan lockdowns to stop virus apparently worked in China. Zero tolerance in Melbourne lockdowns, adopted tactics similar to Wuhan, also showed very promising result in Australia. Why can't we learn and use similar approach to stop virus? If we prefer slow and tedious struggle fighting with the virus that results in painful and tumbling economy recovery, we will suffer a long time. Or we can use harsh lockdowns to endure short term pain and then enjoy fast recovery. The choice is ours to make.
Qcell (Hawaii)
According to Johns Hopkins, to date China had 90,972 cases and 4739 deaths. Does anyone really believe those numbers with a government that has total control on all information. No one will ever know what happened in China in regards to COVID. Give the news of massive deaths and cases from indirect information such as shortage of caskets, overwhelmed hospitals and finding dead people on the streets. It could very well be that China has already reached herd immunity with vast majority of their populations already infected and immune.
Steve (Columbus, IN)
@Qcell Chinal's stats are more believable than whatever comes from Trump.
michjas (Phoenix)
For those inclined to compare China and the US there are several considerations not mentioned here: 1. China’s growth rate has long been around 6%. The US growth rate has long been around 2%. The US economy is much larger and more mature than China’s, which explains the different rates. 2. The US economy experienced a huge surge in the 3rd quarter. I’ve seen estimates between 20% and 35% growth. 3. US GDP is presently lower than pre-GDP totals, but we may be close. 4. It is possible that we could get back to pre-COVID GDP levels in Q4. But projections for Q4 are presently low growth. 5. If you want to make a meaningful comparison, compare China after Q3 to the US after Q4. After all, China went through its worst crisis a few months earlier than the US. 6. Bottom line, it is too early to make a definitive comparison. Wait until January.
JD (NYC)
Regardless of the government type -- authoritarian vs. democracy, one lesson can be learned -- only an organized and coordinated response can beat the pandemic. Yes, China lacks freedom and many other problems, no doubt about that. But somehow a central-controlled governance plays well in massive and coordinated responses. If we cannot see this here in the West, then we'd be no different than burying our heads in the sand believing nothing good can come out of China's system. Maybe we should treat this as an awakening call and a lesson to learn -- there are times that democracy has its shortcomings, and how we address these problems is the key. Be humble, guys. Because here's the reality -- Us: 8 million + infections; people are still fighting over wearing masks. China: Almost Zero local transmission; people's lives are going back to normal.
Pigsy (The Eatery)
Finally, though perhaps a bit late for us. I have, for months, feared that the refusal or inability of the US media to give a frank accounting of China's successful COVID response has played a role in our failure against this pandemic. The press perseverated on "mishandling of the initial outbreak" or "silencing doctors" and went no further. Articles about countries employing more effective strategies often did not even mention China at all. I understand that anti-China sentiment is high. I understand that everyone has their biases. But there really was an astonishing chasm between what was accomplished in China and what has been reported here in the US. On top of this we have a president, personally informed by China's in early February, who decides to withhold this information from the American public and to use the pandemic to fuel anti-China propaganda. A perfect storm of obfuscation, misinformation, disinformation and ignorance. How could Americans do the right thing if they are largely blind to the most effective response of scale to date? How can we try to do better if we don't even believe that anyone has done it? Please, fellow Americans, this is not about supporting China or us versus them. It is about taking science based steps to subdue COVID. And we see that it can be done. Perhaps we can do even better. Please, I want my life back.
topotriv (Los Angeles)
@Pigsy Thank you. Someone has to say this.
Emil (Pittsburgh, PA)
There can be no greater cultural differences on the world spectrum between China and America, German being somewhere in the middle. Ours is indeed anarchical, a system created through happenstance and by a myriad collective of people who disdain the personal habits, religion, education or wealth of their fellow citizens. That is why we haven't come together to build a workable public healthcare system, without which there is no hope in breaking the merciless bounds of the pandemic. I don't think the election will change things one iota. A vaccine, widely, equally and quickly distributed is our only hope. As to the Chinese economy, you have to look minutely at the numbers, what they translate into; do they accurately reflect the real output? What is the cost to personal freedom and the natural environment and the future stability and peace in the world? If the answer is a greater net loss to Mother Earth than the counterbalancing benefit to the world or country's people, it is time to cancel all trade with China. America hasn't the will or the incentive to act in its own collective good. Perhaps anarchy is better; nature always balances itself out, but isn't that what natural selection is all about, and if we are indeed God's creatures, shouldn't we embark on a proactive course to determine our own destiny?
david (Florida)
I am not willing to sacrifice personal freedoms to the extent required to match China’s absolute control of lives and the total invasion of any privacy. Also very hard to trust any economic data coming from China.
Konstantin Kollatz (Krakau)
I partly agree but isn’t that a example how to boost the economy and don’t risk the wealth of the US or other countries
DickeyFuller (DC)
@david We could go back to normal -- normal economy, normal activities if everyone would just pitch in. I don't see why this is so hard. New Zealand, Vietman, all these little countries are back to normal while the US goes down the drain.
Brooklyneer (BK)
Well, would you be willing to think about your neighbors and friends and be a little less selfish about your public interactions and movements to enjoy the collective freedoms that democratic Taiwan—covid death rate less than 10—enjoys? The successes in Asia and Australia/New Zealand are due more to the populations’ earnest concern for the group, which the US and it’s administration lack
Pete in Downtown (back in town)
I wonder how much of that economic surge is due to demand by consumers in the US, that is once again helping to fuel economic growth in China. One of the many great fails of this administration continues to be to revive manufacturing stateside. One example are protective masks, which still come mostly from China. I wonder if at least MAGA hats and other merch are now "Made in USA"? Last time around, they were all "Made in China".
Uzi (SC)
In the last three decades, the global elites are observing closely the decision-making process of the Chinese leadership, particularly the economy. A backward rural country in the 60s became an industrial/technological powerhouse. The Covit-19 epidemic illustrates the gap between China and the western economies. This NYT piece sheds some light on the subject. The crucial question is: how to explain China's eminence while Western economies, particularly the US, are struggling to find a way out of decline?
RRI (Ocean Beach, CA)
No doubt, all part of Trump's plan to Make China Great Again.
Joe B. (Center City)
This is just Trump’s ninja-like negotiating stratergy with The Covid. He had been hanging at the back of the pack, waiting out The Covid for a late run, but now sees The Covid “rounding the bend” picking up speed barreling down the homestretch for a big “win” by several lengths. He has lost to The Covid. And he now knows that he is about to lose the election “bigly” and become the “greatest” one term prez. in history. He will say and do many much more threatening and dangerous things in the future. He needs to be prosecuted for his many crimes.
M (CA)
@Joe B. Trump must be responsible for the huge resurgence in EU too, right?
JAMalone (Canada)
And what of the human-caused climate, environmental, biodiversity threats we are facing now? Not a thought spared here, it’s all about putting pandemic behind us and getting back to growth as usual. China is doing it and we can too! is the theme, heedless of the consequences.
History Guy (Connecticut)
I am glad China is doing well but the country owes the world an enormous apology. This was an avoidable disaster, unlike hurricanes and earthquakes and the like. Simple hygiene at China's wet markets and a ban on the consumption of known virus-carrying animals such as bats and pangolins would have likely allowed the world to avoid this terrible plague. Look, China is an autocratic society. If you don't do as told, you're in trouble. Western society is much more open, much more complex. And, yes, I know, little New Zealand, a western democracy, has done well. But it's an island nation of 5 million people. Trump clearly messed this whole thing up. But, now, even Germany and France and Italy and other countries are struggling again. I've actually heard people say that maybe the west needs more autocratic-like governments to deal with things like Covid. That is so wrong! The point is: had China acted smartly after SARS, Covid never would have happened. China loves to act all modern and advanced. But, remember, parts of the country still have dog-eating festivals for god sakes! Dog-eating!
DickeyFuller (DC)
@History Guy The first wave can be attributed to China. Waves #2 and #3 (current) are all on us.
TMM (Upstate NY)
@ HistoryGuy Perhaps if American’s were a bit less judgmental of the cultural norms of other countries and a bit more humble and self-aware of tackling problems fully within our control, like our POOR NATIONAL RESPONSE to the virus, tens of thousands of American’s would be alive. Let’s not forget, History Guy, that the 1918 pandemic was American bred, yet we still call it “the Spanish Flu”. Shame or blame?
Dudesworth (Colorado)
@History Guy that sums it up! Great comment.
ss (Boston)
Yet another totally disgusting hurrah by NYT to China. The troubles we are experiencing come from there. That is the only thing we need to know for now. That their economy is back on track feels me with anger since we did not deserve any of our issues here and really have to consider them at least to an extent responsible. Yet, the leading 'liberal' propaganda outlet cheers successes there in the midst of the discussion of yet another stimulus which, in America, always makes rich richer and gives some crumbs to the poor. So, so, so disappointing.
Alex K (Elmont)
As usual NYT is giving glorious heading to China's growth, while trying to denigrate growth in the USA. Since many world leaders still consider NYT a reputable news organization and get their news from it, they think America is a declining force and China a rising force based on the reports in NYT. This is sad.
Steph (Athens GA)
@Alex K You can convince yourself that America is still great, or greater than China but the facts suggest otherwise. A simple visit to China, to see their airports, train stations, technology driven payment, etc is enough to compare both countries. The shift of power is happening, whether you like it or not. China will become number 1 in the coming years, if it's not already the case. I am not happy about it, but it's happening.
TMM (Upstate NY)
@ Alex K Let’s not forget who played an out-sized role in lifting the Chinese economy over the last several decades - American businesses looking for cheap labor and short-term profits to boost corporate leader salaries / bonuses and shareholder earnings for the wealthy. No one to blame here but our own greed.
Alex K (Elmont)
@Steph: China grew at the expense of our generosity. Joe Biden helped that decline and Trump did something against it. But you still support Biden and blame Trump who has the will to stand up against China.
Vincenzo (Albuquerque, NM, USA)
"fast economic rebound is possible when the virus is brought firmly under control." AND when a country has a strong internal economic base of manufacturing. That's not US. Blame Trump for the COVID fiasco if you like. But it wasn't Trump that gave us NAFTA and PNTR/China.
Carl Lee (Minnetonka, MN)
Thoughtful, honest leadership is why China is seeing growth, and other developed countries, too, are beginning to see a return to pre-Covid conditions, if not grow. The governments of those countries did not take the "herd immunity" route as President Trump deceitfully did, which has needlessly killing hundreds of thousands of Americans. He took no proactive or effective measures to control the virus. (Trump proclaimed a ban of travel from China, hours after learning American, Delta and United Airlines had announced they were suspending flights from mainland China.) Trump doesn't ask what Jesus would do, he asks, or simply watches what Putin does. South Korea, which had its first case the same day we did, has had its economy on track and its death toll (adjusted to approximate our population) is under 4,000. The devastation to Americans hasn't even fully revealed itself has many are started to get forced out of their homes, and the drive up food bank lines are getting miles longer. We can expect another 100,000 deaths by January 21. Will anything be done by this administration for the people? In 2007, when asked about the probability of a recession, Trump said loved it. He saw all the foreclosures as a buying opportunity. I'm sure the rest of his donors feel the same way.
Michael (Ottawa)
Will China put a stop to their wet markets?
Fritz Lauenstein (Dennis Port, Mass.)
@Michael really? Will America stop ours? Isn’t this kind of missing the point? China has largely eradicated Covid-19 from their midst. And you want to talk about their farmer’s markets? Fairly soon, they will have a higher standard of living than we do, and more freedom. (Granted, they won’t all have the right to own handguns.) You can raise the issue of the Uighur, but not without looking frankly at who is locked up in our prisons. Their economy is poised to take off again, as ours is ready to tank. Please stop talking about eating bats. We eat plenty of unusual things too in America.
Marvin (NY)
@Michael Wet markets are often the only places where people can shop for groceries in China. They are also many farmers' livelihood.
Michael (Ottawa)
@Fritz Lauenstein OK I'll put you down as "no" they won't shut them down.
Christy (WA)
China, it seems, has done everything right with Covid-19 while we have done everything wrong, thanks largely to Trump. And while he keeps bragging about the mythical success of his America First trade policy, the only metric by which it can be measured tells a different story. The U.S. trade deficit, which he promised to lower, has soared on his watch to its highest level in 14 years.
Thaddeus McGruber (colorado)
Remember when Chinese authorities were welding citizens' doors shut to forcibly quarantine them? Remember when they were forcibly dragging people from their homes to take them to government-run hospitals where they were effectively prisoners? Oh yeah, and somehow China isn't xenophobic in virtually eliminating all foreigners from entering their country. Yeah, good times. Had Trump "shown leadership" and done that, there would have been a bloody, violent revolution on our hands and the Dems would have got their wish of a unanimous Trump impeachment in the Senate. Instead he showed real leadership and banned travel very early in the pandemic, to the calls of "racism" and "xenophobia" from his critics. Regardless of what you hear or want to believe, the US has balanced quite well inherent freedoms the Government is constitutionally prohibited from restricting with economic considerations that it does have the power to regulate during this pandemic. Time to focus our efforts on protecting the most vulnerable individuals in our society while allowing everyone else to keep working, and spend their own money as they please. Seems the only people who don't want that are people who are too lazy to work anyway, and wish they could crawl into the false warmth of the Government Bosom to suckle on some sour milk...and the politicians who want a politburo to dictate to Americans how to live their lives.
DF (Brooklyn)
I choose to see this as good news. Biden will win in November and once we have real leadership, we will start to get this virus under control. We can do this. We will bounce back.
Ed (NY)
@DF I suggest you look at the scientific research being done on this virus and what it is capable of doing. Biden is not going to do anything until we can see vaccine effectiveness. The development of those vaccines is in direct response to Trump pushing companies to get it done. Biden will try to take credit for that, if elected, just like any other politician does when they replace an incumbent.
DickeyFuller (DC)
@Ed Trump didn't have to push them to do anything. He threw tons of cash at them. They have a massive economic windfall coming if they succeed. He gets credit for nothing but lying.
Jon S (Houston, Texas)
Sorry. I don’t trust any statistics that came out of the Communist Party. Is the pandemic over in China? I doubt it. Just look at the photos that accompany the article. Everyone is still wearing masks.
UNO (Philadelphia)
That is what “abundance of caution” looks like. If whether the pandemic is over is judged by how many people still wear a mask in public, we’d find American #1 in virus control.
Marvin (NY)
@Jon S People taking precautions and being responsible is the reason how they got the virus under control in the first place...
GFE (New York)
So many commenters here are positing a false choice between totalitarianism and an efficient response to the pandemic. South Korea isn't a totalitarian state. In 2019, it ranked 23rd on the Democracy Index compiled by the UK's Economist Group, while the US ranked 25th. South Korea announced their first confirmed case of the virus the day before the CDC announced ours. Since then, South Korea has lost a total of 444 people to the virus, while we've lost 224,732. And South Korea is far from the only country that's done a better job of protecting its citizens. To the contrary, no country has suffered close to as many total deaths as the US, and only nine countries have suffered a higher rate of deaths per capita, and that includes a tiny microstate like San Marino, which lost 42 people. The difference between an effective response and a disastrous one has nothing to do with totalitarianism vs. freedom. It has everything to do with a respect for science and responsible leadership, neither of which could be found in the Trump Administration.
GFE (New York)
@GFE What I meant to say is that the false choice being proposed is between freedom and an efficient response to the pandemic. It doesn't require a loss of freedom to effectively combat the virus. What's more, what passed for freedom among millions of Trump supporters is rank selfishness and irresponsibility.
Ed (NY)
@GFE South Korea has a different culture than the US. It worked their because the people work together and understand that the government is their to help and protect them. In the US, we have had leaders all the way back to before Nixon, regardless of party, that looked out for the big money. As such, we the people have learned that the government can not be trusted. We have seen it in the lack of effectiveness in out representatives as well as leaders. This includes governors and mayors. People are not interested in cooperating with so called leaders who deceive them left and right. I am not talking just of Trump. Read your history to see the facts. Who was in charge when the CIA overthrew a Democratically elected government in Iran because that leader would not cow down the oil industry? Who was in power when the CIA ran drugs in the US to support a war? When do we stop letting the corporations run our country? Maybe then we will be able to come together to defeat a virus like South Korea did. Keeping us divided allows big money to control us. We need a real democracy. Maybe the Times needs to run a few history articles and tell the truth on how the Times influenced it with their own slant of the truth.
GFE (New York)
@Ed Had the Trump Administration told the truth, respected science, and mandated and modeled responsible behavior, we'd have suffered a fraction of the deaths and economic damage that we have, regardless of any and all red herrings you might bring up in an effort to diminish this administration's culpability.
Loomy (Australia)
Unfortunately, like so many things that rule over, negatively affect and cause so many other problems for too many Americans and America itself...is the the effects of to largea desire and love for money , profits and selfish wealth creation. So much so, we observed a country determined to get its people back to work and keep the economy making money ...regardless of the consequences in terms of the current Pandemic, which for America in terms of human lives lost , has been exceptionally high. Nobody has taken the path and done things the way America has regarding this virus for love or money...whilst America went down the path of early open ups, denial of science and much greater negative consequences FOR the Love of Money over and above the safety of its people.
Ed (NY)
@Loomy It was not just the love of money, though presently it has become that. It was also the lack of concern for the elderly. I would still like to see a breakdown on a weekly basis the age distribution of the deaths. It would not hurt to see it on a state by state basis. As research gets more answers, include secondary information such as toxic shock syndrome. check out the most recent papers in JAMA.
Thucydides (Columbia, SC)
Republicans try to push the narrative that our economy is doing better than the countries in the world that went in deep lockdown. In her analysis on the "Ingraham Angle", Laura Ingraham did a country by country comparison showing just that. But, conspicuous by it's absence, was China. People who whine about their "freedom"* being taken away should look at the pictures of ordinary scenes in China - they look like a typical Trump rally, but without the virus. *I put the word freedom in quotes because the freedom to do what you choose in a pandemic means most of us don't have the freedom to do what we want to do. We want to live. So let's give up our freedom temporarily, clamp down on the virus, and then everyone will be free.
W. Lynch (michigan)
If you believe that the virus was a Chinese plot to gain economic dominance over the U.S., just remember why it works. It only works because the U.S. government, namely President Trump, encourages his supporters to expose themselves to the disease. In contrast, the Chinese government has strict disease control measures. If you go to China, you must wear masks . You must quarantine for three weeks and that quarantine is enforced. That is why the disease is controlled in the China and not in the U.S. Meanwhile, President Trump and his latest Covid advisor Scott Atlas promote the idea of herd immunity through letting people get sick and then recover. At current in death rates, getting 70% of Americans sick to achieve herd immunity will lead to between 1 and 5 million American deaths. What is worse is that current medical evidence warns us that this immunity will only last about a year. To retain immunity people will have to get sick again and again on a yearly basis, meaning that the U.S. yearly death toll will have be in the millions for the foreseeable future. So one must wonder, "Is President Trump actually an unwitting agent promoting a Chinese plan for world domination." I don't think the Chinese have created Covid-19 deliberately, but Trump has promoted that idea. Then why does Trump encourage Americans to get sick? It is because this helps Trump politically with his base.
Ed (NY)
@W. Lynch You need to read some of the more recent research in JAMA on the virus and its relationship to Toxic shock syndrome. As for the immunity lasting only a year, that is a strong possibility but that also applies to any vaccines which are created. Whether we get herd immunity from exposure or the vaccines, we will most likely be doing this for years. There will be more deaths no matter what we do. It will just add to the numbers we see with the flu and other infections for which vaccines only have temporary effects.
Glenn (New Jersey)
@W. Lynch Playing the U.S. has been as easy as it used to be for the U.S. to play the world in basketball during the Olympics. The problem is we're not learning anything and getting worse.
Ivan (Memphis, TN)
So in some countries the population are a bunch of un-disciplined spoiled brads who refuse to make the sacrifices to win the war against Covid-19 - so they will suffer and suffer and suffer. In other countries the population does what need to be done and now can live an almost normal life. They used to say that China would pass the US by 2040 - I think it will be much earlier than that. And no it has nothing to do with lack of democracy - South Korea is almost as good at it and they are at least as democratic as we are.
Practical Thoughts (East Coast)
Of course China did well. So did Japan and New Zealand. They have governments that are informed and competent. Not the show we have. Thank the 60 million Americans that vote GOP. In China, many of the best and brightest go into government. Despite its authoritarianism, the Chinese tend to put accomplished and reasonably thoughtful people in their leadership. In the US, the people hate its government. Outside of the military, FBI, CIA and Justice, most of the brightest minds do not participate in government whether its career or elective positions. A country cannot be successful over the long term if it puts in office people like Trump. You need to be serious. Americans love to be entertained like Romans did in the Coliseum. Americans are also on the whole uninformed. A country where a conspiracy theory like “Q” takes hold isn’t going to be capable of sustaining a democracy which requires informed citizenry to be successful. No one should be surprised the virus is burning up the US. Half of the country still think it’s a harmless cold.
Brooklyneer (BK)
Don’t forget about democratic, female-led Taiwan, where they never even had a shutdown, where the population was informed early, and where everyone masked up and self-monitored and followed social distancing rules from the get-go. Last count was less than 10 COVID-related deaths. I have friends posting photos of themselves at music festivals, hiking with friends in the mountains, kids going on camping trips with school... The US has its strengths, but group think is not one of them.
Glenn (New Jersey)
@Practical Thoughts "most of the brightest minds do not participate in government whether its career or elective positions. " No money in it (other than if you want tot risk corrupt gains) and in the last 50 years, except for the departments you mentioned, political and judicial interference by both parties negates most of any positive contribution one could possibly make to the country.
Indian Prof. (Midwest)
@Practical Thoughts Well said! If you have an enlightened/educated population (Japan, S. Korea, New Zealand, etc.), then the government can be effective. If you do not, then authoritarianism may be needed. In the US, we neither have an enlightened populous nor a powerful government. Therefore the mess!!
Mattbk (NYC)
A compliant, disciplined, fearful society under Communist rule is so very different from the one we live in. Celebrating, which this piece does, is so outrageous.
McGloin (Brooklyn)
@Mattbk It didn't feel like celebration when I read it. It felt like a warning. Democracy should not preclude Citizens doing the smart thing and protecting each other from a deadly virus.
Joe B. (Center City)
Two out of three ain’t bad. We so lack discipline.
John (Lubbock)
@Mattbk New Zealand, South Korea, Japan: all democratic states, all far more advanced in their response than the United States. It isn’t the type of government. It’s a society that understands self sacrifice is a given within a social compact. Americans are too selfish and too ignorant to take the necessary measures; this starts with leadership that believes in science, models appropriate behavior, and makes hard, even unpopular choices. Our nation is rotted from its own delusion, denial, and stupidity.
CATango (Ventura)
It is interesting to note that China apparently has a successful vaccine as discussed in the Lancet article below. It is a rather classic old-school inactivated whole virus vaccine much like those used in the past quite successfully to develop our population (herd) immunity for most of the major diseases. We on the other hand are focused on higher techy approaches to new covid vaccines many of which techniques are unproven. Such "engineered" vaccines may well turn out to be successful. But as of now we have no material track record making new vaccines using these new, high tech, engineered gee-whizzy tools. But we're betting the farm on these newbies. We in the west love our shiny new objects having evolved over the last 75 years to expect "new and improved" stuff. I would have first cranked out a vaccine using the tried and true approach, build societal immunity and then in parallel experimented using the new tools. When buying a parachute, do you want the old proven one by Switlik or be the first to get a new, colorful one built by some venture capital guy down the street that isn't tested yet. https://www.thelancet.com/journals/laninf/article/PIIS1473-3099(20)30832-X/fulltext
Ed (NY)
@CATango Corona viruses have a history of mutating and returning every year in a new form for re infection. If, what the Chinese have done, may be a useful stop gap for now and we probably should be doing this now to give us time to test and use the new material. But we can not trust the CCP to be truthful so they may be reporting that it is working but I would like to see independent verification of that.
QQ (USA)
How can China thrive when the rest of the world, to which they sell the vast majority of their junk, is moving fast towards destroying their economies?
John (Lubbock)
@QQ You mean the US?
Phat Skier (Alaska)
And just like that , like magic (?) it’s gone,
Harry B (Michigan)
Most rational people will trust Xi and Putin more than any American president for a long long time. Gee, I wonder who desired that outcome? Treason should come with a price, even for a reality TV bankruptcy expert.
GFE (New York)
People can reasonably harbor doubts about the economic numbers issued by the Chinese government. What can't be doubted, however -- unless one doubts the official data released by the US Census Bureau -- is that the cumulative US trade deficit with China has been greater under Trump's mismanagement than during the last four years of the Obama Administration. And for that undesirable result, American farmers have had to be bailed out at taxpayer expense, and many have gone bankrupt; manufacturers in the US have had to pay more for raw materials and components, passing on the added cost to US consumers; and some of our staunchest allies and most important trade partners like Canada have been insulted and alienated by being likewise targeted with wrongheaded tariffs by a fool who still apparently believes that a tariff is a payment of cash by the exporting country to the importing country imposing the tariff. So much winning by the Amateur Hour known as the Trump Administration.
Karen Lee (Washington, DC area)
@GFE, while I've often wondered why the US Census Bureau is responsible for reporting the trade deficit, I think it should be more widely viewed by those who believe Republicans are "good for business". That said, the greater spending of a typical US consumer is also a factor, of course.
Frumious Bandersnatch (New York)
Because I’m sure China is telling us the unvarnished truth about the state of the virus within its own borders.
Ann (Billings MT)
@Frumious Bandersnatch Right, they must have bribed the virus to stay put so that they could let a billion people out shopping and traveling with no outbreaks. Sounds like Trump must be your man.
Practical Thoughts (East Coast)
The Chinese aren’t suicidal and they prize stability....to the expense of personal freedom. In addition, there are lots of foreigners in their larger cities that are confirming the situation on the ground. If their cities, which are many times larger and more dense than American cities, are opened up you be assured they’ve got the virus under control.
John (NYS)
@Frumious Bandersnatch To get news about China that China blocks subscribe to the You Tube program "China in Focus". It has much news based on leaked documents, and information from citizens including camera video. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCBOqkAGTtzZVmKvY4SwdZ2g
Wiltontraveler (Florida)
Trump, through his incompetent blundering and denial of science, has given China the exact victory of economic expansion that he sought to deny them.
KJ (Tennessee)
I've wondered if China's virus 'testing' involves administering vaccines. Seems word would get out were that the case, but considering it's China, who knows?
Abraham (DC)
"Saving lives vs saving the economy" turns out to be just another false dichotomy peddled by conservatives. The only way to save the economy is to have functional elimination of the virus. Save lives _and_ save the economy.
barbara8101 (Philadelphia PA)
Is there any reason to believe in the accuracy of Xi’s reporting either about China’s transmission rate or economy?
Brooklyneer (BK)
I have expat friends currently living in China. The quarantine steps are no joke. Everyone entering from abroad is assigned a QR code upon landing in the airports. Each person is tested and then continuously monitored, in part through this QR code and (at least earlier on) via an alarm installed on your dwelling’s front door. Everything is delivered to you and you cannot leave until your quarantine period is up and your QR code turns green. An Australian woman was infamously fired from her job and then promptly deported because she decided to break quarantine and go for a run. Everyone knows the alarms on doors are primarily for undisciplined foreigners who are more likely to step out of line. Most citizens follow every rule laid out. This is how a massive population is now able to do things like have music festivals and national public holidays. All across the AsiaPacific region, other countries and their citizens have similarly followed social distancing and quarantine rules, and many of them are democracies, like Taiwan and South Korea.
Brian (Brooklyn)
"China’s economic recovery has also been dependent for months on huge investments in highways, high-speed train lines and other infrastructure." Meanwhile, NYC's subway system is teetering on the brink of semi-collapse, the Hudson River tunnel project has been stalled, our roads are dilapidated, and trash collection has been reduced. And that's just in New York, a city with great concentrations of wealth. Now which is the "developing world" economy again?
C (R)
@Brian Don’t forget LA with their 60,000 homeless population due to the demolition of rent controlled housing, courtesy of Eric Garcetti. Did you hear Biden is floating him for the transportation secretary?
DickeyFuller (DC)
@C Homelessness comes from income inequality. LA and NYC's homeless population have been in the making for 25-30 years. You can't hang that on anyone currently in power -- all they're trying to do is fix it.
caljn (los angeles)
@C Anyone or anything is orders of magnitude better than the current admin.
Richard (NYC)
Communication is still terrible in the US. I know exactly how many people tested positive in my city but I have no idea if that is prisoners in jail or people that went to my next-door restaurant. My neighbour had covid and the contact tracer didn't even ask her where she went. The idea that our health services could test everyone in town in a week is beyond comprehension.
Michael Green (Brooklyn)
Yes, we should install a totalitarian oligarchy in the USA. I'm sure it would be more efficient. No need for those pesky individual freedoms.
John (NYS)
@Michael Green Benjamin Franklin made a similar point differently: "Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety." I was on a team that had members in Indian. As I recall India allowed one person to leave a residence periodically to shop. Let me know what the danger is, have public safety policy for the worst behviors, and I will take care of myself. Part of a free society is the individual decisions remaining with the people, and not being centralized in the government.
Han (NYC)
@John Not denying that each person should have the freedom to decide for itself. But if the actions one takes have a significant impact on others' well-being, then the action itself is infringing others' freedom. "Your freedom to act ends where my nose begins"
EllyK (MN)
As a Midwesterner who lives in Shanghai, I am so grateful that I am here in China vs the US. My children get to go to school without masks, go to the movies, play with friends, go to restaurants, laugh loudly without social distancing, and generally live a completely normal life. The reality is: China and its people were committed to fighting the virus. They wore masks. They did contact tracing. We did real lockdowns here-there wasn’t Friday night takeout or exercising outside. We didn’t “social distance,” we just stayed inside and avoid other people at all costs. The commitment to keeping the country and the communities safe was evident in everyone’s actions. I’m embarrassed that Americans care more about their perceived personal liberties than they do about their neighbor or national economy. China’s economy will rebound because they act collectively. Everyone here seems to understand that individual actions add up to big results that benefit everyone.
Emmanuel L (Shanghai)
The government played a big role in enforcing lockdown. If people were left to their reserves, I doubt it would have turned out the same. That being said, seems like government enforced lockdown worked out for the best.
C (R)
@EllyK What’s worse is that the Chinese people don’t see them as a unified people seeking to push their country to greatness. Meanwhile in the Divided States of America, we got politicians who lean into partisan pettiness for political gain and would rather play politics than solve problems in this country. I know where I want to live.
EllyK (MN)
Maybe? Culturally, it is different. Chinese people really do understand that their actions affect others. They wear a mask to protect me. To protect their family. To protect their neighbor. They seem to understand that it is all connected to a more stable society and country. And yes, there is also a centralized government, which certainly seems to be functioning more effectively than the US.
BorisRoberts (Santa Maria, CA)
Because they "say" its under control, it doesn't necessarily mean that it's under control. I have some serious doubts about what China tells us, since they have never seemed to have any qualms about telling us anything they want without repercussions. This virus is one of the big lies they have told recently, hiding it until it took over their country, they still haven't told us the whole truth about the original source of it.
Lian (China)
@BorisRoberts China still had no idea where it came from, either. But that must be real there is NO virus in the country. A saying in China "Paper can't cover burning fire", if government lied, people will always tell the truth to the world, in all various of social media. However, the truth is that government almost completely control the virus, and I am sitting here, healthy, telling you that you need to change your mind. I recommend you read Coronavirus-related topics in Weibo, Chinese Twitter. In February, there are several people seeking help online because too many cases for them to find position in hospitals. But days later they were all hospitalized in newly-built hospitals,free of charge, and recovered soon. It was dreadful during that time in Wuhan, however, the virus is controlled, and no people seeking help because of coronavirus now.
DW (Atlanta)
Are you honestly suggesting that Weibo is an uncensored source of accurate information? The government controls social media very tightly. They brutally cracked down on the first doctors who tried to tell the truth about the coronavirus. I don't doubt that China has done a far better job getting the virus under control than the U.S. has, but don't pretend that we can verify that through the free flow of information.
Alan Jones (Chicago, Illinois)
When Trump hears about this get ready for another round of tariffs---you know big, terrible tariffs--that will bring China to its knees--Of course, this strategy would backfire terribly, but, hopefully, Trump goes on the warpath a week before the election, must in time to further backrupt those farmers in Iowa.
TLMischler (Muskegon, MI)
By prioritizing the economy over the health of the citizenry, Trump has sacrificed both. Those people shouting for us to "open the economy" don't seem to get this one simple fact: until and unless we get control over this virus, our economy will continue to suffer. Prematurely lifting requirements like masks & social distancing will increase infections and deaths, causing people to withdraw into their homes once again. There is no way around it: we must get this virus under control first. Failing to do so is not only cruel, it is moronic.
Robert Henry Eller (Portland, Oregon)
@TLMischler Trump sacrificed both the real economy and public health to what he believed would strengthen his re-election prospects. But he doesn't even know how to do that. Had Trump listened to the scientists and his national security briefers and locked down as soon as he was told what would happen, the U.S. could look like China does today, and Trump would be on his way to barely contested re-election. Of course this hypothetical is shear fantasy. Trump has never done any real work. And he was scared to even try, as that risked failure. The Trump answer was to deny everything, do nothing, point fingers. If Trump gets re-elected, the best thing he could do for his second term is watch tv, eat fast food, golf, tweet, and nothing else. It would produce superior results to his trying to do anything.
motah (mauritius)
China is china.The rest of the world should follow its steps.democracy or no democracy the results are clear. china is free from corruption and serious crimes are dealt with in the gallows .good work done by Zi sing pin.
Ellwood Nonnemacher (Pennsylvania)
Herr Trump could have acted like a leader and limited the impact of COVID-19 on Americans and the economy and in the process could have cemented his re-election. Instead, he chose to ignore the facts and medical experts and kept up his childish Twittering away his days blaming China and the rest of the world for the pandemic and all the other problems in the U.S. and continuing to further inflame the divisions in this country.
Davey Boy (NYC)
Lots if people skeptical about the Chinese numbers, but if you want to see the absolute king of lies and misinformation, look no further than than the U. S. President, and by implication, those who support him. If the Chinese numbers are cooked, eventually the truth will prevail, just as it will here on Nov. 3rd . . .
MAG
Clearly supports Trumps claims that the is the CHINA virus. Covid -19 has effectively destroyed Western economies. During this time of preoccupation with Covid, China silently continued to commit atrocities violating basic human rights. The world sat quietly and helplessly as citizens of Hong Kong had their freedoms (guaranteed by law)curtailed.
SMS (Wareham)
To SystemisBroken: If by the use of the term “adult” you mean Biden or any other American leader of ANY party, I’d have to disagree emphatically. To achieve the results that China has achieved you need a efficient autocratic government that is responsive to the needs of the people. There’s too much backlash in “free” countries, much less those ruled by a minority governments and threats of violence for even limited public health measures.
Loomy (Australia)
@SMS , I thought New Zealand was free and not autocratic as is mostly Australia (in terms of a successful response against Covid)...I would agree with you however that to achieve the best results ...you need a efficient government that is responsive to the needs of the people, autocratic or not.
SU (NY)
Costly testing? What is the principle is here, driving your car without any servicing until one day break down on the highway. Yes you have to spend money, test to diagnose looming problems. Why in American mind , testing is costly, human's doesn't deserve any protection? Why ? seriously!
Brian Barrett (New jersey)
American exceptionalism has changed from meaning confident leadership to denoting timid isolation. The Chinese have led the way in pandemic response. They grasped the requirement to control the virus first allowing them to then open their economy. They continue to make investments in that strategy, witness the entire city they tested so that they could trace and quell and spike in cases. Sure its easier for an autocratic nation to quarantine and control, but I can't help but feel that with a little presidential leadership, Americans would have done acceptably well and perhaps even come together as a nation a little. We may never know but it is certain that we are headed for second place right now. This virus is gutting our economy and hurting our most precious assets especially education. Whether this heralds a continuing further decline is up to us.
MC (New York)
The fast rebound of a debt-fueled bubble.
Ima Palled (Great North Woods)
"China has resorted to... costly mass testing in response to even the smallest outbreaks." Dead wrong. Testing is not "costly," but the only way--and thus the low-cost way--to stem the pandemic.
JW (VA)
@Ima Palled We, on the other hand, have an administration that relies on information from a charlatan to make pandemic policy. China did the right thing, and we now pay for the price of leadership which is inept to say the least.
tyjcar (wi)
On a qualitative note, I just returned to China where I live and work after 8 months back in the states. Minus a sometimes challenging two-week quarantine period, it feels incredibly liberating to be back.
Dudesworth (Colorado)
Meh. It’s a bit like finding out that the guy that ran over your dog just won the lottery. I look forward to Biden figuring out at way to join T.P.P. It’s gotta be better than any hodgepodge Trump OR Sanders had in mind...
Josh Hill (New London)
We could have done what China did, without the totalitarian overreach. Mask wearing, social distancing, and widespread testing with contact tracing would bring Covid 19 under control in short order. So would mandatory vaccination. Vietnam has controlled Covid 19 without even resorting to lockdowns, and its economy is growing at 3 percent a year. I do not for a moment support totalitarian government, but on this, the autocratic countries have done far better than we have. To put it in perspective, the US has had more than 1000 times as many deaths per capita as Vietnam. That's shameful.
JW (VA)
@Josh Hill What’s shameful is we have a con-man and his charlatans running the response to the virus. Hopefully in November the con-man and his cronies will be history.
Nikola Tasev (Bulgaria)
@Josh Hill Taiwan, New Zealand, South Korea have all dealt with the virus, and none of them is autocratic. They all have competent leaders and have high trust in said leaders, in experts, in institutions. You'd be hard pressed to find anyone who dealt with the virus worse than the US. Brazil, perhaps India? This is not simply about autocratic-vs-democratic. It is about competent-vs-incompetent leadership, and disciplined-vs-undisciplined population. US has exceptionally bad leadership right now, combined with exceptionally high proportion of individualistic and unruly people. The "freedom" to infect others should not be a constitutional right.
Karen Lee (Washington, DC area)
@Nikola Tasev, great observations, imo. Unfortunately, regardless which candidate wins on November 3, a very large proportion of the American public will refuse to follow simple precautions like wearing a mask [yes, to only HELP protect others], maintain social distance, and avoid large groups [especially indoors or where social distancing isn't possible]. Presumably they do wash their hands.
Bfrank4fr (Saranac Lake NY)
The US will lag for at least another year, as Biden (hopefully) mandates masks and contact tracing. But several other important points: A. We’ve lost 12 year years of infrastructure projects (Republicans prevented every Obama program, and Trump/Republicans had no interest in them because they knew they had no money after the tax cuts). So opening up the country with failing bridges, highways and airports will result in lower numbers than China’s who was ready with a 21st Century infrastructure in place. B. Covid will be with us until a vaccine— while China mandates masks and contact tracing, the red states still laugh at it, professing freedom. Look at Gov Noem in South Dakota, site of the largest gathering of 400,000 motorcyclists from around the country, who then became super spreader vectors in SD as well as in the US, still not changing her ways, and allowing more large events-even putting them on her Twitter page. I suspect they will really ramp this up “in your face” attitude under Biden - because it has become so politicized. We will lag many countries around the world, and may never regain any credibility or world leader status ever again. And bad as this scenario is...imagine a second Trump term. Then, the only question is: Will Climate Change or Trumpism destroy this planet first?
Thucydides (Columbia, SC)
@Bfrank4fr Good point about Governor Noem. I see her ads for tourist to come to her state. Yeah. One of the states with the highest infection rates in the country. I really want to go there. And if sensing my concern, she has added, "safely visit" to the ads. I'd feel safer - and I'm serious - in New York City where the virus seems to be under control.
RFC (Mexico)
@Thucydides, I'm not traveling, but if I was it would be to China or New Zealand.
JW (VA)
@Bfrank4fr Right now the US has no credibility. Xi is probably laughing at our president for his incompetent handling of the pandemic. Guess the tariffs and the trade deal were not enough to stop the Chinese high speed train. By the way, the trade deficit is even higher.
Green Tea (Out There)
This is the first mention I've ever seen of China's poor social safety net. "Most Chinese have to save for education, health care and retirement." So the socialism so many Americans are so afraid of doesn't actually exist in real Socialist countries? It's really something that only exists in Capitalist countries?
John (Hartford)
@Green Tea Er....we have to save for education, healthcare and retirement in the US. As for China the article does not say there is a total absence of a social welfare system. I suspect like here it's a bit of a patchwork quilt.
Phil E. (Brooklyn)
@Green Tea They do have retirement but what one gets there is based on the income before one retired. A good friend of mine that had a good job for years is now retired and gets not even 5000RMB per month (approx.$700). Not enough to live but too much too die. Like she told me " We are just too many people". So everybody tries to save for retirement.
Charles Darwin (NJ)
@Green Tea Germans don't seem to need to save for education or healthcare, do they? Other European "socialist" states? Not that they're doing so great with the virus either, but maybe there's no causal link.
Taiyi (San Francisco, CA)
Let’s dispel the notion that autocracy is inherently inferior to democracy. In the realm of pandemic control, autocracy is clearly able to effectively mobilize nationwide response and quickly crush the virus. Let’s also dispel the notion that any stats out of China are immediately labeled as fake news. It’s a vestige of the American exceptionalism ideology. It’s time we retire that idea and realize there’s much to be learned from the rest of the world.
China Watcher (Shanghai)
This. I’m far from a proponent of autocracy, but to ignore lessons to be learned from unlikely sources is arrogant and unproductive.
Sid (India)
@Taiyi, democracies such as Taiwan, South Korea, and Germany (until recently) have handled the first wave of the pandemic quite well, so it may be wrong to say that authoritarianism is inherently better when handling pandemics. In the end, it is astute political leadership which is well-informed by experts that matters, something the US and my own country sorely lacks.
BorisRoberts (Santa Maria, CA)
This is true, but......going by past performances, they have never really told us the whole truth. Not ever. Virus news included. Anything they day now has an asterisk next to it (*maybe?*).
Jack (Singapore)
Can I say something: Most economies are already undergoing a V-shaped rebound. When you open an economy from a lockdown (which induced a contraction), there will inevitably be "growth" and thus a rebound. This has played out virtually everywhere as restrictions lessened following the first wave. Steep rebounds are also common after significant contractions. India which is forecast to contract 10.3% this year, will see 8.8% growth next year. China is also ahead in the virus cycle. During Jan to March, China was at the peak of its lockdown. Consequently, it registered 6.5% contraction in Q1 even as other economies were growing. China also came out of its lockdown earlier as the situation in other countries began worsening. This is why China's performance looked stellar in Q2 as other major economies contracted. It was simply ahead in the virus cycle. That's all. Already most economies are recovering. Even with a second surge in many Western countries, societies are better prepared than in March/April and may take less of a hit this time round. But remember that China is one quarter ahead of the rest of the world where data is concerned. Statisticians and economists would understand this. It is better to compare China to Japan or another country which controlled the virus well rather. It won't look as exceptional.
McGloin (Brooklyn)
@Jack Except the USA is now beginning its THIRD major rise in cases, where China only had one. This is more do the the Chinese people taking advice on disease seriously, because China has had many epidemics over the last hundred years. The U.S. is NOT where China was 1 quarter ago.
Chris Clark (Massachusetts)
Skeptics will be skeptical, anti-communists (believing China to still be a Communist country) will be howling about authoritarianism and Trump will claim credit for the greatest economic expansion in history. But the real learning point here was well recorded over 100 years ago during the 1918 flu pandemic; the cities and countries that close down hard and early are the first to recover economically. History does repeat itself!
Johnny Hund (NJ)
While it is true that China is no longer a Communist country, it is still more than fair to call it authoritarian. Otherwise I agree with your comment.
Hidin' With Biden (USA)
@Chris Clark "Skeptics will be skeptical, anti-communists (believing China to still be a Communist country) ..." If China is not a Communist country, what is it? Are there any Communist countries in the world? "... the cities and countries that close down hard and early are the first to recover economically." The cities and states in the southern part of the United States experienced about one half the economic damage from the COVID-19 pandemic as the cities and states in the northern part of the US and they have recovered faster. This was due in no small part to the difference in policy the mayors and governors employed.
McGloin (Brooklyn)
@Hidin' With Biden In the early 1980sThe United States Government sent Milton Friedman's Chicago School of Economics to China to turn it into a capitalist country. I was there on vacation in 1985 and there were private businesses opening up all over the place, even on the curb. China is now a capitalist country without democracy. In the early 1980s, the Chicago boys went to Russia and gave away the entire Soviet economy to a handful of people we know call the Russian oligarchs. Russia is also a capitalist country without democracy. The Republican plan is to turn the USA into a capitalist country without democracy (the opposite of what the Constitution says). NY and California (which have the most people traveling from Asia and Europe) were taken by surprise, because the PRESIDENT LIED TO US AND DIDN'T WARN US THAT A DEADLY VIRUS WAS COMING HERE! The South had time to prepare, and their doctors were able to learn from our doctors how to treat Covid better. Deaths are flat even as cases are growing because treatments are better, because doctors got a lot of experience treating hundreds of thousands of people who never should have gotten the virus to begin with. A national emergency requires a national response, but Trump refused to do his job as usual, making everything about him as usual, which is a series of HIGH CRIMES, because that is what the Constitution calls abuse of power for personal gain. Biden 2020
SystemIsBroken (Seattle)
We could have been here too with adult leadership and adult citizenry.
Ann (Billings MT)
@SystemIsBroken and less nationalistic hatred of China along with the maturity to listen to the lessons they had to teach us way back in January. Things not unrelated to being a responsible adult.
Qcell (Hawaii)
@SystemIsBroken I asked my friends in China what was the reason for the success vs the US. Uniformly, they replied that they don’t have freedom, rights and choice. The government can Put trackers on your phone and arrest you without cause for suspicion of non-compliance. I would rather live in the USA.
Reads Too Much (NYC)
@SystemIsBroken A couple of points: 1. Our leadership - specifically our President - is not a for lifetime position as is in China since term limits were removed in 2018. Here, we are about to remedy our leadership issue in November. 2. Our citizenry benefits from actual, imperfect democracy that is largely uncensored. In many cases they did the best they could given messaging from leadership (see point 1.) So we cannot just blame the people here or draw a parallel to what is basically an oligarchy that fully controls state media, the internet, and has mostly silenced any opposition. Simply, am wondering how would the Chinese citizenry act if they had same freedoms? 3. Overall China GDP growth has been steadily decreasing since 2007 when - if you believe those estimates - it was reported at 14%. To say that the Chinese economy is surging is misleading. It was stalled before the pandemic around 6 % and struggling to stay there. What do you think will happen when even large tech companies seek cheaper labor in the region? Also would be very cool to have a study of all the personal capital flowing out of China today and then look where the top 1-5 percent of American earners put their money? I bet you it's not in China.
Ben (Kansas)
I think a great story for any news organization would be to investigate if a) their economic numbers are legitimate or b) if a country of a billion people where the virus originated actually has a “zero” transmission rate of the virus.
Abc (Bcde)
I assume “transmission rate at/near zero” means that R0 is near zero which does not mean 0 cases. Since privacy concerns are not an issue in China, it’s not hard to believe that they were able to get R0 below 1. And once it’s below 1, it goes lower and lower, approaching 0.
Dave (Florida)
Thank you for this comment. The news media too often reports data from countries with no government-independent information sources as fact, and it started long before COVID-19. All of these numbers should come with an asterisk and disclaimer.
Keith Bradsher (Beijing)
@Abc That is correct. There is no evidence of continued transmission in China. Drastic tactics -- like testing over a million people a day in cities with outbreaks, and taking infected children away from their parents for treatment -- have produced results. As for China's economic numbers, Goldman Sachs did a good study many years ago looking at the evidence that China smoothes its data, under-reporting growth in good years and over-reporting growth in bad years. Many believe that data smoothing has continued since then. With China facing a broader slowdown now, some economists contend that each of the last few years has been over-reported, and therefore "smoothed" upwards consistently. So the overall effect by now might be to overstate actual economic output slightly. Yet China also has a lot to show for its economic growth. The bullet train network connecting over 700 cities is real. So are the superb airports. So are the forests of high-rise apartment towers. Although sometimes the construction is a little shoddy, there really is a lot of economic activity going on.
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