CHINA

Political and Economic Updates:

A World Health Organization/WHO team of experts (from Australia, Germany, Japan, Britain, Russia, Netherlands, Qatar and Vietnam) arrived in Wuhan to begin investigating the origin of the novel corona-virus, more than a year after it began to spread to all corners of the globe, leaving more than 92 Million people infected and more than 1,9 Million dead. According to international news about 10 people of the team managed to reach Wuhan on Thursday, January 12, 2021, though months after they hoped to be given access. The mission was approved after months of negotiations between the United Nations and President Xi Jinping. China was slow to grant permission for the researchers to enter the country prompting a rare public complaint from the WHO. There are lingering concerns over the investigation, including whether China will be forthcoming with information that could cast the government in a negative light. The team will undergo a two-week quarantine as well as a throat swab test and an antibody test for Covid-19. The researchers are to start working with Chinese experts via video conference while in quarantine. The WHO team in Wuhan dismisses lab leak theory , saying WHO officials that they will not recommend further investigation into the theory that the virus accidentally leaked from Wuhan labs; the team continues hunt for intermediary corona virus host, visiting the now disinfected and shuttered Huanan sea food market, situated in the middle of the town of Wuhan, where a cluster of pneumonia-like cases were first detected in late 2019 and which is long thought to have been a potential origin of the outbreak.

China has two Covid-19 vaccine front runners: Sinovac and Sinopharm; Sinovac has been approved for emergency use in high-risk groups in China since July 2020; interim dates from late-stage trials in Turkey and Indonesia showed that the Sinovac vaccine was 91,25% and 65,3% effective respectively; researchers in Brazil initially said it was 78% effective in their clinical trials, but in January 2021 revised that figure to 50,4% after including more date in their calculations; several Asian countries including Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines have singed deals with Sincovac; Turkey has also approved the Sinovac vaccine for emergency use; the company is also known to have secured other deals with Brazil and Chile. Sinovac will be able to produce 300 Million doses a year and like all other vaccines it requires two doses. Sinopharm announced on December 30, 2020, that phase 3 trials of the vaccine showed that it was 79% effective; however the United Arab Emirates , which approved a Sinopharm vaccine said it was 86% effective according to interim results of its phase 3 trials; the vaccine has already been distributed to nearly a Million people in China under an emergency program. Bahrain also approved the Sinopharm vaccine. There are at least two more Covid-19 vaccines under development in China: CanSino Biologics, which is reportedly in phase 3 clinical trials in countries, including Saudi Arabia; Anhiu Zhifu Longcom – its vaccine uses a purified piece of the virus to trigger an immune response and has recently entered phase 3 trials. The spread of the virus within China has been for the most part detained and life slowly but surely is returning to a ‘new normal’. Within its vaccine diplomacy China’s President Xi pledged to set aside $2 Billion for the African continent, while also offering Latin America and Caribbean countries a $1 Billion loan to buy vaccines. China approved two more Covid-19 vaccines for public use; the two newly cleared vaccines are made by CanSino Biologics Inc., a one doses Vektor-vaccine, effective about 65,28%, and Wuhan Institute of Biological Products, an affiliate of China Pharmaceutical Group (Sinopharm), effective 71,25%, joining a vaccine from Sinovac Biotech and another from Sinopharm’s Beijing unite; the four approved Chinese vaccines can be stored at normal freezer temperatures; China is exporting vaccines to 27 countries and providing free doses to 53 countries.

Experts laud China’s efforts to combat corruption; comprehensive anti-corruption efforts by the Communist Party of China in recent years have achieved remarkable results and the Chinese experience is worth learning from, foreign experts and scholars have said; the CPC has prioritized anti-corruption work which provides a strong guarantee for China to deliver on its two centenary goals; it also shows that China will continue its anti-corruption campaign and maintain zero-tolerance stance towards corruption; China’s achievements in fighting corruption have improved the transparency of social governance and help promote social fairness and justice. China, the world’s second largest economy, surpassed U.S. as largest recipient of foreign direct investment (FDI) during the covid-19 pandemic in 2020 with inflows of $163 Billion compared to $134 Billion by the U.S. China’s President Xi advocated to bring down trade barriers promoting free trade. China targets a robust growth of at least 6% for 2021, after growing its economy by only 2,3% in 2020, and expects an unemployment rate not to exceed 5,5% in 2021, down from 5,6% in 2020.

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