Hit by a more contagious virus, citywide lockdowns alone proved ineffective, yet took a mounting economic toll. Struggling for an alternative approach while maintaining zero-COVID, routine testing was the next move. This was then to be gradually phased out given no more cases. But in early September, the National Health Commission (NHC) determined otherwise, intimating that regular testing is here to stay.
An amended Scientific and Technological Progress Law, effective January 2022, lowers the boom on research fraud and malpractice, and commercial sourcing of academic publications. Enshrining key ethics principles for scitech research, the State Council’s March 2022 Opinions on research ethics oversight outline safeguards. Avoiding another fallout like the 2018 gene-edited baby scandal is top of mind.
Continuing COVID-19 restrictions, sporadic lockdowns and strict travel restrictions are propelling patients to buy medicines online. Aided by the pandemic, the digital healthcare industry is burgeoning. In 2021, sales from online pharmacies surged over C¥200 bn for the first time, registering over 40 percent y-o-y growth.
Reacting to frequent scandals in the agrifood market, the Food Safety Law (amended in 2015, and touted as the ‘strictest in history’) left risky gaps in the upstream supply chain regulated by the Ag Product Quality and Safety Law. An amendment to the latter brings both laws closer together. It was approved on 4 September, coming into force 1 January 2023.
The cybersphere has emerged as an express channel for transmitting PRC images and values overseas: video games, social media, online literature, streaming services etc. Boosting online creative exports was highlighted as a pillar of trade promotion in a recent Notice released July 2022.
PRC manufacturers face long-term diminishing markets and ever fiercer competitors in global value chains. Doubling down on high-end trade in services, Beijing is upgrading domestic manufacturing with advanced tech and adding more value to exports. A first negative list for cross-border trade in services was launched in Hainan FTP in July 2021, easing market access for overseas service providers.
As Party Congress tunnel vision swallows Beijing, we will take a broader look across policy sectors, unpacking the moving parts that are integral to the policy process regardless of leadership changes. First up, we take a look at the programs the central bank is using to prop up vulnerable sectors of the economy and channel funds to long-term priorities.
Renewable energy, above all solar and wind, has undergone startling, globally unparalleled growth in the PRC. Since derailing the global climate agenda at the 2009 Copenhagen Climate Conference, aspiration, political interest, and the prospect of dominating the renewable hardware market have propelled the sector.
Ag production is staggering under record heat and drought. Rice in the south, the top staple crop, is in big trouble. But trade continued to rebound in July with exports to ASEAN countries growing the most, by over 30 percent. NEVs have had a stellar performance this year, with shipments mostly setting sail for Western Europe and Southeast Asia.
Breaking the 1961 and global records, a heat wave lingered in China’s south for over ten weeks. Threatening the vital autumn crop, it exposes a myriad of issues: ag risk management, loopholes in irrigation, weather forecasting and recovery plans. Localities promoted stories of digging wells and seeding clouds—bandaid activities behind which lies a confronting need for long-term adaptation.
Sweltering under an unprecedented heatwave, dwindling hydropower generation and sky-high power demand for cooling, power systems buckled in the Southwest. The ever-volatile climate switch this week flipped to heavy rain across the region, with flood risks worsened by parched soil. The downpour offers relief to hydropower but another ominous challenge for industry, if it again halts production.
Over four decades of remarkable development have delivered upper-middle income status to the PRC. It is now the world’s second-largest economy. Growth paralleled by rising ag productivity helped shrink the number of those considered food-insecure by 155 million since 1990. Yet there are new causes for concern: over-nutrition and micronutrient deficiency.