As the Two Sessions opened after an unheard-of delay, senior leaders spoke of stepping up recovery and reinvigorating the policy agenda. Elsewhere, Xi urged economic experts to help the nation ‘ride out stormy seas’, and shared concerns with other delegations.
Li Keqiang’s press conference on 28 May was in many ways a cameo of the Two Sessions as a whole. Registering the epidemic’s grave impact, the premier’s empathy with worried families and the jobless was on show. Yet the display of emotion served as a foil for his confidence in the economy.
The economic agenda for 2020 was set out by Premier Li Keqiang 李克强 in his Government Work Report (22 May). A GDP growth target was avoided, in favour of ‘six protections’, above all jobs. Targets included adding over 9 million new urban jobs.
Always a centrepiece of Beijing’s political and policy calendar, this year’s Two Sessions are of exceptional interest. Arriving finally on 21 May, the week-long meetings will bear the marks of the pandemic crisis and its aftermath.
Regulators are working to save Basic Medical Insurance funding for top quality medicines. NHSA plans to change Reimbursable Drug List management.
COVID-19 is rewriting China’s trade narrative. Beijing expects a ‘longish time’—code for up to ten years—to digest the international ‘new normal’, no longer just a domestic headache. Analysts urge rewarming ties within Asia, where trade interdependence is greater.
During the pandemic, overwhelmed doctors took to AI-assisted diagnostic software to initially assess scans. AI is also used to screen existing medicines for a possible cure or treatment while vaccine research is ongoing.
Restarting higher education is hitting snags: National Health Commission and MoE (Ministry of Education) issued stringent epidemic measures for universities.
Online health racked up awesome statistics during the crisis. Ping’an Good Doctor, a leading online app, saw new registrations grow tenfold, average daily visits ninefold through the Spring Festival, with over 1 bn visits overall.
GDP contracted in Q1 by 6.8 percent according to NBS. This implies that the economy operated at 92 percent of its 2019 Q1 capacity.