At home, China’s President Xi Jinping may be the big man. Under his leadership, the government and the Central Committee seem to have the internal factions in the Chinese Communist Party and self-willed provincial governors, public resentment and the various economic problems more or less under their control. But there can be no denying that Corona has also rocked China.
In mid-March 2020, China’s President Xi Jinping used the delivery of medical equipment and the dispatch of doctors to Italy to bring the close cooperation on a “Silk Road of Health” agreed with the World Health Organization (WHO) three years earlier into the media spotlight. . Beijing is in need of positive news, as the Covid-19 crisis is being used by US President Donald Trump and others to undermine China’s international reputation.
The Corona crisis may well be “China’s Chernobyl”, suggested a columnist in the journal ‘The Diplomat’. Will China face a similar fate as the Soviet Union did five years after the nuclear disaster in the Ukraine? The Corona crisis is a serious challenge for the Beijing government. It is jeopardising its ambitions to transform the People’s Republic into a full-fledged world power by 2049, the 100th anniversary of its founding.
It is not unusual that in huge infrastructure projects the state plays a crucial role in framing and implementation, often in varying forms of cooperation with private companies. Because of its distinctive regime character and relation with Chinese enterprises, the role that the Chinese state plays in the implementation of the ambitious infrastructure initiative BRI seems to be clearly different from similar initiatives.