He Qinglian: As Vaccine Diplomacy Enters Second Half, Can China Still Win?

Based on the US decision to enter the second half of the competition in vaccine provision, Chinese vaccines will be at a disadvantage due to quality issues as they do not have a significant price advantage.

The entire world is exhausted by Covid-19, and the WHO announced in December 2020 that the global economic loss due to the epidemic will be $10 trillion. Rae Dalio, founder of the Bridgewater Fund, said on April 15 of this year that the global economy could lose $20 trillion (including $5 trillion for the U.S. economy) due to the epidemic, more than the damage caused by the financial crisis in 2008. As the top five economic powers are counted one by one, it seems that only China is claiming that its economy is doing well, with a promising GDP growth rate, export growth, and quite successful vaccine diplomacy.

China’s export growth driven by demand for epidemic supplies

In 2020, China’s exports increased and several mainstream U.S. media outlets, in addition to the official Chinese media, agreed that China’s exports are booming again and could soon compete with the U.S. economy. However, if we carefully analyze the structure of China’s export commodities, we will find that the three categories of medical supplies, household goods and office supplies at home are the three pillars that will drive the modest growth of China’s foreign trade export figures in 2020, with the highest increase being in medical supplies and textiles (actually, mainly materials for masks), with increases of 40.5% and 29.2%, respectively. This was still the case in the first quarter of this year, with statistics released by the General Administration of Customs showing that from January to March, the total value of China’s trade imports and exports was RMB 8.47 trillion, an increase of 29.2% over the same period last year. Among them, exports of 4.61 trillion yuan, up 38.7%; imports of 3.86 trillion yuan, up 19.3%; trade surplus of 759.29 billion yuan, an expansion of 690.6%.

This “growth over the same period last year” is a matter of course. Because in the first quarter of 2020, China was at the time when the Covid-19 virus caused the Chinese economy to almost go into shock, that is, this brilliant achievement is compared to the indicators of the Chinese economy at its worst. More importantly, it is important to note that China’s economic growth is linked to the epidemic, and that the increase in exports of China’s main export items, such as data equipment, mainly laptops, since last year is a response to the need for people to work from home in the closed state of the epidemic. Plastic products, mainly household items, lamps, furniture, toys and so on, are all forced by the global epidemic to increase imports to China. I thought that the epidemic would end one day and the export growth driven by the epidemic would end soon. But this is not the case, as the spread of the epidemic has just eased in the West, and India and Taiwan in Asia, including China’s Guangdong Province and Liaoning Province, have been overrun by an endless stream of mutated viruses. In other words, whenever there is an epidemic crisis in any country in the world, China can turn it into an opportunity.

The first half of the vaccine supply war: China wins

In terms of public timing, China’s vaccine was developed and put into use earlier than the United States, which is the basis for China’s ability to turn “crisis” into “opportunity.

On May 20, the U.S. mainstream media dumped a comparative chart from the London-based research firm Airfinity showing that as of last week, the U.S. had produced more than 333 million doses of the new crown vaccine, but had exported only about 3 million doses; by comparison, China exported 252 million doses, or 42 percent of its total vaccine production; the European Union exported 111 million doses, or more than one-third of its total production; and Russia exported more than one-third of its vaccine production. Even India, where the epidemic is raging, had exported 60.45 million doses of vaccine by the end of March.

The U.S. loses both by humane standards and by the economic benefits of vaccines. Adding to the pressure of the Fauci emailgate revelations about the Obama administration’s huge funding of the Wuhan Institute of Virus Research, the Biden administration took one position after another and committed to supplying a total of 80 million doses of the new crown vaccine to foreign countries by mid-June.

The Chinese government was very happy and thought it had won, firstly, by greatly improving its international image and becoming the savior of the epidemic countries, although now it is more restrained than the “mask diplomacy” at the beginning of the epidemic, but it never forgot to boast about its great internationalism; secondly, it turned the crisis into an opportunity, in the spirit of foreign first and then domestic “Although the price of vaccines is not uniform, depending on the relationship between the country in need and China, the number of purchases, etc., it is more or less a number.

JPMorgan Chase research report

But the problem comes out that the quality of Chinese vaccines, which has been much criticized, has been forced to use vaccines supplied by China simply because countries need them to save their lives – that is, China can win, depending on its dominant position on the supply side.

For China, there is nothing more difficult than the constant news questioning the quality of Chinese vaccines, with similar news coming out of Chile, Brazil, and Pakistan, all of which have been successfully “debunked” by Chinese foreign propaganda. The latest case was the Indian Ocean island of Seychelles in May, which is said to have the highest vaccination rate for the new coronavirus in the world, with more than 60 percent of the population vaccinated against the disease in China, but still experienced a spike in infections. The Wall Street Journal and the New York Times reported on May 12 and 13, and Chinese official media then published an interview with Seychelles President Ram Karawan in which he refuted the claims that the Chinese vaccine was ineffective.

In mid-June, J.P. Morgan Chase published a Coronavirus research compilation on its website [1], the first section of which summarizes the latest post-vaccination situation in various countries. the most significant set of data.

The graphs show a clear downward curve in the nine countries that have received Moderna/Pfizer/AstraZeneca vaccines. Once the vaccinated population exceeds 25%, the number of new diagnoses per 7 days drops all the way down.

According to June 13 data, the average number of new diagnoses per million people per 7-day period in the nine Western vaccinated countries was 82 in the Netherlands, 76 in Sweden, 61 in France, 43 in the United States, 36 in Canada, 29 in Italy, 25 in Germany, and 2 in Israel.

The average number of new diagnoses per million people per 7 days in the other 9 countries that received the Chinese national vaccine was: Seychelles 1,164, Uruguay 905, Bahrain 643, Maldives 622, Argentina 533, Chile 363, UAE 905, Maldives 799, and Hungary 12.

Based on the US decision to enter the second half of competition in vaccine provision, Chinese vaccines will be at a disadvantage due to quality issues as they do not have a significant price advantage.

Chinese vaccine diplomacy faces several variables

There are several additional uncontrollable factors in the second half of vaccine diplomacy.

One, the information about the new crown exercise at the 2019 WMC could be a double-edged sword.

On September 18, 2019, Wuhan Customs and the Military Games Executive Committee held an emergency response drill at Wuhan Tianhe Airport with the theme of “Keeping the national gate safe and ensuring the safety of the military games”. The exercise included the disposal of a case of novel coronavirus infection found in the airport port channel – the news in Wuhan after the city closed, netizens found the Xinhua Network on September 26, 2019 reprinted Hubei Daily related reports. [2]

This would have been a fairly important message, which Xinhua never removed, but was not noted abroad. Now that the epidemic-fighting “Captain America” Fauci’s ties to China have surfaced, the Washington Post reported on June 23 that the U.S. Congress is investigating whether the Wuhan Military Games in October 2019 was a convention for the super-spreading of covid-19. [3]

I’ve always thought that checking into the epidemic should start here. The Chinese government loves to remove information, and the moral of Xinhua’s sole retention of this article is profound and potentially a double-edged sword.

Second, the international virology community is upside down, and it is difficult to continue to come out in defense of China.

The 3,200 pages of emails released in the Fauci emailgate case not only show Fauci’s capriciousness and contradictions on the anti-epidemic issue, and the suspicion of a series of conflicts of interest in the scientific community, but also make the Biden administration very embarrassed, because it involves the “gain of function” (gain of function) virus research of the Wuhan Institute of Virology, which was heavily funded under Obama. The Biden administration was also embarrassed by the Obama-era funding of the Wuhan Institute for Virus Research’s “gain of function” virus research, for which Fauci was the driving force.

The international virology community’s interest in helping the Wuhan Institute of Virus Research in China to cover up the truth has been the most exposed in the past month. At present, the world is suffering from mutated viruses, what is the relationship between this and gain of function, the Chinese side will be cross-examined, where past virology authorities who defended China such as the editor-in-chief of The Lancet, the EcoHealth Alliance (an organization that receives commissions from developed countries to fund China’s postgraduate research on viruses) are in the limelight of being questioned this time, it is difficult to take the bullet for China.

Third, China’s painstakingly designed image as a world leader in the fight against the epidemic has recently collapsed.

The International Federation of Investigative Journalists (IFJ) released its survey, “COVID-19 Story: Taking the Veil Off China’s Global Strategy,” on May 12. The IFJ research team interviewed journalists through questionnaires sent by 54 IFJ-aligned journalists’ unions in 50 countries and regions around the world between December 2020 and January 2021 to understand China’s Global media coverage in the wake of the outbreak. The survey found that one-third of the respondents indicated that their media organizations have signed memoranda of understanding (MOUs) with Chinese organizations. The report also noted that much of the coverage praising China came from the recipient countries: 63 percent of the recipient countries reported that “China acted quickly to combat COVID-19 and its medical diplomacy helped other countries,” while 60 percent of the non-recipient countries cited “China’s news blackout in the early stages of the outbreak as the cause of the global outbreak. The outbreak was a global pandemic,” according to 60% of non-recipient countries.

All the variables exist, but there is no doubt about a few things: China’s importance in the second half of this global vaccine supply race has diminished due to the “entry” of the United States; as international suspicion of the source of the outbreak deepens, attention will be paid to the timing of China’s vaccine development and the fact that China is profiting from the production of the outbreak material .