ISSN 2330-717X

World Freezes When China Sneezes – OpEd


When  Coronavirus disease ( COVID-19 ) happened in China and spread rapidly around the world, the world attention once again have been focused on China, more than ever before. Surprisingly, no one seem to have blamed China for the Coronavirus and even the worst critics of China have largely remained silent and appear to be more concerned about the consequent slowing down of China’s economy.


What is particularly striking is that China has not sought support from any other country in the world to solve the coronavirus issue in China and is confidently proceeding on it’s own to solve the problem. It has taken all possible steps , though it is still not known whether China has effectively controlled it.  However, it is known that Chinese scientists and medical  industry are striving hard to develop vaccine / drug to combat coronavirus and vague reports say that China has been making impressive advances in finding the remedial drug.

While China is struggling hard to tackle the coronavirus issue , several industrial establishments, educational institutions and research bodies in several parts of China have shut the operations to ensure that Coronavirus would not spread. When China has taken such initiatives, it has caused huge setback not only to Chinese economy but also to  the world economy and trading  activities.

Coronavirus issue has clearly underlined the fact that China is the growth engine for the world economy and if China’s economy  would slow down further, the world economy would be in shatters. The concern expressed around the world about the slow down of China’s economy due to coronavirus have alarmed the world market, conclusively proving that China could be world economic  and trading super power now, perhaps much more than USA.

USA knows about  China’s overwhelming economic and industrial progress in a few decades and USA is concerned about the threat of losing it’s status as world’s super power.  President Trump started the trade war with China mainly to brow beat China and protect the super power status of USA. The final verdict is yet to be written as to who have lost more due to the trade war,  whether China or USA or the world economy as a whole.

Over the past several decades, Chinese trade has expanded at a rapid pace. In 1995, the value of China’s imports and exports of goods totaled $280.9 billion or 3 percent of global trade. By 2018, its total trade in goods had jumped to $4.6 trillion or 12.4 percent of global trade. The US is the world’s second-largest trader at 11.5 percent of total trade, followed by Germany at 7.7 percent.


United States National Science Foundation reported that the number of scientific publications from China in 2016 outnumbered those from the US for the first time: 426,000 versus 409,000.

In several scientific fields, China is starting to set the pace for others to follow. At present,  the resources available to China’s top scientists are  on par with other advanced countries  and are globally competitive. 

Whether it is artificial intelligence or digital revolution or biotechnology, space research  or any other advancement in  science and technology, it is now clear that China has not lagged behind USA or any other country in the world.

China’s  growth  and progress in economy is not without reason.

Of course, the sworn critics of China have been accusing China of stealing technology from other advanced countries and dumping  goods and products in several countries at artificially lowered price. While such criticisms may be partly true, the fact is that China has been able to do this.

Several countries including India are now facing problems , as several feedstock and other spare parts from China are not coming now due to   COVID-19  and consequent closure of units and production centres.  To this extent, several other country’s  economy have also been impacted. For example, India is  large exporter of pharma formulations, for which several active pharma ingredients (API) are imported by India from China. Indian pharma industry is highly concerned.

There are several negatives about China such as human rights violation, use of science and technology to identify the dissenters in China and mercilessly eliminate them, massacre of Tibetans in Tibet and ambitious expansionist plans.

Therefore, certainly, world is concerned about China rapidly moving up on super power ladder. World community seem to be concerned that China should not conduct itself like Hitler’s Germany in the coming years.

No one in the world desire domination of world by China and China’s image about it’s ethical and moral governance  and commitment is extremely suspect.

All said and done, today, the world freezes when China sneezes.

N. S. Venkataraman

N. S. Venkataraman is a trustee with the "Nandini Voice for the Deprived," a not-for-profit organization that aims to highlight the problems of downtrodden and deprived people and support their cause. To promote probity and ethical values in private and public life and to deliberate on socio-economic issues in a dispassionate and objective manner.

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