- Exodus of expats from China
- No common ground between Xi and von der Leyen
- Poor food supply during lockdown
- New virus subtype discovered in Suzhou
- Beijing car show canceled, Canton fair online only
- Ex-security chief Fu Zhenghua expelled from CP
- Michael Kruppe on the Board of AHK Shanghai
- Profile of sinologist Barbara Mittler
- So To Speak: the green horse
As expected, the EU-China summit on Friday was merely a repetition of familiar positions on both sides. This is where the limits of an online summit become apparent. It does not leave any room for confidential discussions on the sidelines. There is also no opportunity to firmly reiterate one’s own stance to the other party.
But this sort of collateral damage caused by the pandemic currently pales in comparison to the situation in Shanghai. Infected are being herded tightly in quarantine centers. Food distribution is irregular. As important as the containment of the pandemic is, organizational problems start to become apparent. This is not good news for the CCP. After all, those who defy nature for the good of the people must also ensure a steady supply of provisions.
The side effects of zero-covid are now also part of the many reasons why foreigners turn their backs on China. Marcel Grzanna has spoken with employees on the ground and with returnees. Chinese society now tends to be more intolerant, nationalistic and arrogant. The overall living environment has become harsher. The ensuing exodus of expats is hardly a surprise. However, the pandemic is not the cause of the trend, but merely accelerates it.
‘A perfectly shielded society’
With the end of the China chapter in his life, relief set in for Niklas. “I’m really glad to be out. Now I can feel how much energy this time actually took,” says the Dutchman, who left Shanghai two weeks ago after 17 years in the People’s Republic.
“Living as a foreigner in China is now like walking on eggshells all the time. ‘Us against you’ conflicts lurk everywhere,” says Niklas, who does not want to be quoted by his full name. For nearly two decades, the 48-year-old worked in China for international companies on sustainability and corporate social responsibility (CSR). In Shanghai, he says, he experienced the “golden years” at the beginning of the century. As he says, things were comparatively liberal and cosmopolitan. That’s over now.
“The past few years under Xi Jinping have changed everything,” he says. Everyday situations have turned more and more into political discussions with the Chinese. Debates the Dutchman did not want to engage in. Time and again, he was pressured to take a position on China’s relationship with Europe or the rest of the world. “In the process, I was constantly confronted with the same arguments, without any differentiation from an extremely nationalistic position,” Niklas recounts. Criticism of the People’s Republic had been less and less accepted in such discussions. The country is turning into a “perfectly shielded society“.
- Civil Society
Continue reading now
… and get free access to this Professional Briefing for a month.
Are you already a guest at the China.Table? Log in now