- China’s middle class is hardly allowed to travel
- China an important issue in Italy’s parliamentary election
- Widespread DNA testing in Tibet
- President Xi travels to Kazakhstan
- Investment to fight economic downturn
- Deaths after strong earthquake in Sichuan
- More China competence demanded in schools
- Robert Tsao funds military training for three million Taiwanese
Europe’s tourism industry sighs in relief: Whether in Italy, Greece, or at Germany’s North and Baltic Seas – this summer, tourist records are broken everywhere. But amid all the celebration, one crucial point is overlooked. A very important tourist group is missing: China’s middle class. That is because Beijing’s strict zero-Covid policy currently makes it almost impossible for the Chinese to travel outside the country.
Our Beijing author team shows that the absence of the extremely solvent Chinese will hit the European tourism industry hard. And it won’t stop there, because other economic sectors will also be affected – for example, luxury goods manufacturers. Before the pandemic, the Chinese spent a whopping $93 billion a year on fancy handbags or fine watches – around a third of global sales in that sector.
Somehow it seems that now is the time for China critics: In the UK, Liz Truss will become the new Prime Minister. The former Foreign Minister follows a strict anti-China approach. Amelie Richter analyzes similar developments in Italy. On September 25, a new parliament will be elected – and the favored right-wing alliance around Giorgia Meloni has the best chance of appointing the new prime minister. Meloni herself is already sending out clear signals – against Beijing.
Last but not least, I would like to draw your attention to today’s Profile. It is about Robert Tsao, one of Taiwan’s richest people. But it is not his fortune that is the focus of Fabian Kretschmer’s text, but rather Tsao’s career – from loyal Beijing patriot to ardent advocate of an independent Taiwan. It seems like a reflection of the current relations between Beijing and Taipei.
Zero-Covid weighs on Europe’s tourism industry
The European tourism industry, which had been shaken up by the Covid pandemic, celebrated a comeback this summer. Italy, for example, reported around 15 million guests at the peak of the season – a new record. The situation was similar in Spain and Greece. As well as on the German North Sea coast. But the industry has mixed feelings about the current boom. The companies are aware that the records are also a Covid catch-up effect. The European traveler’s flow could return to normal levels as soon as in the upcoming fall travel wave and next spring.
It is expected that particularly guests from China will be missing. Before the pandemic, they traveled to Europe in ever greater numbers and were known for their intensive shopping. For the Chinese, the two “golden weeks” were the main travel period. They preferred to come to Europe around the national holiday on October 1st and for the Chinese Spring Festival in January or February.
But that has come to an end since the Chinese leadership imposed a strict zero-Covid policy on the nation. China’s middle class not only suffers under lockdowns at home, but is also largely barred by its own government from leaving the country. As a rule, new passports are only issued for important business trips or study visits. Anyone, who tries to take a vacation abroad despite warnings, can expect to have their passport cut up upon their return to China.