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How Has China Benefited from COVID-19?

China Vaccines

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The Chinese Communist Party advertises for mutual recognition of vaccine certificates and started to simplify entry procedures for foreign citizens who have been vaccinated with its antidote. Meanwhile, it also obtains diplomatic benefits that help it to evade its responsibility in the handling of the pandemic and the constant violations of human rights in the country.

Beijing and some of its allies such as Serbia have begun to pressure the European Union to bind the Chinese antidote in its vaccine passport. So far, Chinese laboratories have been excluded by the European Union (EU) after failing to meet high-efficiency standards, even though Viktor Orban, the prime minister of Hungary, an EU member country, received the vaccine manufactured by Sinopharm, a company from the Asian giant.

Passports are controversial because of their potential for discrimination, but as with other diseases, countries may require corresponding health certificates. However, Chinese vaccines have not been approved in most industrialized nations.

China focuses on mass exports

The key for the Chinese Communist Party lies in the expansion of its vaccines in developing countries and its allies in the Belt and Road initiative. So far, more than 60 countries have received doses of Covid-19 vaccines from Beijing.

China - Sinovac -covid-19
China’s Sinovac claims it can produce 2 billion vaccines annually. (Efe)

China could seek for its vaccine to be significant in the number of people using it worldwide, which would give it an advantage in global tourism and allow it to reach agreements with industrialized countries for the creation of a special passport. It should be recalled that Chinese leader Xi Jinping proposed a global QR code by the end of 2020 to revive tourism.

Because Beijing failed to disclose the severity of Covid-19 in time and concealed the origin of the virus, industrialized countries that could not deal with the pandemic in a timely manner have had to secure high-quality vaccines for their citizens in the first place, leaving many developing nations with no choice but to rely on China to supply them.

Beijing has been in control of the pandemic since the virus was discovered in 2019, gaining the time needed to begin working on a vaccine and the supplies necessary to create a bold strategy to gain ground.

On the other hand the Communist Party aims to hide human rights violations in its territory and uses the diplomatic force of vaccines to gain support at the United Nations.

For example, the Colombian government joined Cuba’s call at the United Nations to defend China’s interests. Since October 2020, the Cuban regime has been promoting a narrative in defense of the actions of the Chinese Communist Party in Xinjiang, where, according to Cuban diplomats, China defends human rights and is the victim of persecution by the West.

With the vaccines, the Chinese Communist Party managed to get strategic allies of the United States in Latin America, such as Colombia, to omit Washington’s denunciations of genocide and crimes against humanity committed in China.

The Communist Party’s recent diplomatic breakthroughs

In recent months, China also succeeded in preventing Guyana from strengthening ties with Taiwan. In Asia, in view of India’s decision not to export vaccines until the pandemic has been brought under control at home, Beijing is trying to get the countries that make up the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) on its side.

Countries such as Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines, and Indonesia have turned to Chinese vaccines as the Asian giant expands its discourse against American influence in the region.

Serbian president Aleksandar Vucic receives the Sinovac Chinese vaccine. (Efe)

The Covid-19 pandemic has been a success for the Chinese Communist Party. The country’s economic growth in 2020 was higher than that of its competitors in the West and estimates for 2021 through 2030 are solid for Beijing.

The diplomatic triumph with supplies and vaccines has exonerated China from responsibility for the initial handling of the virus and its origin, and allowed it to extend its soft power to global organizations such as the World Health Organization.

Camilo Bello is a consultant focused on Asia Pacific studies and has experience in strategic management. He has studied law in Colombia and is currently pursuing studies in language and history at National Taiwan Normal University. He has collaborated with Students for Freedom in Hong Kong and Taiwan // Camilo es consultor enfocado en estudios de Asia Pacífico y experiencia en gestión estratégica. Cuenta con estudios en Derecho en Colombia y actualmente se encuentra realizando estudios en lenguaje e historia en National Taiwan Normal University. Colaborador de Estudiantes por la Libertad en Hong Kong y Taiwán

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