The outbreak of the global Coronavirus pandemic has affected China’s economy deeply. It contracted for the first time since the cultural revolution in 1976 and after the shutdown, is now facing unprecedented economic impact. Falling global demand exacerbates the situation further as export-oriented manufacturing will struggle to get back on its feet. Around the globe, economies are in need of massive relief. But despite signs of economic recovery, China’s economy is far from serving as an engine for growth during this global economic crisis. This situation raises more general questions on the future of China’s economic future and the future of Chinese capitalism.
In this web seminar the award-winning writer, speaker and analyst on China Dexter Tiff Roberts gave a short presentation exploring the reality behind today’s financially-ascendant China and pulled the curtain back on how the Chinese manufacturing machine is actually powered. Max J. Zenglein, Chief Economist, MERICS, talked about the prospects of reform and the risks to the private sector as the Chinese leadership tries to emerge from the economic crisis. The discussion was moderated by MERICS Executive Director Mikko Huotari.
Dexter Tiff Roberts is currently serving as a Nonresident Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council Asia Security Initiative and a Fellow at the University of Montana's Maureen and Mike Mansfield Center. Previously he was China bureau chief and Asia News Editor at Bloomberg Businessweek, based in Beijing for more than two decades. He has reported from all of China's provinces and regions including Tibet and Xinjiang, covering the rise of companies and entrepreneurs, manufacturing and migrants, demography and civil society. His recent reporting has focused on how legacy policies from China's past, including its household registration system, are leading to growing inequality and social tension, and are holding back the country's development. Roberts' first book, The Myth of Chinese Capitalism: The Worker, the Factory, and the Future of the World, was published by St. Martin's Press in March 2020 and he has also founded and publishes a weekly newsletter called Trade War. He has a BA in Political Science from Stanford University and Master of International Affairs from Columbia University and studied Mandarin Chinese at Taiwan Normal University.