Photo taken on January 2, 2021 shows the light show along the Huangpu River in east China’s Shanghai. Photo: Xinhua
As 2021 kicks off, there is plenty of room to predict what the coming year will look like.
First, the fight against COVID-19 will undoubtedly remain the global theme of this year. The difference is that this year, with vaccines, there is a lot of uncertainty about how they will change the global landscape of the virus fight. A better situation is that these vaccines can provide strong protection, greatly reducing the spread of the virus. That would mean that this winter will see a sustained decline as the weather warms up in the northern hemisphere and vaccination coverage expands.
This is not an inevitable trajectory however, as no vaccine has ever been able to defeat such a large-scale epidemic quickly. Now that COVID-19 is spreading like wildfire in the world, we cannot predict exactly how the vaccine will win the fight. It is hard to expect anything less than an uncontrollable event, such as the variant of the virus found in the UK. We must be prepared for any serious incidents and the geopolitical shocks they could cause.
This year, China has the resources to continue to be the most successful country in the fight against COVID-19, and to turn this achievement into economic development. Accelerating the expansion of the domestic market and promoting the consolidation of the dual circulation model are vital. As the trade war of the past few years has shown, it is difficult to depend solely on expanding international markets, and the political risks are becoming higher. The only way to achieve greater economic development is to balance and promote domestic and international markets.
It is plausible that the global recovery, if any, will be quite fragile in 2021. We must be aware that if China’s economic growth in 2021 accounts for a disproportionate share of the global recovery, it will attract more envy from the world.
China has taken the lead in bringing the epidemic under control, which gives it a huge comparative advantage over other major countries. However, this is the national performance at the macroscopic level. For Chinese society itself, and especially for many individuals, the impact and difficulties of COVID-19 are real. China’s policies this year still need to address these practical problems without compromising the quality of their solutions.
One of the biggest gains of Chinese society in 2020 is the increase in its political confidence. Chinese people have seen the efficiency of China’s political system and understood its people-centered purpose through the rare comparability to other countries’ responses projected by the epidemic. The long-term image of the US as a world idol has largely collapsed. However, one year is too short, and the political confidence of Chinese society needs to be strengthened while it lasts. This year, 2021, is a crucial period for the continuation of Chinese people’s self-perception that was achieved last year.
To this end, China needs to accelerate the deepening of reform, implement reform measures and take concrete actions to overcome bureaucratic styles of work and formalism. The fight against COVID-19 is real, and there is no room for any falsehoods. The epidemic has aggravated many old problems and given rise to the imperative of reform, which has become a key word of this era.
Looking at the world in 2021, almost all countries are in a state of “tight balance” under different conditions. Although China’s fight against the epidemic and economic situation are better than other countries, our internal public capacity is not sufficient to satisfy the aspirations of all the people.