Another October National Day holiday coming up over the horizon, and who could have predicted the stuff that has gone down since the last one. Shell-shock. It will hopefully be a pleasant respite, but nothing is a certainty this year.
China’s success in dealing with the fallout of the virus continues to gain ground relative to some other places, most notably the US, India and Britain, and is the sub-text for this holiday. It is now clear that they have poured huge amounts of money into keeping the ship stable, but stable it is, and the debt problem can wait for another day. A key milestone in the virus story is coming up next week— foreigners with residence visas have been almost all banned from returning to China since February, but from September 28, they will be allowed to cross the border. The number of foreigners in China—anecdotally it is true—is down dramatically on this time last year. We would not expect the numbers to bounce back up too much from the lows. It’s a new world out there, post-pandemic.
Trump has been doing his election rallies and goes on and on about the “China virus”. He did the same at the United Nations, while China’s Xi took a different tack, pledging that China would be carbon-neutral by 2060. An easy promise to make, and it provided a clear delamination from the man with the orange face.
Meanwhile, the TikTok situation is so messy that there’s no point trying to explain it all. There is no clear conclusion in sight. Will the Trump administration ban it outright? Or will the issue just fade away into an ambiguous legal morass? Either scenario seems possible.
The Chinese leadership are still being remarkably muted in their response to Trump, and many other US-related issues. And in fact, the whole world is holding its breath to see what happens in the US election. The death of Ruth Ginsberg and Trump’s refusal to commit to a peaceful transfer of power make chaos and confusion after November 3 even more likely than before. The first presidential debate is next Tuesday (Wednesday China time), and we’ll see how it plays out. Our cautious prediction is still a clean sweep for the Democrats followed by major confusion, but Biden becoming president on Jan 20, then the Dems adding two more judges to the Supreme Court bench. We’ll have a better sense of the prospects on Wednesday morning, just before the holiday begins.
Enjoy the weekend. Autumn is the best.