”GS Paper – 2: Effect of Policies & Politics of Countries on India’s Interests, India and its Neighbourhood”
Why in News
A few days ago, the Chinese government issued an advisory to Chinese people to store necessities which led to instances of panic-buying and online speculation regarding war with Taiwan!
What did the Notice say?
- At first glance, the notice doesn’t seem too different from the typical directives the Chinese government has sent in the past stressing the need to shore up supplies.
- This one orders local authorities to ensure that their citizens have an “adequate supply” of essentials this winter.
- It also instructs those governments to keep food costs stable — a point of concern in recent weeks, as extreme weather, energy shortages and Covid-19 restrictions threaten supply.
- The notice includes rare language about the need for local authorities to encourage families to stockpile “daily necessities.”
Why so much Panic?
- There is a serious question in the minds of the Chinese people that when the government didn’t even tell citizens to stock goods when the Covid outbreak erupted in early 2020, then why now.
- Rampant speculation has even linked the call to stockpile food with rising tensions between Beijing and Taipei. China considers Taiwan an “inseparable part” of its territory, even though the Chinese Communist Party has never ruled the self-governing island.
- Several economic anxieties may be contributing to the turmoil. This year’s energy crunch forced factories to suspend some production and triggered blackouts for households — problems that in some cases happened without any prior notice from the government.
- The more immediate worry for some was the possibility of neighbourhood lockdowns as a COVID-19 outbreak spreads in several provinces.
- It reflects the anxiety of the people regarding further drastic rises in food costs and also a mistrust of the government.
- Overall, it is actually a reflection of the tense geopolitical situation between China and neighbouring countries.
What is the Issue between Taiwan and China?
- Taiwan is a self-governing island of 24 million people and China regards it as a renegade province that should come under its rule.
- Tensions have risen sharply recently, with China sending a growing number of warplanes on sorties near the island and the U.S. selling arms to Taiwan and deepening its ties with the government.
- Taiwan is entirely dependent on the US for its defence against possible Chinese aggression — and that is why every spike in military tensions between China and Taiwan injects more hostility in the already strained relationship between Washington and Beijing.
New Covid-19 cases Surge in China
- According to China’s National Health Commission, the current wave of cases has reached the majority of the country’s 31 provinces, in the broadest outbreak since the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic last year.
- China’s efforts to eliminate Covid-19 are coming under increasing pressure, with officials warning of a “grave challenge” in the months ahead.
- China facing a complex and grave challenge this winter and next spring in controlling the virus, because the pandemic remained at elevated levels in neighbouring countries and across the world.