China and South Korea might be starting to resume their economies, the rest of the world is getting further into lock-down mode. After Italy, the rest of Europe and the United States are only at the beginning of the corona virus pandemic. And for sure nobody in those countries is in de mood to prepare for a life after the current crisis.
At the China Speakers Bureau, we do start to look ahead, also as more events are cancelled and international flights still seem in a unstoppable free fall. But one thing is sure: even when timing is unclear, this crisis will be disappearing in the months to come, even when experts already predict a second wave of patients after the summer. In our line of business the average lead time between inquiries for speaker’ assignments and execution is on average three months, and we do not want to start for resumption of our business until the pandemic has officially stopped.
Economic damage to China and the global economy has been limited up to now as two weeks in the Coronavirus crisis were anyway a holiday, and a week extension was doable. Apart from the consumption industries who go a firm hit during lunar festival, expectations were high most of the manufacturing and services would resume on February 10, although our event industry was expected to see longer delays as international flights, traffic and other operations need likely months to recover.
China is not yet one week back from lunar holidays, and the fallout of the coronavirus is not yet clear. We have seen major events being relocated, delayed or even cancelled, speakers being stuck inside or outside China, and potential audiences unable to move around. Meanwhile we are exploring an alternative option, that might help some event organizators: follow the lead from China, and get your speaker online.
Even when the virus might reduce its destructive path over the next two weeks, resuming events might be affected till the end of April, early May. Those are – with June – our most busy months in helping event organizers to get the right speakers in place, before the traditional summer break kicks in.
Not only high costs are stopping Chinese women from getting more children, as the government wants them to for offsetting the dramatic aging process of the country, writes journalist Zhang Lijia, author of Lotus, a novel, on prostitution in China, in the South China Morning Post. “The reality is far more complex. One important reason, in my view, is that women have changed. They don’t care to be only the reproductive tool of the family or the state,” she writes.
Beijing-based Journalist Ian Johnson describes the governmental corona-action in Beijing and explains why it has more to do with lack of trust in the government than health, in the New York Times. “Considering the underlying distrust, it’s hard for the government to say what many epidemiologists are saying: This outbreak is serious but not catastrophic.”
China’s former leader Deng Xiaoping allowed the country to embark on a liberal economy, while repressing communist ideology. That “China Model” helped economically, but it was only useful in a temporary transition, writes political analyst Shirley Ze Yu in the Interpreter. Now president Xi Jinping swallows Deng’s bitter capitalist poison pill, she writes.
Foreign media mostly focus on China’s crackdown on religion, but it’s approach has become much more nuanced, says journalist Ian Johnson, author of The Souls of China: The Return of Religion After Mao, at the New York Times. Two truly global religions, Islam and Christianity, cause China’s leadership most trouble.
Analysts watched the ‘announcement’ of a first trade deal between China and the US with amazement. Former US trade negotiator Harry Broadman points out that typically you wait till you have something in writing, in both languages, to avoid hiccups before the signing, he explains to Reuters.