China's COVID lockdowns made its people depressed and hurt its economy
China’s economy keeps slowing down, and that could be a problem for the rest of the world.
On GZERO World, Shaun Rein, founder and managing director of the China Market Research Group, sits down with Ian Bremmer to explain why he’s become bearish on China’s economic outlook.
2023 was supposed to be the year China’s economy came roaring back after almost three years of brutal zero-COVID lockdowns that ground domestic spending and production to a halt. But Rein points to a few reasons why China’s rebound hasn’t exploded the way some economists predicted.
“I think people underestimated how much the lingering effects, not just economically but physiologically, that [zero-COVID] would have on China,” Rein says, pointing out that 50% of people in Shanghai suffer from anxiety and depression, according to the government.
Rein argues that because income levels in 2022 stayed so low, with millions of Chinese locked down and furloughed from their jobs, the revenge spending expected after zero-COVID ended never materialized. He also says that an increasingly hostile geopolitical environment under the Biden administration has made COVID recovery even more challenging.