When the epidemic hit China, the Chinese government resolutely issued a “Zero-Covid” policy. They hope that this policy can push Covid out of the Mainland. However, “Zero-Covid” has not only shown its inefficiencies but also caused harm to the Chinese economy so far.
The situation could be described as a humanitarian disaster. People can’t leave their homes, many industries are closed, and unemployment is rampant.
The gloomy economy directly affects the Chinese business community. However, most do not dare to criticize the government except for one person.
According to the New York Times, Zhou Hang 周航, chairman of Cao Cao Travel 曹操出行, publicly criticized the “Zero-Covid” policy on social media. Zhou believes that the Zero-Covid policy is ridiculous, and this policy has made the business community afraid to invest in China. Instead, those businesses have grown abroad.
Zhou Hang, 49, is a successful man in the Chinese business world.
Taiwan’s Central News Agency (CNA) reported that, in 2010, he founded Yidao Yongche 易到用车, one of the earlier car rental companies. Yidao Yongche was a rival of Didi; however, it later failed.
Later, Zhou Hang published a book detailing his failure and became a best-selling author.
Zhou also co-runs an investment company in Beijing, Cao Cao Travel, as president.
Zhou Hang is currently permanently residing in Canada.
He said that in the past, young people with money on the Mainland often moved their assets abroad. Their family members also moved abroad. And they would stay in China to work because there are more opportunities here.
Nowadays, even the top talents of the Mainland are trying to move abroad.
In Zhou’s eyes, that is not a good sign.
Chinese-language media South Of Hope quoted Zhou Hang as saying that China was once the best market in the world, large and dynamic. The Mainland is full of entrepreneurs and workers who are ambitious and want to make money. But the ridiculous and destructive “Zero Covid” policy and the suppression of the business world have made many people rethink their lifestyles.
He said, “Even if you are the so-called giant, we are all like ants in the face of greater power, and we will be overthrown when the wind blows.”
“We’re all facing quarantine, we’re all going to get in the cabin, we’re all going to have the door open, we’re all the same ants,”… “If we choose to adapt and endure, in the end, the fate of all will be the same, there is no way out.”
He said all the business leaders he spoke to acknowledged that they don’t want to invest in China for the long term. They fear that they could become the next victim of the Chinese government’s iron fist. Instead, they focus on international business or pursue opportunities abroad.
According to New York Times, when Beijing locked down many areas in late April, Zhou Hang rushed to Vancouver and wrote an article. He urged his colleagues to speak up and change the state of helplessness.
In the article, he asks, “What causes the negative energy to spread in such a society? Who is responsible for this? And how to change it?”
He said that after the lockdowns in Shanghai and many other cities, people found out that wealth and social status meant nothing.
Not surprisingly, of course, his article was also censored. It disappeared within an hour of posting.
“Honestly, I’m scared, but if I don’t do anything, I’m just afraid I’ll regret it even more… Our country can’t go on like this. We can’t go on like this,” he said.
He said many people still express their dissatisfaction privately, but do not dare to say it publicly.
Not only that, in recent years, several articles and social media accounts published by Zhou Hang have been deleted. His friends were annoyed by his outspokenness. They asked him to keep quiet or else he would cause trouble everywhere.
But, Zhou Hang could not remain silent, for he feared China would return to the days of poverty and oppression under Mao Zedong as president.
He said that the success of his generation of entrepreneurs is mainly due to China’s reform and opening-up policy. They are responsible for leading the reform, not waiting for a free ride.
Zhou said, “any change begins with disagreement and disobedience.”