Beijing has launched severe control measures under the zero-epidemic policy, which has triggered public anger and caused business disruption.
At the 2022 Global and Chinese Economy and Policy Outlook conference on May 14, a well-known speaker presented a different view.
Li Daokui, a well-known Chinese economist from Tsinghua University, claimed that controlling the epidemic does not mean talking about GDP, economic development, or currency but increasing the average life expectancy of the people.
Li praised China’s zero Covid strategies and noted that the outstanding achievement of the past two years is that the policy helped extend the average life expectancy for each person by ten days, an average of five days per year.
Li Daokui’s remarks sparked an online backlash. Some questioned how Li’s ten-day life expectancy was calculated, and some even mocked his opinion.
Li has served as a member of the Monetary Policy Committee of the People’s Bank of China. He is currently the head of the Department of Finance at the School of Economics and Management of Tsinghua University and the Freeman Chair of Economics at Tsinghua University.
But research from the West has reached a different conclusion from Li.
According to the World Economic Forum, a study found that the COVID pandemic reduced life expectancy in 2020 by the most significant amount since World War 2.
Life expectancy dropped by more than six months compared with 2019 in 22 of 29 countries studied.
Another study from a Johns Hopkins University professor also found that lockdowns, closing schools, and limiting gatherings reduced Covid mortality by 0.2 percent at enormous economic and social costs.
The research pointed out that the original coronavirus lockdowns had little or no effect on Covid death tolls in the U.S., UK, and Europe.