China's 'soft power' takes a hit from Covid-19 policy

The key question for many is how long the country’s borders will remain closed while the rest of the world returns to a post-pandemic reality

China's ability to exercise its soft power on a number of fronts will continue to be severely constrained. PHOTO: REUTERS
New: Gift this subscriber-only story to your friends and family

The 19th edition of the China- Asean Expo (Caexpo) took place recently in Nanning, the capital city of the Guangxi autonomous region. I first attended this event in 2018 in my capacity as the Malaysian deputy minister for international trade and industry. It was my first official trip to China as a government official.

I was somewhat astounded when traffic was cleared for my official entourage for the 30-minute journey from the airport to the hotel. It was the same the following day for the five-minute ride from my hotel to the convention centre where the opening ceremony took place. I encountered similar VIP treatment as a representative of the Malaysian government at international trade fairs in Xiamen and Shanghai.

Already a subscriber? 

Read the full story and more at $9.90/month

Get exclusive reports and insights with more than 500 subscriber-only articles every month

Unlock these benefits

  • All subscriber-only content on ST app and

  • Easy access any time via ST app on 1 mobile device

  • E-paper with 2-week archive so you won't miss out on content that matters to you

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.