A group of European ambassadors to China has alerted Beijing to the “consequences” of maintaining its zero-Covid policy, calling on authorities to ease rules that prevent face-to-face meetings to avoid misunderstandings.
China was drifting apart from the rest of the world due to its hardline restrictions on international travel, said Swiss ambassador Bernardino Regazzoni.
The number of Swiss students in China was practically zero at the moment, he told an offline round table forum held by the Centre for China and Globalisation think tank in Beijing on Monday.
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China’s lockdowns and on-off economy had also caused large losses for Swiss companies and raised questions about the future, making it more challenging for them to decide on new investments in the world’s No2 economy.
I hope our Chinese partners understand that self-isolation will end up harming China in the first place and the rest of the world
“After three years of zoom meetings, we are aware of the urgency to move back to meeting in person,” he said. “One cannot pursue globalisation and total control at the same time. It is either-or. I hope our Chinese partners understand that self-isolation will end up harming China in the first place and the rest of the world.”
He said it was indisputable that the zero-Covid policy had “consequences”.
Face-to-face communication would help reduce international tensions, according to Regazzoni.
“I bet that half of the misunderstanding could be dampened by the resumption of in-person diplomacy out of artificial settings and bubbles,” he said.
His remarks were echoed by Norway’s ambassador Signe Brudeset, who said the number of Norwegians living in China today was also astonishingly low, though…