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China postponed large annual meeting due to emerging coronavirus

UNITED STATES (OBSERVATORY NEWS) — China has indefinitely postponed Monday its parliament’s annual meeting due to the emerging Corona virus, in a rare change in the Chinese system’s events that are organized and normally run smoothly.

The National People’s Assembly was scheduled to open on the fifth of March as every year, in one of the meetings that highlight the country’s unity with the red flags in which it is raised and the decisions that are almost unanimously taken.

However, the appearance of the new Corona virus, which has infected nearly 77,000 people and killed 2,500 infected people, has changed the schedule.

State television quoted the People’s Assembly Standing Committee as saying that the new date for the meeting will be announced later. The decision to postpone was expected since last week, when a proposal was presented in particular.

It seemed that gathering three thousand deputies in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing is out of the question while a part of the country remains under quarantine and while a large part of the Chinese live under strict quarantine measures or are hiding in their homes for fear of infection and do not leave them without masks.

In the capital, a 14-day quarantine is also imposed on every person who comes to Beijing from another region of the country. The person spent this period at home or in the hotel.

Parliamentary official Zhang Xiaoyi admitted last week that postponing this year’s session was “necessary” in order to “focus attention on preventing and controlling the epidemic.”

In the wake of the turmoil of the “Cultural Revolution” (1966-1976), the meetings of this assembly have been held annually since 1978.

Since 1985, the association has held in March, while the date of the fifth of March in 1998 was chosen as a symbol of the stability of the regime that celebrated its seventy years of last year.

What about growth? –

However, a professor at the University of California, Irvine-America, Dorothy Solinger, indicated that the virus would have disrupted the message the system wanted to deliver through this annual meeting. “How can the inevitably optimistic message (…) be presented about the progress and achievements of the country amid the existing suspicion?” She told France Press.

And considered that the postponement of the session allows the system to say that it “dedicates its efforts to fighting the virus and that he has no time to organize the meeting at the current stage.”

Although the major decisions to be presented to the assembly have already been taken by the Communist Party of China, the annual session opens the way for some announcements along the lines of the target of economic growth set for this year.

At the opening session of last year, Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang announced a growth rate between 6 percent and 6.5 percent of gross domestic product for 2019. The outcome was 6.1 percent.

Growth may experience a steep decline in 2020 due to a severe economic slowdown about a month ago due to the spread of the virus.

The International Monetary Fund Director, Kristalina Georgieva, confirmed on Saturday that the latest estimates of the Fund expect growth of 5.6% for China in 2020, a decrease of 0.4 from January’s estimates.

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