China censures its economists in name of zero covid policy

Several renowned Chinese specialists have seen their accounts on social networks deleted after pointing the finger at the consequences of the country’s health strategy.


China does not like birds of misfortune, nor the outspokenness of its economists. Hao Hong, one of the most famous Chinese analysts, left his post in one of the major state banks in the country, a few days after the censorship of his public accounts on Chinese social networks WeChat and Weibo. Regularly quoted by foreign media, including Le Monde, Hao Hong knew how to explain the strengths and weaknesses of the Chinese economy, but did not hesitate to underline the inconsistencies of official statistics.

Based in Hongkong, he was also present on Twitter, a censored social network in China, where he sometimes lets see the bottom of his thought: “Shanghai, zero movement, zero GDP”, says one of his latest publications , March 31. While the government’s zero covid policy suffers the economy, the authorities seem to tolerate the slightest divergent opinion less and less on this subject. The Weibo account of Hao Hong, which had 3 million subscribers, disappeared on Saturday April 30, while his WeChat account was blocked, suspected of having “violated the rules” of the platform.


Contacted, the former research director of Bocom International Holdings, a brokerage subsidiary of the State Bank, only said he left his position for “for personal reasons”. But the economist, who had joined Bocom in 2012, is far from being the only one in this case: in recent weeks, the Weibo accounts of Fu Peng, principal economist at Northeast Securities, of Dan Bin, director of Shenzhen Oriental Harbor Investment , and from Wu Yuefeng, fund manager at Funding Capital, in Beijing, were all suspended for “offense to laws and regulations”.

The zero covid strategy imposed with an iron fist by Beijing is more and more expensive on China: most financial institutions have revised their forecasts down for growth 2022, between 4 % and 4.5 %, far from the official 5.5 % target set in early March. While Shanghai has undergone strict confinement for six weeks, the anger of the inhabitants rumbles, but censorship watches.

Wang Sicong, the son of the real estate tycoon Wang Jianlin, a former richest man in China, also saw his Weibo account censored for criticizing the massive appeal to Chinese medicine to treat the COVVI-19- Treatments whose efficiency is not proven, but which enrich certain local health officials. Thursday, April 28, the Chinese stock market association, which depends on the stock market regulator, published a press release calling for its members to prudence: “As public figures, the words and acts of financial analysts are widely followed”, writes the ‘ Association, warning against “inappropriate” comments.

/Media reports.