A new era of globalization without China

The epidemic has taught us that China's time as factory to the world is well overdue

(Getty Image photo)

(Getty Image photo)

The United States and Japan are calling on their nation’s companies to leave China and return home, in the process proposing that China pays for the moving costs. This appears to suggest that the era of "Made in China" is officially over and a major reshuffle of the global supply chain is in the works.

A shorter and more localized supply chain is expected in the new era of globalization – without China as the world's factory. This break with the past has not come from nowhere and was not simply triggered by the Wuhan virus outbreak.

Actually, the U.S.-China trade war that started two years ago paved the way for change, though it has to some extent been complicated by resistance from politicians across the world favoring closer ties with China, plus China's growing influence at the United Nations, with its carrot and stick approach.

People with their eyes open have come to realize that the "Belt and Road Initiative" is exporting goods and ideas that facilitate authoritarian rule in authoritarian states. "Made in China 2025" is just another way of spreading Chinese fascism, this time digital, to all corners of the world. No wonder it resembles the "politburo" in George Orwell's novel "1984."

Despite all the bad things that China's novel coronavirus (COVID-19) brought, there is one thing that is worth applauding: It has been a wake-up call to the world, which is now realizing just how deceitful, dishonest and irresponsible the Chinese Communist Party really is.

The CCP has for many years been well versed in the subterfuge of cover-ups and political chicanery, which has prompted several international companies to leave the country.

Today, Republicans and Democrats in the U.S. have united and achieved a bipartisan consensus around its China policy. Given the rapid spread of COVID-19 and the large number of faulty test kits and masks provided by China, many European countries have become new victims of the CCP’s deceptive practices.

For example, Ireland issued an ultimatum to China last week after 20 percent of the £176 million (NT$6.63 billion) of protective gear it had procured from China was found to be unusable by healthcare workers. As a result, it is looking at boosting the country’s ability to manufacture locally, instead of relying on China.

Even though the CCP has begun an audacious global propaganda campaign to try and reframe the coronavirus narrative and to avoid taking responsibility for its actions, certain Western politicians still back the regime. Even so, more individuals and countries around the world are now aware of the true nature of the communist regime.

Taiwan, on the other hand, is widely hailed as a role model in the fight against COVID-19 and is thanked for donating medical supplies to the needy around the world. This democracy shows compassion for other countries struggling with the disease.

Taiwan’s benevolence is not just a single event, however, but the norm. Over the past few decades, Taiwan has been dispatching thousands of medical professionals to developing countries and helping those who cannot afford first class medical care and treatment. Some of these medical professionals represent the government, while others serve on behalf of religious groups or non-profit organizations.

Kindness pays off, it's only a matter of time.

This epidemic can be seen as a test of humanity. Countries around the world will learn who has integrity, and who does not. Politicians and people from all walks of life will also find that it's not enough to restore order simply by doing fact checking, or "ethics checks," before engaging with other countries.

China and Taiwan exemplify opposing belief systems and these have completely different consequences. China’s diminishing role in globalization is becoming a matter of fact – and it’s not before time.

Yang Sen-hong is a human rights activist and public health expert.