Translated by: MOS Writing Group II – James Zoebel

Though the pandemic is still spreading across the globe, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is hosting a forum to discuss the post-epidemic global governance. Yet, the glory days of Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) are long gone.

BFA 2021 takes place from April 18 to 21 in Boao, Hainan. The theme of this year is “Global Changes: Global Governance and Partnership in the ‘Belt & Road Initiative’. Under this theme, six panels will take place, including understanding China, making sense of global changes, Belt and Road cooperation, embracing industrial revolution, taking advantage of new technologies, and sharing development. Globalization in the post-epidemic era is the focus of the dialogue. Yili Group and AstraZeneca are the Diamond Partners for the Forum, while Wuliangye Group is an honorary strategic partner.

BFA is a non-governmental, non-profit international organization and the first international conference organization headquartered in China. Initiated in 1998 by former Philippine President Ramos, former Australian Prime Minister Hawke, and former Japanese Prime Minister Gosi Hosokawa, the Forum involves 29 countries and was established on February 27, 2001. BFA passed a series of documents, such as the Boao Forum for Asia Declaration, and the Guiding Principles of the Charter. Boao, Hainan is the permanent venue of the Forum headquarter. The year 2021 witnesses the 20th anniversary of BFA, and China’s accession to the WTO. (On November 15, 1999, China and the United States signed a bilateral agreement, a major step of entering WTO and a piece of exciting news for the entire country back then.)

BFA was suspended in 2020 due to the pandemic. Though this year’s forum takes place as usual, there were only two articles and six brief reports. On the first day of the meeting, two “major” events took place. First, Baodong Li, Secretary-General of BFA, Wu Lan, Deputy Secretary of Hunan Provincial Party Committee, Jianxin Zheng, Mayor of Changsha, Qide Chang, UN Coordinator in China, Weiyun Chen, UNHCR Acting Representative in China, and Tamas Hajba, OECD Senior Advisor for China, jointly announced a sideline conference under the BFA framework focusing on Global Economic Development and Security. The second “major” event features the publication of two reports, in both English and Chinese versions, Sustainable Development of Asia and the World, and Asian Economic Outlook and Integration Process.

In previous years, BFA has attracted government leaders, such as presidents, premiers, and top officials from CCP’s Politburo. Yet, this year Deputy Secretary of Hunan Provincial Party Committee has become quite a VIP at the forum. The two corporate partners are not doing well as well, with AstraZeneca vaccine being stopped completely in Denmark and Wuliangye struggling with its sales.

Author: Tao Hua Shui Mu

Reviewer: Xiaoxin


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