But because the local authorities turned off the lights, production almost stopped in mid-December.
Ma Hairu, who works for a manufacturer that produces paper decorations during Christmas and New Year, said his factory is trying to meet demand because they can only work for half a day. He said: “We have a lot of orders, but there is not enough time to complete them.”
Officials in Zhejiang Province, China are striving to meet the five-year energy consumption target set by the central government, which will expire on December 31. Earlier this month, a local directive instructed companies to stop elevators below the third floor and only use heating when the outside temperature is below 3 degrees Celsius (37 degrees Fahrenheit).
“No shortage of electricity [in Zhejiang]. Some parts of the province have taken measures on their own to restrict electricity consumption in order to save energy and reduce emissions. “The Secretary-General of the National Development and Reform Commission Zhao Chenxin said.
Efforts to reduce energy consumption have destroyed millions of lives. In Yiwu, a city with one million people, even though the daytime temperature is about 1
Zhejiang’s sudden reduction in electricity consumption highlights the strength and traps of China’s political system. Although the Communist Party can make ambitious commitments to cut carbon emissions, the vigorous implementation of the targets may pay a price to the people who ultimately benefit them.
Some people accused the Yiwu government of ticking a political report card at the expense of public safety.
After strong online opposition, officials turned on some lights again. A government hotline operator told CNN on Wednesday: “The lights have only been turned off for a few days. Now most of the lights have been turned on.”
But other restrictions still exist. Yin Mingfei, the manager of a cafe in a shopping center in the city’s central business district, said the heating has been turned off for nearly two weeks and the electronic advertising billboards and escalators are not working.
The city’s factories and workshops had already been hit by the coronavirus pandemic earlier this year, and when they received a large number of orders, they were ordered to reduce or stop production.
For Liu Lei, December is the busiest time of the year. He and his wife opened a small workshop in the suburbs of Yiwu to prepare red envelopes for the Lunar New Year.But he was ordered to work for two days and take two days off until the end of the year Save electricity.
“Of course it affects [on my business] Big. Liu said: “The order for red envelopes is hot, but I can’t do it, so I have to refuse.”
Goal-oriented political culture
There have been similar disputes in the past-on a larger scale, even months. In 2010, the last year of China’s “Eleventh Five-Year Plan”, Zhejiang and six other provinces introduced measures to restrict electricity consumption.
Trey McArver, a partner at Beijing-based consulting firm Trivium, said: “This is common in China. This is the result of a goal-oriented political culture.”
Without democratic elections, most Chinese officials would climb the political career ladder in a performance-based evaluation system, in which economic growth, social stability, and increasing environmental protection as the goals play an important role in their promotion opportunities.
Under Xi Jinping’s authoritarian rule, local officials are under greater pressure-suppressed by the central government-to meet Beijing’s policy goals, such as those set out in China’s five-year plan.
The five-year plan is the legacy of China’s economic command during Mao Zedong’s era. These highest-level policy blueprints set out the country’s social and economic development goals for a period of time in the future. The 13th Five-Year Plan covers 2016 to 2020.
The province only allows the consumption of coal equivalent to 23.8 million tons It will be higher than 2015 levels by 2020, but there are signs that it is used too much.
Consultant McCaffer said that the problem with goals is that officials often have to face more than one person, and they don’t always complement each other. He said: “The final battle to achieve these goals here is because local officials have so far focused on other goals,” he said, such as GDP growth, employment and government revenue.
Analysts said that the shutdown due to the coronavirus initially helped achieve emission targets, but the economic recovery enthusiasm made it shrink. Li Shuo, Greenpeace’s senior climate policy adviser in East Asia, said that China has recovered rapidly from the pandemic and relies heavily on energy-intensive heavy industries.
For manufacturers in Yiwu, orders surged after the summer and output rebounded. But this proved to be short-lived.
Jack Ma, who makes and sells holiday decorations, said this has been a particularly difficult year for business, first because of the pandemic, and now because of power restrictions.
He said: “Our previous income exceeded 1 million yuan (US$150,000), but because of all the disruptions this year, we really don’t know how much money we can make.”