Ban on China's wet markets counterproductive response to coronavirus pandemic
Updated: Apr 8, 2020
The Australian Financial Review published an opinion article by me today arguing that pressuring Beijing to ban China's so-called "wet markets" would be counterproductive.
The article was in response to the growing chorus of politicians and media commentators calling for the World Health Organisation and national governments to pressure Beijing to ban the markets in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
I argue that rather than calling for the closure of the wet markets, the international community should find ways to work with Beijing to improve health and hygiene standards of the markets. I say that closure of the markets will not succeed given their deep cultural and social roots and economic conditions across China. I point out that much can be learned from other East Asian markets like Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore and South Korea, which have similar markets but stricter health and hygiene regimes.