China’s Zero-COVID Policy Comes to Zero

Protests sprang out across Chinese cities in November 2022 as citizens protested harsh lockdowns with escalated surveillance that confined them at home and shuttered businesses.

Protests raged across many cities in China. Draconian lockdown restrictions in pursuit of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s zero-COVID policy had brought life to a standstill. People could not go out to do their jobs and make a living. They were hurting. Hence, they took to the streets.

Mass protests are highly uncommon in China. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) keeps a tight lid on society, using mass surveillance, incarceration and economic pressure on recalcitrant individuals. Hence, people are too cowed down to protest.

The current protests reveal the scale of disaffection in China. Xi’s zero-COVID policy has clearly failed. It has imposed economic setbacks and social suffering on millions of Chinese families. The CCP’s reputation for competence has taken a beating and so has Xi’s prestige.

Xi’s failed zero-COVID policy has implications for the rest of the world. It shows that supply chains reliant on China face major risks and vulnerabilities. Unsurprisingly, countries are now decreasing investment in China, sourcing imports from other countries and making their supply chains more resilient.

Atul Singh and Glenn Carle make sense of protests in China and what this means for Xi, the CCP and the country.

The views expressed in this article/video are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Fair Observer’s editorial policy.

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