Wednesday (April 6th): Xi’s ‘Zero Covid’ Policy

Xi Jinping

Name? Xi Jinping

Westphalian identity? Chinese

Age? 68

Why is he in the news? Chinese President Xi Jinping’s zero-Covid strategy for China has come under pressure lately as the country extended the city-wide lockdown for the 25 million metropole Shanghai indefinitely. 

Why do we care? At the beginning of the pandemic, the zero-Covid strategy seemed to work well and Xi seemed to win the struggle for supremacy between the Western and Chinese systems. But now, he faces increasing backlash as many are unable to buy food or receive medical treatment … His main problem is the lack of an exit strategy. The Chinese population is mostly vaccinated. Their vaccine, however, is Sinovac, which is not effective against the Omicron variant. Xi now faces a situation in which 1,3 billion Chinese do not have artificial immune protection against Covid and, due to the zero-Covid strategy, neither a natural immune protection; a recipe for a catastrophe.

Why should you care? The same reason you should always care about China, supply chain disruptions. As Shanghai has the biggest port in the world with many factories in its surroundings, effects on global shipping will be felt in 6 weeks’ time. So you should care 10/10 about supply chains. 

Who else cares? Carrie Lam, leader of Hong Kong. Lucky for Xi, the news surrounding Covid-19 in Shanghai and how Xi’s government is handling such an outbreak has allowed other news to go unnoticed. Carrie Lam will “not be seeking” a second term in office. Her handling of the anti-extradition bill protests in 2019 was disappointing to Xi, and cost him prestige in the hearts of Hong Kong people.  

Any further comments? The first EU-China Summit in nearly two years took place virtually last week between Beijing and Brussels. The ‘dialogue of the death’ clearly did not accomplish either side’s goals going into the Summit as the EU has sided more closely with the US while Xi still backs Putin.


The shared Account of RAIA members and Alumni