The exit of the Zero-Covid policy in China was not the cause of the rampant spread of the virus, or triggered by the protests, but was already spreading unstoppable for a longer time, according to the World Health Organization, writes Reuters. WHO’s emergency director Mike Ryan described the end of the zero-Covid policy as an unavoidable strategic decision on Wednesday 14 December.
Strategic analyst Victor Shih, author of Coalitions of the Weak, (2022), looks at China’s sudden exit from its contested zero-Covid policy. Was it because of the protests, was it planned before, and what does it mean for the country’s domestic policies and economics? A discussion at the New Yorker on how decisions at the top-level take place.
One of China’s leading health experts, Zhong Nanshan, expects China to return to normal after Covid-19 halfway 2023, according to AFP. After the surprise turnaround in early December from the zero-Covid policy, the country is now bracing for a dramatic upsurge in patients, both under quarantine at home and in the hospitals because the Omicron variant is highly transmissible but less mortal, he told state media on Sunday 11 December.
Leading economist Arthur Kroeber, author of China’s Economy: What Everyone Needs to Know®, discusses how China’s leadership balances between control and economic growth, looking at the zero-Covid policies and the property crisis at the Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies and the Harvard Kennedy School Rajawali Foundation Institute for Asia.
When even an acknowledged China bull like strategic analyst Shaun Rein turns negative on its short-term economic development, things do not look well for the middle kingdom. “Consumer confidence has brutally collapsed and I think investors need to think twice or maybe even three or four times before investing in China right now,” says Rein in the Economic Times.
China analyst Victor Shih, author of Coalitions of the Weak, discusses with Bill Bishop and Cindy Yu at China Whispers on how the move from collective leadership to a centralized power might change policies in China after the 20th Communist Party Conference including the current line-up of the leadership, zero-covid and Taiwan.
Political analyst Ian Johnson looks at the results of the now-closed meeting of the Chinese Communist Party. Technically Xi Jinping might be called China’s most powerful man, but that makes him also more vulnerable, and puts him on the firing line, writes Johnson on the Council of Foreign Relations.
The German government has become much more assertive about the country’s wheeling and dealing with China. Veteran China lawyer Mark Schaub visited over the past few weeks Berlin and Munich and felt the pulse of the German business communities toward China, he reports in his China Chit-chat. “Politicians in Germany have limited ability to influence or pressure German business. Consumers can be upset … but will become upset about something else 5 minutes later,” he writes.