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China’s zero-COVID cannot continue, reopening is needed


Unsure of how to loosen rules, local officials have doubled down on severe restrictions behind so much economic damage. Reopening will quell public anger.

When President Xi Jinping was seen unmasked at the G20 summit in Indonesia, he maintained a largely positive tone with President Joe Biden and other world leaders. This left an impression that China was on the verge of withdrawing its zero-COVID strategy.

A set of loosening policy measures introduced by Beijing seemed to further suggest that China was on track to reopen. As outlined in the 20th party congress, Xi wants to forge a pathway towards economic modernization and this means building economic resilience and a further increase in household incomes.

However, a series of displays of public defiance against the government’s zero-COVID policy has left the rest of the world perplexed. Some loosening of restrictions announced on 11 November by the central government, with the number of new cases still rising rapidly, left the provincial governments in confusion as to which direction to turn.

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