beijing [China]May 14 (ANI): Following the country’s most severe outbreaks, Chinese Premier Xi Jinping has dealt another blow to China’s already crippled economy by doubling down on his “zero-Covid policy” in an attempt to contain the rise COVID-19 infections.
Xi’s renewed commitment to zero COVID highlights his willingness not to prioritize economic growth in favor of political and social issues he sees as more pressing, The Diplomat reported.
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Xi Jinping has put his personal stamp on China’s zero Covid strategy, with state media often reporting that he has “personally commanded and arranged” for the country’s fight against the pandemic.
Strict and frequent shutdowns continue to fuel public discontent as China’s economy takes a hit.
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Initiatives where Xi has sacrificed growth have been facilitated by a clear socio-political rationale, strong stakeholder support and a stable economy. But zero-covid is now increasingly unable to depend on such favorable conditions, as the virus has become less deadly but more contagious, support for politics has waned and the health of China’s economy appears to be rapidly deteriorating.
If activity remains depressed over the next one or two quarters, the economic and social effects will begin to be felt much more acutely, The Diplomat reported, citing local Chinese media reports.
It is precisely this kind of politically destabilizing scenario that Xi must avoid and which could ultimately force him to change course on zero COVID.
In April, China’s service sector, which accounts for more than half of the country’s GDP and more than 40% of its jobs, contracted at the second-fastest rate on record, while the manufacturing sector also shrank, reported CNN.
As Omicron spreads to other parts of China, more local governments are imposing rapid shutdowns in response to just a handful of cases. Since April 20, Beijing has reported more than 500 cases. Many fear a Shanghai-style lockdown as authorities roll out more restrictions. (ANI)
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