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For three years, the Chinese government presented its strict Covid rules to its 1.4 billion citizens as an act of benevolence. For years, the people of China endured everything that Beijing’s zero-Covid decree demanded, without much resistance.
To them, it must now seem grotesque at best that the hardships of the lockdowns of the past years have been completely in vain and that benevolence apparently no longer plays a role. Because in the coming weeks and months, hundreds of thousands of them will die with the virus after the government has decided to make a 180-degree turnaround, as Fabian Kretschmer reports from Beijing.
The West also had to accept inevitable casualties. But they did not bet everything on one card for years. China, of all countries, which constantly portrayed itself as the winner of the Covid pandemic, faces uncertain months. The pandemic’s ground zero has now come full circle. The Chinese healthcare system is at risk of collapse. This would be a major political blow to Xi Jinping.
Meanwhile, a small town in the German state of Brandenburg is looking forward to Chinese millions. A battery recycler from Suzhou wants to invest in a greenfield site in the town of Guben. “Apparently”, the company is very successful in China, according to Guben’s local politicians. Well, even appearances open doors. Which perfectly describes one of the great trump cards of Chinese strategy.
On a final note, Amelie Richter will moderate the last China.Table event of the year on Wednesday (10:30 a.m. CET). Our guests will discuss how the influence and reputation of the People’s Republic fares in Central and Eastern Europe. Which state could be next to withdraw from the 17+1 cooperative? And is the EU doing enough to avoid losing the Western Balkans to China? Click here to participate.
Covid tsunami catches China unprepared
The situation in Beijing shows how unprepared the government opened the country. The last bastion of zero-Covid has become the world’s largest Covid hotspot in only a few days. Media rightly describe the Covid wave in China as a “raging tsunami”. It has built up extremely quickly and considerably damages the economy and society.
The political fallout from the rushed opening will now cause considerable problems for the leadership around CP General Secretary Xi Jinping. After all, it portrayed itself as the protector of the people against the Coronavirus. Even careful estimates predict that hundreds of thousands of people will die with the virus in the coming weeks and months (China.Table reported).
High sickness rate in the capital
In hospitals from Beijing and Chengdu to Guangzhou, the first signs of a health disaster are emerging. Doctors are forced to go to work Covid-positive in order to keep things running. Even this cannot prevent hour-long waiting lines outside emergency rooms. In Wuhan, of all places, the situation is so critical that one hospital gives patients intravenous infusions in parked cars on the side of the road.