Xi's zero-Covid dilemma + China's new friend Slovenia
Xi Jinping faces a dilemma. The People's Republic struggles with the Omicron wave, and Xi's course is: zero-Covid. But the weeks-long lockdowns jeopardize economic growth. International companies have already announced plans to withdraw investments. And resentment among the people is rising. There have even been street protests in some areas. Xi, however, cannot back down, analyzes Michael Radunski. By now, he is so closely tied to the zero-Covid policy that he will lose face should he change his strategy.
In many Western democracies, holding on to such a controversial strategy would be political suicide. But not so in China. Instead, lower cadres are blamed for the Covid mess. Xi Jinping, on the other hand, seems untouchable. This puts Western companies deeper and deeper into a predicament: Given the long-term market potential, they want to hold out, but the situation is often becoming personally unbearable.
Slovenia has pestered China over the past few months. Under Prime Minister Janez Janša, the EU state had moved closer to Taiwan, at least verbally. Naturally, this left Beijing angered. But the shift away from China could soon come to an end, analyzes Amelie Richter. Janša was voted out of office. His successor, Robert Golob, is likely to pursue a more China-friendly course – especially in economic policy.