fredag 29. april 2022

China grapples with political challenges as Covid death toll mounts

For two years, China's Communist Party has enforced a costly regime of strict border quarantines, snap lockdowns, and mass digital tracking in the service of a single goal: Zero Covid cases. And Beijing points to the past successes of this strategy -- including only two reported Covid-related deaths for all of 2021 -- to burnish its claims of superiority over Western governments.

"No effort should be spared to attend every case, save every patient, and truly respect the value and dignity of every human life," Chinese leader Xi Jinping -- who has explicitly reiterated his support for the "zero-Covid" policy in recent weeks -- said at a global health summit last year.

Now, that picture is changing, as for the first time in nearly two years China's Covid death toll is rising on a daily basis, amid an outbreak in Shanghai that has seen the city of 25 million placed under a seemingly unending, stringent lockdown.