søndag 16. oktober 2022

China congress: Xi Jinping doubles down on zero-Covid as meeting opens

China's President Xi Jinping signalled there would be no immediate loosening of his controversial zero-Covid strategy as a historic Communist Party congress opened in Beijing. In a break in decades-long tradition, delegates are likely to hand Mr Xi a third term as party chief.

Zero-Covid was a "people's war to stop the spread of the virus", he said. The policy has saved lives, but also exacted a punishing toll on the Chinese people and economy. There is increasing public fatigue over lockdowns and travel restrictions. Beijing has come under strict security measures ahead of the congress, sparking frustration in the city with a rare and dramatic public protest on Thursday criticising Mr Xi and zero Covid.

Mr Xi also addressed the issue of Taiwan - which China claims as part of its territory. Self-governing Taiwan sees itself as distinct from the mainland. Speaking slowly and deliberately, he said Beijing would "never promise to renounce the use of force" and that "complete reunification of our country must and will be realised", prompting sustained applause from delegates.