China demonstrates that a zero Covid policy fails. It is now the biggest threat to the world economy.

Although it may be hard to remember now, just over a year ago there were people in Britain who still advocated a zero covid strategy, not one to reduce infections to manageable levels, but one that sought to eliminate each and every case at through a constant mass. regular testing and incarceration of the population. It should have been obvious at the time where that would lead, but for those who’d rather wait for hard evidence from the real world, check out what’s happening now in China.

Virtually alone among countries, China has never given up on its dream of eliminating Covid, with the result that more lockdowns were announced this week. Six million people in the city of Guangzhou, Canton in ancient language, just 100 miles from Hong Kong, have been ordered to stay at home. Unless the country changes course quickly, there will be much more of this to come. Recorded covid cases in China, around 30,000 a day, are higher than they have been at any time during the pandemic.

Zero-Covid might have seemed clever for a moment, like New Year 2021, when many Western countries tried and failed to control Covid with late lockdowns, but the Chinese were allowed to celebrate the festival as almost normal. But that quickly faded once the West got vaccinated and the inevitable outbreaks continued to occur in China. It didn’t help that China’s vaccines were significantly inferior to those developed in the West.

In his obsessive attempt to show superiority over Western countries in handling a pandemic, Xi Jinping has doomed his country to relive 2020 for all eternity. If this policy continues, China will never return to normal. The World achieved great success in eliminating the smallpox virus, but eliminating an endemic coronavirus like SARS-CoV-2 is pointless; just ask the staff who worked for years at Britain’s defunct Common Cold Research Laboratory.

Never mind the Ukraine, never mind the gasoline shortage, Xi’s stubbornness is becoming the biggest threat to the global economy. For years, global economic growth has been driven by China, but not anymore. Guangzhou is a major producer of silicon chips, the shortage of which has already brought the auto industry nearly to its knees. After cutting ourselves off from Russian gas, we’ll have to start thinking about how we can live without Chinese electronics and other goods, if our importers don’t find their supply chains regularly broken due to repeated lockdowns.

But could covid zero spell the end for Xi Jinping himself? It takes a lot to persuade the Chinese to revolt: there is too much to lose, too little support. Yet Guangzhou this week has seen crowds pouring into the streets, overturning cars, throwing objects at police and chanting “no more evidence.”

At the height of Covid in Britain, Professor Neil Fergusson and a few other scientists declared themselves impressed by the way the British public had accepted serious restrictions on their freedoms, much more easily than they could have imagined. Briefly, it seemed that the whole world was turning Chinese, that authoritarianism was winning over freedom and, in particular, freedom of expression. But with China’s population undermined by a zero-covid policy now in its third year, the tables have turned. Authoritarian public health policies have not only proven ineffective, the Chinese people are responding with a rare massive defiance.

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