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Volunteers in protective suits prepare to disinfect a residential compound in Shanghai.

REUTERS

That April night, they died in Shanghai

Since Shanghai's 26 million residents started a grueling lockdown on March 28, I have been checking social media more often. On April 13, I opened Weibo, aka China’s Twitter, and browsed to see what was happening in Shanghai, and I came across a piece of news that was going viral.

A Chinese health official named Wenxiong Qian had killed himself in his office.

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China's Unanticipated COVID Problem | GZERO World

China's big problem isn’t Ukraine — it’s COVID

Everyone's talking a lot about China these days, mostly related to China's problematic position on Russia's war in Ukraine.

But China's big problem is at home with COVID, according to Melinda Liu, Beijing bureau chief for Newsweek.

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China Isn't Budging on Zero-COVID | Quick Take | GZERO Media

China isn't budging on zero-COVID

Ian Bremmer's Quick Take: Hi everybody, Ian Bremmer here. And yes, we are seven weeks into the war, but we also have real problems in containing COVID in China.

In the United States and the rest of the developed world, everyone's saying, "We're done with COVID. We don't want to wear masks anymore. We want to get our lives back." But in China, the zero-COVID policy means that they've got still major lockdowns. In particular, in Shanghai, the largest city in China, which is now entering a second week of lockdown. And record numbers of cases in Shanghai, nothing close to the numbers of cases you were seeing in the United States or in Europe, but in China -- where very few people have gotten COVID, and so there's no natural immunity, vaccines don't work very well and the hospitals would get overwhelmed very quickly if they were just going to let COVID rip -- understandable that they are extremely nervous about these small numbers and as a consequence, they're locking down the entire city.

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A police officer in PPE keeps watch at an entrance to a tunnel under COVID-19 lockdown in Shanghai, China.

REUTERS/Aly Song

Will China pass its biggest COVID test?

COVID-19 case numbers in mainland China have surged to their highest levels since the disease first appeared, posing the biggest test yet for Beijing’s stringent containment policies. Shanghai, the country's largest city, is now under the biggest urban lockdown since early 2020. Also, a recent outbreak that spiraled out of control in Hong Kong, with its scenes of COVID-19 patients on gurneys in hospital parking lots, highlights the stakes for mainland authorities. The timing couldn’t be worse for Xi Jinping, who is preparing to seek a norm-breaking third term as China’s president later this year. We spoke with Eurasia Group expert Allison Sherlock to get a better understanding of how the situation is likely to play out.

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