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COVID Zeroes In on Xi Jinping | PUPPET REGIME | GZERO Media

COVID zeroes in on Xi Jinping

The Chinese president thinks his zero-COVID policy can stamp out the disease entirely until a rude awakening changes everything.


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British PM Boris Johnson looking puzzled.

Leon Neal via Reuters

What We're Watching: Confidence in Boris, Shanghai reopens, chicken inflation

The Boris vote is coming

Following last week’s Gray report, findings from an investigation into allegations that Boris Johnson attended lockdown-violating social events during the pandemic, it seemed that the UK prime minister might avoid a vote of no-confidence in his leadership of the Conservative Party. But a clumsy response — Johnson claims the report “vindicated” him — and resulting criticism this week from members of his party suggest the vote is coming, perhaps as soon as next week. Here are the basics: It would take a formal request from 54 Tory MPs to force a vote and a simple majority of 180 Tories to oust him. For now, it appears the vote would be close. A narrow victory would leave him a diminished figure, but he could survive in power until a national election in 2024. A loss would create a wide-open, two-month contest to lead the party forward. The vote may wait until after a pair of crucial parliamentary by-elections on June 23. A loss for Conservatives in both those votes might seal Johnson’s fate.

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


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 Discontent & the Russia Distraction | Beijing Bureau Chief Melinda Liu | GZERO World

China’s discontent & the Russia distraction: Beijing bureau chief Melinda Liu

The relationship between Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping is a "marriage of convenience," Newsweek's Beijing bureau chief Melinda Liu tells Ian Bremmer in a GZERO World interview. "They've known each other a long time, so it's not entirely awkward, but it's not entirely comfortable either. There's ... not a lot of trust."

But according to Liu, Xi's biggest problem right now is not Putin, but China’s zero-COVID policy - which now has 26 million people under lockdown in Shanghai. China is facing a challenge they never saw coming — and that "hits right to the soul."

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Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine Marks the End of Globalization for Russia | World In :60 | GZERO Media

End of globalization for Russia

Who poisoned Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich? Does Russia's invasion of Ukraine mark the end of globalization? Will Shanghai's lockdown begin to shift China away from its zero-COVID policy? Ian Bremmer shares his insights on global politics this week on World In :60.

First, who poisoned Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich?

Yeah, it's quite a story involved in the Russia-Ukrainian negotiations, and apparently claimed that he was poisoned. And it's interesting, he is, of course, a very well-known Russian oligarch. He's made his billions of dollars, purely because of the support and alignment with President Putin. And he has been fairly public in his concern with opposition to the war. Indeed, one of the reasons why some of the sanctions have been more limited against him than they would've been is because Zelensky, the Ukrainian President, reached out to the Biden administration and said, "This guy's actually being useful to us, and so it would be, you don't want to hit him too hard." And clearly, the Kremlin is angry about that. And so, I have no intelligence at all about who would've been responsible for his poisoning, but if it happened, the list from the Kremlin would be as long as my arm.

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How China Decides to Handle Omicron Will Have Global Implications – Yanzhong Huang | GZERO World

How China decides to handle omicron will have global implications – Yanzhong Huang

The arrival of omicron could be disastrous for China, Yanzhong Huang, senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations, tells Ian Bremmer in a GZERO World interview.

Xi Jinping's zero-COVID approach faces its toughest test to date; the country lacks mRNA jabs which are more effective against the new variant, and so few Chinese people have gotten COVID that overall protection is very low.

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What We’re Watching: COVID Olympics, US-China business dilemma, China and the US midterms

COVID at the Games. The Beijing Winter Olympics, which begin on Friday, will be the most serious test to date of China's zero-COVID policy. President Xi Jinping wants to make a big international splash with the Games, as his predecessor did with the Beijing Summer Olympics in 2008. That'll be tough with stadiums only half-full with domestic spectators pre-screened by the Communist Party, and no foreign fans allowed to attend at all. To avoid an outbreak at the Olympic Village, China initially imposed strict testing and quarantine policies for everyone attending the Games. But it’s possible that the CCP is having at least some doubts about this policy's ability to contain the omicron variant: Only days out from the inauguration ceremony, authorities have relaxed testing and isolation guidelines, signaling a slight pivot in China's pandemic management strategy. Does this mean the Olympics will be the beginning of the end of zero COVID? China's economy — and the world's — would surely benefit from a transition to living with the virus. Beijing says it is developing its own mRNA vaccines to achieve this, but that could still be many months away.

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COVID Immunity Gap Could Spell Disaster for China — Global Health Expert | GZERO World

COVID immunity gap could spell disaster for China — global health expert

China’s homegrown COVID vaccines were once crucial — but they're not as effective against omicron as mRNA jabs.

What's more, with with local cases near zero for the better part of the pandemic, most Chinese have no natural immunity. That could spell disaster for Beijing as omicron surges.

Yanzhong Huang, senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations, warns that the highly transmissible new variant will make zero COVID harder and harder to sustain.

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