The growing popular discontent over China’s “zero COVID” restrictions has now erupted into public protests in cities across the country. The unrest comes in response to a number of unrelated tragic incidents that have brought to the surface tensions surrounding lockdown-driven economic precarity among Chinese citizens.
As encouraging as the three-hour meeting between U.S. President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping was, it is but one stopping point in what promises to be a long and difficult road ahead for bilateral relations between the U.S. and China, especially against the backdrop of competition that characterizes the relationship.
Many observers have raised questions about whether Elon Musk’s cozy business ties to Chinese politicians will create conflicts of interest when it comes to how Twitter handles issues like account verification, data privacy and security, and content moderation to prohibit harassment campaigns against activists and dissidents.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken spoke by telephone Sunday, ahead of a possible meeting between President Xi Jinping and President Joe Biden. The two sides appear to be trying to lower the temperature on their relationship, which has recently been characterized by escalating tensions.