Just months after reports emerged of a novel coronavirus spreading in central China, our world, and all of our individual worlds, have been transformed by what has become a terrifying pandemic. Governments around the globe are taking unprecedented steps to restrict movement and limit social contact among their populations to contain the virus’s spread. Growing numbers of the world’s inhabitants are now living in either voluntary or imposed isolation, or preparing to.
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Chinese President Xi Jinping toured Wuhan last week in what amounted to a victory lap, triumphantly walking through production facilities and industrial sectors in the city that was the coronavirus pandemic’s Ground Zero when it emerged in December 2019. Xi’s visit was significant for two key, if distinct, reasons. One was to inspect “Optics Valley,” a burgeoning technology hub that symbolizes China’s ambitions to develop home-grown innovation and boost self-reliance. As with many of his visits to manufacturing facilities and incubators for critical technology sectors across China, Xi took photos with key personnel at the manufacturing sites and spoke about [...]
A growing number of Chinese middle- and upper-class citizens are seeking to emigrate, citing disillusionment with Beijing’s heavy-handed “Zero COVID” pandemic restrictions. The sense of despair and desperation driving their planned departures stand in contrast to the overwhelming sense of optimism that characterized public sentiment during China’s rise as a global power over the past two decades. On the Chinese social media platform WeChat, search entries for the word “immigration” increased more than fourfold between early and mid-April, the Economist reported. “It’s like an alarm bell has gone off,” said Miranda Wang, a Chinese videographer based in Shanghai, where a seven-week [...]
A number of prominent economists and business leaders are sounding the alarm over China’s “zero COVID” coronavirus strategy, painting a gloomy outlook for China’s economy. The government-imposed extended lockdowns and isolation periods to stamp out every outbreak of the virus in cities around the country are creating economic uncertainties and casting doubt on Beijing’s ability to reach its target of 5.5 percent economic growth in 2022. Beijing’s continued ambiguity regarding its position on the conflict in Ukraine, in which it professes to be neutral, is also worsening its already tense relationship with the U.S., while straining ties with the European Union. [...]