Why China isn’t backing down on its zero-Covid strategy

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CNBC International

Thanks to its zero tolerance for Covid-19 cases, China was the only major economy to grow in 2020.

While the rest of the world battled wave after wave of coronavirus, China’s sealed borders, rigorous testing and strict quarantine policies let life for most people proceed as usual. China’s approach became a source of national pride.

“The success of the strategy has sustained a very low level of infection in comparison to the failure of the liberal democracies, including the United States,” said Yanzhong Huang of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Now, a major outbreak in China’s most populous city, Shanghai, has threatened to change all that, with signs that public discontent is growing. While official figures show that deaths have been very low in Shanghai, there is reason to distrust the official figures, and it underscores the seriousness of the situation, Gabriel Wildau of Teneo told CNBC.

So, how long can China maintain its strict Covid policies? And what matters most to the Chinese government?


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