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    How Can The Policy Implementations Change The Course For Government In China Amidst Protests?

    Currently, China is seeing widespread protests since November 25th, 2022. The demonstrations strengthened and quadrupled on November 27th, 2022 when the protests did not limit to the Xinjiang region but to the other parts. The origin of the protests was a fire that broke out in Urumqi that took 10 lives and left nine injured. After videos surfaced of the firefighters arriving late due to the zero-Covid policy, the country is blazing with a riots-like situation. In October 2022, Communist Party re-elected current President Xi Jinping for a third term.

    He continued his reins with the continuation of the zero-Covid policy. The current protests were not a sudden outburst, but the built-in frustration that exploded due to the tragic incident in Urumqi. The policy to contain the virus and bring the patient headcount to zero is rusting due to the no tweak in the policy since its implementation. So, how can the government in China change the course to tackle the enraged citizens in the country?

    Also Read: The Protests In China Are More Than Just Against Covid-19 Restrictions

    China Has To Change Its Stance Regarding Vaccination

    President Xi Jinping administering the development of the vaccines
    President Xi Jinping administering the development of the vaccines

    People all around the world are roaming mask-free, enjoying the ongoing FIFA World Cup, and free movement has started the “new normal” to seep in. But, the picture is different in China. The country is still not recovered from the pandemic and the citizens are under severe restrictions. There is a positive exchange of formulae for western vaccinations around the world, but China has a strict no ‘western RNA vaccine’.

    SinoVac and SinoPharm have proven to develop antibodies against the virus. Due to its efficacy, the country exported and distributed the vaccines to countries like Zimbabwe, Brazil, Mali, Belarus, and others. But, when the Omicron variant reared its head, the vaccine was inadequate during this strain. A University of Hong Kong report suggested that the people who took two doses did not have adequate protection against the strain.

    Now, due to reluctance to use the mRNA vaccines produced by western countries, China is resorting to methods of lockdowns and heavy testing in the country. Despite the April 2022 outbreak of the virus in the financial hub, Shanghai, the country did not budge.

    During a visit to China in October 2022, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz tried to convince the authorities to administer mRNA vaccines. Steffen Hebestreit, a government spokesperson informed that the Chancellor “made it clear” that “Perhaps after three years of the pandemic, it must be said that Europe and Germany have had a very good experience with administering mRNA vaccinations.” An mRNA vaccine produced in the country called Walvax has yet to receive approval.

    Also Read: Jeff Bezos Hints That China May Have Control Over The Elon Musk’s Twitter Deal

    The Country May Suffer Heavy Economic Repercussions

    The Chinese flag
    The Chinese flag

    The International Monetary Fund’s managing director said that the zero-Covid policy has proved to be a “burden” while the domestic and world economy was recovering. Kristalina Georgieva said, “The zero-Covid policy, for quite some time, did contain infections in China”, but “the restrictions that need to be imposed are more of a burden to the economy, put more at risk not [for] only China but also China as a supply source for the rest of the world”.

    Recently, the largest manufacturing unit of Apple iPhones in the Zhengzhou facility saw a massive exit of workers. Due to the lack of workers and the Covid restrictions, the company could not meet the demand and supply gap contributing to higher inflation in the US. There is a 10% to 20% reduction in the supply of the product. Li Daokui, a professor of economics at Tsinghua University is hopeful yet skeptical about the zero-Covid policy.

    He said that there is no effect in the short term to supply chains, but there can be a long-term effect due to the current policy. The policy has led to a forecast of a mere 3% growth in GDP. But, he believes that authorities should employ a fresh approach towards this policy. He said, “One major and philosophical reason is that the zero-Covid policy was designed to fight [the] virus, which was three years ago but now the virus has changed”.

    Li estimated a 5% to 6% of growth if the country did away with the zero-Covid policy. But to rejuvenate the economy, “in the short run, the very short run … the number one most important driver of stabilization of the economy is still infrastructure investment”. So, doing away with the aggressive policies can help the country for internal resolution of issues and avoid any further escalation of the protests.

    Also Read: Why A BBC Journalist Was Arrested In China During Protest?

    Nishant Bhise
    Nishant Bhise
    Nishant Bhise is a Sub-Editor at FirstCuriosity. He has more than 2 years of experience in Entertainment content writing with the organization. Besides being a journalist and humanist, he loves cinema and intersectionality, basically everything that screams love, hope, and of course, Lady Gaga. Nishant loves and breathes popular culture, music, especially hip-hop and pop, and the royal family drama. Along with that, he takes great interest in the happenings in the technology world and politics. He is an LGBTQIA+ ally. Approach him with an apple juice to discuss Modern Family, Pose, and Schitt’s Creek.

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