How to get easy Chinese vaccines
The China Letter: December 20, 2021
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It’s now two years since the coronavirus pandemic was first detected in Wuhan, and it turns out China can still wield worldwide control over its spread—as long as you denounce the right enemies. Also, read on for news about the impending Winter Olympics, jailed protests in Hong Kong, a backfiring #MeToo movement and the making of a hypersonic nuclear missile.
Vaccine diplomacy 101
The current exchange rate for taking China’s side is demonstrated in the case of Nicaragua cutting ties with Taiwan to align with Beijing, then being rewarded with COVID-19 vaccines. State media outlet Global Times portrayed the promise of this new cooperation, and it enthusiastically promoted the shipment from Sinopharm.
The podium of excuses
Previously, it was Dick Pound who declared the International Olympic Committee view that missing tennis star Peng Shuai wasn’t being detained. Now, he’s defending China as “a very good and very organized country.” Currently, boycotts are limited to diplomatic ones, but professional hockey players are now fearing heavy quarantines in Beijing.
The price of protesting
Hong Kong handed down a 13-month sentence to media tycoon Jimmy Lai for his participation last June 4 in a vigil to mark the 1989 crackdown in Tiananmen Square. It was the first time the rally was banned, before the new security law kicked in. Lai was among eight people jailed for it—but he was already in prison for similar reasons.
China’s distorted #MeToo
Peng Shuai disappearing after publicly alleging sexual assault from politician could only discourage others with similar stories in China from bringing them into the light. And now Alibaba dismissing a female employee who accused a male superior of raping her during a business trip further suggests the claims come with repercussions in the end.
Arms race getting faster
The Boeing Manta X-47C was a proposed design presented to NASA by an engineer born in China, but the U.S. government turned it down because it was too costly. Beijing is now planning to follow through on the Two-Stage Vehicle X-plane that can fly at five times the speed of sound, although earlier hypersonic tests have been secret.
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