Shanghai has shut down like it’s still 2020
The China Letter: March 30, 2022
What year is this, again? China is still locking down cities, but also showing signs of standing against Russia, while raising defence concerns Down Under. Meanwhile, the face of Huawei returns to a new world, and Keanu Reeves has all but disappeared from the internet due to Tibet. Check out these latest stories and feel caught up on what’s happening.
The new pandemic panic
The most extensive COVID-19 lockdown in two years has struck Shanghai, as the 26 million residents of China’s financial capital and largest city will undergo a testing regimen. New scenes of panic buying made global headlines, ahead of a two-phase application of the zero-COVID strategy that’s brought on increasingly serious supply chain concerns.
A stance against Putin
A half-billion of investment in Russia was pulled by Chinese state energy company Sinopec, due to the fact that the company it was working with has ties to Vladimir Putin. The fear of international sanctions signalled a loss of patience with how the war in Ukraine is going, after weeks of wondering whether Beijing would take an official side in the conflict.
A new security alarm
Beijing’s diplomatic freeze is the reason Australia’s prime minister won’t meet with the new ambassador from China—whose state media Global Times is chiding Scott Morrison as a cynical gesture. But the leaders of Australia and New Zealand are also worried about a Chinese military presence on the Solomon Islands.
Meng in a new universe
Meng Wanzhou returned to the corporate stage at an earnings presentation for Huawei. She had been laying low since September, when she returned to Shenzhen after three years in Canadian custody. But the company has seen its fortunes slip amidst much corresponding turmoil. “The world has changed so much,” she said at the event.
Keanu has been cancelled
The cancellation of Keanu Reeves from streaming platforms in China was a reaction to the actor’s participation in a Free Tibet benefit concert, which took place virtually. Some searches for were met with a message that the removal was “due to relevant laws, regulations and policies.” (His voice remains in the animated Toy Story 4, but without his name in the credits.)