Shanghai is the hotspot for COVID-19 madness
The China Letter: April 22, 2022
It took over two years, but the scenes from Shanghai are showing the worst side of how China is struggling to contain the coronavirus—or maybe just using it to further a control agenda. Read on for tales that involve Beijing trying to relate to the rest of the world, in our weekly rundown of items worth watching.
Scenes of Shanghai
Social media posts revealed the reality of what the current lockdowns in Shanghai are doing to those herded into quarantine camps. Government notices are instructing residents to relocate to try and stop a new wave of COVID-19. The fatality rate is reportedly growing despite all the zero-COVID measures persisting in a city full of hunger and anger.
The weight of waste
Mountains of plastic waste are symbols of the story in Hong Kong, where quarantine policies remain under China’s thumb. Meanwhile, the campaign channel for likely next leader John Lee was shut by YouTube, which led Beijing to condemn Silicon Valley tech giants as “political tools” engaging in foreign interference.
Xi’s working worldview
President Xi Jinping stated that the time is now for China’s economy to lead the world in getting back on track. But it was more of a coded message that reiterated resistance to sanctioning Russia due to war in Ukraine. With his designs on invading Taiwan in similar fashion, Xi is reportedly watching closely for tips on how to fend off resistance.
War worries after a pact
A new security pact with the Solomon Islands has alarmed Australia, New Zealand and the U.S. due to fears that China will leverage it to open a naval base in the South Pacific. The surrounding secrecy caught diplomats off-guard when it was leaked online in March. But the Solomons say the deal was conducted “with our eyes open” despite the criticism.
Panda diplomacy lives
Ling Ling and Hsing Hsing arrived at the National Zoo in Washington, D.C., in April 1972 as a gift from China to First Lady Pat Nixon—after her president husband paid his famous visit to the People’s Republic. Since then, giant pandas have been a feature attraction of the zoo, although current couple Mei Xiang and Tian Tian are slated to return home next year.