Starting at Covid Zero

For the first time, China’s President Xi Jinping has publicly acknowledged the protests that have erupted across the country in response to the government’s strict anti-Covid measures. 

Catch-up: The demonstrations have snowballed from a response to a snap lockdown in Shenzhen in September to cities like Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Wuhan, and Chengdu, and in some cases, expanding into broader, serious anti-government sentiments.  

Driving the news: After meeting with Xi, EU officials believe he’s keen to loosen Covid restrictions and shift focus to mass vaccinations instead of mass lockdowns. China’s vice-premier Sun Chunlan also suggested the country was entering a “new stage”.

  • Some areas recently rolled back mass PCR testing, and Chengdu and Guangzhou no longer require a negative test to enter public places like offices and malls.

Why it matters: This would mark a massive U-turn for China after adamant adherence to some of the world’s strictest Covid policies at the expense of crippling economic growth

Zoom out: It would also be a welcome change for the global economy as lockdowns and turmoil in the so-called “world’s factory” have severely disrupted global supply chains.