don’t get it. WHY is he doing this? There HAS to be a motive, somewhere! Xi is evil, but he’s not a fool! He has almost total power, so we’re talking about a potential HUGE tsunami of change, here (if Xi were to be thwarted or even deposed).
But again, Xi is NOT a stupid man. So what are the reasons behind this policy?
Two years of relentless propaganda has constricted Xi’s space for manoeuvring to such an extent that a reversal now carries an intolerable risk of rising in a contagion that will puncture the halo around Xi and every death henceforth will be blamed on him. Moreover, while the Chinese public might be suffering from Covid-related restrictions, the political challenge arising from this scenario is insignificant compared to the loss of public trust that may happen if the policy — that has been at the core of CCP’s propaganda — is overhauled so close to the crucial party conclave. It will be an admission of Xi’s personal failure after two years of claiming that ‘zero-Covid is the best’, and the coveted third term may become elusive. [emphasis added]
… This scenario, while credible, masks a far more important policy failure. The Xi regime had two years to vaccinate the elderly citizens, but in its obsession with a ‘zero-Covid’ strategy focused on enforcing lockdown measures, it failed to immunize the most susceptible section of its populace and incentivize vaccination.
I don’t think we know the answers right now. “Zero-COVID” is an incredibly stupid policy. But Xi may well have painted himself into a corner so severely that he has no other choice.
It is also a possibility that having surrounded himself with a coterie who dare not challenge the ideas of the supreme leader, Xi is caught in an “authoritarian feedback loop” and his paranoid style of politics leaves no place for any meaningful policy debate, resulting in even more rigidity in decision-making.