As COVID boomerangs back to China, Xi’s response will signal its readiness as global stakeholder

Beijing [China]: As the COVID-19 pandemic has boomeranged back Beijing’s way, the spotlight is now fixed on President Xi Jinping government’s response which will signal its readiness to be a global stakeholder.
William Pesek, writing in Nikkei Asia said that the Delta variant is proving just as impervious to Xi’s state propaganda machine as China’s vaccines. Delta is a narrative Xi’s censors cannot silence. Facebook and Google operate in Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand, where Sinovac is flopping. Nor can Xi’s censorship-industrial complex mask the big flaw in China’s COVID-19 response.
Strict lockdowns, mass testing and travel bans were fine for the first iteration of COVID-19. Not for the wildly transmissible sequel. Delta, odds are, will be followed by other variants that find ways around Xi’s lockdown strategy. China’s relatively higher vaccination rates matter little if its immunization technology is not ready for battle.
It needs a Sinovac 2.0, and fast. Or to make some frantic calls to Pfizer headquarters, says Pesek.
China botched the first wave of COVID-19. It failed to warn the world what was coming. Xi’s government is really on the clock. Lawmakers from Canberra to Washington are stepping up calls for Wuhan probes. Efforts to divine what happened there in late 2019 — how the pandemic began, why Beijing prioritized silence over global health, how to stop it from happening again — already have Xi’s inner circle on its hind legs, reported Nikkei Asia.
But trust is not something Xi is winning on the world stage. How Xi’s government handles COVID 2.0 could form the basis of how global leaders, multinational companies and investors operate with China in mind going forward, says Pesek.
China’s overreach — and ham-handed attempts at retaliation when others do not toe the line — has damaged the China brand, one dent at a time.
The list of provocations diminishing trust in Xi’s Communist Party is too long to list here. Highlights include: Beijing’s chilling crackdown on Hong Kong; moves to erase Taiwan; South China Sea provocations; punishing South Korea’s economy over hosting a US missile system; a Belt and Road Initiative infrastructure scheme leaving poorer nations beholden to the motherland; sharing Sinovac with neighbours before knowing its limits.
Beijing is now on notice in ways Xi has never been before. How his party responds will send clear signals about China’s readiness to be a global stakeholder.

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