As millions of Chinese brace for another weeks-long lockdown, this time in Xi'an, the analysts over at the Eurasia Group believe that the "failure" of President Xi's "COVID Zero" policy is one of the biggest policy blunders to look out for in 2022.
As the firm does every year, Eurasia Group on Monday announced its breakdown of the biggest risks for 2022, and coming in at the No. 4 spot is China's refusal to abandon its "COVID Zero" policies.
For one, China's inability to contain outbreaks could trigger a supply chain collapse and other global economic disruptions both inside China and abroad.
The Eurasia Group acknowledges that the present view on its "COVID Zero" approach is a major departure from 2020, when China's zero COVID policy helped it "look incredibly successful in 2020."
Now, it has become "a fight against a much more transmissible variant with broader lockdowns and vaccines with limited effectiveness."
While individuals will spend more time in digital spaces this year, both at work and at home, the biggest technology firms are "writing the algorithms that decide what people see and hear, determine their economic and social opportunities and ultimately influence what they think."
What's more, China's population has "virtually no" antibodies protecting it against omicron despite all the jabs and boosters they have received. It's "exactly the opposite of where President Xi" wants us to to be. Xi wants his country to be in the run-up to his third term, but there's nothing he can do about it: The initial success of "Zero COVID" and President Xi's personal attachment to it makes the policy seemingly impossible to change course.
It says that while individuals will spend more time in digital space this year, both at work and at home, the biggest technology firms are "writing the algorithms that decide what people see and hear, determine their economic and social opportunities and ultimately influence what they think."
Here's what Eurasia is expecting: China's policy will fail to contain the pandemic, leading to larger outbreaks, which Beijing will respond to with even more harrowing lockdowns.
We're already seeing it unfold in Xi'an and Ningbo.
Which city will be the next to face punishing lockdown measures?