In November, Li Qiang, the new No. 2 on the ruling Communist Party’s Politburo Standing Committee, capitalized on enormous protests against China’s zero-COVID policy.
Over the previous weeks, top Chinese officials and medical experts had been quietly formulating plans to dismantle President Xi Jinping’s zero-COVID strategy and gradually reopen the country by the end of 2022 to declare a return to normality in March, four people with knowledge of the matter told Newspress.
This month’s new prime minister, Li, took a more urgent approach.
The four workers and another person stated he hastily activated the reopening plans sooner than planned to limit the economic impact of the zero-COVID campaign and demonstrations that had upset the leadership. In December, China abruptly lifted lockdowns, mass testing, and other restrictions, causing chaos.
China has not openly explained its zero-COVID U-turn decision. Xi, Li, and the State Council, China’s cabinet, did not answer Newspress SCIO requests for comment on reopening the nation.
Reuters interviewed over six people with knowledge of the conversations to create this version of China’s reopening. The previously undisclosed information provides a unique glimpse into senior Chinese authorities and healthcare specialists’ discussions, including Li and Xi’s disagreements regarding reopening. Due to the sensitive topic or media restrictions, the people talked anonymously.
Two sources claimed Xi started to delegate COVID administration to Li, his longtime buddy, after the November demonstrations.
Two insiders claimed top authorities chose a hasty reopening to appease youthful demonstrators because the regime’s stability was more politically hazardous than letting the virus spread.