Has “zero Covid” eroded China’s social contract?
Islam News – Chinese President Xi Jinping’s “zero Covid” policy has rewritten the implicit bargain that people in China will get stability and comfort in exchange for limitations on political freedoms.
Limitations still abound, with little stability. Nearly 530 million people — almost 40 percent of the population — were under some form of lockdown in late November, according to one estimate. People have gone hungry, or died because of delayed medical care, and legions have endured work interruptions or layoffs.
The result has been growing disillusionment and the most widespread protests China has seen since the Tiananmen Square demonstrations in 1989.
Quotable: “It used to be, for most people you didn’t really feel the state in your daily life too much,” said one law professor. “Now, of course, the state is everywhere.”
Outlook: If China can limit the impact of future outbreaks as it loosens restrictions, the sense of shared grievance could sputter — but Xi’s fixation on control could remain, along with his expanded security apparatus.
Source: The New York Times