Beijing announced yesterday that it was extending its Zero COVID policy until 2027. This is a direct result of the Chinese government’s failure to develop an effective domestic vaccine, and its steadfast refusal to rely on the safe, effective mRNA vaccines already in use in much of the world. Given the lack of functional vaccine policy, the age of the Chinese population and the timeline for Beijing to develop anything approaching a useful mRNA vaccine domestically, this timeline makes sense. But it lays bare the absolute desperation of the Chinese Communist Party.
As absolutely detrimental these policies will be for the average Chinese citizen–and if past is prologue, there will be terrible costs to pay economically, socially, and individually–they also underscore the precarious place China plays in the global economy. Which is bad. China rose to prominence in the post-Cold War era as the country and the government most willing to leverage its low labor costs and at times near-nonexistent regulatory environment to convince the worlds’ manufacturers to relocate much of their supply chains onto Chinese soil. What does the future hold? For manufacturers, at least, the constant specter of shut downs as Beijing bungles outbreak after outbreak. COVID isn’t going away, and barring a massive shift in the CCP’s policy’s toward foreign vaccines, the Chinese factory worker, and transportation worker, and dock worker, etc remain at the mercy of a virus that shows no signs of stopping, and a government that shows no sign of stepping up.
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