By Philip Lenczyki
- Despite food shortages, protests, riots and even a municipal announcement on Monday reportedly easing restrictions in certain districts of Shanghai, on the whole, the city still appears poised to uphold Xi Jinping’s zero-COVID policy and maintain its extended lockdown which began on April 5.
- The Chinese Communist Party — and potentially even Xi Jinping himself — may suffer political blowback for their handling of the crisis in Shanghai, according to Gordon G. Chang, author of “The Coming Collapse of China,” who spoke to the Daily Caller News Foundation Tuesday.
- Laszlo Montgomery, founder of Teacup Media and host of “The China History Podcast,” conversely told the DCNF it is likely too soon to know how the ongoing lockdown in Shanghai might impact Xi Jinping’s political prospects.
Shanghai’s ongoing lockdown poses an existential threat to Xi Jinping’s continued tenure, according to at least one leading expert on China who spoke with the Daily Caller News Foundation.
“Because [Xi] is considered to be the author of the zero-COVID policy, he can’t deviate from it, even though it’s not working out,” Gordon G. Chang, author of “The Coming Collapse of China,” told the DCNF Tuesday. “If he deviates from [zero-COVID], that’s an admission of a mistake, which his political opponents will use. So, China is locked into an approach which doesn’t work.”
Shanghai’s city wide lockdown and its subsequent food shortages emerge at a critical moment for Xi, who stands to be re-elected for an unprecedented third term at the 20th Party Congress at an unspecified date later this year.
Xi’s signature zero-COVID approach is now taking flak as the 29 million inhabitants of China’s financial hub have reportedly begun to lose faith in its efficacy and that of the party, according to a report from Bloomberg.
“I now realize we can only rely on ourselves,” said a resident of Shanghai in the report.
“In Shanghai you have a number of problems,” said Chang, noting the workers on lock down. “One of them is you just don’t have people who can distribute food.”
“Everyone is shouting,” the man filming a now viral video says. “Damn.”
Residents in #Shanghai screaming from high rise apartments after 7 straight days of the city lockdown. The narrator worries that there will be major problems. (in Shanghainese dialect—he predicts people can’t hold out much longer—he implies tragedy).pic.twitter.com/jsQt6IdQNh
— Eric Feigl-Ding (@DrEricDing) April 10, 2022