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Zero-COVID strategy puts China between a rock and a hard place

Policy crossroads offers Xi Jinping no easy path

| China
A screen shows Xi Jinping during an exhibition on the fight against the outbreak at Wuhan Parlor Convention Center: The omicron surge is happening at the worst possible moment for President Xi.   © Reuters

Minxin Pei is professor of government at Claremont McKenna College and a nonresident senior fellow of the German Marshall Fund of the United States.

When the COVID-19 pandemic first broke out in Wuhan in January 2020, it was widely seen as Chinese President Xi Jinping's gravest crisis. But his government quickly quashed the outbreak with harsh lockdowns and a zero-COVID strategy that no other country in the world could emulate.

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