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Beijing braces as fears of Shanghai-style COVID lockdown loom

Markets slump and shoppers scramble for food amid launch of mandatory testing

Residents of the Chaoyang district in Beijing rush to stock up on groceries amid concerns of a potential lockdown.   © Reuters

BEIJING/SHANGHAI -- As coronavirus cases start to tick up in Beijing, officials in the Chinese capital are clamping down early in a bid to avoid harsher measures that could dent faith in President Xi Jinping's leadership ahead of this fall's once-in-five-years Communist Party congress.

A lockdown in the Communist Party's center of power could be viewed as a major setback for the strict zero-COVID policy that Xi's government had considered one of its biggest victories.

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