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Xi defends China's lockdown, hits out at Russia sanctions

Hong Kong loosens COVID measures in shift from Beijing's zero-virus strategy

Chinese President Xi Jinping delivers a keynote speech by video link at the opening ceremony of the Boao Forum for Asia.   © Reuters

SHANGHAI -- Chinese president Xi Jinping on Thursday defended locking down major cities to contain an omicron-fueled virus outbreak, as he took a shot at Western sanctions against Russia over its invasion of Ukraine.

Xi said that the world's No. 2 economy was on firm footing despite growing fears that shutdowns, including an order that Shanghai's 25 million residents stay at home, would take a bite out of growth and ripple across the global economy.

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