China, The World’s Largest Social Experiment

China will cut off from the outside world for 1,016 days when its borders reopen on January 8. A massive public health campaign that largely kept the disease at bay, Xi Jinping’s pride and delight, and ultimately a waking nightmare for many of China’s 1.4 billion people have all been part of the country’s “zero-covid” strategy.

Tens of billions of nasal and throat swabs have been collect by armies dress in white hazmat suits. Millions were arbitrarily quarantine or sent to fever camps. People run away from workplaces and factories where symptoms found out of fear of solitude. After weeks of isolation, individuals were shown on amateur cameras jumping to their deaths from apartment blocks. For months on end, daily life remained unchanged in big cities. A prosperous, youthful, cosmopolitan Chinese class was force to adjust to a life without overseas travel. The country forbade foreign business owners and executives from returning to their residences and establishments.

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Officials may claim that this strategy was require in the absence of immunizations to save lives. By the time the experiment was through, it had provided a miserable life at a tremendous cost. China’s GDP will increase by less than 3% in 2022, well behind the declared target of roughly 5.5%, resulting in a deficit of about $500 billion. Severe movement restrictions hampered the most sophisticated supply chains in the world. Industrial companies’ profits in November decreased by 9% year over year. Meantime, communication with China and the outside world hit a record low. Few international students are still studying there. Travel abroad has become unprofitable. After spending the previous two and a half years in China, Mr. Xi has only recently started traveling abroad again.

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