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Today’s episode takes us behind the scenes to an extraordinary story out of China.
Where a dystopian covid lockdown has gripped.
Its largest and richest city Shanghai.
What you’re hearing there is a drone flying over the balconies of Shanghai.
It’s blaring a message that roughly translates to this.
Please comply with covid, restrictions control, your souls desire for Freedom.
Do not open the window or sing.
It was posted on China’s web site weibo before being picked up in a viral tweet by Alice Sue.
The senior China correspondent for The Economist.
This is the new reality in Shanghai.
The city has several weeks into a shocking government.
Lockdown to stop the spread of covid.
Shanghai is a Metro with roughly the population of the state of Texas and its residents cannot go outside.
They can’t pick up coffee.
They can’t go to the park.
They cannot shop or walk their dogs.
They can’t walk to grocery stores or pharmacies to pick up essential medicine.
They cannot leave their homes, except to test for covid, period.
Shanghai citizens have also been routinely tested by the Chinese State and if they come back positive for covid, they are taken away and forced into quarantine facilities.
If young child tests positive, they are ripped away.
Sometimes in tears from their families hurried into trucks by Chinese authorities, wearing hazmat suits like some dystopian scene.
Out of e.t.
There is video footage of entire families being sent off to these quarantine centers leaving behind a cat or a dog.
Which is then killed on camera by these same figures in hazmat suits and all.
This is just what westerners, like me.
See, in the news beyond the firewall of the Chinese government and its control of social media.
The reality is often.
Sometimes even worse after all China, officially says that nobody in Shanghai has died of covid since 2020.
Acclaim, so implausible.
As to be borderline laughable.
This is a distopia combined with a surreal disinformation campaign.
That brings us to today’s guest.
He’s the prolific Chinese writer and Tech analyst Dan Wong.
We’re not going to disclose Dan’s location on this show, but he allowed us to report that he is safely outside Shanghai.
A city where he has lived for many years.
Dan says this wasn’t supposed to happen here.
Not in Shanghai, not in China’s most Cosmopolitan, City.
A beacon of Chinese progress, whose combination of wealth business.
And sheer beauty is often compared to Singapore or even New York City.
And just imagine if you’re an American listener living in New York City.
Now two years into a global pandemic.
And the government says you cannot leave your home.
You cannot shop for food.
You are to place orders for all essentials from a private or government Run online service, and if you don’t call before 6 a.m.
You don’t eat.
And if you step outside for a smoke, you are getting tackled by the Hazmat Brigade.
This story is outrageous.
If you’re eating dizzying.
But our big question today are pretty simple.
What’s really happening in China?
How is this happening in China?
I’m Derek Thompson.
This is plain English.
Dan Wang, welcome to the podcast.
How’s it going?
So, let’s dive right into it.
The news out of Shanghai.
Looks pretty scary to me rumors of starvation.
This very harsh.
Crackdown of public life in a huge modern city.
What is The View on the ground?
Is it as bad as it seems from the outside to a western audience or are things even worse than they appear?
A lot of us.
Shanghai residents have been pretty stunned at how the lockdown has progressed in Shanghai now, just to set the stage a little bit in my view.
There is not too much difference between huh.
Shanghai with two of the other great cities of Asia in which a lot of Nationals and expats work in, which I think of Hong Kong as well as Singapore and aside from pretty strict internet and speech controls.
In my view.
Shanghai is pretty much the equal in terms of leisure activities, in terms of greenery, in terms, of a business environment as Singapore as well as a Hong Kong.
And those of us who live in Shanghai are often saying, you know, if any of us are have to go to Beijing.
We were wondering why those of us in many, New York, have to go to a meeting Pyongyang because the difference is that Stark, and that’s why the lockdown has been so shocking to all of us.
You know, this Shanghai is China’s most economically dynamic city, how much more economically Dynamic than Beijing, which is where the party State sets.
That’s well, as where the University’s hum said, but Shanghai is really where a lot of the major businesses sets.
And it is a city of 26 million people.
It is culturally very open.
It is like New York and having you know, major waterways a lot of pretty good nature as well as the business environment to support a very vibrant.
Humbly sure culture sector and so for 26 million people to lock down pretty much since the end of March is pretty shocking.
And there are a lot of folks in Shanghai who are pretty close.
To hum running out of food or are only able to receive about two to three days of food at any given point.
So those of us who enjoy comparing Shanghai to New York, as I have already multiple times, you know, it is, you know, very, very strange for us to think that a city of Shanghai sighs sighs sophistication and economic dynamism is now facing, you know, the sort of lock down that was hot really made, famous in, will happen in the beginning of 2020 and then a little bit less.
So But CI and in the end of 2021, paint me a picture here.
Let’s say I live in Shanghai.
What is it that I’m allowed to do?
And what is it that I am not allowed to do in this current lockdown presently.
Very few, people who live in Shanghai are able to leave their apartment doors or if they are in a relatively lacks compound, which is a major apartment complex in which most shanghainese live.
They may be able to wander the grounds of their compound and not go outside any further.
And so a lot of people have already been locked down in Shanghai since pretty close to mid March because the city government has a policy of locking down everyone in a compound, which could be a small compound like mine, where there are a few dozen households or it could be a fairly large compound in, which you can have up to 1,000 households from living in several apartment buildings.
Most people are unable to leave their compounds hum because the Shanghai government has a policy of locking down an entire compound, if there is a single positive covid case, so that no one is allowed to be out.
So, presently, a lot of folks in Shanghai, are unable to get a lot of food because locking down a city of 26 million people.
It’s logistically extraordinary, and it is pretty difficult for the city.
To make sure that residents are able to give these government organized packages of vegetables to a lot of different households.
And so a lot of people are presently food anxious.
They’re spending a lot of time now, trying to order vegetables online such that a lot of the vegetable delivery platforms, are only able to offer a window from between something like 5:30 a.m.
To 5:45 a.m.
To allow residents to try to.
Are some fruits and vegetables some that they can deliver out later in the day and concurrent with a lot of the food, insecurity that has plagued quite a lot.
The residents both are, you know, wealthy and not-so-wealthy, both foreign and local concurrent with a lot of that is hung and inability for most shanghainese to really concentrate on doing any sort of work or having a quiet and productive a lockdown.
A lot of people today.
They are very much glued to their phones, either to place a order for vegetables hum that could arrive sometime in the next few days, or maybe in the next time week.
A lot of people are checking up on their friends.
How lot just to say.
Hey, how are you?
How’s it going, you any more movement on your compound?
And a lot of people are dealing with this flood of information as well as misinformation about, you know, the severity of the lockdown or possibly rumored hungry opening.
So, it is a fairly stressful time in China’s most important city, where a lot of people are both food insecure and also highly stressed, the food situation.
Just seems absolutely stunning to me.
I mean, just from the news that I have read, There are scenes of residents rationing vegetables.
There are scenes of residents trying to grow potatoes and their windowsill begging.
Local officials to allow them to search for food.
There was a New York Times article about a luxury apartment complex where neighbors were dashing around, you design your suits outside, trying.
And to dig up bamboo shoots for a meal.
I mean, how close are we to starvation here to thousands and thousands of people starving for food?
If indeed it is the case that if you can’t place your order by 6:00 a.m., You might not get a delivery from one of these Food Services.
I mean, how close are we to starvation?
Well, just to be a bit of a wag for a moment here.
Derek the reputation of Shanghai or says that in China.
That they’re really wealthy and they really enjoy food.
So maybe you have people in designer suits, digging for bamboo shoots, any way in any other sort of normal here.
Now, it could be the case that a lot of people are already, you know, down to their last few canisters have instant noodles or down to the last moldy potato, but the food situation in only the last two days is has started to improve.
I’m very slightly.
The government has come a little bit better in managing the food.
It’s still, I think a bit of a mystery.
I’m at least I don’t have a very good sense of why food was such an issue this time.
It was a bit of an issue in Wuhan earlier.
It was also a bit of an issue in CI and but, you know, it is pretty stunning that, you know, trying to switch your city in 2022.
This now I’m quite substantially out of food and the going Theory right now, seems to be that a lot of the Problem is less around the delivery, but more around the wholesaler distribution Platforms in which it is become, much more difficult to truck a lot of vegetables and fruits now inside to Shanghai.
And so that is a lot of where the bottleneck is.
And that is not something we understand quite well yet.
But you know, that is a major issue.
Now, I think the probably it’s not going to be the case that many people are on the verge of starvation.
Because the food situation has slightly used it in the last two days or so.
And also because people have figured out a bit of a Lifeline to place orders.
A lot of the apartment compounds are organizing as a unit to place group orders to Major Distributors, such that people are placing thousands of dollars worth of orders for breads milk fruits, vegetables meat.
And it is a highly inefficient system in which one I in a compound with organized, a few hundred orders through a spreadsheet and then placing that directly to a distributor, but you know, that has been a bit of a Lifeline to for a lot of people to get a lot of essential Goods.
So the food situation has been bad and hopefully it is, I’m going to be using quite a bit in the next few days as it has started to do.
So, just to personalize this for a bit.
I live in Washington DC, which compared to Shanghai is basically a small town.
I mean, I think it’s important for listeners to understand the Why is the population essentially of the State of Texas, the state of Texas is a population of 29 million, the metro area of Shanghai is 26 million.
This is a massive, massive metro area, but just to personalize the experience.
It’s sort of like, let’s say I live in a huge apartment building and on Monday.
I try to place an order from something like, you know, Trader, Joe’s, Amazon Whole Foods Walmart, and I don’t get the food.
And then on Tuesday, I try again, at 5:45 in the morning and I don’t get the food on Wednesday.
I might have a meeting.
Other people in my apartment building and say, I’ve been missing out on orders last few days.
What if we hundreds of us together, place a massive order at 5:35 a.m.
And make sure that there’s an enormous amount of food that’s delivered to this apartment complex in the next few days that we can all participate in.
That’s sort of how individual shanghainese are innovating around the stresses of acquiring food in a lockdown.
Is that is that basically, right?
That’s what’s happening.
That is a pretty fair description of what is happening.
A lot of folks are organizing on WeChat, which is the dominant messaging and services, platform high in the country befriending pretty much everyone in an apartment complex and then contacting a wholesaler in order to deliver a big batch of let’s say mangoes to an apartment compound in Shanghai, mangoes, milk, bread, anything else.
And so this is not quite so scattered as Trying to Google for the right Farm to distribute to find Goods to be able to purchase.
A lot of these Distributors are themselves.
Organized on WeChat such that, you know, a lot of them are only have to receive a few orders and they would be able to send a truck through Shanghai arrived at the apartment compound, and drop off a very big load of bread.
But that is the system that has kept a lot of the food supply chain going and Shanghai, not so much.
Government organized and has been somewhat prone to scams and it has, you know been grossly overcharging quite a few people.
But this is a lot of the lifeline for a lot of people to be able to purchase fresh food, over the last two weeks.
I want to move on to some of the other Draconian measures that we’re seeing Shanghai authorities have forced children, for example, who have tested positive to quarantine separately from their parents.
And so there’s been some footage of children being ripped away from their families.
There’s been Footage of Chinese Health authorities beating to death dogs and pets that have been left behind what has struck you as some of the most shocking images and stories to come out of the government’s response.
The government’s Draconian response to this lockdown.
My son says that a lot of people have become very, very fed up with the lockdown, especially those in Shanghai and just to set the stage a little bit.
Bit of the Shanghai pandemic experience over the last two years, the city has been very much the model for the rest of the country to have a relatively light touch in terms of imposing covid restrictions as well as lifting restrictions of fairly quickly.
And so, the Shanghai has been known throughout the pandemic, around the country for not substantially locking down for doing these.
Highly targeted, lockdowns for having the best.
Attack tracing system in place for having the best mass testing system in place.
And then as a result, having a very light lockdown for the rest of the residents.
And in general, the reputation of Shanghai is as the very best governed city in the country.
Such that a lot of people are very proud to be working for the Shanghai government.
You know, they are working for the Chinese government certainly, but, you know, there is a little bit more of a cachet in to be able to say that you Are doing something like running Shanghai and so, that is useful context.
I believe to understand that shanghaiers have been proud of their City.
They’ve been proud of their government and this is why especially that they find it.
So, shocking that this sort of Brute Force top-down lockdown of the sort managed mostly by Beijing especially in smaller, cities has at last, come to China’s, most Cosmopolitan and most hot International City.
A lot of people have become very stressed to have been in lockdown and their apartments for two to three weeks.
Now, with no real Prospect of knowing, when they can be freed again.
Because if there is a single case in the entire in the compound, then the entire compound locks down.
And so a lot of people have become very stressed out.
And so part of what has been so interesting in the last two weeks to look at the Shanghai response has been the number of protests of people.
People are openly flouting the lock.
Bounce to be walking around outside to.
There’s a fairly striking video of a man with no mask on, but just the cigarette being held down by six police officers and hazmat suits home simply for walking outside.
There’s a video of a woman who decided to walk around Stark naked in her own compound.
There’s a man who decided to yell out.
Where’s the Communist Party?
The situation is terrible.
We can let the Communist Party.
Take me yelling that out in a compound for everyone to hear.
And then, in addition we also have some hum recordings of leaked audio from CDC officials, basically saying that the system of reporting positive cases has not been a very authoritative one in which a lot of the government officials might be reporting a case as abnormal in the government-run app and then giving a call to a resident to say, actually you’re positive help so that they are not Faithfully recording, the positive cases and then reporting that further up.
It’s so it has been pretty striking to see that one of the most autonomous cities in.
You know, the Communist Party governed country has become much more, you know, pushing back.
A lot of the residents have become much more willing to push back against these Draconian controls.
And that to say, you know, we don’t like the way that Beijing does.
A lot of these controls.
We’re going to get to the public response and we’re going to get to the political implications.
The public response in just a second, but just to complete the painted picture of this scene.
I think it’s important to say that.
As terrible as all of this is the idea that you can’t walk outside.
You can be held down by people with hazmats.
If you step outside and are seen walking down the street, somehow, we maybe haven’t gotten to the worst part, yet, the worst part isn’t digging for bamboo shoots and trying to grow potatoes on your windowsill.
It’s what happens if you test positive that not only is your apartment complex shut down, but also you get sent to a centralized quarantine facility.
Where the conditions are reportedly heinous, what have you read?
And what have you heard about the conditions of these quarantine centers?
How are they their own separate?
A lot of the quarantine centers, hum resemble, pretty nightmarish conditions.
But also, there are some quarantine facilities that are, you know, a little bit more gentle than the worst.
So the very worst cases are circulated through, the news are doing something like getting Picked up in a covid bus in which, there are a couple of people, you know, being driven around in buses, by people, in hazmat suits for several hours, at a time themselves, in a hazmat suit, unable to go to the bathroom, unable to eat, or drink much water, arriving at a quarantine facility discovering, thousands of other people or hundreds of other people, and having something like only a handful of functioning toilets.
And so that is the Lot of people’s hungry, this nightmare to be in a hospital.
It with two other patients in the same room and then trying to recover from this disease.
And so a lot of times we are also seeing reports of, as you say children being separated from parents, if people are taken to a quarantine facility on a people are wondering what to do with their dogs.
If they leave their dogs indoors, then the dogs May well have panic and starve, but if they leave their dogs, Away, if they can’t find care, then the dogs may be beaten by the healthcare workers to death.
And so, it has become a very big state of insecurity for everyone.
And that’s, I’m just on the individual herself.
There could also be implications for all of the individuals home household for the individuals, neighbors, and close contacts, as well.
As for the entire compound, the compound will probably not be able to go outside for the next 14 days.
Want to talk about the Public’s response to this.
I mean, obviously I think listeners can easily imagine that the Public’s response is outright horror and condemnation.
Not only is are you making it incredibly difficult to leave my apartment?
Incredibly difficult to eat.
But in the event that I do come down with this disease, that might not be my fault at all.
It might result in the death of my pet.
It might result in my being put into content into a quarantine facilities with absolutely disgusting conditions.
There’s some really fascinating footage of And trying to crack down on speech as well.
We know, listeners may know you certainly have explained many times that China has severe controls over, what people can talk about on social media online.
But in the physical world in the, in the world of atoms, China is also cracking down when Shanghai residents started to sing and chant on their balconies in protest of this quarantine, in protest of this, Crackdown the government sent up a drone with a A phone to repeat in Chinese.
The phrase, please repress, the souls Yearning For Freedom.
I mean, it’s really interesting to sort of juxtapose this with the news.
That’s also coming out that shows that, you know, for most of the last two years, Chinese have been supportive of their governments, severe reaction to covid.
So to what extent are you seeing cracks in that armor that the response from residents of I is a major category shift from the kind of tacit support.
The Chinese government has had for the last few years, for its really, really strong covid 0 policy.
Certainly, a lot of folks, a Shanghai have become incredibly frustrated as well as disappointed frustrated for the perfectly mundane reason.
That it is not okay for the government to confine someone in a an apartment for about 25 weeks at a time.
I’m and then also disappointed by the city’s leadership and having mismanaged things when it has always been the best managed city in the country.
But so far, a lot of the anger around zero covid seems to be contained to Shanghai.
And really this is a bit of an unusual containment because the city government unexpectedly messed up food, you know, there hasn’t been so many food issues in the previous lockdowns.
And if you had to ask me for my sons, Whether the population is broadly supportive of zero covid.
I think the answer for most of the country is still yes, and that’s in part because the newscasts and the propaganda services and China have done, you know, a pretty has had a pretty steady drumbeat to point out that there has been something like a million deaths in the u.s.
Due to covet.
And you know, there are a lot of people who are unwilling to To face a lot of millions of deaths in China.
So I’m trying to have something like, how four times the population of the u.s., With something like, you know, quite substantially weaker medical capacities as well as less efficacious virus.
And so, it is possible that, you know, there is an order of magnitude more deaths in China.
If covid-19 allowed to run while I think the leadership has also charged that, you know, it is a pretty risk-averse leadership and it is not very well.
It’s not So well, understood how prevalent long covid symptoms are.
And if you do have something like, you know, something like fifty percent of the country having had covid at some point and then having long covid at at some point, you know, that is also another issue.
The government is fairly afraid of triggering social Panic.
If it allows covid to run a little bit more free Beijing has spent about two years now, terrorizing people about this virus, it is going to be A pretty difficult propaganda shift for the, you know, Wizards who are, you know, running all the messaging to say now actually, you know, this virus isn’t such a big deal.
Let’s go live their lives.
And finally, I think it is still worth mentioning that in the Chinese context.
The stability is still extremely important value.
Now, 2022 is an extremely important political Year by the fall of this year.
Either in september/october.
There will be the What you have party Congress healthy, a Chinese Communist party.
This is a five-year gathering in which the party leadership selects his next Generation.
This is a year in which presents using paying his very likely to win a third term.
And so the leadership is very, very keen not to rock the boat with anything like, zero covid and several million deaths.
And so that is a major reason for them to still maintain this policy.
Well, you’re very keenly anticipated.
My next question, which is the trillion dollar question here.
Why is China doing this?
Like here’s what I understand about your explanation.
And then there’s something that I don’t understand.
What I do understand is that g is proud of his covid record relative to the West the US and million deaths Europe hundreds of thousands of deaths.
What I also understand is that China has determined that the costs of a covid 0 policy are lower than the costs of letting the virus rip.
In a healthcare system that cannot absorb similar rates of death and also that they seem to enjoy public approval of this strategy.
What I understand is that China is clearly lying about its covid numbers.
Like, according to official numbers.
Nobody has died of covid in Shanghai, in the last year and a half.
Nobody 0, there are reportedly 0 covid deaths.
In a city, that is locked down because of the dramatic spread of covid.
So that brings me to what I don’t.
And what I don’t understand is, why does in China just pursue a policy of pure lying?
Just let the virus, rip a little and keep lying about the numbers.
So that, in this case, z can have the best of Two Worlds, strong economic growth population, that can move around a little bit, but also official records of very low covid deaths.
It seems to me that that, you know, not covid, 0b covid.
Like the 0.5 covid-19 that there’s an option.
There’s a card there to play.
That’s a good question, but it conceals the Serious point, which is doesn’t the experience of Shanghai with the huge public outcry that with the global embarrassment produce, exactly the outcome that she was trying to avoid.
All these years isn’t an obvious lesson of Shanghai that covid 0 doesn’t work anymore.
There is a great deal of speculation that I’m Shanghai must be the lesson for the leadership to abandon 0 covid.
But if the leadership abandon 0 covid, it is.
Will not going to be this year.
The Chinese leadership wants a successful party Congress, which is going to take place in six months.
And then following on that a national people’s Congress to promulgate a lot of the party statutes into law.
And then that is going to be for another 12 months.
And, you know, it is a little bit of a compelling scenario.
As you point out, Derek that maybe they can fudge the numbers further, let it rip a little bit but so far there.
Relation is that it is not possible to let it rip a little bit.
Because this thing is just so contagious, that they really must control things, some immediately, and Shanghai for the last month home throughout March, when I was in Shanghai the whole time, you know, Shanghai, there were steady steadily Rising cases but cases, never really went out of control and things were pretty much managed fairly.
Well, until case has really started to explode how in the end of March.
So it is possible to create a Scenario.
As you say that, you know, Shanghai did try to have a little bit of a liberal policy for a little while and then finally realized, actually it really must hump still Tamp down for all of these other stability reasons.
Now, it also could be the case that they trying to leadership really decides to the abandoned zero covid, but just to stick to the exercise of mind reading, I’m see a little bit further, you know, it is also possible for them.
That ill I’m so far.
The various have generally evolved to be more contagious and less virulent, but it could also be the case that the next variant is not.
So Jen told him becomes very virulent.
Indeed in that case.
It becomes much more difficult to open up and given that the Chinese leadership is still pretty risk-averse that they do not want long covid symptoms throughout the population and they’re not really sure how many people will die in China.
Whether that is on the The order of a million people like in the US or maybe an order, of magnitude higher, or maybe even something like 20 million people.
They just don’t want to take that Gamble and let things.
So, I’m go loose because their playbook has worked fairly.
Well so far in 2020.
I started going to the smart restaurants again, in Beijing.
In May of 2028.
The cinemas reopened by the summer for most of us life has been fairly normal aside from some annoyances with travel and displaying the contact tracing apps for the last two years.
And I think They didn’t really expect that this Playbook would fail.
They thought they could still get things under control and that was the best that they made.
I think it’s really important to point out here that China is pursuing this covid 0 strategy without the use of moderna or Pfizer vaccines, which to me makes a crazy strategy even Wilder.
Like I compared it online to an amateur saying I’m gonna climb K2 all by myself.
And also I’m not going to bring along an Jin mask like the plan is crazy and you’re denying yourself the most effective tool to achieve it.
Why is China pursuing this covid 0 strategy while also not using the most effective vaccines.
That is an excellent question Derek and I think there are two broad issues at play here.
And you know, I would amplify your criticism here of Chinese policies and say they’ve made to pretty substantial mistakes.
The first is I’m trying to have a homegrown mRNA vaccine, which is quite a bit more efficacious than the traditional technology.
The is produced by some China based on him, activated virus.
And then also for not doing a better job of vaccinating the elderly, Chinese vaccination of the elderly is fairly low.
And I think for the MRNA issue, you know, it is doubly upsetting to a lot of Chinese residents because it seems pretty clearly There is a degree of nationalism and play rejecting the Western vaccines and trying to grow a homegrown industry.
But in fact, I would you know, really try to reframe the discussion a little bit on, you know, the idea of how whether vaccines can help it covid 0 policy.
Because I’m not sure that the leadership thinks that vaccines have a big role to play for covid 0.
I’m certainly have a very big role to play in.
Preventing the severe cases to prevent.
Hospitalizations, but we also know that even people who take the more efficacious mRNA vaccines, like Pfizer and moderna in the US are still able to shed virus.
So they are you may be able to prevent a lot of deaths.
You may be able to prevent a lot of hospitalizations, but there is no vaccine right now that is still able to prevent people from shedding virus.
So the goal of China isn’t really to have a world in which you know, nobody is really dying from the virus.
As Hunters able to deal with it.
But it is trying to do is to make sure that nobody gets the virus on in the first place.
And so vaccines help, no matter what technology you have really are not an answer.
If you want to have a zero covid policy.
And again, this is the policy that they’ve selected.
You know, I think it is certainly a good thing if more people were able to have an mRNA vaccines.
But so far they’ve decided, you know, they just don’t want transmission quick point of clarification.
I thought you said earlier that shine, Has covid 0 strategy, was Downstream of the understanding that they didn’t have the healthcare capacity to take care of lots of people who came down with severe illness, but the vaccines reduce dramatically probably by an order of magnitude, or more the risk of severe illness, which means that it fixes the problem that is theoretically Upstream of the covid Syria strategy.
That’s exactly right that The Hearth vaccines, certainly prevent a lot of strain on the Health Care System, but I think the other point is still worth greater emphasis that she doesn’t want to see you and the rest of the politburo simply doesn’t want.
I’m transmission of the virus and the broader point that I had around that was that, you know, the one of the issues with a lot of them Chinese people, you know, it’s, um, a little bit on silly, but a lot of people are high.
Pecan tree axis such that they go to the hospital.
If they have to blow the nose, that is a little bit of an exaggeration, but there are a lot of more people who are very health conscious and even if you have someone who did catch the virus, but who maybe doesn’t have terribly severe symptoms.
There still is a strain from a population that is just very very geared to go into the hospital for any reason and so even if you have, you know, sometimes that are not so bad.
You A bit of a population that really is Keen to use the Health Care system.
And that may be another one of those factors that makes it a little bit more difficult to solve for vaccines, to solve the issue at hand.
I want to take a step back here or maybe five steps back because there’s a really fascinating big picture story at the heart of this issue.
Shanghai has for the last few decades been a poster, child of the way that the Chinese system of political economy.
We could produce an extraordinary story of economic dynamism, and today when the world looks at Shanghai.
It sees the opposite of the story that had seen in the last 20 years.
Not a story of extraordinary just absolutely mind-blowing progress, but rather a story of rather mind-blowing repression, like Western countries are looking at China thinking, what are you doing starving a Each pursue a covid 0 policy while in the west.
A lot of people have figured out that if you take one of these two shots, you are protected against severe illness.
What does it say?
Coming up to the National Congress about the Chinese model about how the West sees China and how China sees itself through the eyes of the West?
This is certainly an especially Salient issue for people.
In Shanghai now on people in Shanghai have you know, always been doing economically better than the rest of the country.
This was true. 100 years ago when Shanghai was the pearl of the Orient.
There’s the extraterritorial playground for a lot of American French and British businessmen.
And Shanghai has always been the most open internationally minded City towards the rest of the world and then for the residents of Shanghai to For then especially severe in.
Lockdown is a a kind of a more acute insult to their own pride.
And so that is another dimension of the of the Shanghai reaction here.
And you know, I think the issue with, you know, China now is that one of the things I’ve always believed is that, you know, we have to recognize a lot of different Dynamics in play in China.
So I’m trying to play It’s that was fast and break things and not just intact but it’s so many other different areas.
And at the same time China is a place that moves fast and breaks people.
And so, you know, both of these facts were true in which you have, you know, a still an extraordinarily Dynamic country.
You have very strong firms.
You have strong states, you have strong entrepreneurs.
All, you know, doing a lot of them, pretty exciting things together.
And, you know, I think one of the central facts of China is that Things are getting better and things are getting worse.
And, you know, I think you know, my job is an analyst his to keep both of those perspectives in mind to recognize that as the government has become quite a bit more repressive.
In detaining certain ethnic.
That’s no religious minorities and detention camps.
Namely the uyghurs in hum seems young and terms of having a greater restrictions.
Not just on speech, but also on thought.
At the same time, China is Not just those things, but it is also economically Dynamic, which is producing all of the Renewable Power Equipment now, which it is, you know, inventing.
All sorts of very interesting novel products that trusting the consumer space but also Industrials and all of these things are true all at the same time.
And so right now Shanghai looks very, very bad indeed.
And the major question will be how far it is able to bounce back and maybe it is, you know, able to take this.
Moment and then, you know, still overcome it in a very big way in the future last question.
Do you have any strong predictions any sense of when this particular episode begins to resolve itself?
Whether it’s a extraordinary, popular display of frustration, among people living in Shanghai that forces, the government to change path.
Change course, or whether the government on its own, for whatever reason.
Maybe this happens after the National Congress.
Sighs that covid 0 is not an appropriate strategy for a virus that it looks like is not departing this Earth and will continue to shift into different variants that only proved less severe if you have one of the best vaccines short-term.
Derek, I think no one really knows when Shanghai is I’m going to be loosening up.
It has solved quite a lot of it.
Um food supply issues, where it is beginning to solve, hit some food supply issues.
The policy of typing has become a much tighter and last few days rather than towards how much greater loosening and you know, in the slightly more short medium term, I suspect.
It is pretty unlikely that China will give up zero covid before the party Congress this year.
And then before the national people’s Congress and 12 months from now and then just to end honestly, longer-term, Derek.
I spent a lot of time thinking about us China issues and my prognosis is that the future is bad.
Bad, bad and weird, bad, bad and weird.
Thank you very much.
Thank you Derek plain English with Derek Thompson.
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