Ma Haotian


Ma Haotian is a consultant living in Beijing.

People hold white sheets of paper in protest over Covid-19 restrictions after a vigil for the victims of a fire in Urumqi, as outbreaks of Covid-19 continue, in Beijing, China, 28 November 2022. (Thomas Peter/Reuters)

Covid protests: A repressed China needs an outlet to return to equilibrium

Chinese commentator Ma Haotian points out that when segments of the population feel the pain of China’s strict Covid controls, discontent boils over in search of an outlet. As China knows from its history, it is impossible to achieve outcomes that tick every box. It will have to learn to be flexible and accept trade-offs if the country and its people are to move forward from the yoke of zero-Covid.
Workers wearing personal protective gear at an area placed under lockdown due to Covid-19 in Beijing, China, on 12 October 2022. (Bloomberg)

Where will the zero-Covid policy and Xi’s third term lead China?

China’s strict zero-Covid policy has led to lockdowns and other extreme measures in various cities, as local officials follow directions from the top. However, the people are pushing back, as their daily life is impacted in all sorts of ways. Chinese commentator Ma Haotian believes that the decision makers are caught between a rock and a hard place as either maintaining or easing the strict zero-Covid measures comes with painful consequences.