New Covid infections pose challenge to China’s growth and Xi’s leadership

The leader has declared victory over the virus, but a fresh outbreak is complicating the narrative

When Britain was in its second lockdown last November and the economy was contracting, China’s quarterly growth rate was hitting 6.5%. Figures last week showed that for the full year, the world’s second-largest economy could boast a growth rate of 2.3% while all its rivals in Europe and the Americas were going backwards.

The trend could be traced back to Beijing’s efforts to tackle the virus – albeit after a period of denial – and keep infection rates among the lowest in the world.

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