Winter Olympics

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Covid-19 Poses New Risks for China in Olympics, Tiger Year

In a year bookended by major events, Xi Jinping can’t back out of strict “zero-Covid” policy China and Xi Jinping should have plenty to celebrate in 2022. The Chinese New Year of the Tiger kicks off on 1 February. Three days later, the Beijing Winter Olympics begin, when Xi can showcase the Chinese Communist Party’s unrivalled organisational abilities. The year should climax with his triumphant emergence, after a crucial Party Congress this coming autumn, as Party chief for a third term. But Covid-19 threatens to spoil all these parties. Despite some of the toughest controls and protocols worldwide, China ended 2021 with Xian in lockdown. A spike in Covid-19 cases confined 13 million people to their homes, shuttered businesses, sparked complaints about food shortages – and led to tragedy. A top health official apologised in January over the miscarriage of an eight-month-pregnant woman. Footage went viral of a hospital refusing…