Covid and reopening; Xi's Russia meetings; Wang Yi, Qin Gang and diplomacy; Bytedance/TikTok spying
Happy New Year!
The PRC is back to work Tuesday from the New Year’s holiday. Today’s newsletter is a bit of a catchup from the last couple of weeks, no doubt there are some gaps.
While official public data on the number of Covid infections since the government switched to its “dynamic let it rip” policy are useless, there is little doubt that hundreds of millions have been infected, and tragically many thousands have died, and many more are going to. Infections appear, emphasis on “appear”, to have peaked in some of the larger cities but there is always a lag between infections and serious illness and death, and cases appear to be just beginning to surge in rural areas.
So while there were lots of scenes of New Year’s Eve revelers and people returning to normal activities in cities like Beijing and Shanghai, which were a jarring juxtaposition to the videos going around of bodies stacked up in makeshift morgues, it is hard to see how the reopening will not be very rocky over the next sev…