Indian students studying medicine in China: Disruptions caused by the Covid Pandemic

Rama V. Baru,Professor, Centre of Social Medicine and Community Health, JNU and Honorary Fellow, ICS, Delhi and Madhurima Nundy, Fellow, Centre for Social and Economic Progress

Source: Hebei North University

The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted both school and higher education across the world with indefinite closure of institutions and online learning.  For those who were enrolled or planning to enroll in professional courses like medicine especially in middle income countries like China and Russia, have faced the maximum disruption. According to the data put out by the MEA, the pandemic resulted in a 55 per cent dip in 2020 with only 2.6 lakhs students having gone abroad compared to 5.9 lakhs in the previous year. A small proportion of students travelling abroad is for medical education and nearly 30,000 of them are in China. The pandemic and diplomatic tensions between India and China has jeopardized the continuation of students studying medicine. The return of Indian students due to the first outbreak of COVID-19 in January 2020 has affected their study and career plans.  The rising anxiety due to this uncertainty is palpable. As Susan Ann Varghese of Thiruvananthapuram and a final year medical student at China, said that she “cannot go back as the Chinese government is not allowing the Indian students to return and the universities which had taken initiative to send us back home are not responding”.

Meanwhile, students are being instructed online by their respective Chinese medical colleges. But online teaching is not recognised by the National Medical Commission (NMC) in India and hence it creates concerns for students transacting classes in this mode.  The students recognise that online instruction will be inadequate to complete their training since practical exposure is critical for medical education.  They are also facing issues in accessing online classes since Chinese apps are banned in India and students have to purchase VPN to access the online classes. As a result, the students feel that they have been left in a lurch by both the governments. A union of students studying medicine in China have expressed their anguish to the Indian government: “We are 25,000 Indian students studying in Chinese universities who have been forced to participate in online classes for the past 17 months because of travel and visa restrictions. Our medical study requires a lot of practical and group work, but our entry to China and our respective universities have been banned for the past year-and-a-half and we are suffering every day.” With little hopes of returning to their campuses anytime soon, Indian medical students enrolled in China are now looking at mid-course transfers to institutes in India and other countries. However, this requires the NMC which is the apex administering body for medical education in India to allow the mid-course transfer. The NMC is silent on this matter for the moment.

The plight of students who have returned from China and other countries is also filled with anxiety and uncertainty since their employability is dependent on their clearing the Foreign Medical Graduate Examination.  The pass percentage over the last few years has been low and is demoralizing for the students travelling abroad for medical education. The Covid pandemic could have utilized the services of the large number of foreign medical graduates to supplement the shortage of medical personnel but this was not done.

FMGE result statistics (2019-2021)

Particulars 2021 (December) 2021 (June) 2020 (December) 2020 (June) 2019 (December)
Number of candidates appeared 23349 18,048 19,122 17,789 15663
Number of aspirants qualified 5665 (Pass % – 24.26) 4,283 (Pass % – 23.73) 3,722 (Pass % – 19.46) 1,453 (Pass % – 8.16) 4032 (Pass % – 25.74)
Number of failed candidates 17607 12,895 13,713 10026
Number of absentees 342 657 1,092
Number of aspirants with withheld status 77 213 136 1605

Clearly, the lack of policy engagement and direction from the NMC and the  Indian government to address the concerns of continuing students and those who have completed their course in China and other countries is unfair. There needs to be a review of the FMGE process and some kind of parity with those who completed their medical education from public and private medical colleges in India. It is worth considering an exit exam for all medical graduates irrespective where they were trained, as a pre requisite for employability. This is a reform that has been suggested at various points in time but has received little attention from the professional bodies. On the one hand there is a move to increase the number of seats for the training of medical graduates and on the other there is little effort to find ways to engage with the large number of foreign medical graduates who are looking for employment. Clearly, this impasse cannot go on for much longer since it affects a large number of young professionals who at the moment are frustrated by the indecisive attitude of the NMC and the Indian government.

Year 2022 and Xi Jinping’s Third Term: Is Xi Riding a Tiger He Cannot Get Off?

Hemant Adlakha, Vice Chairperson, ICS and Associate Professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University.

Image: Xi Jinping riding a tiger

A Chinese idiom says: If you ride a tiger, it’s hard to get off! Since being handed over China’s reign by the CPC a decade ago, Xi Jinping hasn’t experienced “the year of the tiger.” He will be riding into the tiger year this Chinese zodiac year – a crucial year for him. Speculations are high in the People’s Republic as everyone is asking: does Xi know how to get off a tiger?

It is well-known that the tiger occupies a unique position in traditional Chinese mythology. Of the twelve Chinese zodiac animals, tigers are known to have potent personalities. They are considered to be strong, brash, impetuous and, above all, self-assured. However, while they are potent personalities, at the same time they are fundamentally dangerous. Xi Jinping emerged as the top communist party leader in China in November 2012 – two years after the last year of the tiger in 2010. Remember, in 2010 China edged out Japan and became the world’s second largest economy after the US. This year will be the first time Xi Jinping will be leading China into the year of the tiger. In fact, as observers tell us, Xi will usher China “riding a tiger” as the leader of the world’s largest economy.   

But does he know how to get off a tiger? For, in recent years, Chinese politics has increasingly become too “hot” at the top and is not for someone with a weak heart – especially when compared with the days of Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao, respectively. Of course, no one can disagree, Xi Jinping has been under mounting pressure since the last CPC Party Congress in 2017, when he forced his “Thoughts” into the party constitution and got rid of the 2-term limit to his leadership of the party and of the PRC. Hence, it is the mounting political pressure he has put himself under to succeed for the “unprecedented” third term at the top that explains Xi’s uncharacteristic and yet distinct shift towards populism during the entire past one year.

Image: Chinese Zodiac: Year of the Tiger

Some say it is the widening social inequality – and Xi did not do anything for the first eight years – the biggest driving force behind Xi’s emphasis last year on “common prosperity.” Last August, Xi’s call for “prosperity of all” at the Central Committee for Financial and Economic Affairs stands out as the most populist of his series of “populism” measures announced last year. Other populist announcements include massive national propaganda that China has abolished “absolute poverty”; steps to rein-in China’s monopoly capitalists such as big and large “fin-tech” entrepreneurs Alibaba’s Jack Ma and Tencent’s Pony Ma, among others; shutting down of highly profitable private online coaching shops that dominate the education industry; and last but not least is the state cracking down on Didi online cab service and on the real estate businesses.

Furthermore, just like Xi did not, or could not, do anything substantive to bridge yawning inequality during his two terms as the top leader, he also failed to carry it through to the end the campaign against corruption. Remember the great enthusiasm with which the new leader had launched the “anti-corruption” movement on coming to office in 2012. However, soon the common people in China could see through the hollow slogan Xi had coined at the time: we must uphold the fighting of “tigers” and “flies” at the same time. Though anti-corruption rhetoric has been maintained at a high pitch, yet it remained a mere propaganda and failed to “destabilize the rotten bureaucratic apparatus on which the CPC relies to rule.” At the end of Xi’s ten years of rule, likewise, calls for “common prosperity” – the so-called philanthropy from the super-rich and the need to reduce social inequality, are seen as mere “populism” aimed at deflecting rising discontent and resentment mostly among rural migrant workers and vast majority of marginalized rural youth.    

Image: The Year of the Tiger 2010: Before Xi became the CPC top leader

Ever since the CPC general secretary Xi declared, or some say claimed, the party has apparently extended its full support and endorsed Xi as the “core” leader and abandoned the principle of collective leadership. The global media as well as scholars abroad have been critical of the PRC president for “leading China away from the hybrid path taken by Deng Xiaoping and returning to a system of absolute rule by one individual without term limits, as under Mao Zedong.” Xi is also accused of returning China on “the road to disaster” by turning the CPC leadership back from authoritarianism towards one-person dictatorship. Moreover, serious doubts have been expressed over whether “unstoppable” Xi can end the world’s largest economy’s (in size) “Gilded Age” and lead China into “its own era of progressive reform.”

It is in this above backdrop, president Xi’s sudden, high-pitched “populism” in the past one year must be analysed, for political as well as for economic reasons. On the one hand, Xi’s populism actually relies upon “socialist nihilism” to quell ideological challenges from the Chinese left. On the other hand, Xi is using the state-led propaganda of “abolishing of absolute poverty” and “prosperity for all” as a political instrument to dupe the working people of China. As Joschka Fischer has explained in a Project Syndicate column recently, perhaps Xi may be right in thinking that for the CPC, a change in direction is clearly needed. “For Xi, the Chinese hybrid model that has developed since Deng now needs a fundamental readjustment and social reorientation to account for the escalating political confrontation with the US and the decline of the economy’s growth rate,” Fischer noted.

However, within China, in a nutshell, disregarding all the populist moves in the course of the year just gone by in which Xi has tried to drum up for consolidating his quest for the third term, his only claim to enjoying wider popularity within China is perhaps the manner in which Xi and his team managed to keep low the pandemic death toll. As according to Eric Li, a Shanghai-based venture capitalist and political scientist, once President Xi took charge of leading China’s counter fight against the epidemic – following Xi’s virtual meeting with the head of the WHO on January 28, 2020 – he has shown that “opportunism and shirking responsibility” are not in his leadership character. Li does not disagree that the Wuhan authorities had erred in the early stages of the virus outbreak about which very little was known. And the unexplained delay resulted in justified public anger – best manifested in Wuhan Diary written by the city-based well-known writer, Fang Fang – especially at the initial silencing of the whistleblowing Dr. Li. But Xi’s decision to lockdown Wuhan city and Hubei province turned out to be “the decision that saved the nation from a devastating catastrophe,” noted Eric Li.


Finally, if Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping both could be credited to possess the required political skill to be able to both ride and get off a tiger – Mao for his extraordinary ability to lead China on the disastrous path to Great Leap Forward, Cultural Revolution and yet he continues to enjoy god-like status today, while Deng having had emerged from “three lows and three downs” into “chief architect” of a strong, modern China. In comparison, Xi’s only claim to be endowed with the unique Chinese skill “to ride and get off a tiger” lies is his ability to act with unprecedented high degree of firmness and character to lead China’s “people’s war” against a once-in-a-generation pandemic crisis. The world is still fighting the war to contain the corona pandemic, with both the number of infected cases and death toll rising. So is China. But with a difference – China has a communist party and Xi Jinping. If Eric Li, advocate for communist China and for Xi Jinping, is to be believed, Xi seems to have successfully managed to both “ride and get off” the Chinese tiger.     This blog was earlier published by on 20 January, 2022  under the title “Can Xi Jinping ride the tiger year with success?”.

China’s ‘Ides of Control’ and Social Credit System

Arushi Singh, Research Intern, ICS

Image: A city notice board in Rongcheng displaying model citizens with high social credit scores
Source: South China Morning Post

Just as the “Ides of March” served as a warning and ultimately, signified a perceptible pivot for the Roman Republic, China’s social credit system in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic has marked a new era for the “Ides” of control and surveillance. The social credit system in China has proved adept at acclimating to the new realities brought to the fore by the Covid-19 pandemic. The government in China has introduced specific stipulations to modify the requirements in the system including alterations for repayment provisions devoid of drawbacks and inducements for some companies to help control the pandemic. Obligations have also been presented, which entail businesses to desisting from price gouging on health merchandise. In 2020, the social credit system covered 1.1 billion individuals through an integrated China social credit system officially declared in 2014. Notably, the earliest forms of the social credit system have been tested since 2009 on a regional level. However, the genesis of the philosophy responsible for the social credit system has been propounded by scholars for centuries in the making. It has traced back to China’s “Warring States” Era.

At the end of the Warring States era, the Qin leaders encouraged the rule of law to nourish a well-ordered societal structure. However, the current Chinese leaders are focused on a code of conduct that emphasizes values which encompass inclusiveness, harmony, civility and morality to retain order as well as concord while harnessing compliance. Experts attest to the fact that the social credit system is an ecosystem of initiatives that share some fundamental commonalities. Subsequently, 40 trials have been conducted to establish the current social credit system nationwide with their own objectives, distinctions, recompense and castigations to establish the current social credit system nationwide.

One of the most profound influences for the social credit system appears to draw insight from the doctrine of Legalism, which rose from the ashes of the Warring States era (475-221 BCE). The Chinese terminology fa-jia for legalism encompasses more than just law. It includes approaches, norms, and impersonal guidelines. The Legalists promoted in practice and works the usage of law as the primary tool of government wherein the focus was on punishment and reward. Their distinguishing attribute was the importance placed by them on the usage of law to expand the power of the sovereign besides the authority of the State. The Legalist thought, particularly regarding the law, may well be understood in the Austinian interpretation of law wherein any orders by the ruler are backed with a threat of force. The commentators have projected that the chief objective of the Legalists was to formulate policies that would better the martial and financial position of the state. This policy construction was also motivated by the political and societal circumstances during the Warring States era. The implementation, however, required the employment of a centralized authority directing the accumulation of power for the sovereign. The sovereign exerts this power via a system of bureaucracy with strict accountability and governance accomplished through laws that all citizens understand. Therefore, legalism controlled not only the citizenry but the bureaucracy as well.

This control is exercised through the mechanism of penalties and rewards in the current social credit system. The disadvantages are significant and are enforced by a range of current methods used by the government to ensure power encompassing the “hukou” system, detention, and incarceration for dissenting deeds or even the articulation of nonconforming sentiments. The social credit system was envisioned in 1999 under Zhu Rongji, who wanted to alleviate the complexity of external firms in obtaining data on their Chinese associates. The system was considered in official papers exclusively in market reforms. However, the real breakthrough came during the 2014 Five Year Plan (FYP), which encompassed the online revelation of the identity of citizens who have been chastised and those who have been compensated. Furthermore, there has been an enhanced congruence under President Xi Jinping of the legalist philosophy, who uses numerous quotations from legalist scholars in his speeches. Xi is the focal point of China both administratively and spiritually, and the power structure is etched to bring about his interpretation of law and policy.

The administrative control is additionally exercised by other developments, including the publication of “black list,” which heralded the penalties, and “red list”, which touts access to improved privilege for the citizens according to their actions which have been intensely documented through the vast surveillance network in China. There is also a list for companies called the irregularity list, which acts as a warning to improve scores. This further underscores discussions on privacy in China which are pretty different from the Western notion. Researchers have proposed that traditional Confucian philosophy praises morality rather than deference to individual rights as the basis for social interactions. Furthermore, privacy has conventionally entailed familial familiarity or dishonorable/scandalous secrets. On the other hand, the law in China is concerned with privacy as a right to protect one’s reputation against insult and libel. Notably, the governmental authorities have also maintained a dang’an, a dossier composed of detailed information about citizens residing in urban areas, which appears to have had a desensitized impact on privacy concerns.

Strategic analysts have also reflected upon the novel surveillance culture intending to essentially eradicate the apprehension and the prospect of observation of historical, Confucian-inspired conceptions of virtue. The emerging surveillance culture is prompted to imbibe the attributes and evaluate the citizenry through the social credit system on their perceived capacity to assist or impair the state. Thereby, a noticeable change in the surveillance change is witnessed wherein there is a purging of traditional Confucian conceptions such as the face, both of its inner moral dimension and its external, socially constituted dimension. Scholars have also noted that the credit score’s rationality is founded on social discipline, which is then reinforced by official public-private partnership rather than the Confucianism’s “face.” Furthermore, this step expands across an array of exchanges by citizens. For instance, big data is being employed to construct more effective policymaking and enforcement. Nevertheless, the Covid-19 pandemic has spotlighted on the limitations of surveillance systems. However, a pattern can be observed wherein novel technologies are utilized for the attainment of better social control and social management. Thereby, tackling social dilemmas and sequestering social instabilities.

Consequently, in its current reincarnation, the social credit system is expected to track every act and transaction by every Chinese citizen in real-time and respond to the aggregate of a citizen’s financial, societal, and ethical conduct with incentives and punishments. This dream is aided by ubiquitous algorithms designed to generate fiscally valuable, socially harmonized and politically obedient citizens who self-censor and restrict. Consequently, the corporate social credit can be utilized as a trade war weapon in an informal capacity by regional officials or an implicitly authorized order by the government. Furthermore, this system has a higher export value which is likely to interest other authoritarian and totalitarian systems worldwide.

The author is thankful to her mentor, Dr. Bhim Subba, Assistant Professor, University of Hyderabad. The views expressed here are those of the author(s), and not necessarily of the mentor or the Institute of Chinese Studies.

Why Will China Not Give Up on its ‘Dynamic Zeroing’ Covid-19 Strategy?

Hemant Adlakha, Vice Chairperson, ICS and Associate Professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University.

This article was published two months ago in Modern Diplomacy under the same title. However, following the revival and fast spreading of local variants of Covid-19, including Omicron, first in Xi’an and then in Yuzhou city in Henan province, and now in the northern port city of Tianjin near Beijing, questions have been raised in China on the rationality behind persisting with “zero tolerance” policy. I hope to come up with the second part of the article with focus on resurging Covid-19 cases in China and the Beijing Winter Olympics.

Image: Where is the exit from China’s zero tolerance on Covid-19?

The world is again at war with China. This time, the war is not about China’s aggressive “wolf warrior” diplomacy; nor is it about China threatening to use force to reunify with Taiwan. Instead, if one goes by what the global media says, this new round of “war” is an ego clash between what China calls Covid-19 “dynamic zeroing” and what the West is practicing – “living with virus strategy.”

Last year, Dr. Li Wenliang, who raised an alarm about the coronavirus in the early days of the outbreak, was forced by the police in Wuhan to write “self-confession” and was told to immediately stop spreading false rumours. Within a few days, Dr. Li caught the infection and was hospitalized, where he succumbed to the virus and died three weeks later. Of course, Li was not infectious disease expert, he was an ophthalmologist at the Wuhan Central Hospital. A little over a year later, when Zhang Wenhong, a doctor in Shanghai who has been compared with the top US health official Dr. Anthony Fauci, wrote on his Weibo blog indicating China might have to live with the Covid-19 pandemic, he had to face vicious attacks by the official media and the Chinese health authorities. For, Dr. Wenhong had come in the cross hairs with China’s official “dynamic zeroing” strategy aimed at eliminating the coronavirus.

It is important to recall, since early last year China has been strictly adhering to a “zero tolerance” (Qingling in Chinese) policy for Covid-19, under which authorities have imposed strict border controls, travel restrictions, lockdowns and at times carried out mass testing as and when new Covid-19 cases emerged. Furthermore, the success of “zero tolerance” policy which resulted in long stretches of zero new cases was drummed up by the communist leadership of the country as the secret for successful coronavirus pandemic containment strategy. “China’s government attributed the effective virus containment to the phenomenal leadership of the communist Party and its institutional superiority over Western liberal democratic systems,” commented The Diplomat two months ago. (Emphasis added).

Image: China’s zero-Covid strategy risks leaving it isolated for years

Rise in regional flare-ups

However, more recently, China experienced regional flare-ups of the globally prevalent delta variant, including in cities such as Beijing and Shanghai. As a result, Beijing authorities were forced to postpone the capital city’s annual marathon scheduled to be held on 31 October. A week earlier, on 24 October, Beijing’s Universal Studios theme park also took preventive measures and started testing all its employees after it was found out that a suspected case had visited the Studios. At the same time, Shanghai Disneyland and Disney town were temporarily shut down as part of the pandemic prevention drive. According to China’s English language newspaper, Caixin Daily, the decision to suddenly close Disneyland followed the emergence of a new Covid-19 case in neighbouring Zhejiang province, it was someone who had visited the Shanghai attraction.

In fact, the recent flare-ups spread across over twenty provinces and areas in China have been attributed to a cluster of Covid-19 cases in Ejin Banner in the remote Inner Mongolia that is in the Gobi region. According to reports, nearly 9,000 tourists who were visiting the Gobi Desert during China’s National Day “golden week” holidays were trapped there, mostly in quarantine. The Chinese tourists had gone there to spend time in the famous poplar forests where trees turn golden yellow during this time of the year. An official Chinese media outlet reported “the recent local Covid-19 outbreaks that began in mid-October have spread to two-thirds of China’s 31 provincial-level regions, with more than 1,000 locally transmitted infections.” Attributing delta variants as the cause for the country’s second wave of the pandemic, one of China’s top epidemiologists, Dr. Zeng Guang, a former head of Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (China CDC), opined China must continue with emergency measures, including maintaining long quarantines and vigorous contact tracing, until a “barrier of immunity” has been established.

Living with the virus” is more costly

While acknowledging that the global challenges in containing the delta variant will mean that society must learn how to coexist with Covid-19, Zeng emphasized that “China will need to continue its ‘zero tolerance’ strategy against Covid-19 with nationwide emergency responses.” Reacting sharply to the last of few remaining countries which too have finally shifted from eliminating strategy to trying to live with the virus – for example, New Zealand, Singapore and Australia – China’s most celebrated infectious disease expert and “national hero” Dr. Zhong Nanshan has strongly defended “zero tolerance” strategy on the grounds that measures to deal with sporadic Covid-19 outbreaks are less costly than treating patients after they have been infected. “The cost is truly high, but compared with not managing it, relaxing (the zero tolerance policy), then that cost is even higher,” Dr. Zhong Nanshan said in a recent TV interview.

Image: How long can China chase COVID zero?

Remember, China has reported about 4,600 deaths due to COVID pandemic. In comparison, the US with just a quarter of China’s population and a far more expensive and superior health care system has lost over 755,000 lives. No wonder China’s foreign ministry spokesperson has recently disdainfully dismissed the US as an “inferior system” and a “total failure.” Defending the Chinese government policy, Dr. Zhong Nanshan questioned all those countries (mostly the developed countries in the West) that had relaxed their policies amid a drop in Covid-19 cases only to go on to later suffer a large number of infections. “The global mortality rate for people infected with Covid-19, which spreads fast and continues to mutate, is currently around two per cent. We [China] cannot tolerate such a high mortality rate,” the top Chinese epidemiologist said.

The logic of China’s “zero tolerance” policy

Refuting the logic offered by Dr. Zhong Nanshan in defense of China’s “zero tolerance” policy, i.e. it is more effective and less costly to contain Covid-19 than treating patients after they have been infected, an overseas Chinese scholar Zhuoran Li attributed China’s so-called success in fighting the pandemic to the Maoist doctrine of mass line and the CPC’s Leninist identity, respectively. “The key to implementing this ‘zero tolerance’ is the CPC’s mass mobilization capability. The CPC has viewed mobilization as a ‘secret weapon’ throughout its history. After Mao’s Mass Line became a key to the CPC’s victory in 1949, the Party continued to rely heavily on mass mobilization to achieve its goal – social transformation between 1949 and 1956; steel and food production between 1958 and 1961; or combating natural disasters in 1998 and 2008,” Zhuoran Li argues.

At another level, adding a different dimension to Zhuoran Li’s argument, another overseas Chinese scholar, Yanzhong Huang, a senior research fellow with the Council for Foreign Relations (CFR) has observed: “It’s becoming part of the official narrative that promotes the approach and links to the superiority of the Chinese political system.” Maybe true, however, from China’s point of view, what is most disturbing is there is a lack of consensus within the official narrative. Take Ruili for example, a southwestern city surrounded by Myanmar on three sides and currently the center of the highest flare-up. According to Ruili residents, they have been the worst victims of China’s zero-transmission strategy as they have been subjected to multiple rounds of quarantine, lockdowns and excessive Covid19 testing. The local city authorities have put the blame for the plight of the 270,000 residents on the successive flare-ups on “traders and refugees who frequently cross the border into China.” On the other hand, the angry residents in the city have been complaining of the escalating financial as well as social costs for having been left alone to cope with the epidemic.

Image: China is keeping its borders closed, and turning it inwards

Furthermore, foreign experts and the global media have maintained that China either doesn’t want to admit or the authorities in Beijing are yet to realize – as most or nearly all countries have – that not only the virus is now permanent but also that there is no chance in the long run that a zero-Covid strategy could work in terms of achieving complete elimination. This confusion is the official narrative in China has been best manifested in a public spat between the mayor and the deputy mayor of Ruili. Last month, Dai Rongli, the deputy mayor posted an essay on his personal social media blog highlighting the difficulties city residents have been facing due to the pandemic prevention policies. “The pandemic has mercilessly robbed this city time and again, squeezing dry the city’s last sign of life,” the deputy mayor wrote. Within days, an infuriated city mayor Shang Labian criticized his deputy in an interview with a Chinese digital news platform saying: “Ruili does not need outside support and sympathy.”

To sum up, it is indeed true that most people in China support the country’s strict pandemic prevention policies. Yet undeterred by what most other countries are claiming, that is, “the illness will circulate in perpetuity and can only be encountered with high immunization rates,” the Chinese leadership is standing firm on its resolve that the zero-transmission strategy is less costly. Liang Wannian, the head of China’s “leading small group” under the Ministry of Health to combat Covid19, has refuted as baseless claims that China is persisting with its zero-transmission strategy for political reasons such as holding of the Beijing Winter Olympics in February 2022 and the 20th CPC National Congress in October next year.

Image: The Delta Variant and China’s Need to Change its COVID-19 Policy?

Dynamiczeroing is not zero transmission, nor is it China’s permanent strategy. Whether to change the current pandemic prevention strategy depends on the trend of the global epidemic, the mutation of the virus, the change in the severity of the disease and the level of vaccination coverage in China and other factors,” Liang said. In other words, Liang Wannian almost confirmed what experts outside China have been claiming: “They [China] are not confident about the effectiveness of [their own] vaccines – the ability to prevent infections.” Therefore, China has been caught in its own trap of “zero transmission” or “dynamic zeroing.”