China’s President’s Scheme For Zero COVID Coronation Fails

( In a lengthy feature at Newsweek, China expert Gordon G. Chang lays out the high stakes gamble the Beijing Olympics will be for Chinese President Xi Jinping and how much has changed since Xi was responsible for the 2008 Summer Games in Beijing.

Unlike the propaganda piece featured in the New York Times last week, Chang’s column is an honest look at the “Chinese strongman,” the current challenges he faces in China, and how a disastrous Olympics could prevent Xi from achieving his goal of being China’s Dictator for Life.

According to Chang, Xi Jinping, who got the top spot in large part due to his role in the 2008 Beijing Summer Games, is once again personally supervising the Winter Olympic Games. And while China is in a much stronger position today than it was in 2008, Chang says that the regime itself is “more fragile.”

President Xi faces internal resistance to his control and his gaining an unprecedented third term as general secretary isn’t a sure thing.

Given that, Xi can’t afford anything but a ringing success at this week’s Olympic Games. Chang explains that there can be no scandals, no terrorism, and certainly no visible protests about China’s human rights abuses.

But most importantly, Chang explains, given China’s role in the global COVID pandemic, President Xi’s “zero COVID” strategy has to work.

In short, because of his hands-on micromanagement of the Beijing Olympics, any trip-up, any mistake, any failure during the Games will be hung around President Xi’s neck.

But Chang adds that the same high stakes for Xi extend well beyond the Olympics.

Xi Jinping is the first general secretary in the CCP to have this kind of power and control. Chang explains that before him, no top leader got “too much credit or too much blame because every decision of consequence was made by consensus.”

But there is no shared power in the Politburo Standing Committee today. Xi saw to it.

So if things go badly, he’ll be the guy holding the bag.

Read Chang’s full column HERE. It’s lengthy but well worth the time.