Hiding behind ‘vaccine diplomacy’ in run-up to Olympics won’t help China
The country is facing increasing pressure from Covid-19, possible boycotts and scaled back trade
As countries around the world imposed new Covid-19 restrictions this week after rising concern about the Omicron variant, China announced it would aim to deliver another 1-billion vaccines to Africa and push ahead with hosting the 2022 Winter Olympics in February.
It was a reminder of the self-confidence Beijing wants to project to the world: an economic powerhouse that has controlled the pandemic at home and led the response overseas, impervious to international criticism it sees as hypocritical.
The reality is more complex. While cases at home remain low, China is struggling with the limited efficacy of its vaccines and keen to avoid a resurgence of domestic cases that its scientists say would be catastrophic. Abroad, Beijing faces increasingly antagonistic relations with the West and multiple other nations, including criticism over human rights and its growing pressure on Taiwan...