When China first instituted its zero-COVID policy, it was a success: as other countries struggled with soaring infection rates and overburdened hospitals, life for many Chinese citizens began to look normal again within months—so long as they weren’t infected. But the omicron variant changed the game. Now, people are speaking out against draconian lockdown measures they say are inappropriate to face the current level of threat.
How did zero-COVID evolve from being the most effective virus prevention strategy in the world to a disproportionate and punitive system? And how has that evolution expanded state control?
Guest: Dake Kang, journalist in the Beijing bureau of the Associated Press.
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Podcast production by Mary Wilson, Elena Schwartz, Carmel Delshad, Anna Rubanova and Sam Kim.