Good evening. Wang Qishan, once one of Xi Jinping’s closest deputies, is now a semi-black sheep in the Chinese Communist Party. Our cover story this week explores what the downfall of the revered economic reformer says about Xi’s China. Elsewhere, we have infographics on the state of China’s healthcare system; an interview with Josh Kurlantzick about China’s media offensive; an op-ed from Stephen Roach about what China’s reopening spin is glossing over; and an op-ed from Nancy Qian about why China’s Covid winter is particularly brutal. If you’re not already a paid subscriber to The Wire, please sign up here.
Want this emailed directly to your inbox? Sign up to receive our free newsletter.
The Last of the Reformers?
Wang Qishan, China’s vice president, was once one of Xi Jinping’s closest deputies. But with multiple people in Wang’s orbit recently imprisoned or investigated, many think the revered champion of economic reforms has been sidelined. With no obvious successor for Wang’s particular brand of candor and competence, the U.S. business community — long Wang’s biggest fan club — is especially concerned. Eliot Chen and Katrina Northrop report.
The Big Picture: China’s Bill of Health
China’s zero-Covid era is over, and as the virus spreads across the country, all eyes are on how the country’s healthcare infrastructure will cope. This week’s infographics by Eliot Chen look at the state of China’s healthcare system, including the cost of zero-Covid.
A Q&A with Josh Kurlantzick
Josh Kurlantzick’s new book, Beijing’s Global Media Offensive: China’s Uneven Campaign to Influence Asia and the World, is a comprehensive account of China’s attempts to become a media superpower. The book looks into where and how Beijing has failed in its efforts to date, and explains where it is meeting with success, as well as offering ideas on how countries like the U.S. should respond. In this week’s Q&A with Andrew Peaple, he talks about the book; why there should be long term fear about Xinhua; China’s sharp vs. soft power; and why TikTok requires special scrutiny.
Illustration by Lauren Crow
China’s Reopening Spin
World financial markets have enthusiastically embraced Beijing’s spin heralding a powerful post-Zero Covid reopening. China’s reopening will certainly cause an economic snapback, but as Stephen Roach asks in this week’s op-ed: then what? When the dust settles on the coming snapback, he argues, China’s chronic growth problems are likely to resurface with a vengeance.
China’s Brutal COVID Winter
China is now having one of the worst outbreaks seen anywhere since the start of the pandemic. As Nancy Qian argues in this week’s op-ed, unlike in most developed economies, key features of China’s social and economic structure make it especially difficult for ordinary households to grapple with the virus.
Subscribe today for unlimited access, starting at only $19 a month.