Beijing: Chinese President Xi Jinping has no challenge in his way to get another term as he has spent a decade eliminating opposition and factions within the Communist Party of China (CPC) while keeping his considerable control over armed forces, said the latest analysis by the Mercator Institute for China Studies (MERICS).

People of China are in great distress as extreme lockdowns in Shanghai, Beijing and other cities have led to protests and clashes with people forced to stay home for weeks without normal access to food and medicines, the Policy Research group reported citing MERICS analysis.

But, President Xi, who is set to enter his third term as the Helmsman of the country, bulldozed his way telling the people that harsh measures are needed to handle the harsh realities of the day. Premier Li Keqiang apparently does not share Xi's confidence that the anti-Covid policy "will stand the test of time."

Meanwhile, Li Keqiang is set to 'retire' soon, but due to Covid-induced economic slowdown, he has been ordered to keep the economy on track without disturbing Xi's Zero-Covid strategy to maintain the economic baseline.

This is no more than a fire-fighting task, says Jacob Gunter, Senior Analyst at MERICS, adding that the Chinese Premier has been told: "to put out a raging inferno without any water."

Premier Li held a virtual meeting with over 100,000 officials at every level of the government across the country to coordinate policy to keep the economy from derailing completely, he added.

According to POREG, 47 per cent of CEOs surveyed expect sales in China to worsen, and 27 per cent expect them to remain the same as there is no more than a tacit vote of no confidence in Beijing's ability to emerge from the crisis this year. It signals a growing acceptance that President Xi Jinping won't abandon "zero-Covid" any time soon. No shifts away from "Zero-Covid" or established economic measures are apparent even as the Communist Party of China (CPC) prepares for its 20th Party Congress in the fall.

To ensure stability despite a more volatile and unpredictable international situation, China has on the domestic front begun pre-emptive preparations in case it too becomes the focus of economic sanctions like Russia. Three months ago, in March to be precise, China ran an exercise to see how its agencies would respond to such moves by the West.

Internationally, China has doubled down on its foreign policy trajectory - there are no signs of China reconsidering its anti-Western alignment with Russia. For instance, China conducted an annual joint air-force exercise with Russia over the East China Sea earlier than usual, while President Biden met the other Quad-format leaders of Japan, India and Australia in Tokyo.

China has increased its efforts to rally states in a push for greater multi-polarity channelled through loosely defined formats like the Global Development Initiative, the new Global Security Initiative, or an expanded BRICS grouping, the report stated further.

The communist nation has also intensified diplomatic outreach, particularly to the Global South as a counter to the US's Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity, Foreign Minister Wang Yi recently toured eight South Pacific island nations - though he had failed to get them to endorse a "Common Development Vision" including security cooperation, similar to the controversial deal China has with the Solomon Islands. —ANI



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