How COVID Strengthened Authoritarianism in China


Manage episode 328302237 series 248
By WNYC Studios and The New Yorker, WNYC Studios, and The New Yorker. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

China’s “zero COVID” strategy has brought the bustling metropolis of Shanghai to a standstill, with many of its twenty-five million residents sealed in their homes. These exceptionally strict measures are being met with some public resistance, but Xi Jinping’s government has largely doubled down on its approach. Peter Hessler has been in and out of China for twenty-five years. He recently returned from two years of teaching and writing in Sichuan Province. His experience led him to a conclusion that may surprise some Americans: that, for many young people in China, the experience of the pandemic has reinforced “a general idea that the benefits of the Chinese system greatly outweigh its flaws.” And, even if people resent heavy-handed government control, they also bristle when outsiders criticize it. Hessler joins guest host Evan Osnos to talk about teaching in China and how the pandemic has reshaped the public’s views about the government.

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