‘Critically weak’ President Xi faces ouster in coup after humiliating Covid descent, ex-diplomat warns

According to a former diplomat, the easing of XI Jinping’s Covid restrictions in China could see him ousted as his cronies will see it as a sign of weakness.

The President has rolled back his strict zero-Covid policy after seemingly giving in to pressure amid unrest and public rebellion.

Easing of Covid restrictions in China could lead to Xi Jinping's ouster, according to an expert

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Easing of Covid restrictions in China could lead to Xi Jinping’s ouster, according to an expertCredit: AP
Riot police wear hazmat suits during protests in Guangzhou

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Riot police wear hazmat suits during protests in GuangzhouPhoto credit: Reuters
Protesters and police have clashed amid widespread unrest across China

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Protesters and police have clashed amid widespread unrest across ChinaPhoto credit: AFP

Angry anti-lockdown protests erupted across the country as well-fed citizens fought back against hazmat-clad enforcers.

Xi’s ultra-tight zero-Covid measures have gripped China for three years – beating China’s economy and fueling the greatest discontent since he took power a decade ago.

But Xi has now eased the measures in a humiliating descent for the dictator.

Roger Garside, former diplomat and author of Coup d’etat in China: The great leap to freedombelieves Xi’s rule could crumble amid “elite pressures and popular protests” as higher echelons of the party could turn against him.

He told The Sun: “This easing is indeed seen as a sign of Xi’s weakness, not only by his inner circle but by public opinion in general in China and abroad.

“From the beginning, Xi has proclaimed himself the mastermind of the zero-Covid policy, claiming that it shows the superiority of China’s political system.

“As late as October he was calling it a ‘full-scale people’s war’.”

Hundreds took to the streets in eight cities – including Beijing and Shanghai – after the deaths of ten people in an apartment fire were traced to lockdown rules.

They have been dubbed the “white paper revolution” as rioters waved blank white sheets in a symbolic protest against censorship.

China has been desperate to maintain the hard line while keeping the world’s second-largest economy afloat.

But the nationwide eruption of public frustration seems to have finally swayed the minds of top Communist Party officials.

The new measures will also lift restrictions on the sale of cold medicine and boost vaccinations for the elderly.

Mr Garside believes an easing of restrictions could create a “social and political crisis” should it lead to a spate of deaths.

He said: “If the easing of restrictions leads to a large number of deaths, it could indeed lead to a social and political crisis and even his downfall.

“A large number of deaths after easing would certainly provoke a new and much larger wave of protests.”

China, which has a population of 1.4 billion, has so far reported 5,235 Covid-related deaths and 1,790,000 cases, likely a massive underestimate by the regime.

But there are fears the death toll could rise should the country see a full reopening.

According to Zhou Jiatong, head of the Center for Disease Control in the southwestern region of Guangxi, mainland China could face more than two million deaths if Covid curbs are eased in the same way as Hong Kong’s last year .

His forecast, published by the Shanghai Journal of Preventive Medicine, also said infections could surge to more than 233 million.

In a sharp turn, China has reversed some of its strictest rules – including reducing lockdown times and ordering students to return to classrooms.

China’s National Health Commission confirmed the rules will be relaxed in an announcement on Wednesday.

The frequency and scope of PCR testing will be reduced, lockdowns will be reduced and people with non-severe Covid cases will be able to isolate at home rather than in crowded field hospitals.

People no longer have to show Covid tests and a health certificate on their phone to enter public buildings and spaces – with the exception of areas such as kindergartens, aged care facilities and schools.

The new rules have also abolished compulsory quarantines for people without symptoms or with mild cases.

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The extent of the lockdowns has been limited to individual floors and buildings of apartments rather than entire boroughs and neighborhoods – and the lockdowns cannot last more than five days unless additional cases are identified.

Rioters waved blank white sheets of paper to symbolically protest the censorship

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Rioters waved blank white sheets of paper to symbolically protest the censorshipPhoto credit: Reuters
Police officers have arrested people during a protest against the zero Covid lockdowns

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Police officers have arrested people during a protest against the zero Covid lockdownsPhoto credit: Reuters
Some have dubbed the widespread unrest the

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Some have dubbed the widespread unrest the “White Paper Revolution.”Photo credit: Reuters

https://www.the-sun.com/news/6860279/xi-toppled-coup-covid-climbdown/ ‘Critically weak’ President Xi faces ouster in coup after humiliating Covid descent, ex-diplomat warns

DevanCole

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