The Times podcast: Has ‘zero COVID’ checkmated China’s Xi?

A man with dark hair, in a dark suit and gray tie, sits in front of other men in suits, behind a placard that says China
Chinese President Xi Jinping attends a session at the Group of 20 summit in Bali, Indonesia, on Nov. 16, 2022.
(Willy Kurniawan / Associated Press)

Mainland China is roiled by protests, the size of which have not been seen in a generation. People are calling for an end to the government’s strict “zero-COVID” restrictions. The moment has also brought rare public criticism of its architect, President Xi Jinping. Just months ago, he secured an unprecedented third term, but now is as vulnerable as he’s ever been.


Today, we examine whether the zero-COVID policy could be Xi’s downfall. Read the full transcript here.

Host: Gustavo Arellano

Guests: L.A. Times China correspondent Stephanie Yang

More reading:

‘Zero COVID’ is roiling China. But ending the policy may cause a massive health disaster

Protests over China’s strict COVID-19 controls spread across the country

Dreams of a Red Emperor: The relentless rise of Xi Jinping

About The Times

“The Times” is produced by Shannon Lin, Denise Guerra, Kasia Broussalian, David Toledo and Ashlea Brown. Our editorial assistants are Roberto Reyes and Nicolas Perez. Our engineers are Mario Diaz, Mark Nieto and Mike Heflin. Our editor is Kinsee Morlan. Our executive producers are Jazmin Aguilera, Heba Elorbany and Shani Hilton. And our theme music is by Andrew Eapen.