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What the Winter Olympics reveal about China’s zero-Covid strategy

Why Beijing is nervous ahead of the Winter Olympics, and whether the “spheres of influence” theory belongs in the 20th century.

As the three-week countdown begins for the Beijing Winter Olympics, the Omicron variant has reached the city, prompting restrictions on ticket sales for an event China had hoped would symbolise its successful containment strategy.

Emily Tamkin in Washington, DC, and Ido Vock in Berlin are joined by Katie Stallard, senior editor of China and global affairs in Washington, DC, our latest addition to the team. They discuss China’s ability to deliver a “streamlined, safe and splendid” games, and whether there is a way out of the country’s “zero-Covid” strategy.

Amid rising tensions between Russia and Ukraine, splits have begun to emerge between members of the Nato alliance. The team discusses Russia’s view of its neighbours and the concept of spheres of influence, long thought to be a Cold War relic.

Then in You Ask Us, a listener questions what the view is from Beijing on Ukraine’s conflict with Russia.

Further reading:

Emily asks whether transatlantic can allies hang together with Russian forces still on Ukraine’s border.

Ido Vock asks what a Russian assault on Ukraine would look like.

Megan Gibson reports on the US’s diplomatic boycott of the Winter Olympic Games in Beijing. China is not happy.

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