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The year 2023 has been marked by significant challenges for China, as policymakers and analysts were caught off guard by the failure of a post-pandemic economic recovery. This has led to gloomier forecasts for 2024, challenging the expectations that were prevalent at the beginning of the year.

One of the most significant events that shaped China’s political landscape in the first half of 2023 was the sudden end of its zero-COVID policy. The healthcare system struggled to cope with the influx of sick individuals, while the general population lived in fear of contracting a virus that had been heavily stigmatized by the government. The number of COVID-related deaths continued to rise rapidly, although official data is uncertain due to underreporting. Estimates range from hundreds of thousands to millions of lives lost.

China now faces a challenging road ahead, as it grapples with both the aftermath of its failed economic recovery and the toll of the COVID-19 crisis. Policymakers and analysts are tasked with reassessing their strategies and predictions for future in light of these unexpected developments. The year 2023 will be remembered as a time of reckoning for China’s leadership and a lesson in the unpredictability global events.

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