Skip to content
Subscriber Only
Politics
Economics

Beijing Outbreak Poses Test for China’s Chairman of Everything

  • More than 130 coronavirus cases reported in Chinese capital
  • Xi took personal responsibility for China’s response to virus
A medical worker disinfects the coronavirus testing site in Beijing on June 17.
A medical worker disinfects the coronavirus testing site in Beijing on June 17.Photographer: Lintao Zhang/Getty Images
Updated on

As Chinese officials in Wuhan struggled to contain a deadly coronavirus outbreak in January, it was Xi Jinping who stepped in and took control. Now, the president who declared himself personally responsible for every aspect of China’s response to the pandemic faces fresh test: a rapidly growing outbreak in Beijing.

The cluster of more than 130 cases in the city that is the seat of Communist Party power risks undermining the government’s narrative it handled the epidemic better than many western nations. It could upend its nascent economic recovery if it turns into a second wave. The stakes are even higher for Xi, who has staked his credibility on China’s response and sought to frame himself as a global leader in the crisis -- to the chagrin of nations from the U.S. to Australia.