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Mixed Messages From China Leaders Feed Speculation of Split

  • Premier warns on economy while president pushes Covid Zero
  • Contrast in tones adds to confusion over plan to exit pandemic
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China Premier Warns of ‘Grave’ Jobs Situation Amid Lockdowns
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Premier Li Keqiang’s warning of China’s “complicated and grave” employment situation on Saturday was particularly dire, even for someone who has sounded the alarm for months. But it was also notable another reason: It didn’t mention President Xi Jinping’s Covid Zero strategy. 

Just days earlier, the Politburo Standing Committee -- on which both Xi and Li sit -- warned China’s citizens not to question Covid-control policies that have locked down cities across the country, including Shanghai. That statement, by contrast, contained no mention of the economy.