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China’s Covid Lockdowns Stir Memories of a Planned Economy


Yang Wenhui should be a proud example of China’s rise from economic rubble to global powerhouse.Growing up poor, he ate so much cabbage that he didn’t touch it again for many years. He worked as a farmer and a construction worker before joining the country’s nascent logistics industry. In 2003, he started his own freight logistics company, striking gold as online shopping took off in the 2010s and products moved swiftly between provinces.Then the Omicron variant started spreading in China. In the government’s zealous pursuit of its “zero Covid” policy, dozens of cities along the 1,300 miles of highway between the capital, Beijing, and the southern province of Guangdong, his main freight route, imposed travel restrictions and lockdowns. Many truckers were grounded. Cargo prices rose by 20 percent in a matter of weeks.“I’ve been in the lo …

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