The People’s Republic of China, notoriously the nation of origin of the pandemic, has also been successful in using Covid-19 for its geopolitical purposes. The Chinese developed vaccines against the virus quickly, and has earned good will in other countries by high-volume exports.
In medieval times, the “Silk Road” was the truck route of trade from China west, through the Hindu and Moslem worlds, to eastern Europe. In the 21st century, China’s diplomatic policy brings to mind the old Silk Road. It wants to use “soft power,” non-military means of exercising influence to put itself at the center of decision making for a vast sphere along the old Silk Road, extending to eastern Africa and, perhaps, eastern Europe as well.
The World Health Organization recently gave its seal of approval to a vaccine made by China’s Sinopharm Group, an approval expected to increase the export volume of the so-called Sinovac.
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In all this, China may be trading on an inferior product. The efficacy of Sinovac varies greatly from one study to the next. An official in New Delhi, India, told a reporter for Bloomberg recently that the Chinese shots available there have not lived up to expectations.