A board listing COVID-19 countermeasures is seen at the National Speed Skating Oval on day one of the Speed Skating China Open, a test event of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic Games, on October 8, 2021 in Beijing, China
Fu Tian/China News Service via Getty Images
November 16, 2021 11:14 PM EST

An adviser to China’s government said he hopes the country will gradually loosen its strict approach to battling Covid-19 after Beijing hosts the 2022 Winter Olympics, an event that could facilitate more interaction between global leaders.

Henry Wang Huiyao, an adviser to China’s State Council and founder of an influential Chinese think-tank, said closer collaboration between Washington, Beijing and the World Health Organization could help open up his country, which has largely isolated itself as it follows a “Covid Zero” approach to suppressing the virus.

Globally, infections are rising again as the world enters its third year with the virus that has killed more than 5.1 million people. Wang called for more coordinated action on controlling the outbreak.

“There’s a lack of leadership on the global fighting of the pandemic,” Wang, president of the Center for China & Globalization, said in an interview from the Bloomberg New Economy Forum in Singapore. “There’s a need for having that so we can facilitate travel, the movement of people, and even for Chinese government officials to visit other countries.”

Wang said he hopes the country’s strict approach to handling Covid-19 will change and that it will gradually reopen. China is preparing for several major events, including the Olympic Games starting in February, making the easing of restrictions unlikely before then.

“I hope that after the Beijing Olympics, we will see something happening,” Wang said.

Speaking the same week that President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping met for a virtual summit, Wang added he hoped the U.S. leader would be able to visit the opening ceremony of the games.

“We hope that could be another occasion for the two presidents to meet,” he said.

With assistance from Krystal Chia


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