Jim Geraghty of National Review Online questions the latest controversial actions from Chinese leader Xi Jinping and his henchmen.

There are good reasons to fear China. The country has the largest standing military in the world and the world’s largest navy. It is dramatically expanding its nuclear arsenal. Its human-rights record reads like a demon’s resume and it’s currently committing genocide, but somehow its economic, diplomatic, and cultural power is so strong that the regime hads defenders in the West who shrug off the ongoing use of concentration camps. The country has made little secret of its desire to conquer — or, in its own words, “unify” with Taiwan, by force. And in the last few years, you may have noticed that its virology labs don’t seem all that safe and secure.

But for all of the menacing, saber-rattling, relentlessness, and ruthlessness, Chinese ruler Xi Jinping and his surrounding yes-men also seem . . . well, kind of dumb sometimes. If not dumb, then they’re prone to sticking with a decision or policy that isn’t working, even as the evidence of how that decision or policy can’t work piles up and the situation gets worse and worse. They’re self-destructively stubborn, and so fearful of appearing flawed that they can never admit a mistake and keep doubling down on their original decision, attempting to gaslight everyone into believing it is a huge success. (Kind of like deciding to dine with Kanye West and Nick Fuentes.)

The unsustainability and abusiveness of the draconian “zero Covid” policies was self-evident from the first videos on social media of Wuhan officials welding the doors of apartment buildings shut, locking the residents inside during the first coronavirus outbreak. The Chinese Communist Party’s zero-Covid policies envision the entire country as a prison, themselves as the wardens and guards, and all other citizens as prisoners until further notice.