This week’s episode of the Slow Newscast, reported by Poppy Sebag-Montefiore, is the story of what happened when a boy tragically died – by suicide which was initially rumoured to be murder – in School 49 in Sichuan. His mother’s loss unleashed an explosion of anger on social media, revealed layers of anxiety about the pressures heaped on Chinese teenagers and it demonstrated how much discontent and distrust bubbles near the surface in Xi Jinping’s China. So much China reporting is about politics and power; School 49, I think, is more telling because it’s so personal. Do listen.
We’re keeping on at #TheArmsRace. But we’re not winning. No one is. As Covid infections surge in the UK once again, the country is turning in on itself. It’s been a feature of 2021: a global pandemic met by recurrent health nationalism. Boris Johnson failed to live up to his promise to use the G7 in Carbis Bay in June to commit the richest nations to vaccinating the world by the end of 2022. The ONE Campaign offered a mind-boggling illustration of how far the world has fallen short: the World Bank estimates Burundi will have 40 per cent of its population vaccinated by 2703 based on current rates, reaching 70 per cent by 3214. If you’re interested in getting involved in our plans to step up a gear in 2022, do let me, Lara Spirit or Matt d’Ancona know.
And, of course, Matt, Giles Whittell and others will be doing their best to make sense of what’s happening in Britain’s increasingly testy politics. Promises to be lively.
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