For those that have missed the news China has seen unprecedented protest bordering on riots related to its zero-covid policy, a policy it double downed on as Xi Jinping was given an unprecedented 3rd term in office.
To read about the zero-covid policy click here.
What was the zero-covid policy?
Quite as it sounds, the policy was that China would not allow any Covid cases, and would lock down, test and isolate anyone who had (or might have) the virus. This policy seemed to be working in 2021 when the world was on lockdown and China had almost gotten back to normal, but in essence the failure of the rest of the world turned into its success.
Although many people died during the coronavirus pandemic we also got vaccinated (mostly) and built up herd-immunity, for the virus is really not going anywhere anytime soon.
What has happened in China
Despite the censorship that exists in China people are not kept completely in the dark and when you are forced to stay at home and not leave your country whilst being told your country is right, BUT the rest of the world is travelling and having fun something has to give.
The omicron virus has kicked off more cases in China and thus a big crackdown, which in turn resulted in protests not seen since 1989. Interestingly they seem to have worked, and while the country is not completely open it is loosening restrictions at breakneck speed.
To read our Tibet tour click here.
When will China reopen to tourism?
No one quite knows, but Hong Kong has already opened for all intents and purposes, another fact not lost on mainlanders. If the Chinese people get their will then it will likely be soon, with many jubilant at the backing down of the government, something which may spur future protests, particularly with the Chinese economy being in such peril.
It does though look like it will happen sooner rather than later and certainly in 2023, with one jubilant resident of Xi’an telling us “When Trump said we have more cases because we test more we thought he was mad, but it turns out he was right”. An interesting comment pertaining to perhaps the next US President….
Will North Korea open in 2023?
So this opens the bigger question if North Korea will open in 2023, and the honest answer is we do not know, but we can look at some barometers to view what might happen.
Omicron is new to China and they have had no herd immunity, so for now we really need to see just how badly it affects the country. It should also be noted that North Korea has not been vaccinated and while China opening needs to happen before it can even be considered for North Korea to open, China does not control the DPRK and this will not lead to any form of immediate domino affect.
It does though mean some very important things, namely that the process which may lead to North Korea reopening its doors to tourism has at least started, and we sincerely hope that means we will be running tours again in 2023. It will though not be immediate, nor will it any way be a foregone conclusion.
You can check out our North Korea Tours here.
It may not be the end, it may not be the beginning of the end, but it might be the beginning of the beginning of the end, or at least we hope.