China is, as usual, in the headlines – for two reasons. Firstly, it is still trying to cope with its emergence from the restrictions of Xi Jinping’s Zero Covid policy and, secondly, it has struck a deal with Afghanistan on oil extraction – the first major energy extraction agreement with a foreign firm since the Taliban came to power.

Extricating itself from Xi Jinping’s Covid lockdown is proving problematic. For three years the totalitarian state propaganda machine spewed out dire warnings about the virus, to justify the extreme measures employed to prevent its spread. Now, virtually overnight, a population of 1.4 billion people has to reverse its thinking and embrace normality, despite the ubiquitous presence of Covid. Even in a country accustomed to capricious changes in the Party line, that is a lot to ask.