As countries around the world imposed new COVID-19 restrictions this week following a rise in concern over the Omicron variant of the virus, China announced it would aim to deliver another 1 billion vaccines to Africa and push ahead with hosting the 2022 Winter Olympics in February. It was a reminder of the self-confidence Beijing wants to project to the world: an economic powerhouse that has controlled the pandemic at home and led the response overseas, impervious to international criticism it sees as hypocritical.

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