In 2022, highly restrictive measures were imposed in China to contain the less deadly Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2 virus or the COVID-19 virus. This study argues that these measures stemmed from a move away from pragmatic authoritarianism and towards totalitarianism since 2013 and that the lockdown of scores of cities such as Shanghai in 2022 carried quintessential features of totalitarianism. Revived totalitarianism in China has helped explain the longest and likely the most comprehensive strict epidemic control among all nations during the COVID-19 pandemic. The politics and the end of zero-COVID policy in China in 2022 are analysed.

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