“There was a lot of frustration, but as soon as the government lifted all of these things, there was a lot of concern,” he noted.
He also emphasised that the allegations of long lines at clinics and hospitals being inundated are “completely false”.
“There’s obviously a continued disinformation campaign to make it look like things are about to collapse in China,” he said. “The China collapse theory has been around for 25 years, and each year it’s been wrong.”
Mr Johnson said that US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan in August had set a precedent for future House Speakers, regardless of their party, to make the “mandatory” visit as a show of support for the island.
“I think this was one of those cases where the Biden administration probably didn’t want Pelosi to visit, but didn’t feel in the current climate in Washington, where there was a bipartisan consensus against China, that they didn’t feel they could speak up and ask her not to go. And so she went,” he said.
He noted that while unprecedented military activity followed the visit, it was “relatively limited” and died down after about a week.
“I think China made its point. Nothing untoward happened. There were no planes shot down or ships sunk, or anything like that,” he said, adding that it remains a “worrying” development for Beijing and those in Washington who are seeking better ties.