China-Zero-Covid: Anger over politics is on the rise, but Beijing refuses to change course


A young woman stands on her balcony, screaming in desperation after her building was ordered to close.

Fighting back tears, she screams abuse at the workers in protective gear below in a recent video on social media platform Weibo that appears to epitomize the Chinese public’s growing frustration with their government’s tough anti-coronavirus policy.

The woman has been in quarantine for half a year since returning from university in the summer, yelling at the workers. They stared back, seemingly unmoved.

While most Asian economies – even those that have been hawkish about the lack of the Covid virus – are giving up on it. Pandemic Era Constraintsauthorities in China remain zealous in their powers, repeatedly insisting this week in state-run media articles that the battle against the virus is still “winnable”.

This claim comes even with the outbreak of the infection and the spread of a new strain just days before it is due in the country important political eventThe Communist Party congress that began in Beijing on Sunday is where Xi Jinping is expected to establish himself as the country’s most powerful leader in decades.

Observers around the world will be watching the twice-a-decade meeting for indications of the party’s priorities when it comes to its zero-sum stance, which has been blamed for exacerbating the country’s escalating problems. The economy, from stalled growth to a collapsing housing market.

Nerves are high in the Chinese capital, as photos posted online on Thursday showed exceptionally A rare public protest against Xi. “Say no to Covid testing, yes to food. No to lockdown, yes to freedom. No to lies, yes to dignity. No to cultural revolution, yes to reform. No to the great leader, yes to voting. Don’t be a slave, be a citizen,” read one of the banners hanging over a bridge over Despite the tight security measures surrounding Congress.

“Strike out, drive out the dictator and nationalist traitor Xi Jinping,” the other wrote.

The protest led to an increase in strict Internet censorship in China.

Weibo, a Twitter-like platform, immediately censored search results for “Sitong Bridge,” the protest site. Not long ago, keywords including “Beijing,” “Haidian,” “warrior,” “courageous man,” and even “courage.”

Several accounts have been banned on Weibo and WeChat, the super-essential app for daily life in China, after commenting or hinting at the protest.

However, many spoke out to express their support and horror. Some shared the Chinese pop song “Lonely Warrior” in a veiled reference to the protester, who some called a “hero,” while others vowed never to forget him, posting under the hashtag: “I saw it.”

However, even in the face of growing public discontent, all indications are that Xi and his party’s plan to adhere to the zero-Covid approach, Maybe in 2023with state media articles this week serving to dampen speculation that the country may change course after Congress.

more than 300 million people Across dozens of cities in China were affected by full or partial lockdowns sometime last month, according to CNN calculations.

But while restrictions are lifted and enforced in response to the local COVID-19 outbreak, the virus keeps re-emerging.

And the new outbreaks reported across the country this week suggest that more misery may be on its way for Chinese citizens – like the woman in the Weibo video – who are exhausted by the seemingly endless cycle of lockdown.

China’s Health Commission on Thursday reported 1,476 locally transmitted COVID-19 cases nationwide, a large number in a country where even a single infection could trigger a citywide lockdown.

In northeastern Heilongjiang Province, 900,000 Heigang City residents have been locked down since Friday after one case was discovered.

In Shanghai, where 25 million people have already suffered two months strictness of the world With the lockdown, residents are now on edge at any signs of recurrence as authorities begin to tighten measures again.

A worker in protective clothing crosses the road near an area that has been placed under lockdown due to Covid-19 in Beijing, China on October 12, 2022.

The city reported 47 cases of Covid-19 on Thursday, a day after authorities ordered six of its 13 districts to close entertainment venues such as internet cafes, cinemas and bars. The Shanghai Disney Resort has suspended some attractions and live shows since Sunday.

Fearing the possibility of sudden, unexpected and unannounced closures—and realizing that authorities had previously backed down after indicating the lack of such measures—some people in the city were reported to have been hoarding drinking water.

The panic was exacerbated by the announcement that Shanghai water authorities had taken measures to ensure water quality after the discovery of salt water flows into two reservoirs at the mouth of the Yangtze River in September.

It is not clear exactly what is driving the increase in infections, although authorities are scrambling to contain the spread of the BF.7 coronavirus strain after it was first detected in China in late September in Hohhot, the capital of Inner Mongolia.

The country has also seen a slight rise in cases in domestic tourist destinations, despite its stricter restrictions that discourage people from traveling or spending more than Golden Week holiday in China In early October.

Hohhot recorded 329 cases Thursday, according to the National Health Commission, which now considers the remote area a high-risk hotspot.

More than 240,000 university students in Inner Mongolia have been closed on university campuses due to the recent outbreak, according to Zhang Xiaoying, deputy director of the provincial education department. The outbreak on the campus prompted punitive measures, with one head of the university’s Communist Party dismissed after 39 students from his institution tested positive.

Then there is the situation in the far west of Xinjiang where there are some 22 million people They were prevented from leaving the area and required to stay at home. Xinjiang recorded 403 new cases on Thursday, according to an official count.

But amid it all, Beijing appears unwilling to drop its hard-line stance. For three days this week, the state-run Communist Party’s mouthpiece, the People’s Daily, carried comments stressing that China would not let its guard down.

“Lying on the floor is not recommended,” she said in her third comment, on Wednesday, referring to a Chinese phrase denoting complacency.

She stressed that the battle against Covid was winnable. She added that other countries that reopened and eased restrictions did so because they had no other choice, as they failed to “effectively control the epidemic in a timely manner.”