Beijing Politicising the Pandemic at the Expenses of the People

Yi Luo

From March 1, 2022, Shanghai, China saw its first confirmed case: the contagiousness of COVID-19 means that with one infected person, there will be many more infected.  It is for this reason that the current uncontrollable situation has resulted.  But this situation is not just due to the contagiousness of COVID-19, but due to more factors.

And until today, Shanghai has added more than 20,000 new infections every day.  But starting March 1, officials in Shanghai didn’t pay enough attention to the outbreak: and that led to the full-blown COVID-19 outbreak that followed.

As of April 13, the number of newly confirmed cases in Shanghai has reached 23,343 daily.  Before that, on March 28, the blockade control of residents had already begun.  Obviously, this measure did not have any effect. The reason is that the CCP’s administrative system is too bureaucratic, resulting in an extremely low ability of the state machine to exercise orders.  This is also the reason why there is no blockade at the beginning, and after the blockade, it fails to control the epidemic.

 On April 4, 2022, the empty streets of Shanghai

And China’s rigid administrative system is not only directly related to the epidemic, but also directly causes many problems: the people can’t even get enough living materials.  Due to the blockade, their supplies can only be obtained through government distribution.  Although Shanghai’s supplies are not scarce, the people still have difficulty getting the necessary living supplies because of the rigid administrative system and corrupt bureaucracy.

 This phenomenon also directly led to the conflict between the people and the epidemic prevention policy.  A large number of Shanghai residents clashed with management personnel because of lack of food. Many people with underlying diseases died after being refused treatment by local hospitals on the grounds of epidemic prevention and control.  However, the government of the People’s Republic of China has been slow to respond to these events in any form, and any negative video about Shanghai has been blocked.

 The official People’s Daily published a commentary on April 7, saying that any prevention and control measures will have certain costs, but compared with protecting people’s lives and health, these costs are worth it.  The article said that the “dynamic clearing" approach is in line with China’s national conditions and scientific laws, the effect is good, and the cost is minimal.  As soon as this statement came out, it was immediately questioned by politicians and medical professionals at home and abroad.

 Others say that Shanghai’s “dynamic clearing" policy is in fact a political task.  Because China has long been confident in its own epidemic prevention achievements since the outbreak of COVID-19.  And the upper echelons of the Chinese Communist Party naturally cannot tolerate the fact that the facts they boast are denied.  The authorities continue to emphasize that the direction of the national epidemic prevention policy is determined by Xi Jinping, which itself shows that “dynamic clearing" is also a political task.

 Yanzhong Huang, a senior fellow on global health at the Council on Foreign Relations, a U.S. think-tank, wrote on CNN on Friday that local Chinese officials eager for promotion are scrambling to implement a “dynamic zero" policy to show loyalty to Xi.  This speculative mentality is even more pronounced for those who hope to win seats on the Central Committee and even the Politburo Standing Committee at the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China in the second half of this year.

 The People’s Republic of China has politicized epidemic prevention, which has led to such a serious epidemic in Shanghai, and has also aroused the attention of some people’s class contradictions: the bourgeoisie has money and can buy food.  But the proletarians who live in their own houses can hardly even get the food they need

 It is worth noting that Zhang Wenhong, a Chinese medical expert and director of the Department of Infectious Diseases of Huashan Hospital Affiliated to Fudan University, has once again fallen into a storm of public opinion.  Since the recent deterioration of the Shanghai epidemic, Zhang Wenhong has been keeping a low profile and has not updated his Weibo (author’s note: Weibo, China’s Twitter) for several days.  He posted on Weibo last year that all countries are making their own answers to the question of how to coexist with the virus. China once gave a beautiful answer sheet and will definitely learn more, and he was bombarded by some netizens.  , accused him of “favoring foreigners".

 But Zhang Wenhong said last month that he did not agree to relax the epidemic prevention, and if the epidemic spreads, the Chinese people may pay a high price in death.  He also pointed out that the anti-epidemic should not only pursue “zero social level", but also reduce the impact on urban order and citizens’ lives as much as possible.

 The government of the People’s Republic of China has also failed to take measures to protect the life rights of non-COVID-19 patients.  The allocation of medical resources in Shanghai is problematic due to the overreaction to COVID-19.  The government of the People’s Republic of China does not take life and health as its goal, but takes clearing the numbers as its own political goal.  This has resulted in the deaths of multiple non-coronavirus patients due to lack of timely treatment: but it could have been avoided.  When a Shanghai nurse publicly questioned the government spokesman, he pointed out that a makeshift hospital actually has only one doctor and two nurses on duty.  Medical staff are physically and mentally exhausted, often working 36-48 hours straight.

 In the past, China’s epidemic prevention measures have been difficult to deal with the Omicron strain.  The Chinese government forces the public to continuously carry out nationwide nucleic acid testing. Based on the current number of testing sites, nucleic acid testing for 28 million residents in Shanghai is equivalent to sampling 252 people per testing site every hour, which is simply impossible.

 Airfinity, a London-based medical analysis company, said that based on the current level and quality of vaccinations in China, if the Chinese government abandons the zero-clearing policy, this wave of Omicron epidemic may kill more than 1 million people in mainland China.  Under the constraints of the current system and situation, it will be a catastrophe whether to persist or give up.

 May 2, 2022




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