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Zero COVID Has Given China Both Record COVID Cases AND Historic Protests
Zero COVID Appears To Be Collapsing And Taking Xi's Regime With It
Zero COVID has become the perverse gift that keeps on giving.
Having already given China economic destruction on top of economic stagnation, Xi Jinping’s Zero COVID policies are now yielding both record levels of COVID cases and historic levels of political protests across China.
Chinese protesters overturned a vehicle and trashed a COVID-19 testing station as unprecedented uprisings continued late Monday — defying a huge police crackdown that even saw cops force-checking pedestrians’ phones.
This latest wave of COVID infections might be less lethal and more transmissisible (i.e., it’s Omicron), but the surge itself is proving beyond any and all doubt that Zero COVID only makes the COVID case numbers worse.
The latest Covid-19 waves in China have revealed more transmissible but less lethal strains of the coronavirus, but it is too early to be optimistic, public health experts have warned.
Just days after China relaxed some zero-Covid measures, infection numbers in the current outbreak hit a new high of 40,052 on Monday, with 36,304 yet to show symptoms.
For a control-obsessed totalitarian regime such as the Chinese Communist Party is over China, Zero COVID has become a screw-up on an historic scale. One has to go back to Mao Zedong’s Great Leap Forward to find any similar display of administrative or political incompetence.
While the level of protest appears to have abated somewhat since the weekend, the intensity of the clashes between ordinary Chinese citizens and Chinese security forces is still quite shocking.
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In Shanghai and Beijing, police forces are showing themselves determined to get control of the protests.
On Monday, authorities erected large blue barriers along Shanghai’s Middle Urumqi Road, where protesters had gathered on Saturday and Sunday. There was a heavy police presence according to people nearby and footage shared online, in an apparent effort to prevent further protests. Edward Lawrence, a BBC journalist who was allegedly detained and beaten by police on Sunday, filmed bystanders having their photos forcibly deleted by police on Monday.
At Beijing’s elite Tsinghua University, the police tactic of containment was simple: declare a holiday and send the students home.
At Beijing’s elite Tsinghua University, where large protests were held on Sunday, school authorities on Monday announced a student symposium on the pandemic, and a free bus to help students get home early for the holidays. The announcement was greeted with some scepticism, given the term is not over yet.
“The school is afraid that passionate youths will make trouble, so the students are given an early holiday.” said one Weibo online commenter. “They are afraid of the student movement,” said another.
In many respects, these Zero COVID protests show the patience of the Chinese people has reached an end.
Public anger was ignited by a deadly fire in Urumqi and swiftly spread. However, there have been several occasions over the past few months that have suggested dissatisfaction with pandemic measures has been brewing.
After enduring weeks and even months of Zero COVID lockdowns while contending with repeated incidents of government bureaucratic bungling, many Chinese have simply have had enough. They want the Zero COVID policies ended.
Arguably, the stage for these protests was set back in the spring during the dystopian Shanghai lockdown.
If anything, the Chinese people are both terrified at the prospect of another such lockdown and determined not to let that happen without a fight.
While Xi Jinping is likely to survive this round of protests over Zero COVID, he is still left with the uncomfortable reality that his pet policy has been soundly and permanently rejected by the Chinese people. The longer Xi and the CCP insist on enforcing Zero COVID, the closer China comes to the inflection point where the CCP can no longer govern the country.
A new Warring States period appears to be coming.
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