Xi Jinping sends a warning to anyone questioning China’s zero-Covid policy
Xi Jinping sends a warning to anyone questioning China’s zero-Covid policy

Xi Jinping sends a warning to anyone questioning China’s zero-Covid policy

At a meeting chaired by Xi on Thursday, the ruling standing committee of the ruling Communist Party in the Politburo “unwaveringly adheres to the general policy of ‘dynamic zero-covid’ and resolutely fights against all words and actions that distort, doubt or deny our country’s policies. prevention of epidemics. “

This is the first time Xi, who according to state media gave an “important speech” at the meeting, has made public remarks about China’s fight against Covid, since public furore broke out over the harsh shutdown in Shanghai.

“Our prevention and control strategy is determined by the nature and mission of the party, our policies can stand the test of history, our actions are scientific and effective,” the seven-member committee said, according to the government’s Xinhua news agency.

“We have won the battle to defend Wuhan and we will definitely be able to win the battle to defend Shanghai,” it said.

The Standing Committee also demanded that the cadres have a “deep, complete and comprehensive understanding” of the policies set by the party’s central leadership.

“We should resolutely overcome the problems of insufficient awareness, insufficient preparation and insufficient work, and resolutely overcome contempt, indifference and self-righteousness in our thinking,” it states.

For analysts who have long observed Chinese politics, the stern warning is a sign that there has been an internal setback to Xi’s zero-Covid policy from within the party.

“This language should be read as a direct critique of unspecified local CCP leaders who have questioned policies at the center or who have not had sufficient success in applying them,” wrote David Bandurski, Co-Director of China Media Project.

“And it’s hard not to hear in this sentence about ‘self-righteousness’ condemnation of leaders in Shanghai in particular,” Bandurski added.

Over the past five weeks, many residents of Shanghai have done so taken to social media to call for help and vent their anger over severe food shortages and lack of access to medical care. Some protested from their windowsknocking pots and pans and shouting in frustration, others even clashed with police and health workers on the streets – a rare scene in a country where disagreement is routinely suppressed.
The severe economic downturn has also raised concerns from economists and business leaders, especially given the role of Shanghai as the country’s leading financial center and an important hub for manufacturing and shipping. In April, China’s services sector, which accounts for more than half of the country’s GDP and over 40% of its employment, contracted at the second sharpest pace on record, while the manufacturing sector also shrank.
And as Omicron spreads to other parts of China, more local governments are imposing rapid shutdowns in response to just a handful of cases. In Beijing, where more than 500 cases have been reported since April 20, there are many fear of a Shanghai-style shutdown as the authorities roll out more and more restrictions.
A boy receiving a Covid test in Beijing, China on May 4.

But the latest statement from the country’s top executives has made it clear that the Chinese government is doubling its approach to relying on rapid shutdowns, mass testing and quarantine to crush the highly transferable Omicron variant in the foreseeable future.

Wu Qiang, a political analyst in Beijing, said since April, the question of how the government should deal with the country’s worst outbreak since Wuhan has developed into a “stick fight” within the party.

“Firstly, it is a struggle over whether to choose ‘dynamic zero-Covid’ or a more flexible approach to combating Covid; and secondly, it is also a struggle over whether to prioritize Covid control or economic growth. , “said Wu.

And with the latest statement, it is clear that Xi has chosen the former in both “matches”, according to Wu.

Xi has left his personal mark on China’s zero-Covid strategy, with state media often reporting that he has “personally commanded and made arrangements” for the country’s fight against the pandemic.

“In that sense, zero-Covid has become an indisputable, indisputable policy that is closely linked to his political authority – and therefore there will be no flexibility when it comes to its implementation,” Wu said.

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