Covid 0: Xi Jinping’s Cultural Revolution

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In the name of health, China’s regime is taking advantage of pandemic controls to curtail freedoms

With their olive-green uniforms buttoned up to the neck and Mao’s book under their arms, the Red Guards shook China upside down during the Cultural Revolution (1966-76). First destroy the old and then be deported to the countryside to build a more egalitarian society. Let’s change their Mao coats for white protective suits, the Red Book for mobile health codes, transfers to the countryside for confinement in isolation centers and the socialist utopia for health, and we will have a new Cultural Revolution.

It’s been called the Covid 0 policy and it’s the biggest mass mobilization in China since then. Hundreds of millions of people have to take the relevant PCR test every two or three days. Only in this way do they receive the green code on their mobile with which they can travel by public transport and enter shops, restaurants, official buildings and even the urbanizations where they live. Spread across the country, whether in hospitals, clinics, cubicles or with a simple table on the sidewalk, nurses wearing PPE coveralls take samples between long lines.

Since the outbreak of the Wuhan pandemic in January 2020, such ghostly suits have once again become one of the uniforms that abound in this country. They are worn not only by the workers responsible for preventing the epidemic, but even by the flight attendants of the few international flights China allows, whose borders are still closed to foreign tourists and subject to a ten-day quarantine on arrival. requires.

Sometimes this mobilization requires the exact opposite: staying put, as the goal is to shut down contagion and requires quarantines and lockdowns. But that also requires battalions of workers in white to seal off the towns in the event of an outbreak, disinfect the streets and distribute food to the incarcerated, who can’t leave their homes, not even to walk the dog. to leave.

Because many quarantines are not at home, but in hotels or in containers in isolation camps, suspects of covid or positive contacts are being transferred on buses like the one that crashed in Guizhou last month, killing 27 people.

To ensure that the coronavirus outbreaks do not cloud the XX Congress of the Communist Party, which Xi Jinping will continue, Beijing is armored and authorities have tightened controls on Covid 0. To reduce risk, travel is prevented by canceling hundreds of flights a day or limiting train tickets, which circulate empty. In addition, individuals are warned that if they move to other places, they will change their health codes and be locked up for three days to a week.

“We are going backwards,” laments a Beijing executive whose five flights for business trips have been canceled this month. “The government says it cares about our health, but not about the damage to the economy. Officials only care that they don’t lose their jobs and are using the excuse of the virus to curtail freedoms,” criticizes the businessman, who hides his identity.

Professor Huang Yanzhong, Global Health Research Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, sees no “strong parallel between the Cultural Revolution and Covid 0 policies”. But he does acknowledge that “implementing this iron hand facilitates social control, which may be a hidden agenda of the state.” In addition, he warns that “the devastating economic and social impact of Covid 0 could exacerbate tensions between Xi and pragmatic leaders and bureaucrats. Similar tensions prompted Mao to launch the Cultural Revolution.

Criticism is no more tolerated than it was then, as Xi Jinping is in favor of Covid 0. In May, economists who had been censored or fired against Shanghai’s disastrous lockdown, as was Hong Hao, chief analyst at the Bank of Communication with three million followers. on the Weibo social network.

All this despite the economic damage of Covid 0 and its costs. The consultancy Soochow Securities calculates that all first and second-class cities, which together have 500 million inhabitants, spend 1.45 trillion yuan (205,000 million euros) on PCR tests in a year, which corresponds to 1.5% of the gross domestic market. Product (GDP). In addition, this figure is very close to the total health budget, which is 2.1 trillion yuan (296,000 million euros) this year.

But instead of investing in more health personnel, hospitals and ICU beds, the authorities are building huge isolation camps. Instead of strengthening the health system and vaccination to improve mitigation, they are allocating more resources to monitoring and prevention, still in emergencies. Although it costs almost the same in money terms, this option is cheaper politically. According to the South China Morning Post newspaper, 1,000 officials have been fired for failing to control the epidemic, including those most responsible for the Hubei outbreak in Wuhan. In contrast, far fewer people are punished by the economic and social problems resulting from the restrictions.

“Compared to strengthening the health system, massive testing and lockdowns offer a faster and less complicated solution to China’s Covid problems,” Professor Huang sums up. With language more military than medical or scientific, this new Cultural Revolution aims to “beat the virus with a people’s war” as the world returns to normal.

Source: La Verdad

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