China said on that it will take steps to “minimize” the impact of its draconian coronavirus lockdowns, amid unprecedented public protests against President Xi Jinping’s stringent zero-COVID policy, which has garnered strong support from the United Nations, the United States, and other nations.
The anti-zero Covid protests in several Chinese cities, including Shanghai and Beijing, which turned political with calls for Xi’s resignation, showed signs of abeyance in the last few days, with no demonstrations reported as police stepped up crackdown with visits to protestors’ homes in various places.
To answer foreign concerns, Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian stated that China has adjusted its zero-Covid policy in response to changing circumstances. He stated that China will properly regulate Covid and achieve stable economic performance. China maintains a strong zero-Covid policy, in which local authorities use mass testing, quarantines, and lockdowns to combat even minor outbreaks.
Statements of the Health Commission
Senior health officials have conceded that the “overzealous” enforcement of the zero-Covid policy irritated patients. In response to a query about whether authorities would review the zero-Covid policy in the aftermath of the protests, National Health Commission spokesperson Mi Feng stated that efforts will be made to fine-tune the policy in order to decrease its impact on society and the economy.
China has acted fast to put down protests against the zero-Covid policy that erupted in major cities. By stationing police at key protest locations and intensifying online restrictions. The locations of the anti-government protests have now barricaded.
According to UN Human Rights Office spokesman Jeremy Laurence, arresting someone for simply protesting is not acceptable. The White House’s NSC Coordinator for Strategic Communications, John Kirby, stated that the US is keeping a careful eye on developments in China.
When asked about global concerns and censure, Zhao stated that China is a country founded on the rule of law. The state media, which had previously barred coverage of the protests, also hinted at a softening of the harsh sanctions. According to the Global Times, several Chinese towns are refining mass COVID testing measures.
Several Chinese cities, including Beijing, Guangzhou, Chongqing, and Zhengzhou, have improved their anti-COVID-19 efforts, with some places exempting citizens who do not participate in social activities from mass testing. According to the publication, there is a move to take more focused, science-based efforts to reduce flare-ups. Meanwhile, China reports a high number of COVID cases.
The National Health Commission reported 38,421 coronavirus cases from around the country on Tuesday. The additional cases include 5,375 infections in Beijing, where numerous residential buildings were placed under lockdown. According to Johns Hopkins University, the Covid-19 epidemic has killed over 6,631,000 people worldwide.
More on Conflicts
Following the greatest mass demonstrations in decades held by residents fed up with draconian anti-virus measures, China’s ruling Communist Party has vowed to vigorously crack down on infiltration and sabotage actions by enemy forces. The Central Political and Legal Affairs Commission’s announcement came amid a tremendous display of force by security forces.
Hundreds of flashing SUVs, vans, and armored vehicles converged along city roadways. Random ID checks are happening by police and paramilitary forces. They also searched people’s phones for images, banned apps, or any possible evidence that they had participated in the protests.
In a southern Chinese city, new skirmishes have erupted between police and demonstrators. As part of a nationwide wave of Covid lockdown-sparked protests have transformed into demands for political liberties. Video footage showed protesters hurling things at police officers. In another, a tear gas canister fell in the middle of a small gathering on a tiny street. People are also fleeing to avoid the fumes.
Guangzhou, China’s southernmost city, loosened COVID prevention restrictions in many districts on Wednesday. It includes Fanyu, Tianhe, Conghua, Huadu, and Liwan, according to separate announcements from the local district government.
Zero-COVID is a public health policy that certain countries employed during the COVID-19 epidemic. The zero-COVID strategy, in contrast to the living with COVID-19 strategy, is one of “control and maximum suppression.”
It entails employing public health measures such as contact tracing, mass testing, border quarantine, lockdowns, and mitigation software to halt COVID-19 spread in the community as soon as it is found. The strategy’s goal is to return the area to zero new infections and resume regular economic and social activity.
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