Conflicting COVID-19 control policies cause chaos across China as cases surge

Reported COVID-19 cases in China have hit a record high in recent days amid growing public dissatisfaction with the regime’s stringent control measures. Meanwhile, the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP) continues to send out conflicting messages about when it will ease restrictions, which analysts believe is causing disruption to her COVID-19 control in various regions. I’m here.

With the newly reported infection, China recorded a total of 32,943 domestically infected cases on 24 November. However, the CCP has always hidden the scale of the outbreak, making it difficult for the outside world to know the true number.

shanghai covid test
People line up to collect throat swabs to be used for COVID-19 testing on October 25, 2022 in Shanghai’s Jing’an district. (Hector Retamal/AFP via Getty Images)

Major cities across China have raised the level of epidemic control. Shijiazhuang, the capital of Hebei province, has required all residents to stay home and take five PCR tests in five days since November 21. Zhengzhou, the capital of Henan province, was put under lockdown from 25 to 29 November. People in Beijing Daxing District and Beijing Economic and Technological Development Zone were ordered not to leave their communities on November 23. , all residential communities in Gangbuk District are currently on lockdown.

Such structures are under construction in various parts of the country after China’s National Health Commission requested local governments to pre-arrange mobile COVID-19 cabin hospitals on Nov. 17. and has caused public concern.

conflicting policies

About two weeks ago, the CCP State Council issued 20 new epidemic prevention regulations. This relaxes some of the COVID-19 restrictions while sticking to the general policy of zero COVID.

On November 21, the State Council issued four other documents to the same effect, stating that there is no need to conduct community mass PCR testing in areas where there is no risk of community transmission. Mass PCR testing can be discontinued in areas with outbreaks but meeting certain conditions.

virus outbreak china
A health worker takes a throat swab from a resident during a door-to-door COVID-19 test in Zhengzhou, central China’s Henan province, November 1, 2022. (Chinatopix/Via AP)

On November 23, the State Council issued a document supplementing the “20 New Regulations,” setting different controls for high-risk and low-risk areas in counties and cities with reported cases of COVID-19. In low-risk areas, people will be allowed to avoid gatherings and take individual precautions instead of following an intensive mandatory quarantine.

Meanwhile, the People’s Daily, the official media of the Chinese Communist Party, published eight articles in a row between November 12th and 20th, claiming a strict zero-COVID policy.

Shijiazhuang city last week began ending regular mass Chinese inspections of all residents in response to 20 new regulations. However, on November 21, city officials issued an emergency notice canceling the relocation, requiring him to perform mass PCR testing for five consecutive days in six of his eight districts in the city. I was.

Intensification of internal conflict in the Chinese Communist Party over zero corona

Current affairs commentator Tan Jingyuan told the Epoch Times that articles supporting the zero-coronavirus policy in the administration’s mouthpiece media were “a stark contrast to the State Council document.”

“This shows that the divisions within the party caused by the COVID-zero policy are still growing, and the sudden cessation of the seven-day change in Shijiazhuang is related to this,” he said. said.

US-based current affairs commentator Wang He told The Epoch Times: This requires the local government to step up her COVID-19 control at all levels to be politically correct. As long as the incident is being reported, they will shut everything down to maintain their number one priority, the official position. “

Epoch Times photo
Workers line up to be tested for COVID-19 at a Foxconn factory in Wuhan, Hubei Province, August 5, 2021. (Chinatopix/via AP)

Referring to a series of State Council documents seeking to loosen controls, Tang said, “It reflects the impact of the zero-COVID policy on the economy has reached alarming levels, and it also reflects dissatisfaction with policies within the party. “There are.” accumulated to a critical point.

Zero-COVID is no longer a medical problem. It is Xi Jinping’s general line and has become a political red line. Whoever touches this line will inevitably touch Xi’s power base and trigger a power struggle within the party. “

“I have seen the before and after epidemic prevention measures in Shijiazhuang, Guangzhou and other places.

Wang pointed out that the zero COVID policy has caused chaos across the country and ordinary people are suffering. “This also shows that the CCP system is really rotten, there is no hope at all, and the only way is to bring it down.”

Luo Ya and Cheng Jing contributed to this report.

Alex Wu


Alex Wu is a US-based writer for The Epoch Times focusing on Chinese society, Chinese culture, human rights and international relations.