(TibetanReview.net, Nov25’22) – Assertion of brute, untrammeled power does not translate into a speedy desired result, China is beginning to learn as it reports record new Covid-19 infections despite subjecting the population to prolonged tough containment and preventive measures, causing untold suffering to many and giving rise to protests and violent clashes.
Frustration simmered in China among residents and business groups navigating stricter Covid-19 control curbs as the country reported on Nov 25 another historic high of daily infections just weeks after hopes were raised of easing measures, noted Reuters Nov 25.
The report said the resurgence of Covid cases in China, with 32,695 new local infections recorded for Nov 24 as numerous cities reported outbreaks, had prompted widespread lockdowns and other curbs on movement and business, as well as pushback.
The case count exceeded the previous peak in mid-April when Shanghai was under hard lockdown and more than 29,000 local infections were reported nationwide, reported the scmp.com Nov 24.
Zhengzhou, home to the world’s largest iPhone factory, in central Henan province has announced a major lockdown. The municipal government said late Nov 23 night that a five-day plan to “control the movement” – a euphemism for lockdown – would start in its urban districts on Nov 25.
The announcement came hours after workers at Foxconn Technology Group, Apple’s largest assembly line in Asia and a major taxpayer in the city, staged two protests over hygiene and unpaid bonuses.
Unverified videos on social media showed hundreds of workers pushing past the outnumbered guards, overturning barriers and physically clashing with people in white protective suites.
The Reuters report said more than 20,000 new hires had left after Covid-induced worker unrest this week, further imperilling output at Apple supplier Foxconn’s plant there.
Resurgence in new cases has prompted authorities to backpedal on easing the lockdown measures called for by the central authorities with the announcement of a set of 20 measures. The scmp.com report added that the northern city of Shijiazhuang was one of the first cities to answer the government’s call to ease measures by cancelling and closing testing booths, but had to back-pedal and reintroduce mass testing and lockdowns after a week of mixed reactions from the public and a resurgence in daily cases.
It added that across China, several major cities had tightened Covid-19 restrictions in response to the surge in cases.
As a percentage of the population and compared to other countries, the numbers are still tiny for a country of 1.4 billion people, and officially just over 5,200 have died since the pandemic began, noted the bbc.com Nov 24.
That equates to three Covid deaths in every million in China, compared with 3,000 per million in the US and 2,400 per million in the UK, although direct comparisons between countries are difficult, the report pointed out.
While China’s zero-Covid policy has clearly saved lives, it has also dealt a punishing blow to the economy and ordinary people’s lives.
And at the beginning of 2023, China will be heading into its fourth year of this crisis and, whether it is true or not, zero-Covid has a never-ending feeling to it, the report said.
China is the last major economy still pursuing a Covid eradication process with mass testing and lockdown rules, and virus cases are being recorded in 31 provinces, the report said.
President Xi Jinping’s Zero-Covid policy has come to define his rule and the authoritarian bureaucracy at his disposal like almost no other policy. It projects a veneer of control and stability in the run-up to March when China’s equivalent of a parliament will convene to choose Mr Xi as president for a third time, the report said.
While lockdowns prevent Covid outbreaks from spreading, they also exert incredibly strict social control, William Hurst, professor of Chinese development at Cambridge University, had told BBC News recently.