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China's "Zero-COVID" Policy and the Riots that have followed

By Donna
November 25, 2022 7:08 am
Category: News

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In China, if the government discovers a COVID outbreak, they lock down the factory, theme-park, or wherever it's happening and immediately quarantine you in place and confine you there until the lockdown is lifted, which sometimes lasts for weeks. This is why I laugh when Americans complained about our supposed lockdowns here.

At any rate, the Chinese people have had enough of this and aren't taking it anymore.

From the NYTimes:

In an iPhone factory in central China, thousands of workers clashed with riot police and tore down barricades.

In the southern city of Guangzhou, protesters broke out of locked-down buildings to confront health workers and ransack food provisions.

And online, many Chinese raged at the authorities after the death of a 4-month-old girl, whose father said access to medical treatment was delayed because of Covid restrictions.

As China’s harsh Covid rules extend deep into their third year, there are growing signs of discontent across the country. For China’s leader, Xi Jinping, the unrest is a test of his precedent-breaking third term in power and underscores the urgent political question of how he can lead China out of the Covid era.

If the government continues with its zero-Covid policy, Foxconn would only be the beginning. There is Foxconn today, but other factories will face similar situations,” said Li Qiang, founder and executive director of China Labor Watch, a New York-based Chinese labor rights group.

From Tuesday evening until the dawn of Wednesday, thousands of workers clashed with riot police and health workers, according to four workers who spoke to The Times. Protesters destroyed barricades, stole food supplies and hurled pieces of fencing at the authorities.

“We protested the whole day, from day to night,” said Han Li, a new worker from Zhengzhou who had joined the protests. He said he had felt deceived, and that the bonus payments and living conditions at the factory were different from what he had been promised. Mr. Han said he saw workers get beaten and injured.

Videos that Foxconn workers shared with The Times showed workers, by the thousands, thrashing and hurling steel beams against police wearing riot gear and protective suits. One video, taken at dawn, showed the apparent aftermath: A motionless worker curled up on the roadside as a crew of security personnel stomped and kicked him. Another sat on the road with a bloodied sweater and towel wrapped over his head.

In some ways, China’s struggles are of Mr. Xi’s own making. China has clung to harsh “zero-Covid” policies aimed at eradicating Covid infections, even as its vaccination efforts have lagged. For three years, Beijing pumped out propaganda in support of tough controls, arguing they were the only way to protect lives. It also described the terrifying consequences of the uncontrolled spread of the virus in much of the rest of the world.

Mr. Xi, one of China’s most powerful leaders in decades, has used heavy censorship and severe punishments to silence his critics. That makes the public airing of grievances particularly striking, such as in Guangzhou last week, when throngs of migrant workers staged a forceful protest after being confined for over three weeks.

In the locked-down district of Haizhu, home to roughly 1.8 million people, the workers, many of whom toil for long hours and low pay in Guangzhou’s textile industry, rushed into the street to protest food shortages. They tore down fences and barricades, and videos circulating online showed another confrontation between residents and police.

As cases continue to climb, the government’s pandemic prevention resources — which include food, hospital beds and quarantine facilities — have in some places been depleted, forcing workers to sleep on the streets or, in the case of Haizhu, in a tunnel, workers said.

People have also been angered by reports of deaths caused by delays in medical care resulting from Covid restrictions. Earlier this month, the death of a 3-year-old boy in the city of Lanzhou after coronavirus restrictions kept him from being taken promptly to a hospital drew an outpouring of grief and anger as well as fresh scrutiny of the costs of “zero Covid.”


Cited and related links:

  1. nytimes.com

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Comments on "China's "Zero-COVID" Policy and the Riots that have followed":

  1. by HatetheSwamp on November 25, 2022 7:18 am

    Give me the USA and it's ol fashion Bill of Rights!

    I recall, Donna, that you were, only recently, praising the superiority of China's strong central planning.


  2. by Donna on November 25, 2022 8:15 am

    I prefer our Bill of Rights too.

    I was citing examples of how well China's one party state has worked towards transforming China from a developing nation to a world power in a relatively short time. Here, I'm citing an example of how that has backfired while also showing that what Americans called lockdowns here were hardly lockdowns by comparison.






  3. by HatetheSwamp on November 25, 2022 8:48 am

    Ten four.


  4. by Donna on November 27, 2022 8:49 am

    From today's NYTimes:

    Protests Erupt in Shanghai and Other Chinese Cities Over COVID Controls

    A chanting crowd called for China’s leader, Xi Jinping, to step down, a rare act of defiance reflecting growing anger after nearly three years of lockdowns.

    nytimes.com


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