Reportedly responding to the more contagious Covid-19 variant, the Chinese government recently placed 46 cities and 343 million residents under strict lockdown. The ruthlessly enforced lockdown policies, empty shelves in grocery stores, and widespread food shortages have become a wake-up call for many.
After the Chinese Communist Party brutally cracked down on the pro-democracy movement in Tiananmen Square in 1989, it offered the Chinese people an unwritten grand deal: exchanging their political freedom for economic growth. The economic reforms of the past four decades have raised the standard of living in China.
“Many Chinese believe that the country’s recent economic achievements—largely poverty reduction, huge infrastructure investment, and growth as a world-class technological innovator—have come because of, not in spite of, China’s authoritarian government,” Rana Observe Mitter and Elsbeth Johnson in Harvard Business Review. The party’s censorship, tight control over all aspects of Chinese society, and a growing nationalist movement have left little room for disagreement with this view.
The CCP’s massacre against Uighur Muslims and other minorities in Xinjiang and the party’s crackdown on Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement were stories that received either no coverage or distorted coverage in mainland China. Many mainland people chose to believe the Chinese government’s rhetoric that these stories were produced by hostile Western forces that sought to destabilize China and prevent the country’s inevitable return as a major power in the world to its rightful place. had demanded.
Most Chinese backed Beijing’s “zero COVID” policy between 2020 and 2021, relying on mandatory vaccinations, testing, quarantines and border controls to isolate the entire country from the rest of the world for more than two years . They point to China’s low COVID case numbers and deaths (many outside China found those numbers highly suspicious), in contrast to the high number of cases and deaths in the West, as evidence that China Its political system is better than western democracy.
Few in the West agreed. Earlier last year, New York Times China correspondent Li Yuan gleefully tweeted Her piece, “In a topsy-turvy pandemic world, China offers its own version of freedom.” She claimed that “the pandemic has affected many perceptions, including ideas about freedom. The Chinese do not have freedom of speech, freedom to worship, or freedom from fear, but they do have freedom to move about and live everyday life.”
cruelty in shanghai
But the Chinese people and foreign cheerleaders of the CCP regime had a harsh awakening this year, thanks to the lockdown in Shanghai, a city of 26 million people known for its wealth and sophistication. The Chinese government has chosen to implement its “zero COVID” policy with ferocity and vigor that the Chinese people have not experienced since the Cultural Revolution (1966–1976).
For example, residents have been caged like animals in their apartments, and some even have metal fences and fences outside their homes. A foreigner living in Shanghai told the BBC: “No one can get out and I feel helpless.”
There is widespread hunger as people are not allowed to shop for grocery and there is less government-run food delivery. guard in white protective gear defeat Residents try secretly to buy some food or even dig up herbs in the yard.
People with chronic diseases or medical emergencies could not get timely treatment. Pet owners have additional concerns, following a video showing a community worker in a white hazmat suit thrashing a corgi to death.
Chinese social media is filled with posts from desperate Shanghai residents pleading for food, medical aid, or someone to care for their pets. Adults have been taken from their homes and forced to spend weeks in poorly run mass quarantine camps, and young children brutally separated from their parents.
Losing faith in the Chinese government
Some foreign cheerleaders from the communist regime have changed their minds after the brutal Shanghai lockdown. Yuan of The New York Times, who lectured Americans that the Chinese version of freedom is better than freedom in the United States, recently wrote, “China’s ‘Zero Covid’ mess proves autocracy hurts everyone. is.”
More importantly, what happened in Shanghai has brought back older generations’ memories of the horrors of the Cultural Revolution, and shattered younger generations’ confidence in government. More and more Chinese people have shown that they are losing faith in the policies and narratives of the Chinese government.
Some chose to speak. Shanghai University of Finance and Economics professor Zhong Hongjun said the government’s actions were so “inhuman” that they regretted supporting the “zero COVID” policy.
spark of repression protest
Some chose to protest. In a residential complex, residents clashed with health officials and police in a desperate attempt to prevent the government from turning their housing premises into quarantine camps for COVID patients. The police arrested several protesters.
Since speaking and protesting in broad daylight is dangerous in an authoritarian regime, others chose more discrete ways to express their anger and frustration. A six-minute video titled “The Voice of April” went viral in China on 22 April. This included the voices of Shanghai residents complaining about a lack of food and medical care, and exposing the human toll of the government’s COVID policies.
The video garnered millions of views, and Chinese netizens tried several creative ways to preserve and share it before censors took it down, including saving copies on the blockchain. Xie Yang, author of Technology Review, calls the actions of Chinese netizens an example of “digital protest.”
Massive erosion of trust in government
There are other signs that more Chinese people are losing faith in the Chinese government after seeing what happened in Shanghai. Beijing, the capital of China, is facing a covid-19 outbreak. Concerned that Beijing would undergo a Shanghai-style lockdown, residents of Beijing stocked up on food and sanitized grocery stores, despite government officials repeatedly announcing food shortages.
There are indications that the lockdown will result in exodus of people and capital. An online survey showed that nearly 85 percent of Shanghai’s expatriates were considering leaving China because of its lockdown policies. Shanghai-based immigration consultants reported that immigration inquiries from Shanghai’s wealthy residents have skyrocketed.
One consultant received over 200 immigration inquiries a day. He explained that “authorities are making people sacrifice their basic necessities to fight an illness a little more serious than the seasonal flu. Our customers chose to vote with their feet.”
As the Chinese government placed hundreds of millions of residents under lockdown, the suffering of Shanghai residents has been replicated in many other parts of China, so many share the anger and frustration of Shanghai residents. Not surprisingly, more Chinese people have woken up to the government’s lies and cruelty. Beijing’s insistence on drastic “zero COVID” measures could be the regime’s undoing, as more and more Chinese have finally learned that their health, security and prosperity are not secure without political freedom.