- During the initial days of the SARS-Covid-19 pandemic, the world community was grappling with an unknown entity without having recourse to the advantages of hindsight. In the absence of basic PPE kits like a mask, hazmat suits, and essential medical paraphernalia, the countries had no option but to enforce various levels of lockdowns. The idea was to spruce up the administration to cope with the emerging situation adequately by not only readying the healthcare infrastructure but also stocking it with the desired resources. Mind you, locking down the entire country would always entail undesirable catastrophic consequences. Left with no option, the countries had to resort to these strict measures but only temporarily.
PC: David Shukman
- However, it baffles to see Chia’s aristocratic leadership still clinging onto zero-Covid policy by resorting to untenable lockdowns. The economic disruptions and the corresponding hardships to the global community over the last two years are unparalleled. While every other country has reverted to normalcy vis-à-vis economic activities, the Chinese move to stick with the zero-Covid policy is unfathomable. No wonder, the Chinese citizens are not happy and are expressing their displeasure in no uncertain terms. Defying restrictions on movements, citizens are protesting out in the open. As such, the multiple protests that have broken out across China appear to present the Chinese leadership with its biggest political challenge in decades.
- Some are even daring to demand that President Xi Jinping and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) step down for the excesses of Beijing’s continuing zero-Covid policy. While that outcome is extremely improbable, the Xi administration will be worried about the wider, long-term destabilizing forces the protests could engender. China’s zero-Covid strategy has become a political project. Paradoxically, China has seen just six Covid deaths in the last six months from tens of thousands of symptomatic cases, more than acceptable conditions to ease stifling restrictions. Nonetheless, it continues with snap lockdowns, mass testing, and real-time tracking of citizens’ health status through smartphone apps.
PC: Estonian World
- Increasingly, the restrictions themselves are being blamed for non-Covid deaths. Agreed, China wasn’t the only country to adopt a strategy at the beginning of the pandemic as mentioned above. Having staked so much political capital, China is unable to deviate from the policy. With widescale protests now, the party would be even more adamant lest it is seen as weak and susceptible to public pressure. Potentially, this could damage the Chinese economy. Remember, two lessons could be learned here: First, large authoritarian regimes don’t have the flexibility to effectively deal with pandemics. Second, they cannot handle the demands of sophisticated economies choosing the primacy of the regime over boosting growth. Something will give in.