China Tells Citizens Brutal Lockdowns Were ‘Worthwhile’

FILE- A woman has her routine COVID-19 throat swab at a coronavirus testing site in Beijin
AP Photo/Andy Wong, File

China’s state-run propaganda newspaper Global Times assured readers on Wednesday that nearly three years of the Communist Party’s “zero-Covid” policy – which consisted of welding people shut in their homes and hauling thousands into quarantine camps – was “worthwhile,” as Beijing faces global alarm in the face of an apparent coronavirus case surge.

China imposed a brutal lockdown policy for years on its citizens, most dramatically shutting down entire metropolitan areas and locking people in their homes, often without food or basic medicines. According to the Chinese government’s records, the “zero-Covid” policy killed more people in China than Chinese coronavirus itself between May 26 and late November. The regime documented that three people over the age of 87 died as a result of the coronavirus in that time window, compared to dozens of suicides, starvations, people dying of lack of access to medicine, and those killed by denial of medical care at hospitals.

China finally “optimized” its “zero-Covid” policy in early December, a response to an eruption of large protests and riots across the country at the end of November. Communist Party officials insist that they are not “lying flat” – meaning reverting to pre-pandemic freedoms – but have nonetheless insisted that they would not return to city-wide lockdowns and would let people suffering mild coronavirus infections stay home, rather than imprisoning them in camps.

The protests abruptly ended following the lockdowns, but have been followed by a wave of citizen journalist reporting suggesting that China is now dealing with overflowing morgues, hospitals, and funeral homes as a mass death wave hits the country. Reports suggest that the dead are those infected with Chinese coronavirus – suffering severe infections as a result of newly exposed immune systems and their lack of access to effective vaccine products.

On Wednesday, the Global Times insisted that, despite the hardships the lockdowns created, the current situation in the country was “worth the wait.”

“Chinese people believed the three years’ fighting was not in vain, as they have been shielded until [Chinese coronavirus] variants became far less dangerous,” the state newspaper claimed, “and they are optimistic of the future and that they are sure the final shock from [Chinese coronavirus] will be weathered smoothly and orderly.”

The outlet compared the current situation in China to an alleged “debacle of death tsunami [sic]” in the West.

Chinese regime-approved experts told the Global Times that reports of severe shortages of medical equipment such as ventilators were false.

“All the equipment that are needed, including ventilators and monitors, are already in place; doctors with abundant experience in dealing with [Chinese coronavirus] patients are also ready,” a doctor identified as Yin Yong was quoted as telling the newspaper.

In an infographic published along with the article, the Global Times proclaimed of China, “the enormous land is reviving with vigorous vitality.”

“Looking back to the last three years, China has waged a thrilling battle against the epidemic and experienced an arduous historical test,” the newspaper narrated.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry similarly defended its lockdown policies during a regular press briefing on Wednesday, this time addressing an international audience in response to America offering to share coronavirus vaccines with China.

“Over the past nearly three years, by putting people and their lives first, the Chinese government has formulated its [Chinese coronavirus] policy in light of China’s national circumstances to serve the interests of the vast majority of the Chinese people,” spokeswoman Mao Ning said. “Our policy protected people’s lives and health to the maximum extent possible and minimized [Chinese coronavirus’s] impact on socioeconomic development.  It achieved the best results at minimum cost.”

The Chinese Communist Party has reported seven deaths this week as a result of Chinese coronavirus infections and only 1,800 sick in a country of over a billion people. Reports compiled by independent outlets such as Radio Free Asia (RFA) indicate that the death toll may be significantly higher as hospitals “panic-buy” pivotal ICU equipment and funeral homes struggle to handle the influx of bodies. The British network Sky News reported this week that it had identified a crematorium in Beijing that appeared specially designated to processing coronavirus victims, despite only nine alleged national deaths as a result of the virus.

“At another crematorium a short drive away, about 20 vans acting as hearses stood in a line, waiting in turn to enter. There was tension in the air too,” the report continued. “Drivers told us the last few days have been busier than normal. They’d been waiting over three hours.”

Police guards have reportedly begun appearing outside crematoriums to deter social media videos exposing the situation.

The health data firm Airfinity published a report on Thursday estimating that, rather than seven deaths in two weeks, China is more likely experiencing over 5,000 deaths a day attributable to Chinese coronavirus.

“Airfinity said its mortality risk analysis suggested between 1.3 to 2.1 million people could die in China’s current [coronavirus] outbreak,” Reuters observed on Thursday. “Analyses by other modeling groups have also predicted as many as 2.1 million deaths. Airfinity estimates the wave could have two peaks at 3.7 million a day in mid-January in regions where cases are currently rising and 4.2 million a day in March in other provinces.”

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