China Calls Its Coronavirus Disaster a ‘Smooth Transition’ Out of Lockdowns

A trishaw driver wades through a crowded street at the frozen Houhai Lake in Beijing, Mond
AP Photo/Andy Wong

Chinese state media on Monday sought to pass off the huge wave of coronavirus illness and death that swept across the country over the past month as a “smooth transition” to a new era of looser restrictions and renewed economic activity.

The state-run Global Times on Monday claimed China’s “epidemic wave” is over, having ended as abruptly as it began, with no sign of increased infections during the heavy travel of the Lunar New Year holiday season.

Members of a traditional dragon dance troupe perform during Spring Festival celebrations at Expo Garden on January 25, 2023 in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. China is marking the Spring Festival which begins with the Lunar New Year on January 22, ushering in the Year of the Rabbit. (Photo by Getty Images)

Members of a traditional dragon dance troupe perform during Spring Festival celebrations at Expo Garden on January 25, 2023 in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. (Getty Images)

On the contrary, a “new market boom” was unleashed by the holiday – the first Spring Festival since China “optimized” its coronavirus policies – and the rest of the world is supposedly in awe of China’s achievement. All Western media coverage to the contrary was dismissed as an orchestrated “public opinion offensive against China.”

People visit a traditional Spring Festival flower market which reopens after closure due to the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus in Guangzhou, in China's southern Guangdong province on January 20, 2023, ahead of the Lunar New Year of the Rabbit celebrations which falls on January 22. - China OUT (Photo by AFP) / China OUT (Photo by STR/AFP via Getty Images)

People visit a traditional Spring Festival flower market in Guangzhou, in China’s southern Guangdong province on January 20, 2023. (STR/AFP via Getty Images)

“Facts speak louder than speculations. The fresh attempts by some U.S. and Western media outlets to badmouth China by virtue of the latter’s optimization of Covid response have already backfired. The recent changes in these U.S. and Western media’s reports demonstrate that China has achieved a smooth transition, and their recent smears don’t hold water,” the Global Times sneered.

The Chinese government was caught flat-footed lying about the number of coronavirus cases and deaths that erupted after nearly all pandemic precautions were suddenly discarded in December – which in turn happened only because the Chinese population was in open revolt against endless coronavirus lockdowns – but the Global Times dismissed all that inconvenient truth as a Western media smear.

“In the past three years, the Chinese government has adopted responsible policies and measures, done its upmost and made crucial contributions to protect the lives and health of the Chinese people, promote global solidarity to fight the pandemic, and push for the recovery of the global economy. In terms of fighting against the epidemic, China has delivered a satisfactory answer sheet,” the Chinese Communist paper insisted.

Another Global Times article on Monday quoted officials from China’s National Health Commission (NHC) who claimed the entire country dropped abruptly into a “period of low infection,” rather than the feared spread of infections to rural areas by holiday travelers:

As the Spring Festival holidays ended, the Joint Prevention and Control Mechanism of the State Council held a press conference on Monday on the situation during the holidays. They stressed that the prevention work in vast rural areas will remain the top priority.

Fu Wei from the NHC said that since December 21, 2022, fever and general clinics in town- and community-level medical institutes have seen a decline from the previous rising trend, and the number of patients from January 21 to 27 remained at a low level.

For example, the number of patients on January 27 at general clinics in grassroots medical institutes was 44 percent of that in December 29, 2022.

The NHC said “prevention work in rural areas” remains its “top priority,” even though the coronavirus wave is ostensibly “drawing to an end.”

“Senior officials and experts of public health called for continuous efforts on prevention work in the face of possible second or more rounds of infection surges that may be caused by variants from overseas,” the Global Times added, repeating the Chinese Communist Party’s standard line that all of its inexplicable coronavirus flare-ups are caused by foreign visitors.


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