Forced quarantine of residents leads to zero infections? The Mechanism of China’s “Zero Covid”
The horror of Xi Jinping’s obsession with the “zero-corruption” order
Article on January 6th, 2022 by Kaori Fukushima (After graduating from the Faculty of Literature, Osaka University, she joined the Sankei Shimbun. After studying language at Fudan University in Shanghai, she worked as a correspondent for the Sankei Shimbun in Hong Kong in 2001 and in Beijing from 2002 to 2008. After leaving the Sankei Shimbun in 2009, she became a freelance journalist, focusing mainly on China’s political, economic and social issues. Her major publications include “New Corona, Hong Kong, Taiwan, the World Won’t Forgive Xi Jinping” (Wani Books, 2020), “Xi Jinping’s Defeat: The Crisis in China, the Red Empire” (Wani Books, 2020), “Young People in China’s Desperate Factories” (PHP Institute, 2013), and “Undercover Report: Women in China” (Bungeishunju, 2011).
The situation of the new corona infection in Xi’an, the capital of China’s Shaanxi Province, seems to be quite serious: more than 90 new cases were reported on January 2 and 3, 2022 consecutively, bringing the total number of cases to about 1,700. In terms of the number of positive cases, it is tiny compared to the situation in Western countries. However, it is not the virus that is frightening, but the “zero corona policy” known as “social surface cleanliness zero”.
In a video conference held by the Xi’an Corona Prevention and Control Command on January 1, a zero-corona policy target was set to reduce the number of new corona infections in Xi’an to zero by January 4, and on January 2, Liu Guozhong, secretary of Shaanxi Province, announced that the zero-corona target must be realized as soon as possible. On January 2, however, the Shaanxi provincial secretary, Liu Guozhong, announced that the zero-corona goal should be realized as soon as possible.
However, on January 2, there were 92 new cases of the new corona in Shaanxi. On January 3, 95 people were infected in Xi’an alone. The city of Xi’an has been gradually calming down in the sense that the number of newly infected people has dropped below 100 for the first time in eight days since the city lockdown began on December 23, but it is still an unscientific and unrealistic notice to reduce the number of newly infected people to zero by January 4.
Residents Sent to Isolation Facilities in Remote Areas
However, many citizens became aware of the situation when they saw a video of the “forced quarantine” in Xi’an that was circulated on the Internet. The term “zero coronas” does not mean that coronaviruses should be thoroughly eliminated, but rather that coronavirus-infected people should be completely eliminated from society. In fact, tens of thousands of residents of “subdistricts” (residential areas where apartment buildings are clustered together) with the potential to spread the infection were being housed in “detention facilities” in remote areas separated from “society.
For example, let’s say that one pseudo-infected person is found in a certain subdistrict. Then, a number of buses arrive in front of the subdistrict, and all the residents of the subdistrict, including children, adults, the elderly, and the sick, are suddenly packed into the bus and taken to quarantine facilities in Hanzhong, Ankang, and other suburbs of the city. Since there is almost no advance notice, they are put on the bus without knowing where they will be taken, without being able to prepare the things they need for daily life. We were told that we would be living in isolation for two weeks in a filthy room with only one water tap and no heating, and only a pipe bed. The lowest temperature in Xi’an now is around 5 degrees below zero. Although it is said that the quarantine is to prevent infection, multiple people are crammed into the same small room and there is no food for all of them.
Radio Free Asia, a U.S. government-affiliated media outlet, also reported the following information from the Xi’an City Disease Control Center. The Xi’an authorities quarantined thousands of students of the Xi’an Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics to a remote area in southern Shaanxi Province after Vice Premier Sun Chunlan instructed the field to tighten control of clusters in schools and other facilities. It has been confirmed that the disease control authorities in Yang County, Ankang City, have commandeered seven hotels and expropriated 400 students. It appears that several other quarantine facilities are also being used to isolate potentially infected people in Xi’an.
At the moment, the quarantine facilities are neither barbed wire nor heavily guarded by armed police, and quarantined people are able to escape on foot if they want to. Some people did escape from the facility. But once they got out, they found themselves in the suburbs with no buses or subways. The only way to get home is on foot. I saw a video on the Internet of people walking along the road, trying to get back home after escaping from the quarantine facility. However, as more and more people escape from the quarantine facility, barbed wire fences and armed guards may soon be erected.
Achieving numerical targets and balancing the books are top priorities
The essence of the problem here is that the concept of the “social plane clear and zero” model as a corona measure has been solidified in China. Popular YouTuber Wen Zhao, who is Chinese and lives in Canada, explained this, citing videos and other examples of such “social plane clean and zero” measures.
The concept is to separate people from society and manage them in a concentration camp model.
If a residential area in the city is empty, with no inhabitants, then there are no people to begin with, and therefore zero coronas have been achieved. Even if new infections occur in the quarantine facility, they are not counted as new infections. This is because they are isolated from society.
This is the same as making a female tennis player disappear for speaking out, or digging a hole and burying a high-speed train car that had an accident that should never have happened.
What is important is that the “social plane cleanup” policy has been established as “the logic of frontline bureaucrats receiving reckless instructions from the central government and deceiving the people in order to make ends meet.
The policy of “zero covid” is far from being a fundamental quarantine measure. In fact, it artificially creates a situation where cross-infection is more likely to occur and an infection explosion is more likely to occur, since groups with a high risk of infection are brought in and housed in dense concentrations. The government is willing to make any sacrifice in order to achieve its numerical goal of zero coronas. Even if it means sacrificing people’s health and livelihoods, economic growth, or social stability, we will push forward to achieve the numerical target. Anyone who disagrees with this is considered a reactionary or an enemy of the class…. Looking back on the history of the Communist Party, it is no wonder that this kind of policy has developed in such a way.
With the coming of Xi Jinping’s regime, I have felt that the traditional “movement-style policies” of the Communist Party have been increasing, but the mood of this “social plane clean and zero” policy is as irrational as that of Mao’s “Great Leap Forward.
Trapped people are running out of food.
What is happening in Xi’an is not just a matter of forced removal and isolation of infected people. The shortage of food faced by people trapped in their homes is creating a sense of crisis that may lead to the collapse of social morality. After more than a week of lockdown in Xi’an, the Internet began to be flooded with complaints of food shortages.
People who do not have food stored or stockpiled at home and are beginning to feel hunger are breaking the rules and going out to get food, and there have been incidents of people being found by the police or authorities and violently seized. The price of food has been raised to exorbitant levels, and one citizen posted on Weibo that he managed to buy a few vegetables, fruits, and a few packs of milk, but the total cost was 1,120 yuan(approximately $200 CDN), which is more than a quarter of the average monthly income of Xi’an city residents.
In an online video, one citizen expanded on what he was able to buy for 200 yuan. Ten green peppers for 40 yuan, six tomatoes for 40 yuan, two Chinese cabbage for 40 yuan, three leafy greens for 40 yuan, an onion for 40 yuan, four radishes for 40 yuan…. The vegetable sellers are taking advantage of the national crisis to make money! He expressed his strong resentment. Most of the vegetables available in Xi’an now cost more than ten times the normal price.
In many cases, even if they wanted to, they couldn’t, and some citizens, in their isolated apartments, would offer expensive cigarettes to residents with food reserves in exchange for a small amount of food, or trade rice for an Apple smartphone. In response to a WeChat post by a young woman who lamented, “I haven’t eaten a single grain of rice in three days,” I wrote, “I’m a virgin. I’ll share my food with you if you’ll have sex with me once.
There was an online video of an elderly woman trying to go outside to get food, only to be confronted by a policeman. The policeman said, “Rice, oil, and salt will be rationed in the afternoon, so you must not go outside,” but the old woman cried and complained, “I have nothing to eat in my house now.
On the afternoon of December 29th, a truck full of vegetables, fruits and meat entered a subdistrict (residential area) in Xincheng District, Xi’an City. There are 180 houses in the subdistrict, and it was reported that the residents of the subdistrict were carrying 180 large bags filled with 5 kilograms of vegetables and meat in a relay system. However, when Internet users later searched the address of the subdistrict, they found that it was the dormitory for the Shaanxi Provincial People’s Representative and the families of Shaanxi government officials. There was an uproar, with accusations that the bureaucrats were taking full advantage of their privileges amid the corona disaster.
Conversion to “Co-existing with Corona” is “Defeat”
Why is China aiming for such a thoroughgoing zero-corona policy? And why has it set an absurd deadline of January 4 to achieve this goal?
The reasons are simple: one is to avoid any negative impact on the Spring Festival (February 1), the Great Migration of the People (Spring Luck). The other reason is to prevent any negative impact on the Winter Olympics that will start in Beijing on February 4. The deadline was set ahead of time and the numerical targets were dropped by the top management without any analysis of the current situation. The bureaucrats on the ground were forced to meet the targets at all costs.
When there was a covid outbreak in Wuhan before the Spring Festival in 2020, the Wuhan municipal authorities covered up the corona information in order to comply with the central government’s instructions not to affect the Spring Festival migration. It’s the same logic.
Around July 2021, some experts suggested that the Party Central should switch from “zero covid” to the Western-style “with covid” policy. However, Zhang Wenhong, an infectious disease expert in Shanghai, was silenced by the Chinese media and Xi Jinping’s pro-Internet “Net Red Guards” when he made such a public appeal. Zero coronas is a policy that Xi Jinping himself ordered, and imitating the West and changing the policy is tantamount to admitting that China has lost in the coronas policy. This is absolutely unacceptable to Xi Jinping.
The Wuhan lockdown in 2020 is a success story for Xi Jinping. He was proud of the fact that he was the first to contain the corona and bring the economy back on track to recovery, while watching as the death toll in the West rivaled that of World War II. There is no way they can change that policy to a Western-style “with Corona” policy now.
The aforementioned YouTuber Wen Shou said, “Western societies make policy decisions based on the economy and people’s livelihoods rather than on the number of corona-positive people. January 2022 marks a thorough divergence in corona policy between the West and China.
He said, “January 2022 marks a complete divergence between Western society and China in terms of covid policy,” whether it is forcibly relocating all infected people (including those who may be infected) to some remote area, removing them from society, and applauding them for achieving zero covid, forcibly relocating all poor rural villagers and proclaiming that they have achieved “de-poverty,” depriving Uyghurs of their faith and language, and proclaiming that Uyghurs are part of the Chinese nation. In fact, it is the same idea to exterminate all the dissenters and opponents in Hong Kong and say that there are only patriots in Hong Kong. If something is inconvenient to the CCP, they will pretend it does not exist by force. This is a way of hiding anything that Xi Jinping does not like from view.
Therefore, I would like each and every one of us to think about whether we can enjoy the Beijing Winter Olympics, a festival of peace and sports, in the midst of such sham peace and stability, and whether we should enjoy it. If it is said that the Olympics itself has already turned into an athletic event for the profit of the barons who are ripping off the people, then I don’t know what to say.