China’s “Cultural Revolution 2.0” Zero Corona Policy Unacceptable to Citizens and Experts

China’s “Cultural Revolution 2.0” Zero Corona Policy Unacceptable to Citizens and Experts

Crisis in mind and body, how long will the Shanghai lockdown last?

Article on April 23rd, by Konatsu Himeda

About Konatsu Himeda (Born in Tokyo. Freelance journalist. President of Asia Biz Forum. He has been traveling to and from China since the early 1990’s. He founded and served as the first editor-in-chief of a Japanese business magazine in Shanghai and Beijing for 10 years. He launched business magazines for Japanese in Shanghai and Beijing and served as the first editor-in-chief for 10 years. After spending about 15 years in Shanghai, he returned to Japan and now covers changes in the Sino-Japanese business environment and the relationship between China and neighboring Asian countries from his own unique perspective. He is the author of “Human Resource Strategies for Small and Medium Enterprises to Win in China” (Ten Books), “The Inbound Trap” (Jiji Press), “Bangladesh Growth Companies” (co-author, Canary Communications), and most recently, “Post Corona to Chugoku no Sekai-kan” (Post Corona and the Chinese Worldview) (Shukosha).)

 A severe lockdown continues in Shanghai, China, where citizens are imprisoned. Under the “strange policy” of “Zero Covid Policy,” unscientific and absurd behavioral restrictions, which are unthinkable in a modern society, are being enforced. The scene reminds one of the Cultural Revolution led by Mao Zedong.

A Crisis in Mind and Body

 How severe is the lockdown in Shanghai? Ms. Moe Suzuki (a pseudonym), whose husband is currently posted to Shanghai, spoke of the situation. Ms. Suzuki opens her story by revealing, “I am beginning to worry about my husband’s mental health.

 Ms. Suzuki’s husband has a cheerful personality and is mentally tough, but after more than 20 days in confinement, he began to lose his color. His speech has lost its luster, and Moe is concerned that he may become depressed if his condition continues.

 Everyone living in Shanghai is quarantined in their rooms, and if they test positive, they are immediately taken to a centralized quarantine facility. Food rationing is irregular, and some citizens are running low on food reserves. A university professor from Shanghai points out that “Shanghai residents are suffering from a serious mental breakdown.

 The measure of “house confinement,” or “isolation in a locked room,” has been applied to Japanese who travel back and forth between Japan and China. A Japanese business traveler who actually experienced three weeks of isolation said, “It took me quite a while to recover mentally.

 The university professor mentioned above says, “After the lockdown, Shanghai’s economy will recover, and the mental recovery of Shanghai’s citizens will also be an issue.

 The physical situation is also quite dangerous: on April 17, the Shanghai municipal government announced that three people had died as a result of the new coronavirus. While this information may have alarmed the citizens of Shanghai, the “lockdown deaths” have already occurred. In the Pudong New Area, a 77-year-old senior citizen died after a fever after being unable to undergo dialysis because of a positive test result.

 Li Na (pseudonym), a Chinese national who works at a medical institution in Shanghai, said, “Since the lockdown began, even large hospitals have not accepted outpatients. People with pre-existing medical conditions are not able to receive medical examinations, and the situation is getting worst,” she said. Mr. Li himself remains confined to his home.

 In the Puxi district on the west side of the Huangpu River, which has been in lockdown since April 1, foreign media reported that “as of April 6, 26 general hospitals have suspended operations, including outpatient, emergency, and new admissions.” In Shanghai, where a total of more than 200,000 people have tested positive since the infection explosion at the beginning of March, medical care in the intensive isolation ward The shortage of medical staff for the intensive isolation ward in Shanghai, where more than 200,000 people have tested positive since the outbreak in early March, may have led to the transfer of medical staff to the Puxi area.

Shanghai Citizens Begin to Doubt State Media Reports

 According to the latest treatment policy announced by the National Health and Medical Commission of China, “even mildly ill people who test positive will be quarantined intensively. The quarantine center is a prefabricated field hospital, which is a poorly equipped and badly leaking facility. Residents who are aware of this situation are terrified of quarantine, and skirmishes have broken out between them and the White Guards (white-robed police) who are trying to forcibly take them away.

 Residents record these skirmishes and clashes with their smartphones and spread them on the social networking service WeChat (Chinese version of WhatsApp). The authorities usually censor such posts and delete them instantly, but Wang Wei (pseudonym), a Tokyo resident and native of Shanghai, said, “Of course, everyone knows that the information will be deleted immediately, but I still want to do something to make people aware of this ‘senseless and abnormal situation. But even so, we are desperate to somehow make people aware of this “irrational and abnormal situation.

 In the midst of all this, a news program on CCTV (China Central Television, a state-run media outlet) broadcast on April 16 caught the attention of Shanghai citizens. The footage showed a food supermarket in Shanghai crowded with shoppers. Based on an official announcement by the Shanghai municipal government, CCTV reported that “as of April 15, 1011 major food supermarkets were open for business.

The authorities are constantly on the lookout for “fake information” on the Internet. However, some people say that CCTV’s reports of supermarkets crowded with customers may be a lie. Some citizens are growing increasingly antagonistic toward CCTV, which broadcasts images that are far removed from reality.

 Huang Shulin (pseudonym), a resident of Changning District, said, “Who would want to go shopping at a supermarket where there is a high risk of infection? Once you are infected, you will be sent to the field hospital,” she said, doubting the veracity of the reports.

 Incidentally, since April 9, Shanghai has been dividing the city into three sub-districts (groups of condominiums on a single lot), known as “annexed areas,” “controlled areas,” and “anti-annexation areas,” and even in the most relaxed “anti-annexation areas,” movement has been limited to small areas within the sub-districts. Shanghai’s strict restrictions on behavior have not changed.

Experts Tired of “Unscientific and Unrealistic Orders

 On April 12, Qian Wenxiong, 55, who was in charge of the information center of the Health and Health Commission, Hongkou District, Shanghai, committed suicide. The Health and Health Commission is the equivalent of the Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare, and the information center is the department that manages data in the district.

 The Chinese medical media reported that “experts in infectious disease control, including Qian, are tired of ‘unscientific and unrealistic orders’ from the top. The words “unscientific and unrealistic” are the essence of the current situation in Shanghai.

 In mid-March, Shanghai had indicated that it would not implement a citywide lockdown. However, the trend changed after March 22. The central government put pressure on Shanghai’s top official, Li Qiang, secretary of the Shanghai Municipal Committee, and instructed him to enforce the zero-corona policy. Some infectious disease experts, such as physician Zhang Wenhong, who advocated a policy similar to “with-corona” (quarantine by subdistrict), were completely suppressed.

 Citizens’ antipathy toward Li Qiang, who is said to be a “protege of Xi Jinping,” is growing stronger by the day. In particular, Shanghai is home to a large number of so-called “elites” who were educated abroad and have a unique “Shanghainese temperament. Mr. Li Qiang, who is not an elitist in terms of academic background as well as his hometown in Rui’an County, Zhejiang Province, has little credibility,” said the university professor from Shanghai mentioned above.

 The zero-covid policy has even led to the abduction of ordinary citizens. A grandson lamented on social media, “The authorities suddenly entered our house in the middle of the night and took my elderly grandmother to a field hospital.” In Shanghai, the absurd and violent containment is reminiscent of the Cultural Revolution period. In fact, some are calling it “Cultural Revolution 2.0. The patience of Shanghai citizens is reaching an extreme.

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