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Xi Jinping sends warning to anyone questioning China’s zero policy on Covid

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At a meeting chaired by Xi on Thursday, the Standing Committee of the ruling Communist Party’s supreme political bureau vowed to “firmly adhere to the general policy of ‘zero-Covid dynamics’ and to fight resolutely against every word.” and the act that distorts, suspects or denies our country. epidemic prevention policies.

This is the first time that Xi, who according to state media made an “important speech” at the meeting, has made public comments about China’s battle against Covid since the public outcry over the stiff blockade in Shanghai erupted.

“Our prevention and control strategy is determined by the nature and mission of the party, our policies can withstand the test of history, our measures are scientific and effective,” the seven-member committee said, according to the state-run Xinhua news agency.

“We have won the battle to defend Wuhan and we will certainly be able to win the battle to defend Shanghai,” the statement said.

China's Covid controls threaten to cause crisis for country - and its leader Xi Jinping

The Standing Committee also demanded that the cadres have a “deep, complete and comprehensive understanding” of the policies set by the party’s central leadership.

“We must resolutely overcome the problems of insufficient awareness, inadequate preparation and insufficient work, and resolutely overcome contempt, indifference and self-righteousness in our thinking,” the statement said.

For analysts who have long observed Chinese politics, the stern warning is a sign that there has been an internal backlash against Xi’s zero-Covid policy from within the party.

“This language should be read as a direct critique of the CCP’s undecided local leaders, who have questioned policies at the center, or who have been inadequate in their implementation.” wrote David Bandurski, co-director of the China Media Project.

“And it’s hard not to hear in this phrase about the condemnation of the ‘self-righteousness’ of leaders in Shanghai in particular,” Bandurski added.

Over the past five weeks, many Shanghai residents have done taken on social media to call for help and vent their anger over major food shortages and lack of access to medical care. Some protested from their windows, slamming pots and pans and shouting in frustration, while others even clashed with police and street health workers – a rare scene in a place where dissent is routinely suppressed.
The severe economic consequences have also drawn concerns from economists and business executives, especially given Shanghai’s role as the country’s main financial center and a major hub of manufacturing and transportation. In April, China’s services sector, which accounts for more than half of the country’s GDP and over 40% of its employment, shrinks to the second sharpest rhythm on record, while the manufacturing sector also shrank.
And as Omicron spreads to other parts of China, more local governments are imposing rapid blockades in response to just a handful of cases. In Beijing, where more than 500 cases have been reported since April 20, many fear of a Shanghai-style blockage while the authorities open up more and more restrictions.
A boy taking a Covid test in Beijing, China on May 4th.

But a recent statement from the country’s top executives has made it clear that the Chinese government is doubling its approach to relying on rapid blockades, mass testing and quarantine to print the highly broadcast Omicron variant for the future. predictable.

Wu Qiang, a political analyst in Beijing, said that since April, the question of how the government should deal with the country’s worst outbreak since Wuhan has evolved into a “street fight” within the party.

“Firstly, it is a struggle whether to choose ‘dynamic zero-Covid’ or a more flexible approach to combating Covid; and secondly, it is also a struggle whether to put Covid control or economic growth a priority,” he said. Wu. .

And with the latest statement, it is clear that Xi has chosen first in both “wars”, according to Wu.

Xi has put his personal stamp on China’s zero-Covid strategy, with state media often reporting that he has “personally commanded and made adjustments” to the country’s fight against the pandemic.

“In this sense, zero-Covid has become an indisputable, indisputable policy that is closely linked to its political authority – and therefore there will be no flexibility when it comes to implementing it,” Wu said.

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