China’s Zero-COVID Madness Hammers ‘Golden Week’ For Tourism, Shopping
Though China is in the midst of a week-long national holiday to mark the anniversary of the country’s founding, President Xi Jinping’s zero-Covid policies are once again hammering the long-suffering population — and the faltering economy.
The week of Oct. 1 to 7 is one of two so-called “Golden Weeks” on the Chinese calendar where both tourism and shopping typically surge. Unfortunately, this year the week is also in proximity to the national congress of the Chinese Communist Party, which begins on Oct. 16.
That twice-a-decade event holds great significance, and is expected to bring the appointment of Xi to an unprecedented third term as the party’s general secretary. In anticipation of the national congress, authorities are going all-out to prevent a major uptick in Covid-19 transmission that could embarrass Xi.
“Xi’s legacy and the legitimacy of the CCP are bound to the success of the zero-Covid campaign,” the Brookings Institution’s Diana Fu told AFP.
Reporting from the Financial Times provides a window into the resulting madness.
For example, the Xinjiang region reported 91 Covid-19 cases on Tuesday — out of a population of some 25 million people. Many of those cases were asymptomatic.
Nonetheless, Xinjiang’s Vice Chairman Liu Sushe declared he would “strengthen the control of cross-regional personnel and insist that people do not leave the region unless it is necessary.” Authorities cancelled nearly all airline flights and all long-distance train and bus service to other provinces.
In the Xishuangbanna region near Laos and Myanmar, authorities ordered thousands of travelers to quarantine in their hotels after Tuesday saw 27 Covid-19 cases in the region that’s home to 1.1 million people.
Travelers at the Xishuangbanna airport were confronted by shotgun-wielding police in head-to-foot protective attire. Video circulating on social media purportedly show tense situations as tourists vent their frustration over being blocked from their vacations or barred from returning home.
NOW – China starts enforcing its zero-COVID policy with machine guns at Xishuangbanna Airport in Yunnan.
People screaming “are you gonna kill us all?”pic.twitter.com/DLu6H4GPw0
— Disclose.tv (@disclosetv) October 4, 2022
— Jennifer Zeng 曾錚 (@jenniferzeng97) October 4, 2022
BREAKING: A large number of police reinforcements arrived and multiple people got arrested and sent off to quarantine camps at the Xishuangbanna airport. pic.twitter.com/4cySQJb3no
— Songpinganq (@songpinganq) October 5, 2022
The country’s zero-Covid authoritarianism reaches right out through the phones of Chinese citizens, reports the Financial Times:
Many Beijing residents who dared to travel outside the capital this week have received dreaded health code “pop-ups” on their mobile phones that will make it difficult if not impossible to return home in coming days.
Meanwhile, on the island destination of Sanya, every person was ordered to take a PCR test under threat of being assigned a “health code” that would bar them from public places, planes and trains.
Wary of such scenarios, many Chinese have opted to choose nearby camping excursions over more ambitious getaways. Some campgrounds are fully booked despite having doubled their tent capacity, reports Nikkei Asia. Many victims of China’s quarantines are no doubt wishing they’d made such humbler plans for their “Golden Week.”
Thu, 10/06/2022 – 16:40