Another unnecessary death, caused as a direct result of the CCP's draconian COVID lockdown policy that bars anybody without a current COVID test from seeking medical treatment in Shanghai's hospitals, has rattled the people of Shanghai - and again shaken the people's faith in the CCP's "zero COVID" policies - all while the economic carnage from China's latest lockdowns reverberates across both the country and the world.
According to the SCMP, Qian Wenxiong, a cadre with the city’s Hongkou District Health Commission, died on Tuesday afternoon, according to a statement published on an official Weibo account on Thursday. He was 55.
Information on social media included a story that was nothing short of heart-wrenching.
Father of a 5yr old and stable cancer patient died after suddenly feeling discomfort at home. He was told his covid test from yesterday was invalid.— JinJin Xu (@jinxshoe) April 15, 2022
His last words on earth? Mom, can you check if my new Covid test has come out?
2hrs after he left, his Covid test came bk negative pic.twitter.com/hYQFN3etI4
Meanwhile, as they try to loosen lockdown measures in Shanghai (at least when it comes to factories and other economically important areas), authorities announced Friday that restrictions are being reimposed in Xi'an, known for being the epicenter of the previous omicron wave.
- CHINESE CITY OF XIAN SAYS TO IMPOSE PARTIAL LOCKDOWN FROM APRIL 16 UNTIL END-APRIL 19 DUE TO COVID
President Xi and the senior leadership have been preoccupied with trying to revive the city's flagging factory production. On Friday, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology said it will push for forward production resumption at major factories in Shanghai, with priority given to 666 major enterprises, auto and equipment manufacturing, and biological medicine industries.
Now in its third week (for a lockdown that was only supposed to last 9 days), the Shanghai lockdown has inspired some of the most heated anti-government criticism in years, which has spilled out onto Weibo despite the government's efforts to censor it. The latest trending post to get censored features an 82-year-old man pleading for medication with a local party official, who said he could only offer traditional Chinese remedies.
Even the party official acknowledged that he was "very worried".
"I’m also very worried about the people seeking help," the party official said in the recording. "I’m also very angry but there’s nothing we can do."
Although food shortages have eased in some places and protests remain rare (although they have happened), the simmering rage is palpable, especially in Shanghai, as tens of thousands of social media users pass around stories about acts of individual defiance and reports of suicides on Weibo and WeChat.
President Xi made his first veiled reference to the growing discontent on Wednesday during a visit to the tourist destination of Hainan province, saying the country needed to stick with its zero-tolerance approach to COVID despite the growing discontent and economic costs. In particular, he said, it was necessary to overcome “paralyzing thoughts” and “war weariness” while preventing any imported cases and local virus flare-ups.
The government reported 29,411 new cases on Thursday, and all but 3,020 were asymptomatic. Shanghai accounted for 95% of that total, or 27,719 cases. All but 2,573 had no symptoms.
More Chinese are worried about the lockdowns spreading, especially as economists from Nomura warn that the CCP's COVID measures could disrupt the upcoming harvest, jeopardizing the food supply for China's 1.4 billion people.
As one Shanghaier told Bloomberg, it's not so much the CCP's strict policy that has elicited rage, but the poor implementation of it.
"The gripes among ordinary people are not so much directed toward Covid Zero as it is about the messy implementation,” Huang Yanzhong, a senior fellow for global health at the New York-based Council on Foreign Relations.
Still, for residents like Irene Li, the damage is lasting.
"Shanghai was the best place in China because of her freedom, her modernization, her internationalization," she said. "And yet it has turned to this, where one ridiculous policy has harmed so many lives."
In Shanghai, the government has piled pressure on grassroots leaders and police officers to strictly enforce the lockdown, which has led to incidences of police killing pets who have been suspected of COVID exposure (for example, if their owners tested positive).
Meanwhile, the top policy makers at the PBOC are resorting to more monetary easing to try and cushion the economic blowback. Unfortunately, measures like this won't help grow crops.