The Chinese Communist regime authorities in Beijing generated alarm and confusion among the entire population when they announced this Monday, June 27, that the strict “zero COVID” policy would be in force for the next five years, including mandatory mass testing and travel restrictions.

When the stringent measures in several Chinese cities were becoming unbearable, and the population was waiting for new announcements to relax the confinement and control measures, an official announcement was presented by none other than the head of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in Beijing, Cai Qi. He informed this Monday that the measures would continue for the “next five years.”

The announcement was published by the state-run Communist propaganda outlet Beijing Daily. The article paraphrases official Cai Qi’s report on Beijing’s “continuous efforts” in light of the zero COVID policy. The report highlights Beijing’s epidemic prevention strategy and references that it will continue for years.

Cai Qi noted that health authorities in Beijing would promote standardized nucleic acid testing and rigorous inspections at the entrance and exit of neighboring villages and in public places and warned about the prevalence of strict social control and prevention. 

The city “will apply regular high-quality PCR tests and controls at key points, strictly inspect entrances in residential communities, workplaces and public institutions,” the report adds after clarifying that “In the next five years, resolutely and without qualms, Beijing will do a good job in normalizing pandemic prevention controls.” 

Impact on social networks

People quickly began to express their shock at the news on social media. Thousands of netizens expressed fear and confusion about how continuing under the strict lockdown rules for another five years would impact their lives. 

Internet users across the country also wondered whether the requirements would be limited to the city of Beijing or whether the rest of the country would also adopt the continuation of the lockdown measures.

Such was the impact of this controversial phrase of only four words, “The next five years,” that the newspaper editorial that reproduced Cai Qi’s speech just a few hours after its publication eliminated the controversial sentence that referred to the period of time. 

The current version of the Beijing Daily no longer contains the phrase “in the next five years.” And in parallel, the popular social network Weibo completely censored the subject matter by removing the tag “the next five years.” 

Searching for the phrase on the Chinese platform now displays a notice indicating that the topic cannot be displayed “according to relevant laws, regulations and policies,” a common error message for topics removed by the app’s censors, allegedly for “infringing” on the interests of the state.

After the publication was edited in the state newspaper, and the comments regarding “the next five years” were deleted on social networks, it seems that the mood has calmed down on the web, although the boom of comments on the matter as soon as the news emerged attest to the Chinese population being fed up with the draconian anti-COVID measures imposed during the last months by the CCP.

Beijing under strictest lockdown guidelines 

The CCP authorities in Beijing, following the directives implemented in other major cities in China after the alleged increase in cases of the Omicron variant of the CCP virus, imposed strict lockdown guidelines for its population since the end of April.

As a result, the health authorities blocked thousands of buildings, including restaurants, cinemas, gyms, shopping malls, schools, universities, and other public spaces. 

The Beijing government required its nearly 22 million inhabitants to undergo mandatory COVID testing. It was announced on May 1 that only those with a negative nucleic acid test within the last seven days would be allowed to use public transport. 

When some 200 cases of positive COVID were detected in the Chinese capital at the end of April, it was enough to arouse enormous paranoia in the government, and zero COVID protocols were activated.

According to Taiwanese media outlet Sanlin TV on May 17, around 60,000 armed police have been standing guard in Beijing over the past two weeks. Commentators on the TV media outlet said the move was highly unusual and that this had been the largest number of armed police ever to enter Beijing since 1949.

The video also showed people standing in long lines on the sidewalks. Residents were waiting to take the mandatory nucleic acid tests. Many can be seen with their hands behind their backs as armed police supervise the entire process until they enter the testing room.

Zero Covid policy, against the world’s will

While the rest of the world is finally putting the pandemic to one side, the Chinese regime is not letting up in its struggle to impose terror on the population concerning the virus.

Despite the abundance of scientific information that assures that little can be done to prevent the transmission of the contagious Omicron variant, the Chinese regime ordered the strict confinement of millions of citizens due to an alleged resurgence of the virus in several cities, going against the global trend of easing restrictions.

In cities such as Shanghai, the authorities cannot guarantee the delivery of food and basic necessities for survival. As a result, during certain periods, a desperate wave of grievances, looting, and suicides was experienced in what was, for the moment, the city most affected by the Orwellian measures of the regime.

During the worst period of confinement in Shanghai, shocking videos have been released showing heart-rending cries from the city’s skyscrapers. Residents can be heard screaming in despair as their families starve and receive no help. 

The Chinese communist regime has been accused since the pandemic began of having concealed information regarding the origin of the virus and the measures implemented to prevent its transmission in the first place. 

Today, there is great mistrust of the information provided by the CCP, both inside and outside China. Due to its lack of transparency, it is not possible to know for sure whether there are many or few active cases of the virus, whether the health situation is really desperate or whether the few cases detected are used as an argument by the regime to deepen its actions of control and social repression.

But it is possible to state with certainty that its population, especially in the big cities, is suffering from strict regulations that prevent them from continuing their lives normally, attending their jobs, studies, visiting relatives, and even putting their survival at risk due to the impossibility of accessing certain basic supplies such as food and medicines.

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