Experts believe that before the upcoming 20th Chinese Communist Party (CCP) National Congress, the COVID policy in various places in China will be more extreme. 

China’s health authority reported that on Saturday, October 1, there were 179 new confirmed infections, along with 540 new asymptomatic cases. The cases are reported from 31 provinces. 

A few days prior, China’s National Health Commission spokesperson insisted on the strict “zero-COVID” policy.

China’s health authority recently said that regular nucleic acid testing must also be done in places that don’t have COVID cases by October 31, which coincides with the CCP’s 20th National Congress.

And even after the Party Congress, Beijing might still insist on its “zero-COVID” policy. As a result, changes might not happen until after two sessions in 2023. That’s according to a report by Goldman Sachs.

The National Day has just passed on Saturday, October 1. As of September 28, at least 24 provinces, cities, and more than 80 regions in China have issued official announcements to support the “festival in place.” Meaning a festival without moving around. So not being allowed to go home for the holidays stoked people’s resentment. 

Some people even mock: “Lock down the city for the holidays huh!”

Lai Jianping is a master of international law from the China University of Political Science and Law. He said: “Because in an autocratic system, the highest authority’s will is more important than any law. So, it doesn’t matter if it goes against the law or citizens’ basic human rights and freedoms. Even if it hurts people’s ability to make a living, or hurts the economy. As long as it is the will of the highest authority, all the governments below it must not only do what they say, but also work hard to make the stakes higher.”

Zhang Jian is an expert on China issues. He said: “During the epidemic, the CCP made its people do more servile drills and turned the whole country into a big prison and a big concentration camp. The air was cold and everyone was angry. A government like this can no longer care about how people make a living and how the economy works. It may know that people won’t be able to make a living and that the economy will fall apart, but it doesn’t care because it’s more interested in keeping its authoritarian regime.”

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