Chinese state broadcaster People’s Daily has released the second commentary touting the government’s pandemic approach. According to the South China Morning Post, this reinforces a forewarning that the painful measures shall remain after the country’s 20th National Congress.
Right from the title, the op-ed published on October 11 claims the policy “is sustainable and must persist.” It hails that Beijing has effectively mitigated the death rates and maintained a smooth functioning society and economy via tight measures.
The opinion piece writes, “Zero-COVID is the anti-epidemic strategy with the lowest overall social cost and is the best option for the timely control of pandemics in China at this stage.”
This came just one day after the publication wrote another commentary urging residents to keep their faith in zero-COVID, adding that confidence is more important than gold in the pandemic struggle. It also reiterates that the guidelines are effective against the Omicron variant, which is perceived as highly transmissive.
Xinhua News Agency, another government mouthpiece, also released a commentary on October 11, telling the Chinese community to enhance their stamina and endurance to the pandemic curbs. It further reminded people against lying flat. According to the Post, such languages often indicate continuing life under strict measures.
The propaganda comes as more are expecting that Beijing could soon abandon its hardline COVID policy, especially after the 20th National Congress on October 16.
While China’s infection statistics seem less severe than the rest of the world, its economy has been in turmoil. The country earlier this year proposed a GDP growth target of 5.0%. But in late September, the World Bank expected China’s outlook for 2022 may only reach 2.8%.
Nationwide, more lockdowns have been slammed as cases tripled following a week-long national holiday. According to the Associated Press, the latest closure has been imposed on Shanxi province’s Fenyang city starting October 10. This was implemented over one single preliminary positive case.