State-run People’s Daily recently released a public survey about the country’s pandemic response. The results stirred heated controversy on the internet.

As Radio Free Asia reports, the news agency’s National Governance Weekly survey claimed that 90% of the respondents agreed that the current health code system should remain after the pandemic.

The study says the results came from 5,900 questionnaires conducted through the internet and WeChat. Following that, 90% of them viewed the health code mechanism positively, with more than 90% hoping similar systems will be applied to health, urban governance, transportation, culture, tourism, and entertainment.

As China holds fast to its stringent “zero-COVID” policy, testing has become a daily staple, with residents allowed to move around or not depending on the results. In addition, people are generally categorized into three colors. Yellow or red would effectively restrict a person’s ability to receive any public services, even in an emergency. Green is the go-ahead signal. 

This coding has made many joke that their shelf life is even less than bread, as testing results can only be valid for 72 hours. 

Hunan citizen Ouyang Jinghua told Radio Free Asia that the health code was invisible shackles. Ouyang notes that people cannot go anywhere they want to when scanning for health status is mandatory. Therefore, if something happens with the code, people will want to investigate your infection history and keep you from going anywhere. 

Chinese pundit Hu Xijin slammed the statistics publicly. In a now-deleted Weibo post, he stated that health codes should be used exclusively in the pandemic. Furthermore, he believes it should not be used when COVID is over and should only be reinstated when there is a new outbreak.

Hu is the former editor-in-chief of state tabloid the Global Times. He is infamous for defending Chinese actions on the global stage with harsh language.

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