As China prepares for the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, China’s Zero-COVID Policy1 has reached new levels of disparity throughout many of Beijing’s surrounding cities. As food shortages take precedence throughout China, the Chinese Communist Party have begun taking any measures necessary to reach zero COVID-19 cases by February.
From Shenzhen to Xi’an, cities remain on total lockdown after as little as two cases were confirmed. Citizens are forced into their homes, often sealing the outside doors, allowing citizens to leave only once a week for food. Mass sanitization is a regular sight, as citizens watch from their confines government officials in hazmat suits clean the air from indoors. Speaking against the COVID-19 measures, or breaking the local curfew can result in detainment, and even death.
With less than a month before the 2022 Winter Olympic Games, the Chinese government is working overtime to remove coronavirus from Beijing and surrounding cities, building up the facade for the peaceful image of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). As told by the citizens themselves, historically the CCP are known for their deception. Historically, China revealed only a version of itself to journalist Edgar Snow, the first westerner to visit China and interview Mao Zedong. While Edgar Snow was not in a position to write about to atrocities in China at the time, his astounding work serves significance as a historical reference of the version that China wants you to believe. The politically correct version served through American mainstream media does not include the deception and oppressive containment of individualism that occurs behind the wall.
Living in America, many take the right to free speech and free press for granted, often not using ultimate privilege given to every individual of this nation. The following represents an attempt to use that freedom to bring awareness to situations where the effected are unable to externally communicate their grievances against the human rights violations which occur routinely, without justification.
Citizens have begun sharing the horrors of the Zero-COVID Policy on Chinese social media. Speaking to residents online, citizens must use a VPN network to bypass China’s Great Firewall (GFW). This enables citizens to share videos to American social media platforms, like Twitter. Although this practice is dangerous, many find the internet accessible, despite the efforts to restrict their access. Still, many citizens fear the regime, opting to avoid clicking any links which could represent dissent.
When speaking to Chinese citizens through the internet, it is difficult not to consider the disproportionate risk involved with the communications. China is not a free speech state, and even discussing information against the regime, results in arrest and sentencing. Speaking with residents through a messaging application, many warned me about the punishments for speaking out against the government. “If you speak against the government, Police can shoot you in the street” stated one resident casually, suggesting this was not a rare occurrence.
The Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) “Zero-COVID Policy” has confined civilians to their homes, some surfacing online videos from China showing chains being placed on doors to residential apartment buildings. Speaking to residents, this was confirmed as a method on containment throughout China. It isn’t uncommon for Chinese Authorities to seal people into their buildings, using wire, and even welding doors in some cases. Gruesome videos posted and shared online, showed citizens who had leapt to their death allegedly from being confined inside their apartments by authoritative force.
What began as two confirmed cases in Shenzhen have resulted in millions lining up to receive the COVID-19 test2. Drone footage show millions of residents waiting in line to receive their COVID-19 test, and physical proof of negative testing. One Shenzhen resident, shared a video on Twitter3 of the city’s compliance, filming as he walked past the seemingly never-ending queue of civilians, many holding children, others glaring down at their phones in solitude. His headline reading,
“There are 4 new COVID cases in Shenzhen China, we need to conduct several rounds of tests. Looks like virus is still far from ending…”
Drones have become a regular sight in Chinese society. In the city of Chongqing, flamethrower-equipped drones are used to remove beehives and debris from trees4. Using drones to display illuminated messages across the sky, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) demanded all citizens get tested.5 Residents posted the fantastic sight from different angles across social media. Despite the magnificent display of technology, its ultimate us was one of authoritarian decision to lock residents inside of their homes until each individual has tested negative.
What started the coronavirus pandemonium? Imported goods containing COVID-19 we reported to have triggered the initial outbreak, confirming many theories of the potential transmission through surfaces6.
After receiving proof of negative testing, citizens receive their proof: a small white card stamped in red ink, with a red star in the center7. Similar to the vaccine passports in America, Chinese citizens in Shenzhen must have physical proof of negative vaccination. Until every civilian holds a negative vaccination card, the excessive totalitarian COVID-19 mandates of Shenzhen will remain in effect.
China’s goal remains to have zero coronavirus outbreak has proven to highlight their totalitarian one-party regime, showing a frightening level of forced compliance, no matter the cost to the people. If American citizens continue to willingly give up their rights, in adherence with every mandate from the federal government, and the state, our U.S. populous may inevitably find itself in a similar state.
As the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics near closer, while less than a month remains, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is desperate to reduce its COVID-19 numbers to zero, no matter the cost of the individuals native to China. In Xi’an residents shared videos of officials wearing white hazmat suits, spraying disinfectant into the streets, and burning8 virus in the air using flamethrowers9. One resident posted a video on January 10th, 2022,
“喷火器喷死奥密克戎！#陕西 #西安 #Xian #疫情 #COVID19 #Omicron #封城 #韭菜”
Google Translation: “The flamethrower blasted Omichron!”
Speaking to Chinese residents through an encrypted internet platform, many confirmed these realities, stating that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) uses fire to “sanitize the air” from COVID-19. Many residents believe the flamethrowers are pure red theatre, scare tactics, ensuring people remain in fear, adhering to the CCP’s coronavirus restrictions. Fewer, agreed that the coronavirus was a serious threat throughout China, citing the fire as a necessary measure to stamp out active COVID-19 virus from public areas.
In viral videos posted online a Xi’an woman was denied access to a hospital, unable to provide proof of negative COVID-19 testing. As a result, she ended up having a miscarriage10 on the street in front of the hospital, crying in disbelief to the inhumane treatments of the Xi’an citizens. Many similar stories emerged of lives lost, as a result of being denied access to public hospitals simply for being unable to provide a negative coronavirus test.
What started as seventy-seven confirmed cases in Tianjin, has led to the partial quarantining and forced COVID-19 testing of fourteen million people11. The positive cases were confirmed to be Omicron, the South African variant currently spreading around the world. That number increased to 137 confirmed cases12 as of Wednesday January 12th, 2022. As authorities move to contain the spread of the virus, most cases of the COVID-19 infection have consolidated in Jinnan13, a southern district in Tianjin. Reported by the SCMP, the virus may have originated from a flight back from Poland. The first two individuals known to become infected in Tianjin with Omicron was a 35-year-old man and a 17-year-old student flying back from Warsaw, Poland.
Zhang Ying, deputy director of the Tianjin CDC, confided in China Central Television (CCTV) stating “We cannot directly rule out that the virus is imported directly, because the spread of virus is not only through humans, but it can be spread via objects or environmental [contamination]. We are still investigating other possibilities for the virus to be imported to Tianjin directly,” Zhang said.
“There is another option – would it be possible that it is not imported but came from other areas [in the country] and spread to Tianjin? We are tracing this simultaneously and we have found some clues already.”
Among the patients, three people had a single dose of a vaccine, 76 had received two doses, and 20 had received booster concoctions. Two towns inside the Jinnan district remain fully locked down, closely monitoring each case, testing each resident until zero COVID-19 cases are achieved.
Despite the China’s Zero-COVID Policy goal in time for the 2022 Winter Olympic Games on February 4th, 2022, partial quarantine restrictions set in place for Tianjin. That did not stop two students who had allegedly tested negative, from traveling to Dalian by overnight train, where they tested positive for the Omicron variant after their arrival14. This brings into question to the efficacy of the COVID-19 tests, being forcibly administered upon the Chinese population. So far, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has issued hundreds COVID-19 testing device recalls throughout America15. The two students from Tianjin, and their close contacts have been forced into quarantine, while over six million Dalian citizens16 are advised by the CCP to remain indoors, confined to their homes, in addition to ceasing local operations.
With February 4th quickly approaching Beijing announced the impracticality for staging coronavirus lockdowns, stating the option was “off the table”17. As coronavirus containment throughout China continues, many fear that the totalitarian tactics are not enough to prevent the highly contagious variant from finding its way to become to only uninvited guest [COVID-19] to bombard its way into Beijing’s 2022 Winter Olympics. The National Hockey League (NHL), released an official statement18 in December 2021 that the NHL would be avoiding the 2022 Winter Olympic Games, noting the cause as the coronavirus and it’s highly contagious variants.
“The National Hockey League respects and admires the desire of NHL players to represent their countries and participate in a ‘best on best’ tournament,” NHL Commmissioner Gary Bettman said in a statement. “Accordingly, we have waited as long as possible to make this decision while exploring every available option to enable our players to participate in the 2022 Winter Olympic Games.”
Bettman added, “Current circumstances have made it impossible for us to proceed despite everyone’s best efforts. We look forward to Olympic participation in 2026.”
“Certainly, the players and hockey fans are quite disappointed,” NHLPA executive director Don Fehr stated in response to the decision. “But playing a full 82-game season this year, something the pandemic has prevented us from doing since the 2018-19 season, is very important. We expect that NHL players will return to the Olympics in 2026.”
While China aims to create a peaceful illusion of Chinese society as the world watches, more awareness is being brought to the atrocities happening throughout China with each nearing day. COVID-19 restrictions have already gone into effect for the Olympic Event. Attendees, athletes, journalists, media, and officials will be required to:
- provide two negative PCR tests before traveling
- be tested twice each day while in China.
International civilians have been banned from the event, in fear of bringing COVID-19 along with them. As Beijing remains active with COVID-19, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) warns Winter Olympic goers to continue to stay alert. The Olympic Truce remains in effect during this time, preventing athletes’ participation in the event from determining their political stance on the situations19.
While remaining alert may be easier said than done, China has begun changing the name of its Chinese Transit signs from a combination of Chinese and English, to only Chinese and Pinyin [phonetic Chinese] Examples posted on Chinese Social Media show examples such as Airports and Stations. “Tian’gongyuan Zhan”, “Binhaiguojijichang”, and “Weigongcun Zhan” now replace “Tian’gongyuan Terminal”, “Binhai International Airport”, and “Weigongcun Station.”
These measures hope to further distance China from modern westernization. However, Chinese citizens question the purpose of the change, as they can already read the Chinese versions. This will deter tourists from navigating the country as if they were a local. While this may sound extreme and anti-American, comparing to the majority of American cities, one can see many similarities. While cities similar to New York City have catered their transit and MTA advertisements to all languages, smaller cities take the position of using only English, the main language spoken in America.
American company, and international corporation Intel publicly announced their determination to halt the human rights abuses currently happening in Xinjiang. The company released a letter, featuring an official statement citing they would be no longer producing any products in the autonomous region using laogai (forced labor).
On December 21st, 2021 Intel released a letter20 stating:
“Intel is required to ensure our supply chain does not use any labor or source goods or services from the Xinjiang region”
Intel later apologized over popular Chinese social media platform Weibo, stating “Although our original intention was to ensure compliance with US laws, this letter has caused many questions and concerns among our cherished Chinese partners, which we deeply regret,”
These tragic effects from the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) may soon be felt across the world, as memory chip manufacturers South Korea’s Samsung and America’s Micron predict that Xi’an’s lockdown could impact the production of their memory chips, ultimately effecting the global supply chain. In addition, quarantining supply chain workers on ships, as well as the newly confirmed possibility to transmit the virus through imported products, raises many questions towards both the future of the American supply chain, as well as the fate of the rest of the world.
While many Chinese citizens fear speaking out against the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), the resistance is strong throughout China. Society is divided into many different classes, based on their compliance with the state. While in America, we often find ourselves taking our God-given right to dissent for granted, many choosing to [temporarily] give up their rights, at the hands of the state. Many Americans feel that the government will protect their civil rights as long as they abide by their local ordinances and follow political correctness. In New York City, many individuals choose to wear a mask outside simply to show their compliance with the state. While a government is important, and necessary, it shouldn’t be the totality of human existence.
At the end of the day, the right to speak up against tyranny, or the impedance of human rights, is what makes us human in the end. Following a political agenda, at the expense of the people brings America closer to becoming a one-party state. To many Chinese citizens, speaking up against authoritarianism is a disruption in the comfort of their everyday life. It is just easier to avoid discussing it. Even the sharing of messages on an encrypted platform were quickly deleted by the sender, after reading or downloading the documents provided, in fear of being tracked and discovered by the CCP. China’s citizens see the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) as a sincere threat to their lives, and the lives of their families. For this reason, they adhere to government policies, no matter the cost. Many times, that cost is their lives, and the lives of those they love. Beyond the darkness of the CCP, there was a sense of pride not unlike the patriotism in America. To many, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is itself a virus, infecting their homeland, smearing cultural traditions, and impacting every aspect of Chinese life. For a large majority of China, they find it easier to ignore the political defects and just comply with the regime. Others hold silent resistance, longing for the free world known all too commonly to the American individual.
The U.S. Constitution provides citizens the right to speak against the government, something many Americans have relinquished, transferring that power to the state. As more citizens willingly contribute to the demise of free speech, many Americans wonder how long our Constitutional rights will be federally recognized before the United States falls into a totalitarian state. Is COVID-19 being used as a tool of control against the individual civilians who choose to stand against the state? Has COVID-19 become a pandemic of fear? Will America implement a similar Zero-COVID Policy, punishing all for a single coronavirus case? Are vaccine passports driving U.S. society to a similar destination? Will the pandemic hysteria ever end, or has COVID-19 become a permanent aspect of humanity?