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Friday, February 3, 2023

China masses take Covid fight into own hands as Xi sits back

World NewsChina masses take Covid fight into own hands as Xi sits back

After that he stopped restraining himself China has suddenly taken over the world. Under the strictest of Covid restrictions, 31-year-old Shier Zhou and her daughter found themselves with a 40C (104F) fever and an expired bottle of Motrin.

“I didn’t think it would be so difficult to get drugs,” he said from the southern city of Guangzhou, recalling how he expected the government to charge and provide the drug during his illness last month. was After being overwhelmed in hospitals, she turned to social media instead — and found an app on WeChat that facilitates donations to those in need.

About an hour after he explained his situation, a stranger offered two free Covid-19 test kits. Thirty minutes later, a woman who had just recovered from Covid told him she could send two ibuprofen tablets.

Read this also ‘3 members of 1 family die in 5 days’: Activist as China sees rise in Covid deaths

“It’s the first time I’ve really felt the warmth of people helping each other,” Scheer said. “I will teach my child to do the same.”

For the 1.4 billion Chinese citizens whose movement has been ordered by the government since the pandemic began, the past six weeks have suddenly forced them to figure out how to survive on their own. President Xi Jinping told the public at the start of 2023 to “make an extra effort to contain” the wave of the virus, and state media urged people to “take primary responsibility for their own health.”

On Wednesday, ahead of the Lunar New Year, Xi acknowledged that the current outbreak was “severe” while noting that “the morning is still ahead.” He urged local officials to improve medical care and protect people’s health, especially in rural areas.

Read on There are three reasons why India will not see a Covid wave like China.

But for many on the ground who have faced Covid without help, those calls have rang hollow. Traumatic experiences threaten to erode the social contract that undermines the legitimacy of the Communist Party: accepting one-party rule in exchange for competent governance that keeps people safe and improves their lives. Instead, citizens are now gaining real-world experience in effectively living without a party.

“Desperate citizens feel they’ve made a 180-degree turn from the heavily patrolled zero-Covid society to fending for themselves in the viral jungle,” said Diana Fu, associate professor of political science at the University of Toronto. “It has become clear that while serving the people, the party is not serving the people.”

Chaos initially followed China’s dramatic U-turn on Covid-19, which came quickly after anti-lockdown protests. People rushed to get medicine, hospitals were filled with infected patients, and cemeteries were filled with corpses. The government itself issued national guidance on quarantine and treatment, and some local authorities gave medication to the elderly. But officials have failed to provide greater clarity on Covid data or mobilize national resources to ease the shortage.

As authorities have dragged their feet on an effective Covid response, grassroots groups and companies have played a prominent role. They have initiated initiatives to coordinate the supply of medicines, provide health advice, provide data on the health care situation and even reach out to the often neglected rural areas.

The WeChat app for donating medicine had several million visits and more than 800,000 posts shortly after its launch on December 19. The Campaign to Bring Down Fever in Villages, an online initiative to collect donated ibuprofen, said it has sent medication to about 13,000 elderly residents. 110 villages till December 29 when family members signed them up through Weibo Post. NCP Relief, a grassroots group founded during the initial Wuhan outbreak, provides data on hospital bed availability in major cities including Beijing and Shanghai.

‘very bad sight’

“The government was very present in the zero-Covid phase — now that people are getting infected, it’s not helping,” said Hanzhong Liu, an assistant professor at Pitzer College who specializes in Chinese politics. “It’s a very bad look. I don’t think this incident has done the government any favors in terms of public support.

After cases spiked in some parts of the country, the state has recently moved to more proactively address resource shortages, with two clinics in each village funded by Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. Oximeters and providing an oxygen concentrator to each town hospital. . The government on Monday vowed to set up a dedicated channel to “improve allocation of financial funds” and speed up government procurement of Covid and medical supplies.

Xi Jinping’s first decade has made China a paradox of confidence and anxiety.

The recovery of civil society has come despite earlier crackdowns by XI, who had long feared that grassroots organizations could become rogue and begin pressuring the government for political demands. Shortly after taking power in 2013, Xi denounced civil society as a threat to Western democracy and media freedom, as well as the party state.

The wave of grassroots action is reminiscent of the early Covid outbreak in Wuhan, when the state joined the public in providing medical resources and funding. This time, however, local authorities are moving forward as the government takes a step back, according to Bertram Lang, a research associate in political science at Goethe University Frankfurt.

“That kind of spontaneity is definitely worth noting,” he said. “From a government perspective, spontaneity is inherently dangerous.”

The state media has prominently featured stories of ordinary people helping each other. The People’s Daily, the Communist Party’s official mouthpiece, published a report of a man in eastern Shandong province delivering drugs to more than 1,000 people on his official Twitter-style Weibo account, while Xinhua News Agency described the “heartbreaking forces,” ran a comment celebrating the. Mutual support and encouragement” with examples of tip sharing and redistribution of medicines.

But people don’t seem impressed. Under the People’s Daily Post, the top comment asked: “Shouldn’t you consider why citizens are helping each other?”

Jiang Guo, a student in Beijing, began volunteering for a grassroots organization dedicated to Covid relief efforts when the situation became dire. She calls hospitals in the capital to see if they have free beds, then feeds the information into an online spreadsheet maintained by the group.

Like many of her colleagues, she is questioning the government’s response – reflecting a wider loss of confidence in the Communist Party that could have consequences for years to come.

“It was very fast and very sudden,” Jiang Guo said of the sudden U-turn in Covid controls. “Which inevitably makes me think: Why didn’t the government just tell the public in advance to let us prepare first?”


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