China announces slow lifting of harsh Shanghai lockdown

Shanghai officials announced at a press conference on Sunday that they would begin lifting the month-long total lockdown of China’s largest city “in phases”, saying only certain businesses would be granted the right to operate and leaving open the possibility of a renewed mass house arrest order at any time.

The press conference followed reports over the weekend that Communist Party officials had begun pulling out some of the city’s notorious coronavirus quarantine centers because they couldn’t find enough people tested. positive for the Chinese coronavirus or exposed to the disease to populate them. The centers – which were reportedly kept in poor sanitary conditions and forcing people suspected, but not confirmed, of having the virus to stay in close quarters with confirmed cases – had caused global embarrassment and civil unrest at home .

Of particular concern was the practice of separating babies and young children from their parents; scenes of three or four babies thrown into a crib and toddlers left unattended outraged locals and generated enough pressure that Communist Party officials reluctantly announced exceptions to family separations in April.

Shanghai Deputy Mayor Chen Tong’s remarks on Sunday indicated that the Communist Party was announcing some reopenings out of concern for its economy. After destroying Hong Kong’s economy by illegally implementing communism, the Party now relies heavily on Shanghai as a global investment hub and has seen investors flee en masse in the face of the unpredictable and poorly explained lockdown.

“Shanghai is set to restart commercial and service operations in phases from Monday, with shopping malls, supermarkets, pharmacies, wet markets, catering and hairdressing services to resume offline operations from orderly manner,” Chen said, according to the official newspaper. world times. “The resumption of business and commercial activities will be carried out in phases on the principle of orderly opening, limited flow, effective control and classified management.”

the Time noted that the communist regime still strictly limits which businesses can operate anyone seeking a license will need to “provide business licenses, negative nucleic acid test and antigen test results and other application documents . They must also take regular nucleic acid tests after resuming activities.

The onerous requirements likely mean that smaller businesses more vulnerable to extreme economic damage from shutdowns won’t have the resources to operate anytime soon.

Officials at the press conference warned that the gradual opening promised by the Communist Party does not mean a return to normalcy anytime soon. They insisted, according to the South China Morning Post, that Shanghai would not return to “normal virus control” until June 1, despite the pronounced drop in officially documented coronavirus cases that made the announcement of a gradual reopening possible. the morning shift pointed out that officials said they would “remain vigilant to prevent any rebound in new cases”, suggesting that they could suspend or cancel the announced slow reopening at any time.

The Hong Kong-based newspaper also noted that Shanghai does not appear to be preparing for a return of public transport or allowing private cars to use the roads at short notice, meaning “employees cannot return to the office for work. “.

The Shanghai lockdown appears to have caused marked conflict within the Communist Party itself. the world timesa spokesperson for the Party, had asserted that the authorities would not lock down Shanghai altogether because it was simply too important economically for the country and the people who lived there were too rich and powerful.

“It is no exaggeration to say that if Shanghai were placed under strict management and city-wide lockdown, the results would ripple into a significant negative impact on the entire Chinese economy as well as some aspects of the global economy”. world times proclaimed in an article published in March.

Shortly after the article appeared, dictator Xi Jinping appeared to personally intervene to impose a total lockdown and punish officials who resisted him. Xi sent senior Politburo official Sun Chunlan to the city in early April to rebuke local officials and ensure the implementation of a total lockdown and mass house arrest of citizens.

Workers in protective gear disinfect a pile of garbage bags on Thursday, April 21, 2022 in Shanghai. (AP Photo/Nico de Rouge)

“Chinese Vice Premier Sun Chunlan, after visiting quarantine centers, makeshift hospitals, nucleic acid testing centers and communities, urged the city to take a stricter attitude,” the official said. world times reported at the time, “deeper measures and quicker actions, to accelerate construction of makeshift hospitals, expand isolation places and strictly follow guidelines in order to defeat COVID-19.”

In early May, Xi held a meeting of senior Communist Party officials to personally reprimand his underlings on “the importance of unwaveringly adhering to zero-COVID momentum.” [Chinese coronavirus] policy and resolutely fighting against any attempt to distort, question or reject China’s anti-COVID policy [Chinese coronavirus] Politics.”

While China has long faced questions about the accuracy of the government’s coronavirus case tallies, even the number of cases documented by the Party does not seem enough to merit full containment to many international observers.

Top of the list last week was World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who called China’s lockdown policy “unsustainable” in response to a question from the press. Reuters news agency last week.

The Communist Party responded by censoring his comments on Weibo, the government-controlled social media outlet, and even banning the posting of pictures of Tedros’ face. the world times condemned Tedros as “irresponsible” and “uninformed” for his remarks.

Follow Frances Martel on Facebook and Twitter.


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