China leading citizens to jump from balconies in quest to achieve 'COVID Zero'

Steven Mosher
April 11, 2022
Reproduced with Permission
Population Research Institute

For over two weeks the financial capital of China, Shanghai, has been locked down tight. Some 26 million people languish in their apartments, staring at their now-empty refrigerators, unable to set foot outside to forage for food for fear of arrest and incarceration.

Foreigners are in the same predicament, as one complained on Twitter :

Day 16 of our COVID lockdown in Shanghai today and food is the key thing on people's minds. We aren't allowed to leave home so delivery is the only way. I was up at 6 am yesterday trying to get any kind of delivery but nothing was available all day. So far, same results today.

Yet the homebound are the lucky ones.

The unlucky ones are those who test positive for COVID each day, like the 17,077 Shanghainese who did on Wednesday. Symptomatic or not - and nine out of 10 show no signs of illness - they are hauled off to hastily erected quarantine camps.

The Shanghai lockdown, the largest since the first Wuhan lockdown two years ago, is China's latest attempt to achieve COVID Zero. An army of health care workers, some 38,000 in all, have been sent to Shanghai , with instructions to completely stamp out the coronavirus within the city. They are frantically testing and retesting everyone.

Like China's previous efforts to contain the highly infectious Omicron variant, this one too is doomed to fail, although not before extracting an enormous cost. The dimensions of human suffering comes through in some of the videos posted by the suffering residents.

No one, not even small children, is exempted from the quarantine rule. Hundreds of infants and toddlers have been separated from their parents after testing positive.

As these stories suggest, China has unleashed yet another COVID Horror Show on its population. But why?

Virtually every person on the planet now recognizes that they are simply going to have to live with the coronavirus from now on, in the same way that we have learned to live with the seasonal flu. Even countries that clung to China's mass containment model well into 2021, such as Australia, New Zealand and Germany, are now abandoning it.

Yet the Chinese Communist Party continues to pursue the impossible dream of COVID Zero.

Now, you might say that no political organization likes to admit it was wrong. In fact, when asked recently why China refused to recognize that COVID was now endemic, a top official of the National Health Commission simply said , "If we stop all containment measures now, it means all the previous efforts are for nothing."

But at an even deeper level, I see the Chinese Communist Party's insistence on lockdowns as an expression of its drive for total control.

I am reminded of the CCP official who, in 1980, at the very beginning of the one-child policy, confidently proclaimed: "We are a socialist country. We can control reproduction in the same way we control production: under a state plan."

Now Xi Jinping's attitude seems to be: "We are a socialist country. We can control the replication of a virus in the same way we control production: under a state plan."

I doubt it.