While that could be a contributing factor, I believe that the end of the zero-COVID policy was not as abrupt as people thought. This policy was doomed to fail from the beginning, and the CCP had no other recourse but to abandon the policy when it failed to contain the virus.
Sudden U-Turn Not Totally Unexpected
Since the pandemic broke out in late 2019, the CCP has spent countless millions and used up countless resources covering up the COVID situation, destroying evidence, building makeshift hospitals, requiring the use of health code apps to control people’s movements, and mandating immunizations with domestic vaccines. By imposing such pandemic prevention and control measures, the CCP took “controlling citizens” to the next level. The regime also wiped out relevant COVID data and evidence to show the “effectiveness” of its zero-COVID policy.
The zero-COVID policy came at a hefty price. Da Bai (Big White or White Guards) workers in full-body protective gear were hired to carry out the policy. “With more and more incidents of violence, citizens are now calling the big whites ‘white guards,’” reported Quartz in an April 2022 article titled “‘Big whites:’ A nickname reflects Beijing’s efforts to sugar-coat its pandemic powers.” In one case, a worker in white protective gear was seen beating a corgi to death with a spade after its owner was taken away for quarantine, while another video showed a group of white-clad workers using anti-riot catch poles to surround a man and force him to wear a mask, reported the article. Like the Red Guards who recklessly beat people during the Cultural Revolution, these White Guards, backed up by the totalitarian CCP regime, have committed countless dirty deeds during the past three years.
Despite the draconian measures, the CCP failed to contain the virus. Cases had already started to surge in the Chaoyang District of Beijing as early as October 2022 and then expanded to many places, including Shandong, Guangxi, and other provinces.
Since the CCP had exhausted all its resources and could no longer contain the soaring cases, it had to abandon its zero-COVID policy on December 7, 2022. While many saw this as an abrupt U-turn, the end of the policy was not totally unexpected, given the failure of the policy to contain the virus.
Although 400 million people have died so far in China during the three-year pandemic, the CCP still shamelessly celebrated its “success in defeating the virus.” The CCP even urged its people to get infected as soon as possible to order to achieve herd immunity.
Ding Liang, a public health expert in the United States, told VOA (Voice of America) at the end of last December that it seemed that Beijing “wants those who will be infected to get infected sooner and those who will die to disappear sooner. This way, the peak will arrive earlier and things can get back to ‘normal’ earlier.”
“Dynamic Zero-COVID” Just a Tactic to Fool People
The CCP boasted its “dynamic zero-COVID” policy was an effective way to stamp out the virus and would cost less than locking down the entire country. The “dynamic” part of the policy aimed to quickly find and control local outbreaks so as to avoid affecting other regions.
That policy, however, often prompted local officials to take extreme measures to track, test, and quarantine their residents since their job performances were often tied to how well they “controlled” the virus (based on their reported infections and deaths). Instead of working to improve public health, officials only cared about their own political careers. In their attempts to stamp out the virus, officials often locked down everything without warning, disrupting people’s lives and tanking the economy. Positive cases and deaths were often underreported and covered up so that the officials would be seen as doing a “great job” at controlling the pandemic.
There have also been reports that local officials were instructed by higher-ups to cover up cases in order to create a false impression that the zero-COVID policy was effective at controlling the virus.
As all levels of the government were busy playing the numbers game, those who lost their lives to COVID were categorized as non-COVID deaths, leading many to think that the pandemic had been under control. They may even have become de-sensitized to or thankful for the CCP’s zero-COVID policy because of its “effectiveness.”
That was not a new tactic for the CCP. The CCP vowed to eradicate Falun Gong in three months after it started the persecution of the practice in July 1999. When that didn’t happen, the CCP launched numerous other campaigns, including the zero-out campaign that started before the pandemic, in order to force every Falun Gong practitioner on the government’s blacklist to renounce their faith. The zero-COVID policy was just another campaign that the CCP launched to control people under the guise of fighting COVID.
The CCP claimed that its three-year-long zero-COVID policy had kept the infections and deaths extremely low and that the cases surged only after the policy was lifted. The reality is that the real COVID situation has been covered up since it all began three years ago.
Pandemic Prevention Aims to Prevent People from Knowing the Truth
The CCP’s pandemic measures were actually to prevent the public and other countries from knowing the true situation about the pandemic. To that end, the CCP “managed” the numbers to hide the truth. For example, when questioned by other countries, the CCP adjusted the total COVID deaths on April 17, 2020, from 2,579 to 3,869 (an increase of exactly 50.0%). But the soaring number of urns and cremation statistics put the number of deaths at about 45,500 in Wuhan (the capital of Hubei Province) alone. Data released by the Ministry of Industry and Information also showed that the three leading cell phone carriers (China Mobile, China Unicom, and China Telecom) lost a total of 21 million cell phone users between January and February 2020.
“What broke my heart further was a picture sent to me by a doctor friend,” commented writer Fang Fang in Wuhan on February 13, 2022. “On the floor inside the crematorium, there are cell phones dumped everywhere—their owners, already burned to ashes, had abandoned them forever.”
Because the CCP had exhausted its resources, the economy ground to a halt and the infections and deaths continued to rise. The Party’s only choice was to abandon its zero-COVID policy.
Rejecting the CCP
Truth about the COVID situation as reported by writer Fang and others was often quickly blocked or silenced. Chinese citizens and Western media were continually fed the CCP’s “alternative version” of reality.
From the heartbreaking Great Famine to the devastating Cultural Revolution, from the Tiananmen Square Massacre to the suppression of Falun Gong, from forced organ harvesting to the three-year COVID drama, the CCP’s goal has remained the same—to control its people at all costs to maintain its rule.
It is true that the Red Guards are history, the White Guards have been dismantled, and many ordinary citizens are now fed up with the “dynamic” lies the CCP feeds them. Still, they may not know exactly how many COVID deaths were not included in the official tally.
The CCP claims it is always right. When it imposed its zero-COVID policy, it depicted the virus as a deadly disease. When it abandoned the policy, it claimed the disease was mild as a common cold. To secure a better future for ourselves, we should reject the CCP and not be taken in by its lies.