China doubles down on its zero-COVID policy ahead of party congress

The ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has doubled down on its leader Xi Jinping’s zero-COVID policy, with a key political communique ahead of the 20th party congress saying it must become “normalized.”
The final plenary session of the CCP Central Committee, which typically sets the tone for the party congress that follows, said the government had persevered with rolling lockdowns, mass testing and a health code app that controls people’s movements and successfully “normalized” the anti-COVID measures.
Meanwhile, the CCP’s official newspaper, the People’s Daily, ran two front page op-ed articles supporting zero-COVID.
“We can’t lie down on the job, because it’s impossible to win that way,” read the headline of one article on the front page on Wednesday, while an article dated Oct. 10 called for public patience with the measures, which have seen millions sealed into their homes, often without enough to eat or access to medical treatment, resulting in reports of deaths from suicide, starvation and untreated medical emergencies across the country.
The first article said governments around the country must “stick unswervingly to the zero-COVID policy, successfully normalize disease control and prevention measures, and never lose sight of the fundamental aim, which is to prevent large-scale outbreaks.”
“People on a 100-mile journey can’t stop after 95 miles and call it success,” the second article said. “In the fight against the pandemic, confidence is more precious than gold.”
“Some countries choose to lie down on the job, adopting the ‘living with COVID’ strategy,” it said. “This isn’t because they don’t want to control the pandemic, but because they are unable to.”
Chinese political commentator Wei Xin said the communique shows that Xi’s zero-COVID policy is now a main plank of the official party line.

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