As residents of Shanghai continue to starve under their government’s pandemic protocols, China’s top health official praised Xi Jinping’s leadership and reaffirmed the nation’s commitment to its zero-COVID policy, according to a Chinese government report on Monday.
Despite food shortages, protests and even looting now plaguing the city of almost 29 million, Ma Xiaowei, minister of China’s National Health Commission, lauded Xi’s personal management of the ongoing pandemic and commended the dictator for providing solutions which addressed both ideological and practical concerns related to combatting COVID-19, according to the government report.
“We must boldly unite our thoughts and actions, recommit to the implementation of prevention and control provisions, reinforce our defensive line against the epidemic, and raise ever higher our capabilities,” Ma wrote. “We must fight as hard as we can, and take the strictest, most thorough and resolute measures.”
Ma’s report appears amid ongoing lockdowns, following a widespread Omicron outbreak in Shanghai in March, which some experts, such as Gordon G. Chang, believe potentially jeopardizes Xi’s re-election for an unprecedented third term at the 20th Party Congress later this year.
But for a few select districts, the entire city has been locked down since April 5. With few options, residents confined to their quarters have reportedly taken to shouting out their windows in frustration, with some citizens even openly expressing a loss of faith in the government, according to multiple reports.
The ongoing lockdown has also resulted in the documented slayings of stray pets by health care workers. Many of the animals killed were deliberately released by owners prior to entering quarantine, according to a report from CNN.
Framing the potential pandemic responses as a binary choice between “virus coexistence” and “zero-COVID,” Ma’s report called for a rededication to the nation’s lockdown strategy, as well as the leadership of the Central Committee, Xi, and Socialism With Chinese Characteristics.
The report also made sure to underscore how all of China’s alleged accomplishments had been achieved despite extreme adversity, highlighting the nation’s large population, “unbalanced regional development,” and insufficient medical resources.
In light of the determination that the virus is still continuing to mutate, Ma’s report signals that the government does not intend to preemptively lift lockdowns on the residents of Shanghai until the outbreak is ended.
“We are far from being able to breathe a sigh of relief and take a break,” the report stated.
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