China won’t lift strict COVID measures after protests, expert says

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MOSCOW, November 28 – RIA Novosti. China will not lift strict measures against coronavirus even after the protests, the authorities will continue to adhere to the policy of “zero tolerance”, Vladimir Nezhdanov, an expert at the Institute of Contemporary International Problems (IAMP) of the Diplomatic Academy of the Russian Foreign Ministry, told RIA Novosti.
Despite the fact that anti-epidemiological control in China remains one of the most stringent in the world, the country is again experiencing a deterioration in the epidemiological situation due to numerous local outbreaks of COVID-19. Partial lockdowns have been introduced in a number of cities, and people are forced to undergo PCR testing daily. Against this background, a wave of protests swept through China, including in Shanghai and Beijing. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said that the statement about widespread dissatisfaction with the policy of zero tolerance for COVID-19 in China is not true.

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“The policy of” zero tolerance “has both pluses and minuses. For 1 billion 300 million people, 35 thousand cases (COVID infections – ed.) are considered record numbers, but in any European country or in Russia they would say that these are almost ideal indicators On the other hand, we see that, despite vaccination, collective immunity to new strains is developed worse,” Nezhdanov said.
“So far, there are no signs of Beijing‘s readiness to move away from the policy of” zero tolerance “. After all, even during the 20th Congress of the CPC, they said that this is a successful policy. Most likely, we will not see sharp policy easing, but there will be attempts to level the situation through statements and negotiations with companies to achieving social justice,” the expert added.
According to Nezhdanov, the reason for the mass protests was society’s fatigue from lockdowns and the aggravation of social problems amid the pandemic. An example of this is the protests of workers at Foxconn’s Zhengzhou plant.

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“The workers started protesting because they were told that they would receive bonuses later than promised. The protest itself should not be seen as a protest against the state and the system. It is directed against the management of the plant, which was not ready to support the existing demand for social justice in society “, – said the expert.
At the same time, in his opinion, the reasons for the emergence of mass protests in Hong Kong and mainland China are different.
“The protests in Hong Kong are connected with the demand for democratization, with the fear of full integration into the PRC. In Hong Kong, a whole generation has watched the freedoms that existed during the transition period gradually curtail. Residents of the metropolis would like to continue to enjoy the opportunities that the city has received since 1997 when Hong Kong returned to China. As for mainland China, here we see protests related to the accumulation of social tension,” Nejdanov concluded.

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Translation by RJ983

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