China’s lockdown measures mobilising popular discontent

Beijing: China’s draconian lockdown measures, including the strictly implemented zero-COVID strategy, are increasingly mobilising people against the government, with experts suggesting that the recent excesses might lead to a more permanent alienation of the masses.

The escalating disruption of daily life from China’s zero covid” policy, promoted at the highest level, risks alienating a population that has come to rely on what some scholars describe as the Communist Party’s implicit contract with the public: The leadership supports the economy, allows people to get rich and stays out of everyday affairs in exchange for political quiescence, Washington Post reported.

The tacit agreement between us has been broken, a Shanghai-based Chinese journalist who spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of repercussions told Washington Post. Originally, you let me live a happy life, I wouldn’t do things against your interests, but that kind of trust no longer exists. I think that could be the most serious issue (caused by lockdown). While policymakers appear genuinely concerned about a possible “tsunami” of infections and deaths from the coronavirus spreading unchecked, the choice to stick with the current policy was also made because President Xi Jinping believes China reaching zero cases demonstrates the superiority of its governance over Western democracies, particularly the United States, the report said citing Lynette Ong, a professor of Chinese politics at the University of Toronto.

The Shanghai lockdown escalation was prompted by a meeting last week of the powerful Politburo Standing Committee of the Communist Party where Xi doubled down on the policy of total intolerance for coronavirus infections in the general population. The meeting concluded that anyone who doubts or denies the approach should be struggled against, the report said. Speculation has swirled about the political ramifications of public anger over lockdowns ahead of a leadership reshuffle in the fall when many of the party’s most senior officials are expected to be replaced.