Several European countries, including France, have reintroduced covid tests at borders as the number of cases in the country rises. Although the statistics of the number of cases and deaths provided by the Chinese government do not seem convincing, the situation remains very dark.
The number of people infected with Covid is increasing in China. Three weeks after abandoning the zero-Covid policy, the situation appears to be spiraling out of control, although no one can say for sure how much Chinese statistics have lost all credibility.
For example, on Friday, December 24, the Ministry of Health announced 5,000 new Covid cases and one death across the country. In addition, at the same time local authorities published their information. For example, Qingdao, a city of 10 million people, reported 500,000 new cases a day. Zhejiang province is pushing the figure of one million new cases per day for its population of 60 million. An independent Hong Kong news site, based on leaked government data, puts the figure at 250 million Chinese, or 18% of the population, currently infected. Sinologist Marie Holzman believes that “the whole of China is in panic” today.
How many deaths are there?
It is also impossible to estimate the number of dead. Official statistics show a total of around 5,000 deaths since the start of the pandemic three years ago, not including the current outbreak. Although the entire international press has been publishing news about the sinking of crematoria in recent days. We have seen images of endless queues in front of these funeral places. Agence France Presse estimates that China’s current death toll is three or four times higher than normal, based on surveys of these crematoria.
The British epidemiology company “Air Infinity” has increased the daily death toll in China to 11,000. Therefore, we are light years away from official statistics. Statistics that the Chinese have refused to publish since December 25.
The end of the zero covid policy as an accelerator?
So the question that may arise is: are these disastrous results due to the abandonment of the zero covid policy? These results coincide with the rejection of this policy. We cannot conclude that at the beginning of the explosion there is only an end to harsh imprisonment.
What happened is that in mid-November, there was an increase in the number of infections, especially in Guangzhou and Beijing. Logically, the authorities had to impose strict arrests, that is, they had to lock tens of millions of people in their homes and put the entire population to trials almost every day. And force positive cases or contact cases to imprison them in horrible detention centers. In short, the Chinese authorities, faced with this epidemic in November, should have done what they have been doing for 3 years. Moreover, suddenly it became impossible because the population no longer accepted it.
Something we didn’t think was possible happened in China. A movement of anger that scared the communist authorities. It all started with a fire. On November 24, a fire broke out in a residential building in the city of Urumqi, Xinjiang province, where there is a majority of Muslims. Residents could not leave their homes because their doors were hung from the outside when there was a case of covid in the family. The results were 10 people were burned alive and the information caused the Chinese to revolt.
Later, demonstrations began across the country. The first of this importance since the Tiananmen student movement 34 years ago. For the first time, we heard slogans hostile to the all-powerful Xi Jinping and his power to withdraw after a few days. December 7 was the end of the zero Covid policy. It was a relief for the Chinese, who couldn’t take it any longer, but it was also, we now understand, a leap into the unknown.