Two sources indicate that Beijing plans to continue its “Zero-COVID” policy and not switch to the coexistence approach at least until after the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) holds its 20th National Congress later this year. The “Zero-COVID” policy has created mounting humanitarian crises in China, especially during the ongoing Shanghai lockdown.
Joerg Wuttke, President of the E.U. Chamber of Commerce in China, said during an interview with the Swiss, German-language daily newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung (NZZ), “(I)n closed meetings – especially in ministries that deal with the economy and businesses – I meet very well-informed and open-minded top politicians. They know what Zero Covid means for the economy. It’s just that they can’t use this knowledge to bring about policy change at the moment. Until the 20th Party Congress, which will take place later this year, they will stick to the Zero Covid policy. President Xi wants to be confirmed for a third term, so he cannot change his narrative this close to the finish line. The president has maneuvered himself into two dead ends at once: He can’t change his Covid policy, and he can’t change anything about his friendship with Vladimir Putin.”
A news commentator from Epoch Times stated that he had received the meeting minutes of an official COVID information meeting on April 25. The keynote speaker was Jiang Rongmeng, a member of the National Health Commission’s COVID Expert Group and Vice President of Beijing Ditan Hospital. Jiang is a real medical expert in the CCP inner cycle: he went to Wuhan during the lockdown, is an expert in the Beijing Emergency Management Bureau, and is one of the main authors of the “COVID Treatment Plan.”
Jiang listed five pre-conditions for China to change its Zero-COVID policy:
- Medicines need to be available, which won’t be ready within six months.
- 80 percent of the elderly are vaccinated, which is possible to achieve in six months.
- There are enough isolation beds, which is easy to do.
- There is enough ICU capacity [throughout China], which is unlikely to happen. China lags far behind the United States and Europe on this and it is impossible to catch up in a short term. It is easy to buy equipment but it takes 5 years to train an ICU doctor.
- Public opinion needs to be reset. Now people are scared of COVID and many will go to the hospital even if they have a low temperature when switching to the coexistence policy, which will deplete the hospital’s capacity.
These conditions indicates that Jiang does not think China is ready to change its COVID policy in the next six months due to its own situation.
Related postings on Chinascope:
- Government: Beijing Defends Its “Zero-COVID” Strategy
- Government: Beijing Criticized Shanghai Officials for Passively Resisting COVID Control
1. NZZ, April 30, 2022
2. Epoch Times, April 27, 2022