Forget Taiwan or Xinjiang, China’s Xi Jinping warns of ‘zero tolerance’ challenging his crippling policies

The Russian invasion of Ukraine raised concerns in Taiwan about a possible Chinese attack on the island. Beijing’s rhetoric on “reunification” has led to a frantic effort by the beleaguered island to seek help from the United States and other democratic allies.

China has consistently warned the United States to stay away from Taiwan and refrain from providing any diplomatic or military support to the “renegade province” that could boost the morale of secessionist forces in Taiwan.

China has also been consistent in firmly refuting all allegations regarding its alleged atrocities against Uyghurs in Xinjiang province.

Recently, the Chinese Embassy in Britain issued a strong statement against a BBC report accusing Beijing of being the site of re-education centers, forced labor and the destruction of Uyghur culture. China has often dismissed these accusations from the West as propaganda aimed at slandering it.

China’s record of censorship and rejection of criticism has been the subject of talk for years, becoming even more exaggerated under Xi Jinping’s leadership.

He has always pushed for a “One China” policy and opposed all accusations regarding his civil liberty record while controlling dissident areas like Tibet, Hong Kong and Xinjiang with a fistful of iron.

File Image: Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping

China’s new warnings

However, this time, China’s rebuttal and warning are not directed at Xinjiang supporters or Taiwan sympathizers; instead, the warning was issued to his people.

Such severe and regular shutdowns in China stoke public discontent and deal a crippling blow to its economy; President Xi Jinping has issued his starkest warning to anyone who doubts the country’s zero Covid policy which has come under the scanner for its strict rules and callous handling.

The ruling Communist Party’s Politburo Supreme Standing Committee pledged on May 5 to “unrelentingly adhere to the general policy of ‘dynamic zero-Covid’ and resolutely fight against all words and deeds that distort, doubt or deny our country’s epidemic prevention policies,” at a meeting chaired by Xi, CNN reported.

It is the first time since public outcry over Shanghai’s draconian lockdown that Xi, who gave an “important speech” at the summit, has spoken publicly about China’s fight against Covid.

“Our prevention and control strategy is determined by the nature and mission of the party, our policies can stand the test of history, and our measures are scientific and effective,” the seven-member committee said, according to the report. official Xinhua news agency.

“We have won the battle to defend Wuhan, and we will definitely be able to win the battle to defend Shanghai,” he said.

Xi Jinping
File Image: Xi-Jinping

After the outbreak of the coronavirus in the Wuhan district of Hubei province, a similar lockdown was imposed in Shanghai. Coming under a scathing attack from the Western-led international community for downplaying the spread of the virus, China had imposed a similar saying on its people. However, it was not as overt as this time.

Xi Jinping against Covid criticism

According to scholars who have followed Chinese politics for a long time, the stern warning indicates that there has been internal opposition to Xi’s zero-Covid policy within the party.

“This language should be read as direct criticism of unspecified local CCP leaders who have questioned the center’s policies or failed to implement them,” wrote David Bandurski, co-director of the China Media Project.

“And it’s hard not to hear in that sentence the condemnation of the ‘self-righteousness’ of the Shanghai leadership in particular,” Bandurski added.

Many Shanghai residents have taken to social media over the past five weeks to ask for help and express their frustrations over severe food shortages and lack of access to medical care.

Some people shouted and banged pots and pans on their windows, while others fought with police and health workers in the streets, an unusual sight in a country where dissent is often suppressed.

Social media was flooded with videos of Shanghai. Residents are infuriated by the government’s extreme strategy, which includes food shortages, strict quarantines and arbitrary laws.

An official in a hazmat suit is seen bludgeoning a corgi dog to death in the street in a particularly disturbing video verified by AFP. According to a state-run Shanghai news agency, the local neighborhood committee confirmed the culling of the creature because they were ‘afraid of being infected’, but admitted the action was ‘reckless’, according to an agency. Shanghai Public Press.

The video had gone viral despite strict Chinese censorship.

There have also been videos of residents locked down shouting “we want food” and “we want freedom”. Citizens are seen marching to their balconies to protest the shortage of supplies in a video.

“Control your soul is desperate for freedom. Don’t open the window and sing,” a disgruntled citizen is heard saying in a video uploaded.

The Chinese government is doubling down on its approach of relying on rapid lockdowns, mass testing and quarantine to crush the highly transmissible variant of Omicron for the foreseeable future, which becomes even clearer with the latest statement from high authorities. from the country.

The stern and ruthless warning from China’s top leadership is also significant, as President Xi Jinping is set to win a record third term as General Secretary of the Communist Party of China on the 20and Congress scheduled for later this year.