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Chinese censors clean internet after official talks zero-Covid timeframe

Chinese censors clean internet after official talks zero-Covid timeframe

Chinese censors clean internet after official talks zero-Covid timeframe

Chinese censors clean internet after official talks zero-Covid timeframe. (credits: Google)

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  • Chinese censors delete comment by top Communist Party official published in state media.
  • Cai Qi said Beijing would “vigorously adopt Covid-19 pandemic control measures” for five years.
  • Remark triggered an online backlash; Beijing Daily called it an “editing error”.
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Chinese censors deleted what seems to be a deceptive comment by a top Communist Party official published in state media Monday in an effort to quell an online backlash.

Beijing Daily stated that the city’s party chairman, Cai Qi, announced Monday that “for the next five years, Beijing will vigorously adopt Covid-19 pandemic control measures and safeguard the ‘zero-Covid’ policy”

Cai’s remark to “the next five years” triggered an uproar on Chinese social media. Beijing Daily changed the line, calling it a “editing error,” but left his other pandemic remarks intact.

CNN studied Cai’s whole speech, and while Beijing Daily’s quote was deceptive, he did mention preserving zero-Covid policy in Beijing for the next five years.

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Cai said routine PCR tests, tough admission requirements, regular health checks in residential districts and public venues, and rigorous monitoring and testing for those entering and exiting Beijing would remain in place.

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“I have to rethink staying in Beijing long-term,” one Weibo user commented.
“What’s the point of being alive in five years?” asked another.

Weibo prohibited the hashtag “for five years.”

Xi doubled down on the zero-Covid policy in a meeting of the Communist Party’s Politburo Standing Committee in early May, instructing officials and all sectors of society to comply to the leadership’s “decisions and plans.”

In an online Brookings Institution event on June 16, US Ambassador to China Nicholas Burns said he expected China to preserve its zero-Covid policy until “the starting months of 2023.”

Beijing and Shanghai have been locked down for months due to China’s rigorous zero-Covid policy, affecting economic activity and the job market. In May, the 16-24 unemployment rate was 18.4%.

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China continues to shut down cities over a few Covid incidents. Government quarantines all positive cases and close contacts.

China’s quarantine policy for international arrivals is easing.

The National Health Commission announced Tuesday that international tourists arriving in China will be subject to seven days of centralised quarantine and three days of home monitoring, down from 14 days of centralised quarantine and seven days of home monitoring. The commission stated the new quarantine criteria will apply to close contacts of infected people.

Sunday, China reported 23 locally transmitted Covid-19 cases, with Beijing and Shanghai each recording four.

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