He would have convinced the Chinese president to bring forward the reopening, after the popular protests at the end of November. The economy was at risk. Appeasing the young was politically less problematic than sacrificing the elderly, more vulnerable to contagion. Doubts remain about the official figures referring to deaths and infections.
Beijing () – The incoming Prime Minister, Li Qiang, would have orchestrated the end of Xi Jinping’s draconian policy to contain the Covid. An investigation published today by Reuters cites several official sources familiar with the dossier.
Appointed number two to the Communist Party of China Politburo Standing Committee at the October Congress, Li accelerated plans to lift health restrictions ahead of schedule when widespread popular protests broke out across the country in late November.
Originally, the government’s plans contemplated a gradual easing of the restrictive measures until December, to reach a normal situation in March. Li was in charge of the Party’s task force to combat Covid and would have overcome Xi’s initial opposition to bring forward the reopening, despite the suggestion of the National Health Commission to first improve vaccination levels of the older population. .
In the final decision, not only popular pressure weighed, but also the verification that the zero Covid policy was leading the national economy to one of the worst performances in the last 50 years. Added to this, local authorities could no longer apply containment measures such as lockdowns and mass diagnostic tests because they lacked the necessary funds. Official data shows that last year the Beijing municipality alone spent 4.4 billion dollars on prevention and health control measures.
Infections continue to rise anyway, but the communist government has seen pacifying dissent as more politically advantageous than allowing the virus to spread. Simply put, the regime culled the elderly, the most vulnerable to the virus.
On February 16, Xi declared the “decisive victory” against Covid-19. To date there are no official data on deaths since the reopening on December 7. The Reuters investigation shows that in the autumn the authorities would have cut the actual number of infections by 50%. To get an idea of what happened, there are still images of the queues of people in front of the crematoriums, of the hospitals full of patients and of the pharmacies without medicines.