The Shanghai lockdown may be the most serious crisis facing Xi Jinping – El Financiero

Pets are beaten to death, parents are forced to separate from their children, the elderly are unable to access health care, and residents are locked up chanting “We want to eat” and “We want freedom” This is how Shanghai lives in lockdown to prevent COVID-19 infection.

As much of the world turns away from the pandemic, the desperate scenes leaking out of China’s largest cosmopolitan city shocked even citizens who were once staunch supporters of The COVID Zero strategy laid out by President Xi Jinping to eradicate the virus.

The struggle to obtain daily necessities such as food and medical care in Shanghai has led to a rare population decline, and Some say the cure for the Communist Party is worse than disease.

In this country, it is not the virus that scares us, but the chaotic measures to combat COVID Lili Chen, who lives in Shanghai with her three cats, said: “Now I realize that We can only trust ourselves, not the governmentTo protect our families.”

Regina Lee, a Shanghai resident, said she had long supported the government and advocated the strict measures at the start of the lockdown, which began in parts of the city on March 28 before spreading almost everywhere. But The pervasive hardships of the weak began to change his mindThey broke down in tears after seeing social media posts of an anti-virus worker beating a dog to death.

“I feel like I don’t know the city anymore,” he told me. “The only thing on my mind is to protect my dogs. Whoever wants to kill them should come and kill me first.”

The mounting pain risks becoming one of Xi’s biggest challengespossibly since taking office in 2012, comes just months before he is expected to win an unprecedented third term at the two-decade party convention. The COVID outbreak has brought a virtual halt to one of China’s most developed and distinguished citieswith the closure of businesses and factories owned by companies such as Tesla Inc.

Although the Communist Party is still firmly in control, Rare popular criticism undermines Xi’s ability to promote his COVID-19 strategy As evidence of China’s superior governance model, as a major justification for his stay in power. China’s Foreign Ministry regularly criticized the United States and Europe for allowing a large number of deaths, while saying that Xi’s policy was “impeccable”.

Bigger rejection of Shanghai residents too It can inspire other cities to resist the lockdown and other strict measures China is using to fight the virus. The northeastern province of Jilin, a hub for automobile manufacturing and agriculture, has also been closed for nearly a month, prompting residents to complain on social media about running out of food, cancer medicine and baby formula.

The situation may continue to deteriorate in other parts of the country. The outbreak in China exceeds a level not seen since February 2020when a one-day fix in the way cases push daily infections past 15,000, most of them in Wuhan.

“There is a risk of slow discontent if the lockdown measures spread across China,” said Chen Shih-min, associate professor of political science at National Taiwan University. “And If the virus strategy gets out of hand and significantly affects your economyIt won’t look good when Xi tries a third term. At this point, the president will have no choice but to ramp up his nationalist agenda.”

draw our swords

The Communist Party is upset. On Wednesday he made a rare call Appeal to grassroots members to help contain coronavirus in ShanghaiWhere the daily cases rose to more than 19,900 cases.

“We must dare to untie our swords and fight all kinds of behavior that interfere and undermine the overall anti-epidemic situation,” the Supreme Party branch in Shanghai wrote to members in an open letter. urge them toTake the initiative to speak out against all kinds of noise, especially rumors to clarify right and wrongand join a powerful force to overcome difficulties together.”

Shanghai officials are also rushing to reassure residents that they can access essential supplies in a city that houses the world’s second-largest economic banks and stock exchange. Lockdown and virus containment measures Threaten to slow China’s growth This year it falls short of the government’s target of 5.5 percent, according to Bloomberg Economics.

Deputy Mayor Chen Tong on Thursday pledged to open wholesale marketsand fulfillment centers, e-commerce warehouses and central kitchens to alleviate supply shortages of products such as infant formula. At the same briefing, Meituan Mao Fang said the food delivery company will bring in 1,000 sorting workers from outside the city to speed up deliveries.

Officials have increased attendance in recent days. Some residents started receiving food parcels from the government Which includes eggs, milk, vegetables and cold meats. In certain places, closed people gathered together to sing patriotic songs such as “My Homeland and I” from their balconies and chanted “Shanghai, keep fighting.”

The letter from the Shanghai Communist Party Committee appealed to the patriotic spirit on Wednesday. “Today we are, The Communists in Shanghai, we must continue the founding spirit of the party And let the party banner fly high on the front lines of the fight against the epidemic.

However, this was met with disdain from some Internet users.

Where is the party flag? Where is your strength and your vanguard? Weibo user Ah Dai Is Speechless wrote. We see nothing but chaos, disorder and discrimination.”

The government tried to control the riotss Bloomberg News He noted last week that videos of a rare protest in a gated apartment complex It has been removed from a social media platform by tech giant Tencent Holdings Ltd.. Other incidents that went viral on Chinese social media platforms are still available on places like Twitter and YouTube.

Capture one in particular An old man said that Shanghai residents are practically imprisoned.

“It’s really embarrassing, treating us like animals,” the man said in the clip. “In other countries, you can’t even treat a cat or dog that way. There is no humanity left.”

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