Connect with us

China and Covid19

China’s Bubble Operation Olympics: What is the “Closed Loop Management System”?

Beijing 2022 is all about being ‘together’ but Covid-19 safety and prevention measures will keep athletes in their own Olympic bubble.

Published

on

Olympic venue in Yanqing District, image via Xinhuanet.

Participants of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics will be required to stay within their own bubble.

The term “closed-loop management” (闭环管理) or “closed-loop system” made headlines this month after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and Beijing organizers released a joint statement on COVID-19 measures during the Winter Olympics and Paralympics in China in February and March of 2022.

Although a more detailed ‘playbook’ will be released later in October (and another one in December), the latest announcement clarifies that there will be strict COVID-19 countermeasures for Beijing 2022, where a ‘biosecure bubble’ will be established for all participants.

For one, spectators from outside of mainland China will not be allowed to attend. Chinese residents can purchase tickets for the Olympics as long as they follow the protocols, which will be further specified later on.

Although full vaccination is strongly encouraged, it is not a precondition to participation for athletes. Those who are not fully vaccinated, however, will have to undergo a 21-day quarantine upon arrival. All participants will be subjected to daily COVID-19 testing.

Fully vaccinated athletes and Games participants will enter the so-called closed-loop management system upon arrival.

This basically means that starting from two weeks before the Opening Ceremony, all participants – from athletes to official delegations and accredited media – will be strictly confined to designated areas.

The closed-loop management system

The closed-loop management system for the Olympics means that all participants will only be allowed to move between Games-related venues for their training, catering, accommodation, etc. They will do so through a dedicated Games transport system.

This also means that participants definitely will not be allowed to leave their designated areas – no dumplings in the hutongs and no beers at Bar Street!

For many Chinese residents, such a closed-loop management system is not new. After the initial lockdown phase in the early days of the COVID-19 outbreak in China, the ‘Covid-19 closed-loop management’ (新冠疫情闭环管理) has been applied to various areas when there were new local cases of COVID-19.

In early August of 2021, for example, there was a closed-loop management system for residential areas in Zhengzhou after local COVID-19 cases. In late August this year, residential areas in Songjiang district in Shanghai were also closed off in the same way. The same measures were implemented in the city of Xiamen in September of 2021 after 13 new cases of COVID-19 were detected in the region.

The most important thing the closed-loop approach does is creating a barrier between an ‘inside’ community and the ‘outside’ world, with very strict checks on who can enter and exit the area, and usually a ban on group gatherings within the area.

Residents sometimes get an access card to enter/exit the district, but any outsiders, including couriers and delivery staff, are not allowed inside the closed surroundings.

The closed-loop measure is not the same as a lockdown (“封城”) like the one in Wuhan. The main goal is of the closed-loop ‘bubble’ approach is to limit and reduce the flow of people and their movements within an area in order to cut off the source of infection as soon as possible.

In previous bubble areas, residents would also get a “red” code in their health app, which is required at digital check-ins to assess people’s COVID-19 risk status. Those with a red code will not be allowed access and are required to return home.

The ‘bubble operation’ for the Winter Olympics will start on January 23, 2022, and will be implemented until the end of the Winter Paralympic Games. The secure Olympic environment does not just protect Games participants from getting COVID-19 through an outside source, it also prevents possible COVID-19 cases from spreading beyond the Olympic area and limits the risks of infections within the Games bubble.

The Winter Olympics 2022 will take place in Beijing central, Yanqing District, and in Zhangjiakou in Hebei.

On social media site Weibo, the hashtag “Beijing Winter Olympic Games Will Implement Closed-loop Management” (#北京冬奥会将实施闭环管理#) received 15 million views and thousands of comments, with many supporting the strict measures – arguing that Chinese locals also need to be protected from foreigners who come from countries where preventive, protective or containment Covid-19 measures are not actively implemented.

The hashtag also triggered some anti-American sentiments, with some netizens suggesting that American athletes should be quarantined for a longer time, or should even stay in their own separate U.S. Olympic bubble. But those kinds of sentiments do not resonate with the official slogan of Beijing 2022, which stresses the idea of standing side by side: “Together for a shared future.”

By Manya Koetse

Spotted a mistake or want to add something? Please let us know in comments below or email us. First-time commenters, please be patient – we will have to manually approve your comment before it appears.

©2021 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

Manya Koetse is the editor-in-chief of www.whatsonweibo.com. She is a writer and consultant (Sinologist, MPhil) on social trends in China, with a focus on social media and digital developments, popular culture, and gender issues. Contact at manya@whatsonweibo.com, or follow on Twitter.

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

China and Covid19

Searching for Yue: Contact Tracing Information Exposes Sad Story Behind One Beijing Covid Case

Because Yue tested positive for Covid19, the entire country came to know the recent whereabouts of “the hardest-working man of China.”

Published

on

While being quarantined due to Covid19, he is going viral on Chinese social media. “The hardest-working Chinese man in contact tracing” has touched the hearts of many netizens, leading to public questions about the disappearance of his son – a story without a happy ending.

On January 18, one person tested positive for Covid19 in Chaoyang District, Beijing. That person, who was asymptomatic, was one of the three reported cases of Covid19 detected in the Chinese capital on Tuesday.

The patient’s contact tracing records showed that from January 1st of this year to January 18, in a time frame of 18 days, he went to many districts in Beijing and worked odd jobs all around the clock at more than twenty different construction sites throughout the city. This earned him the title of “the hardest-working Chinese man in contact tracing” (“流调中最辛苦的中国人”).

Yue went all around the city working odd jobs all around the clock.

In China News Weekly (中国新闻周刊), reporter Chao Xiang (赵翔) interviewed the Chaoyang Covid patient and provided more information about him. That article, titled “A Conversation with the ‘Hardest-Working Chinese in Contact Tracing Records'” (“对话”流调中最辛苦的中国人””) soon went viral on Chinese social media. (Pekingnology did a full translation on the article here).

Who is this hard-working and industrious man? It is the 44-year-old Mr. Yue, a migrant worker from Shandong’s Weihai who rents a tiny room in Shigezhuang for 700 yuan ($110) per month. Just as he was about to start his train journey from Beijing South Station to go home to his wife and youngest son in Weihai, anti-epidemic workers alerted him that he had tested positive for Covid19 and got him off the train.

While was immediately quarantined at a designated hospital in Beijing, his recent movements and personal story soon became a major item of discussion on WeChat and Weibo after a press conference and media release detailed his recent whereabouts (#北京朝阳无症状感染者轨迹公布#).

Although Yue formerly worked as a sailor, he is now a manual laborer in construction in Beijing. He started working in the city in search of his eldest son, who went missing at the age of 19 and who previously worked as a kitchen helper in Beijing.

Yue Yuetong (岳跃仝)

Yue’s son, Yue Yuetong (岳跃仝), allegedly complained about a stomach ache when he was working at a food factory in Rongcheng, Weihai, in the summer of 2020. He was supposed to take a bus home, but he never got on that bus and never returned home again. Besides Beijing and Rongcheng, Mr. Yue went to a least ten other cities looking for his son, always believing that he could not have gone very far and that it was possible to find him.

Authorities allegedly were not very helpful in setting up a thorough search for the then 19-year-old. Yue told China News Weekly that it took weeks before the family could officially register Yue Yuetong as a missing person. Mr. Yue also claimed that the police did not trace his phone records and video surveillance in the initial days after he went missing due to privacy reasons.

Yue tells China News Weekly (translation by Pekingnology):

I also asked in the hospital morgues. On October 12th, 2021, they [not clear who] saw me were petitioning, and told me that a corpse was of my eldest son, and asked me to go to Rongcheng Second Hospital to identify the corpse. I saw that man, whose face was hard to see but fat and round. My son is 1.74 meters tall, thin, and has a long face. I don’t think that was my son. I asked to test the bones of the body, but they weren’t willing to do that. They initially said the test would be done at Weihai Public Security Bureau which would take dozens of days. Later, it was said that the forensic doctor was on a business trip. After half a month, they/he [unclear] called me and said don’t bother them/him anymore.

My wife couldn’t stop crying when she heard that our eldest son was dead. I don’t believe that corpse was my son.

When this dead body was first discovered, I asked the police station, and they said it was not my eldest son. As soon as I began petitioning, they said it was my eldest son in order to close the case.”

All the money Yue earns has gone towards the search for his son and towards his parents who suffer from multiple health problems. The medicine and medical costs for his bedridden paralyzed father and for his mother, who recently broke her arm, are not covered by insurance and Yue does all he can to cover these for them. His wife makes a meager income and his youngest son, who is only 12, is attending junior high school.

Despite his tough life, Yue told China News Weekly he does not feel sorry for himself.

There are multiple reasons why Yue’s story struck a chord with Chinese netizens. One of the reasons is that although his story stands out, he is not the only one facing such difficulties in China today. In that regard, the responses to Yue’s story bear some resemblance to the reactions dominating social media after the publications of the essay by Fan Yusu, a female migrant worker living in Beijing.

Her story about her life and struggles with work, marriage and family became a viral hit in 2017 (read more here). At the time, commenters wrote “We are all Fan Yusu,” suggesting that Fan’s account was just one voice among thousands of migrant workers dealing with similar problems and struggles.

“Yue is not the only hard-working Chinese person,” one commenter wrote, with another person writing: “I might work even more than him.”

Numerous netizens said Yue’s story made them tear up due to his dignity and resilience, something that many people admire him for – especially at a time of Covid19.

There were also many who hoped that Yue, who received so much attention over his peculiar contact tracing records, could use his sudden, unexpected fame to his advantage to get the help of the public and police to finally find his son. The calls to conduct a massive search for Yue’s son also came with criticism for how the case was apparently handled by authorities back in 2020 and 2021.

The hashtag “Yue Yuetong Come Home” (#岳跃仝请回家#) soon went trending on Chinese social media, together with the hashtag “The Internet Helps Searching for Yue Yuetong” (#全网帮忙寻找岳跃仝#).

The missing person flyer for Yue Yuetong from 2020.

Meanwhile, the police in Rongcheng responded to the public’s questions and comments on January 20th, saying they would re-investigate to “understand” the case.

On January 21st, Weihai authorities issued a statement regarding the story. The statement explains that the Rongcheng City Public Security Bureau was notified on the evening of August 12 of 2020 by Li, Yue’s wife, that her son had gone missing earlier that day after he left work.

The police claim that their team investigated the case and tracked Yue Yuetong’s last known movements and retrieved surveillance details. After their search efforts did not result in any leads, they classified Yuetong as a missing person.

On August 26 of 2020, two weeks after Yue Yueyong went missing, the Rongcheng authorities learned of a deceased person and found a man’s body. After his DNA was compared to the DNA from Yuetong’s parents, the authorities confirmed that the remains belonged to Yue Yuetong. They also said there were no suspicious circumstances surrounding his death.

According to the statement, Yue Yuetong’s parents refused to believe that the deceased man was their son. Despite repeated attempts made by the local police to communicate to the family that their ongoing requests to find their missing son were in vain, the family did not want to accept the facts. The remains have been transferred to a funeral home.

One Weibo commenter wrote: “So to summarize this, they already knew their son was dead around ten days after he went missing, but they could not accept it and traveled the entire country to look for him…I’m speechless. What a tragedy.”

“So, their son was actually already gone two years ago.. but they couldn’t identify him because he’d bee in the water and the parents did not want to believe it despite the DNA results. They kept searching for two year. How sad!”

Other people criticized the police for not apologizing to the family about the circumstances surrounding the investigation into their son’s disappearance, and also express their hope that Mr. Yue can receive psychological help at the Beijing hospital where he is still being treated for Covid.

Ironically, it was his bad luck of catching Covid19 and his remarkable contact tracing records that triggered the public’s interest and finally put an end to the long and costly search for his son.

Despite the official statement, there are still lingering questions left unanswered. Why did the police allow Mr. Yue and his wife to continue searching for their son for so long if they already knew he was dead? Why was Mr. Yue so convinced that the body that was found was not his son? How and why did Yue Yuetong die? Many of these questions might never be answered. One thing that the majority of those discussing this topic agree on is that they wish Mr. Yue a speedy recovery, hoping that he will be able to find some peace of mind after struggling for so long.

By Manya Koetse, with contributions by Miranda Barnes

Spotted a mistake or want to add something? Please let us know in comments below or email us. First-time commenters, please be patient – we will have to manually approve your comment before it appears.

©2022 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

Continue Reading

China and Covid19

Tianjin Students Find All Their Belongings Thrown Out After Dorm Turns Into Covid19 Quarantine Site

Published

on

Tianjin students expressed anger and disbelief online after their school dormitories became local Covid19 quarantine sites and their belonging were tossed out.

Since earlier this month, Tianjin has been fighting a Covid outbreak. On January 9, the city of 14 million residents started citywide nucleic acid testing after twenty people tested positive for Covid19, including at least two Omicron infections. The city, facing the country’s first Omicron outbreak, then entered a partial lockdown.

In the January 8-January 16 period, Tianjin registered a total of 294 new cases, with an additional 18 cases being reported on Monday.

One of the important measures in China’s battle against Covid19 is the preventive quarantine in centralized locations of nearby or close contacts of Covid19 cases. In Tianjin, these ‘close contacts’ are mainly located in Jinnan district, where 94 percent of the city’s reported cases were detected. The city has numerous quarantine locations scattered throughout the city.

Recently, students of various schools in Tianjin, including the Tianjin College of the University of Science & Technology Beijing (北京科技大学天津学院) and the Pearl River College at the Tianjin University of Finance and Economics (天津财经大学珠江学院), were notified that their dorm buildings would temporarily be used as local quarantine sites. The two schools are located very near to each other in Jingjin New Town, located in Baodi District, approximately 45 km from Tianjin.

Although many students said that they were fine with their dorms being used as quarantine sites while they were away – the winter school holiday ends on February 21st -, they were shocked and furious to discover their belongings were thrown out in trash bags.

Videos and photos of staff emptying out the dorm rooms and throwing personal belongings out of the windows triggered controversy on social media on January 18: “For what reason was our stuff dealt with this way? Is this what they meant when they promised us they would keep our belongings safe?”

“It’s not unreasonable for the dorms to be used in this way in times of epidemic,” one commenter wrote: “But at the very minimum there should be a basic understanding that students’ personal belonging can’t just be thrown away?!”

“What kind of university can’t even keep its students’ property safe?” others wondered, with one female student writing: “We support our dorms being used as quarantine locations, but why do you completely disregard our property, our personal rights, our right to know, etc.? If you had properly taken care of our belongings, we wouldn’t even have said anything! We already lowered our bottom line! We’ve already made concessions from the moment you pried open our locks! Look at your staff, they’re playing dumb. You haven’t even given us a rational explanation.”

Another angry student writes: “When people asked me where I studied, I already felt reluctant to say [Pearl River College at the Tianjin University of Finance and Economics], and I’d just tell them I study in Baodi District. Now I definitely don’t want to tell people where I study anymore. Pearl River College, you are heartless!”

On Weibo, students complain that their clothes, shoes, makeup, computers, and other property have allegedly been taken away and thrown outside in bags by the people preparing the dorm location. At the time of writing, it is still unclear where the students’ belongings currently are and whether or not the school will compensate those affected for the items that might be damaged or lost.

Many others on social media also sympathize with the students, saying the epidemic cannot be used as an excuse for staff to treat personal belongings in such a disrespectful way.

Update January 19:

The Pearl River College has issued an apology to its students on January 19, suggesting that the process of emptying and cleaning the premises needed to be done in a hurry, leading to students’ belongings not being handled as they should have been handled.

Many students expressed that they did not appreciate the apology: “What’s the point of this apology? What about the things we spent our money on? You need to be realistic and give compensation.”

Meanwhile, the Tianjin College of the University of Science & Technology still has not responded to the online commotion. Some students do not seem to care about an apology: “I just want to know where my things are.”

By Manya Koetse

Spotted a mistake or want to add something? Please let us know in comments below or email us. First-time commenters, please be patient – we will have to manually approve your comment before it appears.

©2021 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement

Support What’s on Weibo

If you enjoy What’s on Weibo and support the way we report the latest trends in China, you could consider becoming a What's on Weibo patron:
Donate

Facebook

Advertisement

Contribute

Got any tips? Or want to become a contributor or intern at What's on Weibo? Email us as at info@whatsonweibo.com.

Popular Reads