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China and Covid19

Ordos Stresses Residents’ Right to Self-Defence within Context of Anti-Epidemic Measures

“In Ordos, no matter when, we will always insist on lives first, saving people first.”

Manya Koetse

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This week, Lanzhou’s failing emergency response system has been a major topic of discussion after the tragic death of a 3-year-old boy. Now, Ordos City has issued a noteworthy statement, promising residents to always safeguard their interests and reminding them of their legal rights to save and defend themselves in emergency situations.

There has been a noteworthy statement issued by an official WeChat account of Ordos in light of the recent death of a 3-year-old boy in Lanzhou after a late emergency response.

At a local Covid checkpoint, local anti-epidemic staff prevented the father from leaving the ‘high risk area’ with his unconscious son, causing significant delays in medical help for the young boy, who was later pronounced dead at the hospital.

Ordos (鄂爾多斯) is a prefecture-level city in Inner Mongolia with approximately 2,1 million inhabitants.

The city published the statement on November 3, when online discussions regarding the Lanzhou case were still ongoing and many expressed worries over people’s health and safety being in danger – especially in times of local lockdowns, stringent zero-Covid measures, and slow emergency response processes.

Here is a full translation of the statement:

“The law enforcement and judicial agencies of the city of Ordos will draw lessons from the problems in epidemic prevention processes that have recently been exposed in different areas across China. From start to end, we insist on putting the people in the first place (人民至上), putting life in the first place (生命至上), and we will resolutely coordinate our city’s epidemic control and protect the people’s lives and health, legitimate rights and interests, and we will take a step further in our unobstructed emergency system, will enhance our emergency response capacity, and we will earnestly defend the lives, property, and safety of people in quarantine.”

“Now we solemnly announce to all of our residents, farmers, and shepherds:”

In Ordos, no matter when, we will always insist on lives first, saving people first.”

In Ordos, if you encounter a special emergency during home isolation or centralized quarantine, please call 110 immediately. For non-emergencies, there is the 12345 hotline. For mental health crises, call the 96885 hotline. When isolated masses report something to the police, we will deal with it straight away to provide help and solve problems.”

“In Ordos, if you encounter a situation in which your personal safety is in danger, especially when it is a life-threatening emergency, you have the right to take measures to save yourself and necessity defense* according to the provisions of Article 21 of the Criminal Law of the People’s Republic of China, Article 182 of the Civil Code and other relevant laws. But please remember: in the case of self-rescue and necessity defence, do not damage the lives of others. After an incident, we will arrange for the relevant departments to review and judge the course of events, and we will provide necessary legal aid and deal with it according to the law.”

In Ordos, please be rest assured! We will do all we can to ensure your health safety and legitimate rights and interests!”

– Political and Legal Committee of the CPC Ordos Municipal Committee

(*Note: ‘Necessity’ – 紧急避险 in Chinese – may apply in the criminal law when an individual commits a criminal act during an emergency situation in order to prevent a greater harm from happening.)

The statement soon widely circulated on Chinese social media, where it was called a “people-oriented announcement” (#鄂尔多斯回应人性化通告#, #鄂尔多斯通告称无论何时生命至上#).

There were many people who applauded the notification. “Finally, I hear a voice with some humanity,” some Weibo users wrote, with others praising the local authorities for reminding people about their right to defend and save themselves.

Over the past year, there have been numerous examples of people in high-risk areas across China being unable to get emergency medical help due to strict Covid measures and fuzzy procedures.

There have been many screenshots, videos, and also recorded audio conversations circulating online, from Shanghai to Ruzhou and beyond. For example, in September, one young woman from Yili arrived at the hospital by ambulance with her ill grandfather, but found he could not be admitted due to new Health Commission orders. “He’s starting to vomit blood again,” one of the women could be heard crying out in an audio recording: “Don’t you care? There’s blood, he has difficulty breathing, what are you doing?! It doesn’t matter what the Health Commission says, what can we do?”

The authorities in Ordos reportedly purposely sent out this message in light of the problems that came up in other regions and provinces, reminding residents on what to do if they encounter problems assuring that they can trust the government.

“I strongly support Ordos,” some Weibo commenters wrote, praising their “assertive” and “legal” approach to informing residents about their rights.

Some netizens have started to look into the Ordos government, praising local Secretary Xing Zheng (邢征), who is Deputy Secretary of Ordos, as well as the Secretary of the Political and Legal Affairs Commission of Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, and Secretary of the Kangbashi District Committee.

The 44-year-old Xing has an MA Law degree from the University of Oxford University, and also holds a Master of Science degree from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE).

Among the people praising Xing Zheng after the Ordos announcement went viral is the lawyer Zhang Xinnian (张新年), who stated that more of these good officials are what the people really need and who applauded Xing and his colleagues for emphasizing what people’s legal rights are.

It’s not the first time Xing Zheng is receiving praise from Chinese netizens. Earlier this year, he turned speeches in a rap video as part of a local government campaign about livestreaming and rural revitalization (#鄂尔多斯市委副书记说唱致辞出圈#).

At the same time, there were also those who emphasized that protecting people’s lives and having a smooth emergency response is just a basic essential in modern-day society.

Ordos reported one new local Covid case on Thursday, with the city currently having a total of 44 people who tested positive for Covid. There was a minor peak of new Covid cases in late October, when the single maximum amount of new daily cases was 27.

By Manya Koetse , with contributions by Miranda Barnes

 

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

Manya Koetse is the founder and editor-in-chief of whatsonweibo.com. She is a writer, public speaker, and researcher (Sinologist, MPhil) on social trends, digital developments, and new media in an ever-changing China, with a focus on Chinese society, pop culture, and gender issues. She shares her love for hotpot on hotpotambassador.com. Contact at manya@whatsonweibo.com, or follow on Twitter.

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    bloxorz

    November 10, 2022 at 5:26 am

    This is my first visit to your blog, and I found a lot of useful information, especially in the comments section.

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China and Covid19

Chinese Commentator Hu Xijin Expects to “Get Covid Within a Month” (and Why It Matters)

This Hu Xijin commentary can be seen as part of a wider trend of normalizing Covid in the Chinese online media sphere.

Manya Koetse

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Hu Xijin (胡锡进), the Beijing-based retired editor-in-chief of the state-run Global Times, recently published a post on the Chinese social media platform Weibo about him getting mentally ready to be infected with Covid-19 soon.

The former journalist Hu, whose posts and statements often go trending and influence public opinion, also made a few other noteworthy comments.

On Sunday (Dec 4), Hu posted: “Over the past week, China has essentially ended widespread lockdowns, with places like Beijing and others beginning to allow home quarantine for many positive individuals, while reducing the scope of nucleic acid testing. These are amazing changes.”

Four weeks ago, right before China introduced its twenty new Covid measures, Hu already argued that strict lockdowns are no longer sustainable and that China should aim for a more relaxed and local approach (which is exactly what happened).

Now, Hu Xijin says that he is “mentally preparing to be infected with Covid within the coming month” (“做好了在一个月之内被感染上的思想准备”), further writing:

In order for young people to have a colorful young era, in order to save the livelihood of so many service industry workers, in order for people from all walks of life to avoid seeing their wages cut, in order for so many companies to get out of their predicaments, this 62-year-old ‘Old Hu’ is willing to participate in the risk of getting [a virus that] degenerated to only 2.5 per 10,000 rate of getting seriously ill.”

Hu’s post was published on December 2nd in the context of Hu Says, a regular video column by Hu Xijin.

A few months ago, such a comment coming from such a big account would have been unthinkable.

In May of this year, those who tested positive still complained about suffering from stigmatization in society.

But Hu’s comments come at a time when there are more discussions about getting Covid and sharing the experiences of having Covid.

In the second week of November, shortly after Chinese authorities launched their updated Covid rules, the hashtag “What Is It Like to Catch Covid-19?” (#感染新冠是什么体验#) already went trending on Weibo, along with other hashtags informing Chinese netizens about what it’s like to get Covid – a virus that so many in China never experienced first hand.

Since Hu Xijin (1960) ended his career as the editor-in-chief of Global Times in 2021, his role as a political commentator has arguably become even more important and more visible on Weibo than before, especially in China’s challenging Covid times of 2021.

Some find him overly nationalistic, for others he is not nationalistic enough; there are those who find him reasonable, and then some say he is repetitive and just dancing to the tune of Party propaganda. But then there have also been some discussions – in light of Pelosi’s controversial Taiwan visit – about Hu misleading public opinion by not matching the official stance.

Whichever it is, some things are certain: Hu has some 25 million followers on Weibo, and he is often the first major media account that is allowed to discuss in detail some major sensitive social topics, even if these online discussions are otherwise being tightly controlled (think of the Tangshan BBQ Restaurant incident, the future of zero Covid, the Urumqi fire, and the 11.24 protests across China.)

Hu’s comments about ‘catching Covid soon’ can be seen as part of a wider trend of normalizing Covid in the Chinese online media sphere, preparing people to face a virus they are still unfamiliar with since ‘zero Covid’ has always been the main goal.

On December 3, Hu further clarified his comments about preparing to getting Covid. He explained he expects to catch the virus because he is active in the media environment, through which he unavoidably is in touch with many different people. He also promised that if he might get infected, he would share his Covid experience with all of his readers.

As the idea of catching Covid is becoming more normalized (there are more and more trending hashtags informing what to expect after getting Covid, e.g. #新冠发病7天内身体会发生什么变化#), people are also exchanging non-scientifical advice on how to prevent catching Covid, such as drinking licorice ginger soup, holding Sichuan peppercorns inside your mouth when going out, or getting silicon covers for the drains in the bathroom to prevent the virus coming through via neighboring apartments.

Some express their worries about catching the virus. “I’m really scared. I’ve already replaced all of my masks with K95 ones,” one Weibo user wrote: “My immune system has been weak since I was little, and I have allergies. I have the feeling that if I get infected I might lose half my life, if I don’t die (..) I’m in a state of panic.”

Even though China is still far from ‘opening up’, some people are already preparing to ‘live together with the virus,’ reminding others that getting vaccinated, keeping social distance, and washing hands are all measures that will help in preventing getting Covid.

“I am worried about getting Covid but I also want to open up,” some on Weibo said.

“As much as I wanted it all to end, this feels abrupt,” one social media user from Inner Mongolia wrote: “It won’t be the same as before. The thorough ‘zero Covid’ [policy] has gone. The country’s protection of our health has gone up to this point. I hope everyone can now take care in prevention themselves, and protect themselves and their families. I hope the epidemic situation will end soon, that the world will be ok, and that we can have our freedom.”

Meanwhile, Hu Xijin informed netizens on Saturday that he had some milk, boiled eggs, pastry and pickled mustard greens for breakfast. While working on his condition and nutrition, he says that if his Covid positive time comes, he will not get any VIP treatment. If allowed, he’ll either recover from home or go to a centralized Covid location.

He will just have to wait and see what happens, just as millions of other Chinese citizens are waiting to see what this winter is going to bring.

By Manya Koetse , with contributions by Miranda Barnes

The featured images are all images that went viral recently in light of China opening up (including nucleic acid testing booths being taken away).

 

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China and Covid19

Announced Changes in Nucleic Acid Testing and Further Easing of Covid Measures Across China

Bus and subway operators in Beijing will no longer refuse entry to passengers without a 48-hour negative nucleic acid certificate.

Manya Koetse

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On Monday, directly after that noteworthy unrest-filled weekend, the hashtag “Multiple Locations Announce Nucleic Acid Testing Changes” (#多地核酸检测通知发生变化#) went trending on Chinese social media, receiving over 660 million clicks by Monday evening.

Immediately following demonstrations in Beijing and a second night of protests in Shanghai and elsewhere, various Chinese media reported how different areas across the country are introducing changes to their current Covid19 testing measures.

On Wednesday, November 30, China’s vice-premier Sun Chunlan made remarks at a meeting on epidemic prevention, underlining the importance of “constantly optimizing” China’s Covid-19 response and talking about a “new stage and mission” – without ever mentioning “zero Covid.”

This is what we know about easing Covid measures thus far:

▶ Strict lockdowns have been lifted in Guangzhou, Zhengzhou, and Chongqing.

▶ On November 28, Guangzhou announced that people who do not actively participate in social life will no longer need to participate in continuous nucleic acid screening. This includes elderly people who stay indoors for long periods of time, students who take online classes, and those who work from home. The change will apply to residents in seven districts, including Haizhu, Panyu, Tianhe, and Baiyun (#广州7区无社会面活动者可不参加全员核酸#).

▶ Guangzhou, according to Reuters, also scrapped a rule that only people with a negative COVID test can buy fever medication over the counter.

Harbin will follow the example of Guangzhou, and will also allow people who are mostly based at home to skip nucleic acid test screenings.

▶ Same goes for Shenyang, and Taiyuan.

▶ In Chongqing, various districts have done widespread Covid testing campaigns, but the local authorities announced that those communities that have not had a positive Covid case over the past five days do not need to participate in nucleic acid screening anymore. This means an end to district-wide testing.

▶ On November 30, Beijing also announced that it will start exempting some people from frequent Covid testing, including those elderly residents who are bound to home and other people who do not go out and have social interactions. This also includes younger students who are following classes online.

▶ Starting from December 5, bus and subway operators in Beijing will no longer refuse entry to passengers without a 48-hour negative nucleic acid certificate (announced on December 2nd).

▶ Although not officially announced, there have been various social media posts and reports about Covid-positive people in Beijing being allowed to quarantine at home if they meet conditions.

Chengdu Metro announced on December 2nd that it will no longer check passengers’ nucleic acid test reports. Passengers still need to scan their travel code and those with a green code can enter. Other public places will reportedly also start to accept the ‘green code’ only without a time limit on nucleic acid testing.

Tianjin metro announced that the 72-hour nucleic acid certificate check will be also be canceled for passengers on the Tianjin metro lines. As in other places, people will still need to wear proper face masks and undergo temperature checks.

▶ In Hangzhou, except for at special places such as nursing homes, orphanages, primary and secondary schools, people’s nucleic acid tests will no longer be checked in public transportation and other public places. They will also stop checking people’s Venue Codes (场所码).

By Manya Koetse , with contributions by Miranda Barnes

 

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

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