As the international community gradually eases restrictions on the epidemic and the Winter Olympics are over, Chinese authorities have recently announced that they may change their “zero” policy to bring it in line with the international community. Observers say that the “zero” policy has reached a dead end, and that the Chinese Communist Party cannot hold out any longer and is forced to consider ending the “zero” policy.
On Feb. 15, Renmin University’s Chongyang Institute of Finance held an expert forum on how to act in the wake of the epidemic, with organizers claiming to have begun working on “new ideas” for Beijing authorities.
Wu Zunyou, chief epidemiologist at the CDC, said in his speech that Beijing faces a choice of whether to change its “zero” policy as countries in Europe and the United States liberalize their epidemic prevention restrictions. If it continues, private enterprises and individual households will face enormous pressure to survive, making the zero policy unsustainable; but if it is completely liberalized, “the initial prediction is that many people will become infected and die.
Wu Zunyou admitted that China’s private enterprises and individual households are facing enormous pressure, including survival pressure, “the people a year, two years to be able to adhere to, continue to be really difficult to maintain.
He also acknowledged that the epidemic will naturally fall back even if no preventive and control measures are taken. He cited India as an example. India reached a peak in April and May last year, but did not take any special preventive measures and the epidemic soon fell back, “in fact, it is a natural fall back”.
Wu Zunyou revealed that in the context of the imminent global opening, the Chinese authorities are also considering changing the “clearing” to align with the international community, and the most likely way is to consider a compromise.
He said several teams in China are working on measures that are different from both the “dynamic zero” and the European and American countries that do not do anything to prevent and control the disease, that is, to control the epidemic and at the same time be in line with the international community, but “it has not been worked out” yet.
Analysis: The Chinese Communist Party is forced to change its zero policy
The Chinese government has been forced to change its policy of zeroing out the epidemic, but there is no way to prevent the spread of the virus, so it has to respond to the environment, said Han Shanbi, a member of the Hong Kong Arts Development Council and chairman of the Literature Subcommittee.
Europe has begun to lift restrictions on the epidemic one after another, and the United Kingdom has legally lifted all restrictions on the epidemic since Feb. 24, while the United States and Canada are increasingly calling for the lifting of restrictions.
International experts generally agree that the virus will not go away, but if enough people become immune through infection and vaccination, then the virus may persist like influenza but is generally manageable, especially since Omicron is highly contagious but has a low lethality rate, reinforcing the confidence of countries around the world in easing restrictions.
However, experts predict that China will be at great risk once global restrictions are relaxed: on the one hand, the “zero” policy leaves most Chinese people never exposed to the virus and therefore lacking immunity; on the other hand, the effectiveness of the Chinese vaccine, which is widely used in China, is difficult to guarantee.
In addition, Alexander Kekulé, a leading German virologist, has warned of the huge economic and social costs of the CCP’s “zero” policy.
Japanese commentator Zheng Jie told the Epoch Times that the CCP’s “zero” policy has reached a dead end, with recent reports of cases in Shenyang, Beijing, Shenzhen and other places where the path of infection is unknown, and Hong Kong’s medical system has collapsed. It is impossible to prevent the virus, and the full nucleic acid testing has been exposed not for the protection of the public, but for the huge economic interests behind it.
In an interview with the Epoch Times last year, Dr. Haiying Huai, vice president of a U.S. biotechnology company, said that the Chinese Communist Party’s “zero” and mass nucleic acid testing policies are behind a trillion yuan (about a trillion dollars) business, and that the Chinese Communist Party does not care about the lives of the people or their economic losses.
In fact, even Wu Zunyou, an expert in the Chinese Communist Party system, admits that from the scientific point of view of controlling the spread of infectious diseases and epidemics, full-scale testing is really unnecessary.
According to Zheng Jie, in the context of global openness and international experts’ rejection of the CCP’s “zeroing out” policy, the CCP may be looking for a way to save face and change its original policy, while the pressure of economic development is forcing the CCP to find a way out.
The city of Wuhan, Hubei Province, is not a solution to prevent the epidemic by closing down the city forever,” Da Tao (a pseudonym) told the Epoch Times. The problem can’t be solved without leaving home, and there is no way we can get rid of it once and for all by clearing it.”
According to Dai Tao, international experts and Western society’s advocacy of “living with the virus and improving our immunity” is more realistic. He said, “Experts tell us that the virus will persist in various variants, so we need to boost our immunity and live with the virus.”
Beijing may not end “zeroing out” immediately
Hanshan Bi believes that the Beijing government will not immediately change its current epidemic prevention policy, but it may make some preparations, “If the official media reports such statements, it means that the official attitude is starting to relax, I think maybe after the two sessions in March.”
However, senior commentator Shi Shan believes that Beijing may not end the “zeroing in” until after the 20th Communist Party Congress this fall.
By tying the apparently unsustainable “zeroing out” policy to its political goals, the CCP has effectively put itself in a huge bind, but in the end it will have to give up on “zeroing out,” Shih told the Epoch Times. But it may not be announced until after the 20th National Congress, nearly a year after the announcement is made, and that is enough time to cause significant damage to the Chinese economy.