Chinese Protest the Same Lockdowns that Elites Advocated Here
If we’d taken health officials and media elites seriously, the entire free world would look like China does today.
Mainstream headlines are alight with stories about protests of unprecedented proportion that have erupted across China in response to Xi Jinping’s draconian Zero Covid lockdown policies. I post these with the caveat that, owing to both the unique restrictions on information from China and our media’s false pretense of hawkishness in order to retain the public’s trust, stories about protests and instability in China are perennially exaggerated.
That there have been protests against the Chinese Communist Party’s lockdowns is not surprising, however, given how horrendous those policies have been. Exaggeration aside, during China’s lockdowns, most residents haven’t been allowed outside their homes even to get food. Meal deliveries are frequently inadequate and rotten and medical care is often inaccessible. Covid health status apps are strictly enforced. Those who test positive for Covid are taken to sparse, overcrowded quarantine camps resembling prisons. Infants are separated from their parents. Pets are killed.
I post these, too, with the caveat that stories of the CCP’s Zero Covid policies are often exaggerated as well, owing to both the establishment’s pretense of hawkishness and the consistent media narrative that during the response to Covid, at least we didn’t have it as bad as those poor Chinese who had to experience a “real lockdown.”
Wow, that’s some bad stuff. It’s an open question why the CCP remains so obsessively dedicated to this policy of Zero Covid; theories range from bureaucratic inertia to “saving face,” to a test of loyalty for Party members, to keeping “the science” alive, to simply putting on a show to reassure international onlookers that the CCP really does believe in what it sold them and at least they don’t have it as bad as in China. It remains to be seen whether these protests will result in any real change in the country’s direction.
But in the meantime, it’s worth remembering who it was exactly who advocated these insane Zero Covid lockdown policies and urged us to emulate them: Our own media elites and health officials.
Here’s the New York Times touting the Chinese “version of freedom.”
Here’s the Washington Post wishing the US was more like China.
Here’s the New Yorker on the secrets to China’s “success.”
Here’s Salon whining about America’s failure to “learn” from China’s success.
Here’s CDC Director Rochelle Walensky on the incredible results China was able to “achieve” with their “really strict lockdowns.”
Here’s former CDC Director Robert Redfield on China’s “control of their outbreak.”
Here’s former CDC Director Tom Frieden on how China used lockdowns to “crush the curve.”
Here’s Anthony Fauci advising India to “learn from China” as late as 2021.
Here’s Bill Gates praising China’s “authoritarian response” and blaming America’s failure on “freedom.”
Here’s WHO Assistant Director-General Bruce Aylward rubber stamping the CCP’s lockdowns into global policy.
Here’s former Surgeon General Jerome Adams toeing the line.
Here’s Neil Ferguson on how China led the way.
Here’s Richard Horton, Editor-in-Chief of the once-esteemed medical journal the Lancet, touting China’s response.
Here’s Devi Sridhar urging the UK to copy China’s “early and hard lockdown.”
Here’s professors Gavin Yamey, Gregg Gonsalves, and Angela Rasmussen defending China’s data.
Here’s the Financial Times attributing China’s “success” to Xi’s “strict lockdowns.”
Here’s Canada’s former Health Minister Patty Hajdu defending China’s data.
Here’s Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam on the “key lesson” to be learned from China.
Of course it’s no accident that Matt Pottinger and Deborah Birx, arguably the two most important officials behind lockdowns in the United States, got their idea of virus containment from China as well. As did Italian Health Minister Roberto Speranza, who signed the first lockdown orders in the western world.
In 2020 and 2021, these calls for western nations to emulate China’s lockdowns reached a fever pitch. But you don’t even need to look that far back. In fact, just yesterday, Washington Post journalist Taylor Lorenz defended the CCP’s Zero Covid policy amid the widespread protests that had erupted among the Chinese public.
Even some Covid “moderates” like professor Balloux Francois continue to toe the line that China’s lockdowns were effective.
And two days prior, Anthony Fauci gave a sworn deposition describing how China had inspired the advice on Covid containment that he issued to the United States.
As protests continue to erupt across China and Zero Covid is lain bare as the moral and intellectual catastrophe that is always was, it’s worth remembering that if we’d taken these officials and media elites seriously, the entire free world would look very much like China does today. Moreover, not a single one of these officials or media elites has been held to account or even lost their position. On the contrary, several of the most important pro-lockdown officials have had their exploits glorified in hagiographic memoirs, and some, such as UK SAGE advisor and 40-year British Communist Party member Susan Michie, have been given big promotions.
This in sharp contrast to the countless professionals who lost their positions due to noncompliance with Covid mandates, or those—as I found out the hard way—who’ve been censored for the mere suggestion that we may need an inquiry into why all these elites suddenly felt it appropriate to advise their countries to adopt one of the CCP’s most ruthlessly totalitarian policies.
It’s possible that when we get to the bottom of this story, we’ll find that these elites had perfectly good reasons for treating China’s data as real and treating Xi Jinping’s lockdowns as a legitimate public health policy, and a perfectly good explanation for why they couldn’t share those reasons with the public. But somehow, that doesn’t seem likely.
The New Normal is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.