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Lockdown in Xi’an

Published by marco on

The article China: Xi’an residents in lockdown trade goods for food amid shortage by Robin Brant (BBC) suggests that the BBC’s standards are perhaps not what they used to be. I read through the article, but it contains nothing but unsourced conjecture and anecdotes. There’s “Social posts show”, “numerous complaints on social media”, and “One video showed a resident appearing to […]”

It’s not that I don’t believe that this is happening to at least some degree. Of course not. In a city of 13 million, anything and everything will happen. It’s that I would have hoped that the BBC would actually hunt down some leads instead of just publishing a bunch of conjecture from the Internet, where we all know that everything is fake until proven real.

The only source they’ve named is Radio Free Asia, which is laughable, as it’s a CIA cutout. It was built by the CIA and there are no signs that they are no longer associated with them. See this 45-year-old article in the NY Times called Worldwide Propaganda Network Built by the C.I.A.. They didn’t really pull punches in 1977, I guess.

I’m more sad at how poorly written this BBC article is. For example,

“Netizens were also shocked by an unverified post that went viral on Monday. A Xi’an resident said their father had died after he suffered a heart attack and was turned away from a hospital due to the city’s Covid situation. The hospital has yet to respond.”

Netizens … which ones? Twitter? Or Weibo? Netzikens are always shocked. That’s their jam. “The hospital has yet to respond” to an unsourced and evidence-free allegation. That is not surprising, unless you’ve become accustomed to any entity having to “spin” its way out of crises manufactured by nigh-professional shit-stirrers online who’ll do anything to “get a rise” and pump their own numbers. I am not accusing this resident of having done that; I don’t even accept that the resident has to exist in order to manufacture this “quote”. I’m accusing those who run with it for clicks (e.g. the BBC).

Or look at this sentence:

“China has been wedded to this approach since the beginning because it’s likely the leaders from Xi Jinping down consider anything less would cause illness and death on a scale that would be politically, economically and socially unacceptable.”

That’s just an awful, nearly incomprehensible sentence. Commas, please! It seems to be trying very hard to make it seem like a policy of not allowing “illness and death” is a bad thing that is only politically motivated?

Or this one,

“There is a broad acceptance of this approach, and the stringent restrictions it can bring, among many Chinese who for decades have not felt they can rely much on the public health system. So illness and the prospect of losing your job, let alone your life, are existentially daunting.”

If you’ve going to use run-on sentences, at least use some commas, for God’s sake. Or put them in places that would be meaningful rather than scattered around like parsley flakes. Again with this sentence, it seems to be saying that the Chinese people never trusted their health-care system, but now they do? Or what? There is a “broad acceptance” of China’s COVID policy despite existential fear of the health system otherwise? I don’t get it. How is having a job tied to a public health system? Did the author confuse China and the U.S.? It’s all quite difficult to follow.


#1 − WSWS provides a much more balanced, researched article


China’s lockdown in Xi’an suppressing COVID-19 outbreak by Jerry Zhang, Peter Symonds (WSWS)

“The outbreak in Xi’an is the largest for 2021 and by some accounts the largest since the initial eruption of the virus in Wuhan in 2020. The lockdown has undoubtedly been a disruption to the daily lives of its 13 million residents. There have been reported delays in the housing of non-residents caught in the city, confusion over changing regulations, shortages of food and other necessities and in the worst cases, bureaucratic excesses, which have understandably led to complaints and criticism on social media.
“Not noted in the article was that the greatest difficulties confront migrant workers from outside Xi’an who stay in the densely packed urban villages in the city and have a disproportionately high number of infections. Most are stranded without access to kitchens and cooking utensils and are forced to survive on instant noodles. Unlike in other neighbourhoods where residents are asked about their needs for meat and vegetables, local officials simply ask migrant workers how many more packs of instant ramen they need.
“The opposition of the WSWS to the politics and authoritarian methods of the Chinese regime are well established. However, its response to the pandemic, whatever the flaws, is a scientifically-based strategy aimed at eliminating the disease and thus minimising deaths and damage to the health of the population.
“While a largely upper-middle class layer is critical of their “loss of freedom” and argues on social media that China should also learn to “live with the virus,” that sentiment has become significantly muted amid the current COVID wave swamping the US and Europe.