The health body of a city in China’s central Henan Province published a post online on Dec. 6, blasting the last three years of "zero-COVID" measures for ruining China’s economy and Chinese people’s livelihoods.
The Zhumadian municipal health committee wrote on its official Chinese social media account that there have been nine negative impacts from the central government's policies of mandatory mass PCR testing and “excessive pandemic control measures.”
Zhumadian is a prefecture-level city in the south of Henan Province.
The municipal health watchdog’s criticism comes after China's ruling communist party announced last month 20 new guidelines to “optimize the prevention and control measures” of COVID-19 nationwide, deemed as “relaxed COVID policies” by the outside world.
The criticism is a move rarely seen in the regime’s officialdom. The post was soon deleted from the health watchdog’s account, but is still available on china-cer.com.cn, the website of a Chinese economic think tank.
In an article titled “Suggestions on Stopping High-intensity Epidemic Prevention, Restoring People's Livelihood and Developing the Economy,” the health committee said that mankind “has never completely eradicated a virus to date.”
“People crowded at the testing booths, and the testing personnel and protective clothing have become the largest source of virus transmission,” the article read, adding that 50 percent of positive cases became infected during the queueing and testing process.
“Isolation, makeshift quarantine facilities, overall lockdowns have been adopted in a casual and lopsided manner, which will directly cut off the flow of social resources and the economy and people's livelihood will become zero or even drop below zero,” it continued, going on to criticize the so-called “pandemic prevention industries” whose revenues can only make up for a tiny part of the overall losses to the national economy.
“The income of these industries is obtained by a few individuals and interest groups. In contrast, large low-income groups, especially those with mortgages or car loans, have experienced personal and family financial bankruptcy. They are facing or have experienced residential mortgage loan defaults, and have been unable to afford food,” it said.
The health committee also noted that three years living under draconian zero-COVID measures have made people feel “hopeless about the future and life,” and have caused serious mental health issues and widespread depression among the people, which will become “unfavorable factors for stability and development” after the lifting zero-COVID measures in the future.
The committee then proposed 11 suggestions, including the cancelation of mandatory mass PCR testing, halting the construction of forced quarantine facilities, setting up a plan for digital health codes to be abandoned, and for the training of personnel for mental health counseling.
Netizens' SupportThe article quickly went viral among Chinese netizens, with many voicing their support for the proposals.
“It is rare to see them speak the whole truth bravely, truthfully, and responsibly,” one netizen wrote.
But some also voiced resentment. “This article from Zhumadian Health Committee has carried the tones of sadness and humor at the same time. But isn’t it too late?”
“Zhumadian Health Committee is awesome! This is the first time I have read such honest truth!” another netizen wrote.
“Who has written this article? I suggest that this person should be promoted to China’s central health commission!” another said.
Zhumadian municipal health committee told Tianmu News, a Chinese news portal in Zhejiang Province, that it reposted the article from WeChat, which caused “unnecessary misunderstanding.”
“Some language is not very appropriate, and the post has been deleted,” Tianmu News reported, citing Zhumadian’s propaganda department.
Zhumadian health committee's post and Tianmu News' report have since been removed from their respective websites.