Snow fun on New Year's day in Beijing ! Some observations and thoughts...
Snow fun on the first day of 2023
in the Grand Canal Park, Tongzhou district, Beijing 😊
Beijing is slowly getting busier in the streets and public places after the Chinese government drastically pivoted away from the zero covid policy early last month. Lots of people and families contracted and are still contracting Covid, mostly staying at home during the infection.
Yes there is currently immense pressure on the health care system due to the Covid wave.
Yes there is excess mortality due to the Covid wave.
Yes there has been shortage of relevant medicines in many places.
And Yes there are certainly lots of discussions and criticism on Chinese social media, often peppered with irony and humor as well.
Besides the overwhelming and sudden change of the Covid policy, there was another overwhelming phenomenon, the Western media portraying and analysing the government's change in policy.
After many months of a strong and sometimes horrendous bias against China’s zero covid policy, being it draconian and inhumane, the new narratives have now been appearing that the Chinese government is leaving their citizens in the cold, incapable of managing the Covid wave with possible drastic consequences for Chinese leadership or being it a kneel after the protests, a kneel turning society in chaos.
Whether China goes right or left, forward or backward, there is practically never a positive hint to be read in any direction. If they turn from black to white, a color propagated by Western media, suddenly the shade of white is not right.
No there is no widespread chaos or panic.
No there is generally no nervous sense of entering a long term tragedy, people are aware of the possible severe health consequences, conditions and perspectives, and deal with it accordingly.
People are also looking beyond the Covid wave with bright lights at the near horizon but at the same time being resilient and alert at the same to sit through the tough winter or escaping the winter to Hainan island in the south of China.
Opinions and debates in Western media of how the sudden opening up was a big mistake and should have been managed in better ways are mostly without context of among many others the people's perspectives, Chinese health care system, the relationship between people and governance, economic conditions, the pandemic expertise or cultural traits. The multi-dimension complexity involving healthcare, economy, social circumstances or the Covid-virus characteristics/expertise all play vital roles in considerations or opinions.
Yes there has been no easy way or a perfect moment for a change in policy, we have seen this practically anywhere in the world. But at least a slight balance in reporting and opinion about China's policy change with at least a slight effort of involving different dimensions along with people's and cultural perspectives would provide a wider picture which people in the West could perceive for shaping their own views on China.
While Yes the Covid change in policy was unexpected, No the course of international media was not unexpected at all... Not only at this time but how many times have China or the CPC been doomed to fail by Western experts, opinions or media coverage, no matter from which perspective or event in recent years and decades, whether economically, politically or otherwise ?
And how many media or expert speculations have become a reality in those years ?
Gordon Chang, (anti-) China specialist, known for his book "The Coming Collapse of China" (2001) foresaw in his book that China would collapse in 2011 (later changed he changed the timing of the year to 2012), even predicted not so long ago that the zero covid policy would continue for years as a control measure for the CPC to suppress the Chinese people.
And who in the world of China experts or media actually expected this sudden U-turn in covid policy…. or even just provided this change as a slight probability?
Empathy is not needed but at least some respect for China and Chinese people in context with culture, society, (recent) history and their relation with the governance system. Instead of falsely and simply portraying them just as helpless victims in Chinese society with a 'failing' governance. For the sake of blackening Chinese leadership.
Two predictions can be made though : China has and will run its own course and people are the core and heart to this course, moving forward. And secondly any course is and will be not the way international media is predicting...
A wonderful New Year's day in Beijing 😊