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Take A Rare Glimpse Inside China’s Zero-Covid Madhouse

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The western world has been given a rare, intimate look inside the confines of a Chinese Covid-19 concentration camp, after Financial Times Shanghai correspondent Thomas Hale was ensnared by the President Xi Jinping’s zero-Covid regime.  

It’s not that Hale had tested positive. Merely being designated as a “close contact” was enough to sentence him to 10 days of confinement on a secret island camp identified only as “P7.”

Hale provides a primer on framework of China’s system works: 

“PCR testing in China is an almost daily ritual and testing booths are common on many street corners.They look vaguely like food stalls, except they’re larger and cube-shaped and a worker inside sits behind Plexiglas cut with two arm holes.

They are merely the surface machinery of a vast monitoring system. China’s digital Covid pass resembles track-and-trace programmes elsewhere, except it’s mandatory and it works. Using Alipay or WeChat, the country’s two major apps, a QR code is linked to each person’s most recent test results. The code must be scanned to get in anywhere, thereby tracking your location. Green means you can enter; red means you have a problem.”

Research: Countries That Sought ‘Zero-COVID’ Lockdowns Have The Least Immunity

Hale’s journey into Covid madness started with an innocent outing at a Shanghai bar. Apparently, someone who’d also been at the bar tested positive. Via the tracking system, the authorities knew Hale had been there too.

Hale had “won” some kind of terrible lottery: On the day he was in the bar, there were only 18 cases in all of Shanghai that day — a city of 26 million people.

A few days after his bar outing, authorities called to confirm he’d been at the bar. The next day, a caller from the Shanghai Municipal Center for Disease Control and Prevention alerted him that authorities were on their way. Hale was about to be “taken away” — an expression Chinese use when describing the phenomenon.

Next, a hotel staffer called to say he couldn’t leave, and that the hotel was in lockdown due to his mere presence in it. Then came the men in hazmat suits, who escorted him down a deserted hallway to a staff elevator and out through the cordoned-off hotel entrance. He was directed to board a small bus driven by another man in a hazmat suit. 

Hale joined the other condemned passengers — none of whom had actually tested positive. His hopes that he’d be taken to a quarantine hotel were dashed. A drive of more than an hour ended on a small road in the middle of a field, with several large buses queued up ahead of his.

The driver got out, locked the bus behind him and wandered off. A fellow passenger was surprised to hear that Hale was from the UK: “They brought you here? With a foreign passport?” Hours of waiting on the increasingly chilly bus went by, until it finally moved again at 2 am. 

As he was trudging along to his assigned quarters, a fellow detainee pointed to three rows of wire above the perimeter fences, beyond which were only tall trees. 

Hale’s new home was a box similar to a shipping container, elevated by short stilts. His and every door was monitored by a camera. There was no hot water. 

“Inside my 196-sq-ft cabin there were two single beds, a kettle, an air-conditioning unit, a desk, a chair, a bowl, two small cloths, one bar of soap, an unopened duvet, a small pillow, a toothbrush, one tube of toothpaste and a roll-up mattress roughly the thickness of an oven glove

The floor was covered in dust and grimeThe whole place shook when you walked around, which I soon stopped noticing. The window was barred, though you could still lean out. There was no shower.

…The bed was made of an iron frame and six planks of wood, and the mattress was so thin you had to lie completely flat. The bed frame, meanwhile, was impossible to lean against.” 

He was pleasantly surprised, however, to find the internet connection was 24 times speedier than what he had at his hotel. Like Hale, the camp staff were prohibited from leaving or receiving deliveries there. A worker said he earned the equivalent of about $32 a day. 

Hale tried to see if his status as a foreign journalist might spring him from detention. The worker he approached with that question was baffled by the mere premise…but we can’t blame Hale for trying. 

Hale describes key aspects of daily life in Covid detention: 

  • Every morning, he was awakened by a “lawnmower-like noise,” as an industrial-grade machine sprayed the cabin windows and front steps with disinfectant
  • Around 9 am, two workers came to administer PCR tests. A positive result would have meant being taken to a different type of detention  
  • Meals were delivered at 8 am, noon and 5 pm
  • Hale pursued a strict routine of language study, writing, exercise, music, online chess, and then reading or watching Amazon Prime entertainment

The routine served him well. Over time, he noticed his neighbors stopped eating breakfast, while some could be heard pacing their shaky boxes at night. 

He did endure some psychological discomfort, in the form of not knowing when he’d get out. He was originally told seven days but it ended up being 10. 

Upon his release and return to civilization, Hale savored the hot water of the hotel’s shower and the softness of its bed.When he went out for a celebratory meal, however, he faltered — pacing the street as he contemplated the fact that entering China’s contact-tracing matrix brought the peril of a return to confinement. 

He settled on takeout from a steak restaurant, where an employee said there’d be no need for his code to be swiped — if he ordered takeout. 

* * *

Check out Hale’s full tale at the Financial Times (subscription required) 

This post was originally published at Zero Hedge

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Dem. Intel Chairman: Biden Won’t Openly Support Chinese Anti-Lockdown Protesters To Avoid “Western Plot” Charges

Exiled Chinese dissident urges that the uprising is a “watershed moment” in fight against Communism

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Steve Watson

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The Democratic chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee claimed Wednesday that Joe Biden and his administration are trying not to openly support anti-lockdown protesters in China too much in order to avoid the Communist government claiming that it’s all a “western plot”.

Appearing on CNN, Mark Warner stated that if the CCP is “able to portray this as kind of an anti-Chinese or western plot, that undermines the very protesters that we’re trying to stand with.”

Warner continued with a word salad, stating “I think there are things that those of us leaders in the Senate and the House have a little bit more flexibility, frankly, than the administration. This — the administration, particularly after the most recent meeting between Xi and Biden, to try to have lower some of the tensions…. we don’t want an active conflict to erupt.”

“I think those of us in the Congress have a little more freedom. And I think we can push the administration, but as you said, we don’t want to feed the propaganda machine that turns these protesters driven by Chinese people into what the overall message would be of the Chinese people,” the Democrat further claimed.

Watch:

Warner’s comments come as the Biden White House says it “isn’t taking a side” on the cause of anti-lockdown protests in China, a ‘walking on eggshells’ remark seemingly designed to protect the administration from charges of hypocrisy.

Republicans, including Senator Tom Cotton are pushing for Biden to more strongly support the anti-lockdown protests.

“This is not just some protest on a college campus in America or a European capital,” Cotton noted, adding “These Chinese are protesting the world’s most powerful, dangerous, techno-totalitarian government.”

The Senator further urged that “One reason President Biden should speak in his own voice on camera in support of these brave Chinese protesting their communist government is to prevent another Tiananmen Square Massacre. But also by saying if there is another Tiananmen Square Massacre, if the Chinese communists use force against their own people, there would be massive consequences.”

“China unleashed this plague on the world, including its own people. They have had the counterproductive ‘Zero Covid’ policy for a long time and now they have a dilemma,” Cotton asserted.

Watch:

Meanwhile, exiled Chinese dissident Xi Van Fleet told FOX News that the uprising is not only about lockdowns, but about the people finally opposing Communism on the whole.

“This is extraordinary. We’re witnessing a watershed moment,” Van Fleet explained, adding “During the past 75 years, Chinese people put up so much abuse from the totalitarian communist government. But it was the past three years, Xi Jinping’s ‘Zero Covid’ policy that brought people to the breaking point.”

Watch:

As we highlighted yesterday, fears of a new Tiananmen Square style crackdown in China have been heightened by footage of tanks being deployed to the streets of major cities as the Communist Party faces massive unrest.

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    Videos: Tanks Deployed On Streets In China Amid Massive Protests

    “Somehow nobody in any newsroom in America noticed when Xi Jinping decided to replay Tiananmen Square”

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    Steve Watson

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    Fears of a new Tiananmen Square style crackdown in China have been heightened by footage of tanks being deployed to the streets of major cities as the Communist Party faces massive unrest.

    Video of tanks was captured in the eastern city of Xuzhou on Monday night:

    Tucker Carlson pondered why the western media on the whole is ignoring the huge protests, and the tanks.

    “Unless you read the Daily Mail, which is an English paper published online, you probably didn’t know that Chinese President Xi Jinping sent tanks into a major city last night to put down protests against his rule,” Carlson noted.

    The host added “Virtually no American media outlets acknowledged that that happened and that’s pretty weird if you think about it. Imagine, for example, that Hungarian leader Viktor Orban put tanks into Budapest to crush his political opponents. Would our media notice? Oh yeah, they would. It would be on the front page of ‘The New York Times.’ Morning Joe would lead with it.”

    Carlson continued, “China is our main global rival, it’s a highly significant place. Yet somehow nobody in any newsroom in America noticed when Xi Jinping decided to replay Tiananmen Square. Didn’t see it even though the pictures were on the internet. How is that possible? Could it be the American news media is covering for the government of China? Can’t say. We’ll let you make the call on that.”

    When asked by a reporter about what the potential consequences for China of a brutal crackdown on protesters would be, the White House Press Secretary responded “I don’t have anything to preview for you at this time.”

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    Beijing Police Checking People’s Phones For Social Media Apps Amid Mass Protests: Report

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    Zero Hedge

    Kevin Frayer/Getty Images

    Mass protests against China’s ‘zero-covid’ policy have spread to Hong Kong, after demonstrators on the mainland began demanding that President Xi Jinping resign.

    Around 50 students at the Chinese University of Hong Kong were pictured chanting “No PCR tests but freedom!” and “Opposed dictatorship, don’t be slaves!” while holding up blank pieces of paper – which have become a symbol of protest against China’s clampdown on freedom of expression, according to Axios. The blank paper protests were previously seen during the Hong Kong protests in 2020, and earlier this year during demonstrations against the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

    Anti-lockdown protests spread throughout several cities over the weekend, including Beijing, Shanghai and Wuhan – which were largely muted on Monday after police moved out in force.

    Meanwhile, police in Beijing, Shanghai and Hangzhou have reportedly been checking the phones of random citizens to look for unapproved social media apps. If they found Twitter or Telegram, the personal information would be taken down and the person would receive a warning. Any resistance would be met with a report, according to DW News correspondent William Yang.

    On Monday, a BBC reporter who was arrested over the weekend while covering the protests reported that police were checking people’s phones for photos, and forcing people to delete them (or have them deleted).

    In response to the protests, China’s Foreign Ministry says that the country has been “making adjustments” to Covid protocols “based on realities on the ground.” This follows a statement out of Beijing earlier in the month in which the CCP said they would “unswervingly adhere” to their zero-Covid policy, but would make it less disruptive.

    “We will protect people’s lives and health to the greatest extent and minimize the impact of the epidemic on economic and social development,” said CCP officials, adding “But recent spikes in Covid cases have prompted cities to tighten protocols.”

    On Monday Spokesperson Zhao Lijian said that China is actively implementing the 9th version of the pandemic protocols.

    “We believe that, with the leadership of China’s Communist Party and the cooperation and support of all Chinese people, our fight against COVID-19 will be successful,” he told reporters.

    Meanwhile, Apple is helping the CCP:

    This post was originally published at Zero Hedge

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