Protests have erupted in Beijing and the far western Xinjiang region over COVID-19 lockdowns and a deadly fire on Thursday in a high-rise building in Urumqi that killed 10 people (with some reports putting the number as high as 40).
Crowds took to the street in Urumqi, the capitol of Xinjiang, with protesters chanting “End the lockdown!” while pumping their fists in the air, following the circulation of videos of the fire on Chinese social media on Friday night.
Protest videos show people in a plaza singing China’s national anthem – particularly the line: “Rise up, those who refuse to be slaves!” Others shouted that they did not want lockdowns. In the northern Beijing district of Tiantongyuan, residents tore down signs and took to the streets.
Reuters verified that the footage was published from Urumqi, where many of its 4 million residents have been under some of the country’s longest lockdowns, barred from leaving their homes for as long as 100 days.
In the capital of Beijing 2,700 km (1,678 miles) away, some residents under lockdown staged small-scale protests or confronted their local officials over movement restrictions placed on them, with some successfully pressuring them into lifting them ahead of a schedule. –Reuters
According to an early Saturday news conference by Urumqi officials, COVID measures did not hamper escape and rescue during the fire, but Chinese social media wasn’t buying it.
“The Urumqi fire got everyone in the country upset,” said Beijing resident Sean Li.
According to Reuters;
This post originally appeared at Zero Hedge
A planned lockdown for his compound “Berlin Aiyue” was called off on Friday after residents protested to their local leader and convinced him to cancel it, negotiations that were captured by a video posted on social media.
The residents had caught wind of the plan after seeing workers putting barriers on their gates. “That tragedy could have happened to any of us,” he said.
By Saturday evening, at least ten other compounds lifted lockdown before the announced end-date after residents complained, according to a Reuters tally of social media posts by residents.
Australian Health Authorities Call For More COVID Boosters… But The Public Says No
Australia and New Zealand suffered some of the worst pandemic mandate conditions of any country in the western world, crossing the line into totalitarianism on a number of occasions.
Australian authorities restricted residents of larger cities to near house arrest, with people not being allowed to go more than 3 miles from their homes. Citizens were given curfew hours between 9pm and 5am. They were banned from public parks and beaches without a mask, even though it is nearly impossible to transmit a virus outdoors and UV light from the sun acts as a natural disinfectant.
In the worst examples, Australian citizens received visits from police and government officials for posting critical opinions about the mandates on social media. Some were even arrested for calling for protests against the lockdowns. In Australia and New Zealand, covid camps were built to detain people infected with covid. Some facilities were meant for those who had recently traveled, others were meant for anyone who stepped out of line.
As the fears over covid wane and the populace realizes that the true Infection Fatality Rate of the virus is incredibly small, restrictions are being abandoned and things seems to be going back to normal. It’s important, however, to never forget what happened and how many countries faced potentially permanent authoritarianism under the shadow of vaccine passports. If the passports rules had been successfully enforced, we would be living in a very different world today in the west.
Luckily, the passports were never implemented widely. Australian health authorities are once again calling for the public to take a fourth covid booster shot, but with very little response. Only 40% of citizens took the third booster, and new polling data shows that 30% are taking the fourth booster.
With an astonishing rise in excess deaths by heart failure in Australia coinciding exactly with the introduction of the covid mRNA vaccines, perhaps people are deciding to finally er on the side of caution. Why take the risk of an experimental vaccine over a virus that 99.8% of the population will easily survive?This post was originally published at Zero Hedge
NIH Failed To Monitor EcoHealth Alliance: Federal Watchdog
After an 18-month audit, a federal watchdog says that the National Institutes of Health (NIH) failed to adequately monitor and address problems involving EcoHealth Alliance, a New York City-based nonprofit that was used to offshore risky gain-of-function research to Wuhan, China after the Obama administration banned the practice in 2014.
According to the report from the Office of Inspector General (OIG) of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the “NIH did not effectively monitor or take timely action to address” compliance issues with EcoHealth.
In April 2020, after then-President Donald Trump claimed the SARS-CoV-2 virus could have come from the WIV lab, NIH terminated the EcoHealth grant with little explanation. That step was widely condemned by scientists, and OIG’s report now says NIH improperly executed the termination because it did not provide a valid reason or provide EcoHealth with required information for appealing the decision.
A few months later, NIH reinstated the award but immediately suspended it, setting conditions for resumption that EcoHealth said it could not meet. NIH permanently terminated the WIV subaward as of August 2022 for compliance issues, including WIV’s failure to provide NIH with laboratory notebooks related to the funded experiments. –Science
The audit examined the above grant, as well as two others from 2014 to 2021 which totaled $8 million, but largely focused on $600,000 of it which went to the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
The NIH faulted EcoHealth for failing to promptly report gain-of-function results in some experiments, however the company has blamed a computer glitch at NIH for the 2-year delay.
Digging into the report is US Right to Know’s Emily Kopp, who has broken down various aspects of the OIG report.
Meanwhile, the audit also found that the nonprofit billed NIH for $89,171 in disallowed costs, including expenses such as alcohol, and a staffer’s $3,285 trip to a conference that was miscoded, and should have instead been billed to a non-NIH grant.
The OIG recommends that the WIV (but not EcoHealth) be banned from receiving future NIH funds.
Meanwhile, EcoHealth just scored a fresh $3 million grant from the Department of Defense.This post was originally published at Zero Hedge
Rand Paul, GOP Senators Push Bill To Reinstate Service Members Fired For Refusing COVID Vaccines
“We still have service members who have not been rehired, promoted, or received back pay and benefits.”
GOP Senator Rand Paul has joined others in promoting an updated bill to reinstate military service members who were previously fired for refusing to comply with the Biden Administration’s COVID vaccine mandate.
The legislation, named the Allowing Military Exemptions, Recognizing Individual Concerns About New Shots (AMERICANS) Act of 2023, includes a requirement that the Secretary of Defense offer reinstatement to active members who were removed from duty for not taking the shots.
Senator Paul noted “The COVID-19 vaccine mandate has ruined the livelihoods of men and women who have honorably served our country. This inept bureaucratic policy should have never been imposed, and while it has since been rolled back, we still have service members who have not been rehired, promoted, or received back pay and benefits.”
He continued, “The AMERICANS Act will address these issues and others that the Biden administration has failed to consider at the expense of service members’ lives and our nation’s national security interests.”
Senator Ted Cruz, who is also co-sponsoring the bill added “Our military continues to feel the effects of the Biden administration’s reckless, misguided, and now-prohibited vaccine mandates.”
“I’m glad that we were able to remove the COVID-19 vaccine mandate last Congress, but there is more work to do,” Cruz urged, adding “The AMERICANS Act would correct the wrongs done to unvaccinated service members who were discharged for exercising their conscience.”
As they noted in their statements, the Senators were previously successful in getting the mandate scrapped by threatening to block the passage of the National Defense Authorization Act.
Representative Dan Bishop, who has introduced a companion bill in the House, also noted that “While last year’s NDAA directed that SECDEF rescind the DOD’s authoritarian COVID vaccine mandate, it didn’t prohibit the DOD from issuing a similar mandate in the future.”
He continued, “The bill also didn’t provide any meaningful remedies for service members who were kicked out due to the mandate. This is completely unacceptable. Sen. Cruz and my bill, the AMERICANS Act, will close these glaring loopholes and bring justice to military members who were purged by Secretary Austin’s egregious vaccine mandate.”
Specifically, the legislation will require the Department of Defense to:
- Reinstate any service member separated solely for COVID-19 vaccine status who wants to return to service, crediting the service member with the time of involuntary separation for retirement pay calculations;
- Restore the rank of any service member demoted solely for COVID-19 vaccine status, compensating the service member for any pay and benefits lost due to that demotion;
- Adjust to “honorable” any “general” discharge given to a service member solely due to COVID-19 vaccine status;
- Expunge from a service members’ record any adverse action based solely on COVID-19 vaccine status, regardless of whether the service member previously sought an accommodation;
- Make every effort to retain service members not vaccinated against COVID-19, providing them with professional development, promotion, and leadership opportunities equal to that of their peers; and
- Provide a COVID-19 vaccine exemption process for service members with natural immunity, a relevant underlying health condition, or a sincerely held religious belief inconsistent with being vaccinated.
The Military Times estimates that more than 3,400 troops were “involuntarily separated from the service” due to non-compliance with the vaccine mandate.
Despite Republican attempts to stop mandatory vaccines for active duty personnel, and to uphold exemption rights, the Biden administration has continually pushed for dishonourable discharges and even court martialing for troops who disobey orders to get the shots.
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