China insists it is keeping its draconian Zero COVID policy, but the heroic protesters may be changing that policy.
Several cities on Monday have announced the lifting of some restrictions. Beijing will no longer cordon off access to apartment blocks. Many people will be excused from mass testing in Guangzhou. Businesses in the Xinjiang region will reopen. A National Health Commission spokesman says local officials should resolve “reasonable” COVID complaints in a timely manner.
Fatigue and anger at the government is forcing change. Even people who aren’t going near a protest became furious at broadcasts from the FIFA World Cup in Qatar, which show crowds watching the soccer match without masks.
Given the unreliability of Chinese data, it’s impossible to say whether COVID has already spread throughout China or whether draconian lockdowns there were able to suppress the virus leading to an exit wave when they finally lift. We do know that Covid is on the rise in China. At some
point everyone will be exposed – which is why lockdowns don’t work.
We expect the exit from Zero Covid will be bumpy and slow. But at least the Chinese people now realize that their protests are starting to improve daily life instead of prompting an even harsher crackdown as many feared.