Chinese propaganda is struggling to find tone after abandonment of zero covid politics

After three years to defend the extremely strict Chinese approach by demonizing the virus, the official discourse must adapt to a new deal, and struggles to convince the public.

By Simon Leplâtre (Shanghaï, Correspondence)

After three years spent controlling the lives of people closely, presenting the COVID-19 as a deadly threat and making fun of the “chaos” which reigned in the United States, Chinese propaganda struggles to find the tone ‘Opening time. On December 7, China pronounced the end of its zero covid policy: more generalized tests, more isolation centers for patients, more confinement for whole cities. No more daily counts of the number of people infected either, since the tests are no longer compulsory. Under these conditions, the virus diffuses at an exceptional speed, creating a first wave more like a tsunami in a population that had never known the COVVI-19 so far.

As elsewhere, hospitals are starting to saturate, and crematoriums are running. But this new situation is more difficult to defend for a regime which has made the small number of victims in recent years a source of legitimacy, even if this policy cost a large part of the population, deprived of freedom.

One of the symbols of this 180 degree turn in official communication is one of the new slogans in vogue: “Each person is individually the first manager of his health.” The message appeared the first time in a Letter sent to the citizens of Shijiazhuang, the capital of Hebei, south of Beijing – an area which abandoned the compulsory PCR tests on November 13, before returning back to the concern of disoriented citizens. The same slogan then appeared on the 1 er December on the canton tower, the highest skyscraper in the capital of Guangdong, one of the first cities of China to release the controls against COVVI- 19. Since then, it has been taken up everywhere, displayed on banners in yellow sinograms on a red background, and reaffirmed by the authorities, supporting for example a message advising students to exercise to strengthen their immune system. A few weeks earlier, in mid-November, a series of editorials in the very official daily people of the people, still called to “resolutely apply the zero covid political dynamics”.

The State, which interfered even in the intimacy of the Chinese without leaving them the choice, to “protect them” from a threat constantly amplified by propaganda, advises Chinese citizens today to manage . The message goes wrong. “They opened the country really overnight, without the slightest preparation, without training for the staff, without preparing enough medication. And without preparing the population to fight against the fear that people have virus, after having it Disbolized for three years, judges Mr. Zhang, a 49-year-old Beijing woman whose mother died of COVVI-19. A first establishment, saturated, had refused to welcome her mother, who lost precious hours before having access To care. “All for that: they should have stopped with zero Cavid last spring. I do not see what these eight months of zero covid politics were used for, sighs.

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/Media reports cited above.