Anti-lockdown protests are now taking place across China – the Chinese equivalent of our Truckers’ Convoy. The protests are a reaction to the brutal policies that literally lock people in their apartments, when even one infection is detected. As in Canada, when truckers became convinced that unscientific vaccination mandates, and other lockdown policies, were being unfairly directed at them – for purely political purposes – many thousands of Chinese people have had enough.
They are willing to risk beatings and jail – and maybe even a government seizure of their bank accounts – to protest these purely political lockdown policies that are making their lives miserable.
How far these protests will get in a country with a massive internal police system, designed to keep the ruling communist party in power, is anyone’s guess.
But one thing the Chinese protests do is to remind us that the original Wuhan lockdown policy – a policy that is still in place there – does not work. The idea was to isolate the virus and prevent it from spreading. Draconian methods were employed to do this. Despite all of the suffering caused by those policies, the virus is still there. At some point it will have to pass through the population.
And meanwhile, the Chinese people have not acquired the level of immunity populations in the rest of the world have because of exposure to the virus. When the virus eventually spreads – as it inevitably will – China can expect that millions will get sick, and that the weakest will die. This can be confidently predicted, because the same thing has happened in every other nation in the world.
It is even worse in China, because so many people are convinced that they will either die, or get “long Covid” if they are infected. This is not true. The virus is indeed deadly for the elderly, obese and infirm. But for healthy people – especially the young – it poses an insignificant lethal threat. Obviously, hospital capacity and protection for the at-risk groups should have been improved. Instead, the CCP opted for lockdown policies and instilling fear in their population.
And their state-controlled media has greatly exaggerated the threat, so many people there are very scared.
Consequently, the Communist Party is between a rock and a hard place. If they relax controls, and virtually all healthy people survive the virus – which is exactly what will happen – the people will realize that they have been deceived. The people will also instantly understand that the lockdown misery they have been forced to live with for two years has been for nothing. They will be angry.
The current suffering of the Chinese people should be familiar to us, because we went through a version of that same Covid Zero lockdown thinking not that long ago. The government-subsidized media thoroughly frightened the population. Even today we have many healthy people who are convinced that if they get Covid they will die.
But we know that is not true, because most Canadians have had it by now, and have done just fine. Some got quite sick; some only had minor symptoms. But the myth that Covid is a lethal threat to healthy people has been thoroughly debunked here, as well as in the rest of the world.
We now know that mutations of the virus are here to stay. We must learn to live with them, just as we have learned to live with all of the other nasty respiratory viruses that come and go.
And when we watch developments in China we should remind ourselves that it was the CCP’s Wuhan lockdown model – the model now making Chinese lives so miserable – that our politicians chose to copy. Instead of taking common sense precautions to save lives, such as building up our weak hospital system, and improving the safety in our long-term nursing homes – we chose to crush civil liberties and seriously damage our economy. Just like they are still doing in China.
Despite the risks, these brave Chinese protestors go out on the street in broad daylight to confront a totalitarian regime that holds all the power.
They deserve our support.
Brian Giesbrecht is a retired judge and a senior fellow at the Frontier Centre for Public Policy.