In pursuit of zero COVID, China starves its citizens

For some time now, China has presented itself as a rapidly ascending nation that is completely in charge of its destiny and one that escaped COVID with little harm. However, that appearance may be illusory and China may be more unstable than the image it promotes to the world.

China, with a bit of help from Fauci’s NIH, gave the world the gift of COVID. Even if it didn’t create the virus in a Wuhan lab (although I believe it did), China’s policy was to hide the virus, and then, even as it locked down its own people, it put Chinese citizens on airplanes to spread the virus throughout the world.

Whether this was simply because the communist Chinese government doesn’t care about the outside world or because it had a nefarious plan, the effect was the same: A pandemic began that had crippling effects on the world at large. And, in a special blessing to China, the West chose to embrace policies that destroyed Western economies while heightening the Wests’ drift to totalitarianism.

All the while, China insisted that it had COVID under control. According to the government, its early, aggressive measures meant that the virus wasn’t spreading throughout China. Its “Zero COVID” plan, it claimed, was working. And with that alleged success at its back, China continued to expand its reach with the Belt and Road initiative, building and seizing seaports and airports in poor countries around the world, and its man-made islands allowing it to push further into the South China Sea.

It turns out, though, that things may not be quite so good for China after all. You don’t have an effective Zero COVID policy when your largest city (Shanghai) has such an aggressive COVID outbreak that you lockdown all 26 million people. And you don’t have a stable regime when those 26 million people claim that, in service to that draconian lockdown, they’re beginning to starve to death.

Image: Dwindling food supplies. YouTube screen grab.

The New York Times reported that Shanghai residents are complaining about a lack of food:

One week into the lockdown of China’s largest city, many residents are, like Mr. Guan, calling urgently for help in securing food, since quarantine rules have shut down grocery stores and restaurants. That has left people dependent on government deliveries and online ordering, both of which have been unpredictable. Mr. Guan said he joined neighbors in trying to order lunchboxes in bulk, often without success.

Shanghai on Friday announced a daily record of more than 21,000 new cases, bringing the total since last month to more than 130,000. To combat the outbreak, officials have introduced harsh restrictions on movement, in keeping with China’s policy of trying to eliminate local transmission.

According to the Times, the problem arose because the government abruptly shut down Shanghai without giving residents a chance to stockpile food. However, it assured its readers that many people are doing just fine.

At Hot Air, Allahpundit has a less sanguine view of events there. In addition to a record-high number of cases (20,000, although it’s always wise to assume the communist party is underreporting), he claims “People are starving and claustrophobic and there’s no end in sight....” To support this contention, Allahpundit offered this interesting bit of news from CNN’s Hong Kong correspondent, Kristie Lu Stout:

The problem for the Chinese people is that Xi Jinping is locked into his Zero COVID policy. He promised that he would achieve this goal and it’s better to have death from starvation and disease than to admit the policy failed. After all, as Mao said, “When there is not enough to eat, people starve to death. It is better to let half of the people die so that the other half can eat their fill.”

Mao was able to get away with stating the totalitarian’s view of governance so openly because China was still, as to the West, a closed, utterly alien society. Today, though, China, while not a free society, is one in which it’s hard to keep secrets from the world. When people in prosperous Shanghai can’t get fed, they let people know. And because Xi is China’s supreme leader, the fact that he failed the people will make his hold on the throne increasingly less secure.

But before casting too many stones at Xi and his hungry people, it’s worth noting that famine is beginning to creep around the world. Myriad stories discuss famine arising because of war, droughts, supply chain problems, or other issues. Thus, there are concerns that the war in Ukraine will result in famine, not just in Ukraine, but in Yemen. In Somalia and other countries in the Horn of Africa, disruptions in the food supply and the return of the locusts are already seeing people go hungry.

Sen. Roger Marshall (R. KY), who serves on the Senate Agriculture Committee, foresees a worldwide panic in two years because of refugees, fallow Ukrainian fields, the inability to get Russian fertilizer, and the high cost of fossil fuel, which underlies all western farming. And of course, Biden himself warned that America will have “real” food shortages. He did not, however, explain what steps he’ll take to prevent hunger from stalking Americans.

Every time I go to the grocery store, I buy something that can last a long time—cans of soup, bags of rice or dried beans, canned vegetables, etc. I lack the ability to store massive amounts of food but I’m certainly hoping to have enough so that we can get through some lean times, whether due to hurricanes, earthquakes, or worldwide famine.

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