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Winter Olympics Lead to More Extreme COVID-19 Prevention Measures in Xi’an

Born and raised in China, Lucy Crawford has been living in Canada for over 20 years. She has great sympathy for Chinese and human suffering in general. With a Master's degree in Education and having worked on various professions, she now translates and writes about stories in ancient and modern China. She lives in Calgary with her husband and four children.
Published: January 13, 2022
Xi'an-COVID-19-Beijing-Winter-Olympics-COVID-measures-Getty-Images
On Dec. 22, 2021, Xi'an epidemic prevention workers walking in a cordoned-off area. (Image: STR/AFP via Getty Images)

China’s northern city  Xi’an has been under a city-wide lockdown since Dec. 23. On Dec. 27, it escalated its control measures. Residents have been barricaded in their homes, essential services such as getting groceries and accessing medical care have virtually halted, and the internet is flooded with messages of distress and pleas for help.

A new document obtained by the Epoch Times shows that the provincial government has issued internal instructions that demand that tough actions must be taken to win the war against the virus as the Winter Olympics are just around the corner. In other words, the Winter Olympics is a political priority and it mustn’t be disrupted.

So far, Xi’an, China’s epicenter of the new wave of COVID-19, hasn’t yet announced any deaths from the virus. However, multiple cases of fatalities or miscarriages have been reported on the Internet and in the media as a result of the authorities’ extreme prevention measures. 

Authorities place the Winter Olympics over people’s lives 

A document obtained by the Epoch Times from Shaanxi Province confirms that the authorities’ internal instructions on epidemic prevention were to ensure the smooth operation of the Winter Olympics as a top priority.

On Dec.  26, 2021, the Xi’an Municipality Epidemic Prevention Command forwarded a speech by the governor of Shaanxi province, Zhao Yide, to the lower jurisdictions, concerning epidemic prevention and control.

In the speech, given on Dec. 24, Zhao stressed that extreme measures must be taken to “stop the transmission chain.” He emphasized that “with the Winter Olympics just around the corner”, any further spillover of the epidemic in Shaanxi Province would “disrupt the national situation and tarnish the country’s image.”

In his 5,300-word speech, Zhao mentioned people’s livelihoods only in three sentences and in the context of ensuring social stability. Nothing specific was said about people’s daily life needs such as food supply and medical care.

According to the official notice from the Shaanxi Provincial Health Commission, there were no reported deaths from infections in the province from Dec.9, 2021, to January 9, 2022.

The data doesn’t count lives lost in connection to the city’s lockdown, including babies lost in miscarriages and family members lost due to denied access to emergency services. 

China’s official COVID-19 data including its death toll has been questioned by the international community. George Calhoun, a top U.S. data analyst, and director of the Quantitative Finance Program at Stevens Institute of Technology, recently wrote in Forbes that the U.S. COVID-19 death rate is 800 times higher than the official figures in China, suggesting that China’s official reports are not very credible.

On Jan. 4, 2022, a Xi’an resident posted on Weibo about her experience of miscarriage due to the epidemic prevention campaign. 

A Xi’an resident who lost her baby before New Year’s Day recently posted on Weibo that the couple had already named their baby, but the hospital refused to admit her because she lived in a “controlled area” and she tragically lost the baby on Dec. 29.

The former expectant mother said that she “understands how hard it’s to fight the epidemic” and “maybe ordinary people’s life is just cheap. ”   What she may not know is that her tragedy is somewhat connected to the upcoming Winter Olympics in Beijing.

Staff members wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) spray disinfectant outside a shopping mall in Xi’an in north China’s Shaanxi province on Jan. 11, 2022. – China OUT (Image:  STR/AFP via Getty Images)

Who is responsible for the loss of life in Xi’an?

According to public reports in the Chinese media, staff members of the private hospital involved in the miscarriage case were disciplined by the authorities. Several government officials received warnings within the party, and only one person was suspended from his job.

Yet, according to online feedback from Xi’an citizens, the private hospital wasn’t the only one that refused to provide medical assistance on the grounds of epidemic prevention. Other state-run hospitals also turned away many people seeking help. There have been no public reports of any state-run hospitals being held accountable by the authorities.

No one from the Xi’an health care system has been held accountable either. The reality is that the Xi’an Health Commission wasn’t the one who implemented the extreme epidemic prevention and control policies but merely followed them, according to an internal document obtained by The Epoch Times.

The only person suspected of losing their job over the epidemic prevention deaths in Xi’an is Liu Jun, director of the Xi’an Big Data Resources Administration. The official reason given was “incompetence in performing his duties,” but Chinese media claimed that it may be related to the collapse of Xi’an’s health code system, “One Code Pass.”

Several Chinese media have published articles about Liu Jun and the “One Code Pass”, implying that the incompetent director is the one to blame for the public discontent in Xi’an.

Li Linyi, a current affairs commentator, analyzed the matter, saying, “Chinese official media in and out of China might be leading the public opinion.  Someone has to be blamed for the humanitarian disaster in Xi’an. As it stands now, the Xi’an Big Data Administration, as well as former director Liu Jun, may have been thrown out by the Xi’an municipal government as the scapegoat, someone for the people to vent their grievances.”  However, the Chinese people aren’t easily fooled by the party anymore, which is why the mother who lost her baby posted “ordinary people’s life is just cheap.”

He said the internal document exposed by The Epoch Times had also confirmed that the Shaanxi provincial government was essentially giving orders that the Winter Olympics must not be disrupted as the highest political imperative. “The CCP is pushing extreme epidemic prevention measures with the party’s facade in mind, completely disregarding the people’s lives and deaths.”

In other words, the future epidemic prevention in Xi’an is likely to become even more draconian and extreme.