Censorship on China’s two largest social media platforms, Weibo and WeChat, targets comments from WHO Director-General Tedros Azanom Gabrias, who expressed unusual disagreement with Beijing’s policies.
“When we talk about the zero-quad strategy, we don’t think it’s sustainable, given the behavior of this virus,” Tedros said in a media briefing on Tuesday, citing the growing transfer of omecron. And what do we expect in the future? ” .
“We have discussed the issue with Chinese experts and we have indicated that this approach will not be sustainable … I think change will be very important,” he said.
The official UN press account posted Tedro’s comments early Wednesday morning on China’s Twitter-like Weibo, sparking a wave of sarcastic comments from Chinese users.
“Fight resolutely against the words and deeds that distort, doubt or deny our country’s epidemic prevention and control policies! Down with the World Health Organization!” Said a superior answer.
Should UN verified account be blocked this time? Another said.
Until midnight, the post on Weibo could no longer be viewed “due to the author’s privacy setting.” It is unknown at this time what he will do after leaving the post.
A Weibo hashtag named Tedros has also been censored, removing images of his face from the platform, although posts containing his name are still visible.
On WeChat, an article from the official UN account, which included Tedros’ comments, was banned from being shared until Wednesday morning “because of violations of relevant laws and regulations.” Video clips of Tedros’ speech have also been removed from the platform.
China’s zero-tolerance approach to snap lockdown, large-scale testing and quarantine has protected the majority of its population from code over the past two years, but amid the rapid spread of Omicron, lockdown has become more severe and Due to its consistency, it has increased dissent.
But the Chinese leadership has insisted on tough measures, saying that due to the large number of elderly people in the country and inadequate medical resources, relaxation will inevitably lead to large-scale infections, large numbers of serious illnesses and deaths.
New modeling by researchers at Fudan University in Shanghai predicts that China could face more than 1.5 million Omicron deaths if zero vaccine measures are taken without increasing vaccine coverage or access to antiviral treatments. May fall
The study estimates that if Omicron goes out of control, China’s national healthcare system will be completely overwhelmed, with the country’s demand for 64,000 ICU beds out of supply for at least 44 days. Will multiply
But this scenario can be avoided, according to the modeling, if the Chinese government focuses on increasing “access to vaccines and antiviral treatments.”
More than 88% of Chinese people are fully vaccinated, but immunizations are rare in the elderly. As of March 17, only half of all people over the age of 80 in China have been fully vaccinated, and less than 20% of people in this vulnerable age group have received a booster. Unlike most countries, China’s vaccination campaign does not actually prioritize the elderly.
Since the latest outbreak, Chinese authorities have vowed to step up vaccination in the elderly. But in lockdown areas, vaccination is practically impossible because residents are confined to their homes and are only allowed to go out for quad testing.
CNN’s Hannah Richie contributed to the reporting.