25 votes

Protesters openly urge Xi to resign over China Covid curbs

66 comments

  1. [4]
    PantsEnvy
    Link
    From three days ago... Zero-Covid China asks: Is World Cup on another planet?

    From three days ago... Zero-Covid China asks: Is World Cup on another planet?

    Football is very popular in China. President Xi Jinping is known for being a lover of the sport, and he has spoken previously of it being a dream for the country to win the World Cup .

    As a result, matches are being shown on national broadcaster CCTV, and state media have sought to amplify China's "presence". The Global Times has reported on how China-made products "ranging from buses to the [Lusail] stadium, and even air conditioning units are well represented at the event".

    Many are feeling acute isolation watching this year's event.

    An open letter questioning the country's continued zero-Covid policies and asking if China was "on the same planet" as Qatar quickly spread on mobile messenger WeChat on Tuesday, before being censored.

    Comments on the Twitter-like Weibo social network are rife from viewers who speak about how watching this year's matches is making them feel divided from the rest of the world.

    Some speak of their perception that it is "weird" to see hundreds of thousands of people gathering, without wearing masks or needing to show evidence of a recent Covid-19 test. "There are no separate seats so people can maintain social distance, and there is nobody dressed in white and blue [medical] garb on the sidelines. This planet has become really divided."

    "On one side of the world, there is the carnival that is the World Cup, on the other are rules not to visit public places for five days," one says.

    Some say they have had difficulty explaining to their children why the scenes from the World Cup are so different to those people face at home.

    10 votes
    1. [3]
      Rudism
      Link Parent
      I just saw this Twitter thread from a couple days ago demonstrating that CCTV has a 30 second delay on games so they can manually scrub all the shots of fans in the crowd.

      I just saw this Twitter thread from a couple days ago demonstrating that CCTV has a 30 second delay on games so they can manually scrub all the shots of fans in the crowd.

      5 votes
      1. PantsEnvy
        Link Parent
        Interesting! (I think that shows them using a different shot, focusing on the maskless coach instead of the maskless fans?)

        Interesting!

        (I think that shows them using a different shot, focusing on the maskless coach instead of the maskless fans?)

        1 vote
  2. [10]
    cmccabe
    Link
    Twitter grapples with Chinese spam obscuring news of protests https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/twitter-grapples-with-chinese-spam-obscuring-news-of-protests/ar-AA14CBb1 I wasn't sure if I...

    Twitter grapples with Chinese spam obscuring news of protests
    https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/twitter-grapples-with-chinese-spam-obscuring-news-of-protests/ar-AA14CBb1

    I wasn't sure if I should post this here or in the Elon Musk Take-Over thread. Posting here because the thread is more recent.

    Twitter’s radically reduced anti-propaganda team grappled on Sunday with a flood of nuisance content in China that researchers said was aimed at reducing the flow of news about stunning widespread protests against coronavirus restrictions.

    Numerous Chinese-language accounts, some dormant for months or years, came to life early Sunday and started spamming the service with links to escort services and other adult offerings alongside city names.

    The result: For hours, anyone searching for posts from those cities and using the Chinese names for the locations would see pages and pages of useless tweets instead of information about the daring protests as they escalated to include calls for Communist Party leaders to resign.

    9 votes
    1. [9]
      vord
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      Propaganda rant: This MSN article is just the latest occurance, it's one of those I can't unsee once I noticed. You'll notice the BBC didn't have anything quite like what follows. A bold editorial...

      Propaganda rant:

      This MSN article is just the latest occurance, it's one of those I can't unsee once I noticed. You'll notice the BBC didn't have anything quite like what follows.

      daring protests

      A bold editorial choice. The kind that is in stark contrast to the "rioters and looters" narrative that was consistent for coverage of protestors throughout the USA.

      "Daring" has those noble connotations, implying that these protestors are somehow brave freedom fighters against Commies and not more in line with the idiot-parade that was the anti-lockdown protests of the USA.

      The USA suffers an equally powerful authoritarian combo of state violence and media propaganda. We don't need the state to censor the 'disruptive' views because the population at large has been innoculated against dissent from a young age. As such, only small, precise editorial remarks like that are needed to maintain that engrained 'overton window.'

      I blame the warmongers, they are the ones whom find it most useful.

      9 votes
      1. [8]
        cmccabe
        Link Parent
        Although I agree with pretty much all of what you said, I think the "daring" phrase is ok because these protestors are risking very real consequences while the idiot paraders in the US (Capitol...

        daring protests

        Although I agree with pretty much all of what you said, I think the "daring" phrase is ok because these protestors are risking very real consequences while the idiot paraders in the US (Capitol rioters aside) didn't risk anything. I not only agree with the rest of what you said, but I'm always hoping to hear more of it on tildes -- especially if it's balanced criticism of all forms of unjust hierarchy everywhere it appears in the world.

        9 votes
        1. [2]
          rosco
          Link Parent
          Maybe it's just my local purview, but the anti-lockdown protestors never really got much press here. Black Lives Matter however took consistent heat as "rioters and looters" and faced real...

          Although I agree with pretty much all of what you said, I think the "daring" phrase is ok because these protestors are risking very real consequences while the idiot paraders in the US (Capitol rioters aside) didn't risk anything.

          Maybe it's just my local purview, but the anti-lockdown protestors never really got much press here. Black Lives Matter however took consistent heat as "rioters and looters" and faced real violence and threats. Those were "daring" protestors too, but there was a different narrative. I agree these protestors in China are daring, but I also agree with vord's perspective that it is an interesting editorial choice.

          6 votes
          1. Greg
            Link Parent
            Yeah I was a bit surprised when I was reading the discussion above and people were interpreting it as tacitly pro-China to point out the US news bias. I just saw it as MSN editorialising in a good...

            Yeah I was a bit surprised when I was reading the discussion above and people were interpreting it as tacitly pro-China to point out the US news bias. I just saw it as MSN editorialising in a good way for a bad reason on this occasion (protest under a repressive authoritarian regime is brave, with many of the positive connotations that word brings, even if it's only being framed like that because it fits the US narrative), in the same way that they sometimes editorialise in a bad way for that same bad reason (unfairly disparaging the BLM protesters, for example).

            The fact they're choosing to editorialise, the driving bias behind that editorialisation, and the impact that has on any given story are three totally separate variables that can independently do good or do harm.

            3 votes
        2. [5]
          vord
          Link Parent
          I sadly am most well tuned to USA -> USA ideological enemy (like socialism) propaganda spotting. It does leave me a bit blind, especially to/from other English speaking countries whose agendas are...

          I sadly am most well tuned to USA -> USA ideological enemy (like socialism) propaganda spotting.

          It does leave me a bit blind, especially to/from other English speaking countries whose agendas are different.

          Also comes across as lopsided cause its so tiring prefacing everything with "I have 0 doubts that China is overstepping bounds and this isn't a 'but USA bad too' but more of a 'here's a helpful tip to spot bias and propaganda.'"

          4 votes
          1. [4]
            Loire
            (edited )
            Link Parent
            The problem is that it still comes off as a distraction, unintentionally or otherwise, in a thread about China. The system of oppression in the United States is far from ideal, and possibly the...
            • Exemplary

            The problem is that it still comes off as a distraction, unintentionally or otherwise, in a thread about China.

            The system of oppression in the United States is far from ideal, and possibly the worst in what we consider the "western world", however pretending it is anywhere near what is going in in China, especially under Xi, is borderline disingenuous. American propaganda is important to spot for us, as Westerners. However in a thread explicitly about China, the CCP, and internal oppression/dissent to said oppression, bringing up the western media's presentation of COVID protests in the West vs it's presentation of protests in China comes across as misleading.

            The oppression in most western countries was minimal, lockdowns were short term, weak in limitations, and haven't occurred in over a year (nearly two?). Vaccine mandates, the focus of western protests, were hardly oppressive, with the bulk of the surviving unvaccinated living life normally once more a year out.

            Chinese lockdowns, in contrasts, are widespread, long term and significantly "stronger" than anything we suffered. The zero COVID policy in China is unlike anything we have experienced in the West. Likewise protests in China can result in significant punishment up to and including disappearance and death. Even if the lockdowns were equal, the protesters are significantly more "dating" than their western compatriots simply because the punishment is significantly more serious.

            I'm all for pointing out Western propaganda but in this specific context it doesn't ring true.

            Edit: But who knows, perhaps I'm equivocating. Maybe it's important to point out all biases, propaganda and forms of oppression everywhere, at all times. I don't proclaim to be an expert on this.

            15 votes
            1. vord
              Link Parent
              In my professional life, I find "documentation with the project" a better pattern than "This is our giant repository of documentation of all projects." It is more likely to remain relevant as its...
              • Exemplary

              In my professional life, I find "documentation with the project" a better pattern than "This is our giant repository of documentation of all projects." It is more likely to remain relevant as its easier to digest and curate.

              So in my mind, calling it as I see it serves a better function than saving it all up and writing a lengthy blog post about it, in the same way having notifications about RT being an unreliable news network is. A blog post is only gonna be seen by people who are already mostly-aware. A small comment will be a quick glance over by the people aware and possibly enlightening to those whom don't think about these things.

              Especially on English-speaking sites, where 'China bad' is usually the default reflex regardless of the current leader. I don't recall a time in my entire life where China wasn't treated as a semi-nefarious 'other', especially after the USSR fell and a new 'big bad' was needed.

              We end up with leaders saying stuff like "The China Flu" because of that otherness that is stoked via editorialization if not outright propaganda.

              6 votes
            2. [2]
              vord
              Link Parent
              I gotta say though, in the context of the rest of the discussion about the defacto abandonment of lockdown (and the broader failures of what was) in the west, that's not neccessarily bad. I woulda...

              The zero COVID policy in China is unlike anything we have experienced in the West.

              I gotta say though, in the context of the rest of the discussion about the defacto abandonment of lockdown (and the broader failures of what was) in the west, that's not neccessarily bad. I woulda preferred that I think to the current status of 'nothing we can do about it'.

              Zero disagreement about disappearing people being a massive problem. But even in the good old USA I'm not willing to attend a large protest because the risk of getting illegally arrested is too high. That can get me fired and destitute in short order.

              4 votes
              1. Loire
                Link Parent
                I mean, again, there is such a wide gap between the US and the China that, while as a westerner I agree with you that this shouldn't be happening in the U.S. at all, they still aren't equivalent....

                But even in the good old USA I'm not willing to attend a large protest because the risk of getting illegally arrested is too high

                I mean, again, there is such a wide gap between the US and the China that, while as a westerner I agree with you that this shouldn't be happening in the U.S. at all, they still aren't equivalent.

                Chinese citizens (and non citizens for that matter) are disappeared for months on end and then, if they ever reappear, show extreme signs of torture, extreme coercion, and re-education. They are then often re-disappeared after.making a public apology/reversal.

                Even at the height of Trumpism those abducted from protests (which again is a huge problem and should be fought against tooth and nail) were returned to the streets within 24 hours. Yes you can be arrested which will put your job at risk, which for working class Americans is a huge financial risk, however can we really equate that to what's going on in China?

                I'm trying my absolute best not to be biased about this, I recognize "China bad" is a real cognitive bias. I just don't see how, in this particular topic, China isn't bad.

                11 votes
  3. [49]
    Greg
    Link
    I’ve been struggling to understand the reasoning behind the zero covid policy for a while now and it just doesn’t seem to add up, which in turn feels like I must be missing something. Back in the...

    I’ve been struggling to understand the reasoning behind the zero covid policy for a while now and it just doesn’t seem to add up, which in turn feels like I must be missing something.

    Back in the height of the pandemic China’s response was harsh and authoritarian, but there was also a clear trade off being made and there was an upside. The logic and intention there is very apparent, even if you don’t agree that it was justified.

    But now? They’ve been causing themselves huge economic harm for months, stretching the population to breaking point, and there just doesn’t seem to be any realistic endgame. There barely even seems to be a realistic upside, given the vaccination statistics. Is it really just ego and the inability to change course? I guess anything’s possible, but it seems almost a cop out to say “oh yeah that historically successful world leader is just being an idiot on this one”. If there is a major upside I’m not seeing it, though, and evidently neither are the people living through it.

    7 votes
    1. [37]
      eladnarra
      Link Parent
      I think the issue is that the potential upside is at a long-term, societal level, while the downside is at an immediate, personal level. Like, zero COVID policy might have short term effects on...
      • Exemplary

      I think the issue is that the potential upside is at a long-term, societal level, while the downside is at an immediate, personal level.

      Like, zero COVID policy might have short term effects on the economy and people's lives, but long term China may find themselves ahead on the broader scale. It's estimated that long Covid is keeping as many as 4 million people out of work in the US alone. Vaccinations do not completely protect against long COVID, and people in the US are woefully under-vaccinated anyway, so this problem is only going to keep growing as lack of precautions increase the number of infections and re-infections. (Recovery from long COVID is possible, but as someone with multiple conditions that many people with long COVID have... I've been sick for 17 years. Some of these people are going to be sick forever, unless research actually finds cures.)

      Add to the growing hypothesis that filled pediatric ICUs are the results of immune damage due to COVID (rather than "immunity debt" which has no scientific basis), and a lot of us in the disability/chronic illness community are predicting a major increase in illness and disability. People act like COVID is over because we have more treatments and less people are dying from acute infections, but treatments are starting to fail due to variants and honestly, death was never my personal concern - I became permanently disabled after a mild, 3-day cough, and many people with long COVID has mild initial infections.


      I have never been able to work full time due to post-viral illnesses. On a personal level, that means I make very little money, which sets me up for a paltry "retirement" and means I will never have financial independence. On a slightly wider scale, it means my parents had to financially support me long after they would have otherwise. My partner makes enough to support the both of us, but without a second income our "contribution" to the economy as "consumers" is less than it otherwise would be.

      It's hard to quantify economic impact of illness, but 15 years before COVID, CFS/ME was estimated to cost the US economy $9 billion a year in lost productivity. I've seen later estimates of up to $51 billion. And this is just one of the conditions that people will long COVID often get diagnosed with.

      18 votes
      1. [8]
        Algernon_Asimov
        Link Parent
        None of us knew long COVID was a thing when the lockdowns started happening around the world in early 2020. Long COVID has been something we've been gradually discovering over the past few years....

        None of us knew long COVID was a thing when the lockdowns started happening around the world in early 2020. Long COVID has been something we've been gradually discovering over the past few years. And no leader around the world has ever given long COVID as the justification for locking down cities, states, provinces, or countries.

        I highly doubt that President Xi is continuing his COVID-zero policy because of concerns about long COVID. I truly believe his concerns are more short-term than that: the high number of people who will die, either directly from COVID or because they can't get a hospital bed while they're filled with COVID patients, if he lets the coronavirus rip in a mostly unvaccinated population of over one billion people.

        Xi just can't afford that. Short COVID will ruin his country now. I don't think he's worried about long COVID much, if at all.

        11 votes
        1. eladnarra
          Link Parent
          Fair enough! I am in a bit of an echo chamber, so long COVID is where my brain always goes. I don't think that it was the initial reason for any lockdowns, but I still think it could be a factor...

          Fair enough! I am in a bit of an echo chamber, so long COVID is where my brain always goes. I don't think that it was the initial reason for any lockdowns, but I still think it could be a factor in recent ones.


          I do want to mention, though, that some of us knew about long COVID very close to the start of the pandemic. While politicians and most medical scientists didn't know about long COVID at the beginning, doctors who study this area and disabled folks, particularly some folks with post viral illnesses, were sounding the alarm during the first few months of the pandemic. People pointed to studies with prior SARS outbreaks where 1/3 of patients ended up with long term symptoms, and even Dr. Fauci recognized in interviews that summer that some people would likely end up with CFS/ME.

          The problem is that people vastly underestimate the prevalence and severity of post viral illnesses [or they attribute symptoms to mental health causes], so the possibility was initially overlooked, and even when it became more recognized it never became a reason to protect people. We still only care about acute deaths and hospitalizations.

          5 votes
        2. [6]
          Greg
          Link Parent
          For what it’s worth most of the vaccination figures I’ve seen put China at around 90% fully vaccinated - that’s one of the first things that left me questioning their current approach, in fact. It...

          mostly unvaccinated population

          For what it’s worth most of the vaccination figures I’ve seen put China at around 90% fully vaccinated - that’s one of the first things that left me questioning their current approach, in fact.

          It may well be that the simple number masks the things that others have mentioned, with the 10% of holdouts clustered among the elderly and potential effectiveness issues with some of the vaccines used, but in terms of overall uptake they’ve been strong since the start.

          2 votes
          1. [3]
            Loire
            Link Parent
            There is some talk of the Chinese vaccines being vastly inferior to the western mRNA vaccines. How much of that is western propaganda and how much is true, I don't have the expertise to evaluate,...

            There is some talk of the Chinese vaccines being vastly inferior to the western mRNA vaccines. How much of that is western propaganda and how much is true, I don't have the expertise to evaluate, but it could be an explanation as to why they are worried.

            Likewise 10% of 1.4 billion is still 140 million people. If even 1% of those 140 million die that's 1.4 million people, 300,000 more than the number of American Covid deaths in 3 years. That's a catastrophic number.

            8 votes
            1. Greg
              Link Parent
              Totally fair, it's just something I would've expected to see at least a bit of groundwork towards fixing over the past year or two. I'm not necessarily advocating China fully reopening tomorrow or...

              Totally fair, it's just something I would've expected to see at least a bit of groundwork towards fixing over the past year or two. I'm not necessarily advocating China fully reopening tomorrow or anything, just surprised that unswerving and indefinite zero-covid protocols are considered preferable to closing that 10% gap and (maybe, if necessary) importing some vaccines and spinning them as "the product of Chinese research and knowhow on the global stage" in the press.

              2 votes
            2. vord
              Link Parent
              That often doesn't get discussed enough. China is incredibly dense compared to the USA so the scale of failure is much higher stakes. Urban areas in the USA had to lock down harder than rural...

              That often doesn't get discussed enough. China is incredibly dense compared to the USA so the scale of failure is much higher stakes.

              Urban areas in the USA had to lock down harder than rural areas because hospital beds/capita was much lower when factoring faster spreads via population density.

              20% of China is the entire USA. Its mindboggling sometimes.

              1 vote
          2. [2]
            Bonooru
            Link Parent
            Isn't the efficacy of Sinovac dramatically lower than Phizer, Moderna, or even J&J? Presumably, that will have an impact in the decision.

            Isn't the efficacy of Sinovac dramatically lower than Phizer, Moderna, or even J&J? Presumably, that will have an impact in the decision.

            2 votes
            1. Greg
              Link Parent
              ;)

              It may well be that the simple number masks [...] potential effectiveness issues with some of the vaccines used

              ;)

              2 votes
      2. [5]
        Greg
        Link Parent
        This is a very good point - I’m definitely working on the premise that mass vaccination has adequately controlled the pandemic, and if that turns out not to be the case we could well be in for a...

        This is a very good point - I’m definitely working on the premise that mass vaccination has adequately controlled the pandemic, and if that turns out not to be the case we could well be in for a much worse time than I had understood. I’m sorry that this is something you already have to deal with, and I very much hope the long term risks were given the weight they deserve by those making the decisions to reopen.

        6 votes
        1. [4]
          eladnarra
          Link Parent
          Thanks! The general consensus from those of us with long COVID or similar conditions contracted prior to COVID is that the US government has abandoned us and the general population, and in no way...

          Thanks!

          The general consensus from those of us with long COVID or similar conditions contracted prior to COVID is that the US government has abandoned us and the general population, and in no way has taken long term disability and illness into account.

          But I do hope to be proven wrong somehow.

          6 votes
          1. [3]
            Eidolon
            Link Parent
            I was lucky enough to have my employer allow me to reduce full-time work to 2 days per week, working from home. But they were shocked to learn I wanted to reduce that many hours, as I don't think...

            I was lucky enough to have my employer allow me to reduce full-time work to 2 days per week, working from home. But they were shocked to learn I wanted to reduce that many hours, as I don't think they understood how serious long Covid could be. I said, 'I actually can't move my arms above my head right now, and I am having trouble moving down the stairs, so I'm having to pee in a bucket and my room has basically become a prison cell.' That did the trick.

            I was already pretty cynical about the treatment of long-term illness in society, so long Covid really just confirmed it.

            4 votes
            1. [2]
              eladnarra
              (edited )
              Link Parent
              I'm really glad your employer has been flexible, but I'm so sorry you're dealing with this. People really don't know how bad this stuff can be... I hope you see improvement in your symptoms [EDIT:...

              I'm really glad your employer has been flexible, but I'm so sorry you're dealing with this. People really don't know how bad this stuff can be...

              I hope you see improvement in your symptoms

              [EDIT: somehow I posted before I finished, but that's the gist anyway; of course I hope that you recover completely, and soon, but at least personally I find that a bit difficult to hear - so I settle for improvement. :) ]

              2 votes
              1. Eidolon
                Link Parent
                Thank you for your kind words. It's going to be a while yet - month 8 out of about 18, if average recovery time on reddit is anything to go by. The fear is of course that I get long covid again...

                Thank you for your kind words. It's going to be a while yet - month 8 out of about 18, if average recovery time on reddit is anything to go by. The fear is of course that I get long covid again (there are reports of this) after recovery and become basically disabled for most of my life. I try not to think about that!

                3 votes
      3. [18]
        babypuncher
        Link Parent
        I think the problem with this approach is that there is no realistic end goal in sight. There is no feasible scenario where COVID is eradicated and this risk eliminated. We could put ourselves in...

        I think the problem with this approach is that there is no realistic end goal in sight. There is no feasible scenario where COVID is eradicated and this risk eliminated. We could put ourselves in a cycle of constant lockdowns for a decade or more, which seems to be where China is headed.

        So at what point do we decide that the immediate problems that come with shutting everything down for weeks at a time every couple of months in perpetuity are outweighed by the more vague problems that come with not doing that?

        5 votes
        1. [15]
          eladnarra
          Link Parent
          Well, yeah - unfortunately since most countries didn't pursue a no-COVID strategy at any point, there's no longer any hope of an end. We've let it run rampant, killing people and destroying many...

          Well, yeah - unfortunately since most countries didn't pursue a no-COVID strategy at any point, there's no longer any hope of an end. We've let it run rampant, killing people and destroying many people's health (making them more susceptible to subsequent infections), and let it mutate to the point vaccines are less effective and many treatments no longer work at all. (Reading the utter despair from immunocompromised folks talking about their isolation as preventative antibody treatments wane in effectiveness is... heartbreaking.)

          We will never (in the West) go into "lockdown" again, and in the US we never really did in the first place. Many of us who have been on lockdown for nearly 3 years, those of us with the weird combination of vulnerability (chronic illness and disability) and privilege (homeschooling, work from home, economic means), expect this to be our lives for the foreseeable future; and the people who are high risk but can't isolate have long accepted they will have to risk their lives in order to work/access medical care/survive on the short term, with no end in sight.

          So at what point do we decide that the immediate problems that come with shutting everything down for weeks at a time every couple of months in perpetuity are outweighed by the more vague problems that come with not doing that?

          That's a good question, and I'm pretty cynical about it - I'm pretty sure there won't ever be a point where people in charge recognize the damage done (and still being done). Death and hospitalization are certainly important, but the other reason they get paid attention to is that it's harder to hide them. Long COVID can be dismissed as mental health (like CFS/ME, fibromyalgia, POTS, and MS before it). Increases in heart disease and diabetes in people with COVID infections can be safely ignored because they don't affect everyone. Recent links between certain illnesses (like mono and MS) will be dismissed because it hasn't been long enough to "prove" that COVID is capable of causing long term issues.

          I've seen some disabled/chronically ill people say that there must be some point where the level of death and disability will overwhelm the system, and people will have to take notice. But people in charge are disincentivized to do so, because then they'd be admitting they missed the signs and the medical research.

          For example, the CDC recently published a study that showed that people who recently had COVID vastly underestimate the level of community transmission in their area; but if they know more about it, they are more willing to take preventative measures, such as getting boosters. A lot of people on social media pointed out the hypocrisy of this - the CDC now actively hides community transmission information from the public behind their new "community levels," and yet here they're admitting that people would choose to protect themselves more if they had more accurate information. But if the study had been more forceful about this connection, I doubt it would ever have made the light of day. The CDC can't outright admit that they have contributed to gaslighting people into taking less precautions than they otherwise would - that's political and career suicide.

          6 votes
          1. [10]
            skybrian
            Link Parent
            Living with systemic injustice is the default. Dying of old age or cancer or heart attack or infectious diseases is injustice. Nobody deserves that. Rallying enough people to consistently fund...

            Living with systemic injustice is the default. Dying of old age or cancer or heart attack or infectious diseases is injustice. Nobody deserves that. Rallying enough people to consistently fund enough effort to eliminate some of these injustices is a major victory.

            There are signs that we (or maybe our descendants) won't have to live with some of these things forever. There are promising vaccines for the flu and malaria and promising drugs for obesity But it will take decades longer than it theoretically could have with a concerted push.

            5 votes
            1. babypuncher
              Link Parent
              We also have to live with the fact that some of these injustices are literally impossible to solve. Lockdowns make the world safer for immunocompromised people, but they also lead to increased...

              We also have to live with the fact that some of these injustices are literally impossible to solve.

              Lockdowns make the world safer for immunocompromised people, but they also lead to increased rates of alcohol abuse, domestic violence, suicidal ideation, etc. This is a big reason why lockdowns are not really viable as more than a short term solution, unless the disease provoking them is especially deadly.

              I'm a proponent of taking whichever course of action leads to the greatest reduction in harm, and unfortunately there will always end up being someone who gets the short end of the stick.

              Unfortunately in situations like this, it's hard to really know which course of action would have prevented the most harm.

              6 votes
            2. [8]
              NoblePath
              Link Parent
              I don’t see how you can label those things as injustice. Some instances of them are sometimes the result of injustice. For example, excessive cancer rates in a poor cmmunity that couldn’t push...

              I don’t see how you can label those things as injustice. Some instances of them are sometimes the result of injustice. For example, excessive cancer rates in a poor cmmunity that couldn’t push back against an incinerator, and/or where enforcement is lax due to that community’s status.

              But old age comes for everyone. Like for the orbit of the earth, the concept of justice simply doesn’t apply.

              2 votes
              1. [7]
                skybrian
                (edited )
                Link Parent
                You sound like someone who has never been to a funeral. Some people get cancer and die young. Other people live long lives. This is obviously unjust. The people who get cancer didn't do anything...

                You sound like someone who has never been to a funeral.

                Some people get cancer and die young. Other people live long lives. This is obviously unjust. The people who get cancer didn't do anything to deserve it. Their kids don't deserve to lose their mother or father.

                Similarly, some people are young and healthy and others are old and have so many health problems that they can't live independently. Have you been to a nursing home? Nobody deserves that.

                And even if it were okay for old people to suffer (which is a terrible thing to think) old age doesn't happen the same way for everyone. Some people have a lot more heath problems than others. They don't deserve their health problems.

                Limiting "justice" to things that we can practically do something about means you don't see all the injustice that's always been a part of the natural world.

                Yes, it's true that human justice systems generally consider it out of scope, because you can't fix cancer by putting people in jail. (If some criminal did that to someone, we would put them in jail.)

                It's terribly unfair all the same. People are enduring terrible injustices all the time and it's not going to be fixed any time soon. A fatalistic attitude is often a coping mechanism.

                On the bright side, many forms of injustice can be fixed, with some effort. As a simple example, nobody deserves bad eyesight, but we have eyeglasses and contact lenses. There are also charities devoted to eye care in poor countries.

                Human civilizations have reduced and in some cases eliminated many forms of injustice that people everywhere used to suffer from all the time, but there is still a long way to go.

                4 votes
                1. [6]
                  NoblePath
                  Link Parent
                  You have a definition of justice far more expansive than any I have encountered. It would seem you would consider a fatal venomous bite to be unjust. In my view, justice as a concept can only...

                  You have a definition of justice far more expansive than any I have encountered. It would seem you would consider a fatal venomous bite to be unjust.

                  In my view, justice as a concept can only apply where there is conscious agency. Thus, justice is irrelevant to a snakebite I get while hiking in the woods, but it would be unjust to throw me into a snakepit under nearly any circumstance.

                  I lost my elderly father to lung cancer. He didn’t “deserve” it, but he was old and hand not been wrongfully exposed to any carcinogen. Justice simply has nothing to do with it. I lost a good friend to a drug overdose. That was unjust. His parents got away with child abuse because they were respected in their community. There was insufficient support for him everywhere he turned for help. That is a tragic lack of justice.

                  I don’t limit justice to that which is practical, but the chaos of existence is neither just not unjust, it simply is. Death is an endpoint for all living things (so far), as far as we can tell all things come to an end in their current form. This is simply the way of the phenomenological universe. Perhaps it is just after all, since it applies equally to all in time.

                  5 votes
                  1. [3]
                    skybrian
                    Link Parent
                    You’re right, I’m using a pretty expansive definition of injustice to pretty much mean “suffering.” I don’t think it’s just a matter of definitions, though. I think making comparisons between...

                    You’re right, I’m using a pretty expansive definition of injustice to pretty much mean “suffering.” I don’t think it’s just a matter of definitions, though. I think making comparisons between human justice and, let’s say, “natural justice” can be pretty illuminating.

                    There’s a tendency to assume the “punishment” fits the “crime” when people suffer natural consequences of their actions. On the Internet, there are memes like “leopards ate my face” and “fuck around and find out” and I think it’s important to point out that these are not forms of justice to be celebrated. They’re celebrating cruelty, and I would call it injustice.

                    Like, for example, dying of COVID isn’t a fair penalty for anything that you wouldn’t think deserves the death penalty in a court ruling. Nature’s penalties for bad judgement, minor mistakes, or just being in the wrong place at the wrong time are often randomly cruel.

                    1 vote
                    1. [2]
                      NoblePath
                      Link Parent
                      I'm still puzzling over your understanding. If you'll indulge me: Would you say that a lion killing a gazelle is unjust? What about a lion eating a child in an aboriginal setting? Is there any...

                      I'm still puzzling over your understanding. If you'll indulge me:

                      Would you say that a lion killing a gazelle is unjust? What about a lion eating a child in an aboriginal setting? Is there any difference, from a justice point of view, whether a Ukrainian village gets bombed by Russia or incinerated by a meteor? If that answer is yes, how do you delineate the difference? I'm also curious whether it is just to you to throw the lever in trolley problem.

                      1 vote
                      1. skybrian
                        Link Parent
                        Animal suffering is definitely suffering. "Nature red in tooth and claw," as Tennyson wrote. A natural world not organized around predators and prey, not to mention parasites and disease, would be...

                        Animal suffering is definitely suffering. "Nature red in tooth and claw," as Tennyson wrote. A natural world not organized around predators and prey, not to mention parasites and disease, would be unimaginably different, and more just. Reorganizing whole ecosystems is rather utopian, though, and I'm generally a believer in taking on projects your own size.

                        I'm also not a vegetarian and I prioritize human welfare over animal welfare. Reducing animal suffering seems like a good thing, in theory. A world in which better meat substitutes were found and vegetarianism were more common would be more just.

                        I don't entirely rule out ecosystem changes since we're doing it anyway. The idea of eliminating Aedes aegypti, the carrier of many diseases, seems good in principle. Geoengineering to prevent climate change might be a good thing, though I'm no expert.

                        Leaving a child out to be eaten by a lion would be considered a ghastly form of murder, and not preventing it a form of neglect. Do we blame the lion? Regardless, I think it would be hunted down and shot?

                        If there were a way to predict a meteor strike and evacuate a village, wouldn't that be a great thing? If we had such a system and someone tampered with it, resulting in the village not being evacuated, wouldn't that be a crime?

                        Having an intelligent enemy does make things quite different, regarding what you could practically do. But someone sabotaging Ukrainian defenses against Russian drones seems about as bad. In such a case you would blame both the saboteur and the Russians - plenty of blame to go around.

                        1 vote
                  2. [2]
                    cfabbro
                    (edited )
                    Link Parent
                    I absolutely guarantee you that your father had "wrongly" been exposed to a huge number of carcinogens over his lifetime, unless he's been living in a HEPA filtered bubble his entire life,...

                    had not been wrongfully exposed to any carcinogen

                    I absolutely guarantee you that your father had "wrongly" been exposed to a huge number of carcinogens over his lifetime, unless he's been living in a HEPA filtered bubble his entire life, drinking filtered glacier water, and eating only raw vegetables he grew himself in said bubble using no pesticides or fertilizers. Everyone has been exposed to them, and that will likely continue to be the case until fossil fuels stop being consumed, and major industries stop polluting our environment.

                    1. NoblePath
                      Link Parent
                      Sure, but only hermits have had less exposure. And his age was well advanced beyond the historical global average age of death, and the cancer didn’t really affect him until the very end. There...

                      Sure, but only hermits have had less exposure. And his age was well advanced beyond the historical global average age of death, and the cancer didn’t really affect him until the very end. There are many, with far worse symptoms. And many do suffer unjustly. Bhopal, India springs to mind.

                      The point is, nothing about his death was unjust. We are all going to die, barring some quantum leaps in technology. It is neither fair nor unfair, it is simply a consequence of living. Some premature or high siffering deaths are made such by unjust actions, make no mistake, but death and suffering are not ipso facto unjust.

                      5 votes
          2. [4]
            NoblePath
            Link Parent
            Can you describe this more fully?

            CDC now actively hides community transmission information from the public behind their new "community levels,"

            Can you describe this more fully?

            1 vote
            1. [3]
              eladnarra
              (edited )
              Link Parent
              The CDC provides a map of COVID levels by county. Until earlier this year, the levels (low, medium, substantial, and high) were based on a combination of test positivity % (how many people who get...

              The CDC provides a map of COVID levels by county. Until earlier this year, the levels (low, medium, substantial, and high) were based on a combination of test positivity % (how many people who get PCR tests actually test positive) and number of recent cases. This is helpful for understanding how likely you were to encounter someone in public who has COVID; I use it a lot because I'm higher risk and trying to avoid infection.

              However, the new map the CDC uses ("Community Levels") also includes other factors such as hospitalization rates, which for some reason often has the effect of decreasing the risk level. For example, when I checked recently, my county was "low" on the new map but "substantial" on the old transmission map. While the CDC says that the new map is better at predicting what conditions will be in 3 weeks, in my opinion it also makes current conditions seem better than they are. Hospitalization is a lagging indicator - it takes time for people to get sick enough to be hospitalized. But I'm less concerned about how likely it is that more people will be hospitalized in 3 weeks - when I'm deciding whether to go to a doctor appointment or stay home, I'm more concerned about current transmission, which is what the old map more accurately shows.

              Many people in the disability community have criticized the new map, often calling it the "green map" because it will very often show most counties as "low" across the board. The old map exists on the CDC website, but it's harder to find, and it has a big warning at the top that it should only be used by health professionals and health facilities. When masking was required in health facilities, they were supposed to keep using the old map to dictate when to require masks. (In my experience, even doctors often used the newer map, meaning they stopped requiring masks before they should have.)

              3 votes
              1. [2]
                NoblePath
                Link Parent
                Can you link the differnent maps? Looking on CDC's site I could only find a condition by county, and only one county at a time. Very clumsy interface to be sure.

                Can you link the differnent maps? Looking on CDC's site I could only find a condition by county, and only one county at a time. Very clumsy interface to be sure.

                1. eladnarra
                  (edited )
                  Link Parent
                  Dang, I didn't realize the maps had been that de-emphasized - I see what you mean, their main page only tells you one county at time. As of December 2, 2022, the map links are: Original...

                  Dang, I didn't realize the maps had been that de-emphasized - I see what you mean, their main page only tells you one county at time.

                  As of December 2, 2022, the map links are:

                  They're on the same page; there's a drop down you can use to pick between them and other metrics, if the specific links don't work. (Kind of funny that the link to the original map calls it "risk" type.)

                  1 vote
        2. [2]
          skybrian
          Link Parent
          There were other countries that handled this well, with a strict COVID policy until vaccines were widely available. New Zealand and South Korea come to mind.

          There were other countries that handled this well, with a strict COVID policy until vaccines were widely available. New Zealand and South Korea come to mind.

          3 votes
          1. babypuncher
            Link Parent
            Absolutely, I think those countries had a sensible approach. There's nothing sensible about what China has been doing in 2022 though. They could very easily allow the use of more effective...

            Absolutely, I think those countries had a sensible approach. There's nothing sensible about what China has been doing in 2022 though.

            They could very easily allow the use of more effective vaccines from western nations, but they refuse. Presumably this is out of some misplaced sense of pride?

            They have the power to force people to stay home for weeks or even months at a time yet somehow can't get the vaccines they do have into arms. If you're going to go for an authoritarian approach, at least take one that actually has potential to mitigate the problem.

            4 votes
      4. [5]
        rosco
        Link Parent
        Straps on tinfoil hat. There is more and more evidence coming to light that covid was lab leak and I'm wondering if China knows the effects better than most of us having created it.

        Straps on tinfoil hat.

        There is more and more evidence coming to light that covid was lab leak and I'm wondering if China knows the effects better than most of us having created it.

        2 votes
        1. [2]
          Loire
          Link Parent
          Unlikely, unless they were running experiments for years on a large human population (at which point it would have leaked well before 2020). Since 2020 the virus has infected hundreds of millions...

          Unlikely, unless they were running experiments for years on a large human population (at which point it would have leaked well before 2020). Since 2020 the virus has infected hundreds of millions worldwide. In the last three years it has become one of the most studied viruses in history. We have a very large sample size to study. The only knowledge a Chinese lab could have beyond what we've discovered is time based, which at this point, unless they had been infecting and studying humans for years, is unlikely.

          Likewise if they had some greater knowlesge of the released virus why would they have taken their time in late 2019/early 2020 locking down?

          Finally, regardless of some advanced knowledge of COVID, lockdowns don't work long term and even the CCP knows that. The virus is out circulating in every country. Is China going to stay locked down forever? Are they going to forever prevent other humans from crossing into China? COVID isn't going away.

          The reality is 146 million chinese, mostly elderly are unvaccinated. That number of infections would overrun their healthcare system and the deaths would overrun their capacity to handle it. Likewise the vaccine the other 90% have recieved isnt particularely effective. The CCP is an authoritarian regime and authoritarian regimes only understand one way of solving a problem. They have spent the last 3 years expanding their lockdown infrastructure, instead of developing means of life going on under COVID. They are going to use the weapon they have designed.

          8 votes
          1. rosco
            Link Parent
            Takes off foil hat. Yeah, that makes more sense.

            Takes off foil hat.

            Yeah, that makes more sense.

            1 vote
        2. [2]
          NoblePath
          Link Parent
          Where are you seeing “more and more evidence?”

          Where are you seeing “more and more evidence?”

          5 votes
          1. rosco
            Link Parent
            I was referring to the ProPublica article. I'm of two minds about the article because of who they sourced information from (Rubio's aid) but I also really trust ProPublica's due diligence process....

            I was referring to the ProPublica article. I'm of two minds about the article because of who they sourced information from (Rubio's aid) but I also really trust ProPublica's due diligence process. Still on the fence, but I think a lab leak is probable.

            But, I have changed my mind on this specific comment and think @Loire provided a much more likely explanation to China's policies in their reply.

            1 vote
    2. [11]
      nukeman
      Link Parent
      The government’s insistence on zero-COVID comes from several factors: low vaccination rates among the elderly (and concerns of a major spike in deaths when opening up), lower efficacy of Chinese...

      The government’s insistence on zero-COVID comes from several factors: low vaccination rates among the elderly (and concerns of a major spike in deaths when opening up), lower efficacy of Chinese vaccines versus comparable Western vaccines (and refusal to authorize such vaccines for use), sunk cost (partly based on previous success) and the potential for making the CCP look bad, and (based on one hypothesis), the use of lockdowns as a way of more effectively stifling dissent.

      10 votes
      1. [5]
        Greg
        Link Parent
        I think my issue is that even with all of that in mind, I still struggle to see how the government are expecting it to pan out favourably. The concern over the elderly seems by far the most valid...

        I think my issue is that even with all of that in mind, I still struggle to see how the government are expecting it to pan out favourably. The concern over the elderly seems by far the most valid there, and I'm very aware that my understanding of how age plays into social hierarchy in China is superficial at best, but it still seems weirdly inconsistent to put such onerous restrictions on the younger population to make up for the older people's free choices. It's authoritarianism for one age group not just to provide liberty for another, but to actively shield them from the consequences of it.

        The rest all seems fairly counterproductive - I appreciate you taking the time to go through it, genuinely, but I still come away thinking that a decent PR person could spin them into government wins without too much difficulty. It goes back to that feeling that if I can see the holes in the plan from here, surely the people implementing it must have thought a few steps further and have something up their sleeve, you know?

        5 votes
        1. [2]
          teaearlgraycold
          Link Parent
          My understanding of governments like theirs is that it’s largely based on lies between departments. And you can’t actually make real decisions when you don’t know what internal numbers are real...

          My understanding of governments like theirs is that it’s largely based on lies between departments. And you can’t actually make real decisions when you don’t know what internal numbers are real and which are there to save face.

          5 votes
          1. Greg
            Link Parent
            That’s definitely an interesting one - it’s a lot easier for a bad decision to look good if there’s faulty data backing it up, which could explain a lot.

            That’s definitely an interesting one - it’s a lot easier for a bad decision to look good if there’s faulty data backing it up, which could explain a lot.

            3 votes
        2. [3]
          Comment deleted by author
          Link Parent
          1. [2]
            Bullmaestro
            Link Parent
            Very unlikely that it was a lab leak. The only remotely plausible conspiracy theory in relation to COVID is that China deliberately let the outbreak escalate into a global pandemic either to...

            Very unlikely that it was a lab leak. The only remotely plausible conspiracy theory in relation to COVID is that China deliberately let the outbreak escalate into a global pandemic either to weaken the rest of the world or to harm Trump's chances of re-election.

            Of course if there was any malice in how the CCP handled this crisis, it's backfired on them immensely. This might be a watershed moment for Xi.

            1 vote
            1. moocow1452
              Link Parent
              Why is it more likely that China intentionally caused a pandemic for supervillain purposes as opposed to someone messing up their lab procedures? Not saying lableak is totes for real either, but...

              Very unlikely that it was a lab leak. The only remotely plausible conspiracy theory in relation to COVID is that China deliberately let the outbreak escalate into a global pandemic...

              Why is it more likely that China intentionally caused a pandemic for supervillain purposes as opposed to someone messing up their lab procedures? Not saying lableak is totes for real either, but it stands to reason that there's something between either "China is telling the truth" or "China planned a global catastrophe to trigger the libs."

              15 votes
      2. [5]
        PantsEnvy
        Link Parent
        BBC has a new article that mentions almost the same points you did. Then the article goes into a little more detail I think that paints a picture of the conundrum. If you have been told COVID is a...

        BBC has a new article that mentions almost the same points you did.

        So could the government listen to the protesters, and unwind zero Covid?

        To do that now - while minimising deaths and infections - would be difficult, due to the country's low vaccination rates among the elderly, a lack of highly effective domestic vaccines, and the government's continued refusal to follow the rest of the world in using foreign vaccines.

        Then the article goes into a little more detail

        "Over the last two years Mr Xi backed himself into a corner by owning the zero-Covid policy. The most rational way for him to handle the situation if protests continue to grow is to pressure local authorities to crack down hard while distancing himself.

        "But then there is a risk that local authorities might refuse to follow the directive closely as they are worn down by the zero-Covid rigidities too."

        China recently appeared to test the waters by loosening measures slightly, where they reduced some quarantine periods and stopped recording secondary contacts.

        But, as seen in other countries such as Singapore and Australia which transitioned from zero Covid to living with the virus, any relaxation of measures would inevitably result in a jump in infections and deaths.

        This is an outcome which Chinese authorities still appear unwilling to accept.

        Many cities including Beijing and Guangzhou have once again put in place restrictions to tackle fresh outbreaks, even though experts have warned it is difficult to maintain zero Covid for the long term given the virus' rapid evolution and government's finite resources.

        Part of the problem is the fear among officials that Covid deaths will spiral out of control and cause social unrest.

        But there is also the lingering fear of Covid among the Chinese - after three years of being conditioned by the state to view the virus as a fearsome enemy - as well as a continued lack of effective vaccines.

        In recent weeks, rumours spread in the city of Shijiazhuang and the Foxconn factory complex in Zhengzhou that residents would be used as "guinea pigs" to see what would happen if Covid was allowed to spread unchecked.

        In both places this prompted widespread panic and even led Zhengzhou workers to stage a mass breakout.

        For some, this fear has now been replaced by anger. In recent demonstrations, protesters have gathered in huge, dense crowds with some defiantly taking off their masks, as they call for freedom and restrictions to end.

        I think that paints a picture of the conundrum. If you have been told COVID is a fearsome disease, but Xi will keep you safe through Zero COVID restrictions, lifting any restrictions would naturally result in rumors and lead to social unrest... but then with the soccer world cup coverage you see the rest of the world has no restrictions, it makes some people angry at the restrictions, also leading to social unrest.

        What is an authoritarian regime to do?

        5 votes
        1. [4]
          skybrian
          Link Parent
          Set a deadline to get everyone vaccinated. Make it known when the zero-COVID policy will end.

          Set a deadline to get everyone vaccinated. Make it known when the zero-COVID policy will end.

          1 vote
          1. [3]
            PantsEnvy
            Link Parent
            The Chinese vaccine is less effective. If hospitals were overwhelmed it could result in social unrest. You have to understand why the fence is there before you remove it. And I am not sure why the...

            The Chinese vaccine is less effective. If hospitals were overwhelmed it could result in social unrest.

            You have to understand why the fence is there before you remove it. And I am not sure why the proverbial fence is stopping the Chinese Government from using some of the proven paths forwards.

            1 vote
            1. [2]
              skybrian
              Link Parent
              Not being able to use non-Chinese vaccines seems to be a political problem. They could have chosen differently: China’s first mRNA vaccine is close — will that solve its COVID woes? It's true that...

              Not being able to use non-Chinese vaccines seems to be a political problem. They could have chosen differently:

              China’s first mRNA vaccine is close — will that solve its COVID woes?

              Chinese companies had planned to import the mRNA vaccine made by BioNTech and Pfizer. As early as March 2020, a Shanghai-based drug company, Fosun Pharma, struck a deal with BioNTech to sell its vaccine on the Chinese mainland and in Hong Kong once the regulators greenlit the product. But the approval of the highly effective vaccine is still pending on the mainland, despite data from a phase II trial in China showing that the vaccine triggers a robust immune response and is safe to use in adults2.

              The reasons for the delay are unclear, but it’s likely to be political, says Yanzhong Huang, a specialist in Chinese health policy at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York City.

              The Chinese government has accepted foreign clinical-trial data to accelerate drug-approval processes since 2017. And drugs that are required urgently, such as vaccines during a pandemic, can receive fast-tracked reviews. “There’s no other reason to explain the delay except techno-nationalism,” Huang says. He adds that the Chinese government probably prefers its first mRNA vaccine to be a home-grown jab such as ARCoV.

              It's true that we're ignorant of how decision-making works in China, but that works both ways. We don't know if there are hidden good reasons for what they do, or if their decision-making is as bad as it looks.

              3 votes
              1. PantsEnvy
                Link Parent
                Looks like they are going down the tried and true path of loosening restrictions in some regions and seeing what happens. Chinese city of Guangzhou eases COVID curbs after protests

                Looks like they are going down the tried and true path of loosening restrictions in some regions and seeing what happens.

                Chinese city of Guangzhou eases COVID curbs after protests

                3 votes
  4. Jakobeha
    Link
    How is life in China affected by Zero-Covid outside of the quarantine zones? Are people still doing important work and research? Are they hanging out with friends and strangers, albeit masked? My...

    How is life in China affected by Zero-Covid outside of the quarantine zones?

    Are people still doing important work and research? Are they hanging out with friends and strangers, albeit masked? My understanding is that the average Chinese citizen pre-covid was already very isolated, how much is Covid affecting that?

    2 votes
  5. [2]
    Fal
    Link
    China eases virus controls amid effort to head off protests
    2 votes
    1. Qis
      Link Parent
      I am wholly despairing over the likelihood that any of this is correct. I have come to fear that there is simply no integrated english language accounting for the modern cultural dynamics of the...

      I am wholly despairing over the likelihood that any of this is correct. I have come to fear that there is simply no integrated english language accounting for the modern cultural dynamics of the people of china. I now presume that the nuances will be totally occluded. I can't discern anything! This BBC article you've linked contains ZERO proper nouns besides placenames, top-level leaders, and the names of ethnic groups... it's like reading a World Factbook Encyclopedia. The only exception is the quotation from a posting "signed Qi Xiaojin on the popular Sina Weibo platform" that I cannot source anywhere on the internet, I've been looking for about half an hour. No good searching Weibo myself, my translate tools think this page is in SWEDISH?

      1 vote