- Omicron variant arrives in China
- Cancel Culture on behalf of the People’s Republic
- Sinolytics.Radar on risk score for companies
- Beijing: Economic stability over climate goals
- Customs food regulations will change with the new year
- Diplomatic boycott of Winter Games: NGOs call on EU
- Weibo has to pay fine
- German machinery manufacturers lower forecast
- Chinese air purifier wins consumer award
- Profile: Li Shuo – Policy advisor for Greenpeace East Asia
WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus expects the Omicron variant of the Coronavirus to spread rapidly. However, the reality is, that omicron has probably already arrived in most countries, even if the variant has not yet been detected everywhere, the WHO director-general said on Tuesday.
While the rest of the world has been worried about the new Omicron variant for several weeks, China only reported its first case at the beginning of the week. Ning Wang takes a look at the current pandemic situation in the People’s Republic and Hong Kong. But a sublineage of the Delta variant is currently a bigger concern than Omicron. In Zhejiang, it resulted in a lockdown for half a million people. Hopes of re-opening the borders are thus dwindling once again – as current developments are further encouraging Beijing in its zero-corona policy.
Rénròu Sōusuo (人肉搜), the “human flesh search engine”, terrifies public figures in China. This is the Mandarin term for an online witch-hunt, which befalls individuals or even companies after an intentional or careless mishap.
In the People’s Republic, however, this happens on a whole different level. There, insulting Chinese culture or the Chinese people has become the greatest possible sin on the web. Our author Fabian Peltsch analyzed the nationalistic Cancel Culture: While such online smear campaigns do stem from patriotic feelings, they are also partly orchestrated by the government.
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Border opening becomes unlikely
While the rest of the world grows nervous about the emergence of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus with great concern for the past two weeks, China only confirmed the first case earlier this week. A traveler from abroad tested positive for the variant on Monday after arriving in Tianjin, about 150 kilometers north of Beijing. Another case was then reported in Guangzhou on Tuesday. There have also been cases of Omicron infection in Hong Kong. A traveler from South Africa is even said to have infected another traveler with the virus during quarantine.
However, outbreaks of the Delta variant continue to cause the greatest concern in the People’s Republic: In the province of Zhejiang, an increase in infections was reported on Tuesday and, as a result, around 540,000 people were sent into quarantine. Mass testing and lockdowns have been imposed. According to reports, most cases in the economically strong province have been registered in the cities of Ningbo, Shaoxing, and Hangzhou. Hundreds of flights were canceled at the airport in Hangzhou, the provincial capital. Numerous businesses had to close temporarily in the Zhenhai district in the city of Ningbo.
Most of the registered cases in Zhejiang were mainly of the so-called AY.4 sublineage of the Delta variant, according to reports by broadcaster CGTN. This sub-variant shows a higher viral load and therefore has a higher transmission rate, media reports said. Observers now expect the measures to be imposed more strictly again. The new Omicron variant could now become the reason for a further tightening of China’s zero-tolerance policy towards the virus.