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China's COVID Coverup Is The Perfect Script For One-Party Rule

That it fools nobody is essential to the plot. That people are dying turns it into tragedy.

 Photo of a nurse treats patients infected with COVID-19 at a hospital in Fuyang City, China, on Jan. 4, 2023.

A nurse treats patients infected with COVID-19 in Fuyang City, China, on Jan. 4, 2023.

Pierre Haski


Rarely has the gap between official information and reality been so wide. Every night at 8 p.m., China's newscast opens with a long montage devoted to the daily activities of the country's leaders, by order of importance: Xi Jinping at an economic meeting, Xi Jinping publishing a new book ... Then, after 20 minutes or so, some images about COVID, just in passing, and mainly to highlight that the Party line is the right one.

Among the Chinese population, it is exactly the opposite. COVID dominates conversations: the race for drugs, saturated hospitals with beds set up outside, endless waits at crematoriums working non-stop. And death, with the number of pandemic casualties unknown since the government has changed the definition of what constitutes a COVID victim.

On social media, we learn of the death of an old opera singer, a retired university professor, or an aging artist. Without ever mentioning COVID as the cause — the post would be censored. But no one is fooled.

Economic recovery v. saving lives 

The onslaught of the pandemic has ravaged major Chinese cities since the brutal policy change last month. After a three-year quest for “Zero COVID," the priority now is no longer coronavirus, but instead kickstarting the stalled economic recovery.

It is impossible to know the extent of contaminations. Firstly, because China hardly tests anyone anymore: test centers have been dismantled, now useless under the new laissez-faire deal. The authorities simply announced that a new peak had been reached in Beijing.

And secondly, because China does not provide complete information to the World Health Organization (WHO), which has openly complained — a rare criticism of Beijing.

A Pfizer paradox

Finally, China is facing a new challenge: the Chinese New Year, next week, with hundreds of millions of people joining their families and spreading the virus in rural or more remote areas – regions in which the health system is even more fragile than in cities.

Beijing is going after its critics abroad.

In an effort to save face, Beijing is going after its critics abroad, starting with countries that impose checks on arrival of flights from China. "Unacceptable," says Beijing.

China scrapped visa access this week for South Korean and Japanese nationals — two countries where passengers traveling from China get tested on arrival. This is even more surprising since China still requires a PCR test to be able to enter its territory.

But this over-reaction is primarily intended to make the outside world a scapegoat. Beijing has also multiplied warnings against the new American variant XBB 1.5, wondering why Europe does not control passengers from the U.S. The answer is obviously linked to the vaccine.

Speaking of which, the initiative from Citic, a Hong-Kong subsidiary of a Chinese state bank, boggles the mind: It promises a dose of the Pfizer vaccine to any customer who opens an account with a deposit of 500,000 euros. And yet, the Pfizer vaccine is not available in mainland China — primarily because it is American!

Contradictions have never bothered China, where the Party is always right.

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The Colonial Spirit And "Soft Racism" Of White Savior Syndrome

Tracing back to Christian colonialism, which was supposed to somehow "civilize" and save the souls of native people, White Savior Syndrome lives on in modern times: from Mother Teresa to Princess Diana and the current First Lady of Colombia, Verónica Alcocer.

photo of a child patient holding hand of an adult

Good intentions are part of the formula

Ton Koene / Vwpics/ZUMA
Sher Herrera


CARTAGENA — The White Savior Syndrome is a social practice that exploits or economically, politically, symbolically takes advantage of individuals or communities they've racialized, perceiving them as in need of being saved and thus forever indebted and grateful to the white savior.

Although this racist phenomenon has gained more visibility and sparked public debate with the rise of social media, it is actually as old as European colonization itself. It's important to remember that one of Europe's main justifications for subjugating, pillaging and enslaving African and American territories was to bring "civilization and save their souls" through "missions."

Even today, many white supremacists hold onto these ideas. In other words, they believe that we still owe them something.

This white savior phenomenon is a legacy of Christian colonialism, and among its notable figures, we can highlight Saint Peter Claver, known as "the slave of the slaves," Bartolomé de Las Casas, Mother Teresa of Calcutta, Princess Diana herself, and even the First Lady of Colombia, Verónica Alcocer.

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