With “Covid Zero”, China has proven that it is good at controlling. Management is more difficult.

With “Covid Zero”, China has proven that it is good at controlling. Management is more difficult.

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Widespread WeChat article speculated that the fever drug shortage reflected the government’s lack of preparation to loosen controls. And if the government had shown the same political will it had in pursuing “zero Covid”, the article argues, it could have ensured the availability of sufficient such drugs.

“He doesn’t care about ordinary people, leaving them to fend for themselves and even revels in their chaos,” the article says, and it urges officials to show up where society needs them most. to regain trust.

Low trust in government leads people to help themselves and help each other. In local WeChat groups, people agreed to share their fever medicine and rapid test kits with their neighbors.

Tencent, the social media giant, has also built a WeChat program where people can request medicine from strangers for an extra fee. The pleas for help are modest: six acetaminophen tablets; four ibuprofen tablets; two quick test kits; a thermometer.

They ask strangers for help because they don’t get it from their government.

“Don’t expect anything from Leviathan – there’s no point in appealing either,” Chen Ming, a former journalist better known by his pseudonym Xiao Shu, wrote on his WeChat timeline, referring to the central government. “In the end, we have to help ourselves.”

Only by building a broad network of social connections, he continued, “can we weave a real social safety net in the darkest moment, build a real Noah’s Ark and save countless lives.”

This is exactly the kind of governance crisis that Mr. Xi once warned the party about.

“It is not for us to judge the governance capacity or performance of our party; they must and can only be judged by the people,” Mr. Xi said in a speech in 2013. “If we are pretentious and separate ourselves from the people or place ourselves above them, we will surely be abandoned by them. This applies to every party and is an iron law that allows no exceptions.

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