To ensure that the Beijing Winter Olympics events happen accordingly, China employed a variety of strategies to keep people from travelling amid the pandemic.
China has used both rewards and punishment tactics to prevent people from traveling home during the Chinese New Year holiday.
They include threatening with imprisonment if returning to their home town, and offering cash rewards for informants.
Bincheng in Shandong province issued a notice on Jan. 20th, “rewarding” those who provide clues to the local authorities. The informer will be rewarded with 80 USD, if the given clue helps indentify a person with hidden travelling history to infected areas from abroad.
The offer is ranged from 100 to 500 yuan (about 15 USD to 79 USD) for a piece of information on a person who has close contact with Covid infected patients; or on a suspected case; or violations during self-quarantine, and big gatherings such as festivals and in-person meeting.
As Beijing Winter Olympics are only two weeks away. Xi Jinping issued an order on January 4th to ensure the event’s success. however, on January 24th, there are new COVID cases emerging in Beijing through local transmission.
Cai Qi, Beijing Municipal Party Secretary on January 17 again called for the success of the Winter Olympics and asked people to spend New Year’s Eve at home unless necessary.
Beijing painter Zhang Le told a Chinese media that in the CCP’s efforts to save face for the Winter Olympics they did not hesitate to ruin people’s lives. It used to be prisons, and now it is in the form of a frozen population.
Zhang Le said that the zero-covid policy did more harm than good. Not only is it uneffective, but large-scale COVID testing possibly increased local transmission. Last month, more than 80,000 residents of Beijing’s Pingguan district were asked to be tested for COVID.
A video of Dong Hong, the mayor of Dancheng District, Zhukou City, Henan Province, sparked lively discussions on Jan. 20th. The video shows Dong Hong saying at a meeting: “As long as the person mischievous return, that person will first be quarantined, then detained.”
Dong Hong later explained himself the reason for his statement, calling a Chinese tradition of going home to their family during New Year mischievous, but it caused more backlashes from the public.
Zhang Le said, “Going back to the hometown to reunite with relatives is the Chinese New Year custom. It’s the same every year. This ‘returning home with malice’ is absurd!”
Most local authorities will offer cash rewards for those who stay inside and do not visit their home during this period of time.
Hefei, Anhui province, offered those who stayed in Hefei from Jan. 26th to Feb. 9th 2022 an allowance of 157 USD a day per person.
The standard rewards in Ningbo city, Zhejiang province is 100 yuan about 15 USD up to a maximum of 500 yuan (about $79 USD) per day per person.
Wenzhou, Zhejiang will donate 50,000 to 100,000 yuan (7,898.54 to 15,800.53 USD) to companies that ask employees to stay in Wenzhou during the Lunar New Year.
Shaoxing, Zhejiang, gives employees who work during the Spring Festival a red envelope of 80 to 157 USD.
According to Zhang Li, prohibiting people return to their hometown on New Year’s Day violates their human rights.
Under the strict containment, the stations on New Year’s Day became deserted. According to information from the Chinese press, on Jan. 17th, the first day of the return of the new year, the Beijing West Railway Station was not crowded as usual.
Similarly, Beijing South Railway Station, Zhengzhou Railway Station, and the North Square Bus Terminal of South Station are all empty compared to previous years.
International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Georgieva said on Jan. 22nd that China’s “zero covid” policy is becoming a burden and affecting China’s economic recovery.