Internet censorship crackdown, Jinping’s concerns and Lee’s optimism, here’s how Covid is faring in China

As the lunar new year festival approaches, China has announced an internet censorship crackdown to ensure that there are no “gloomy sentiments” caused by pandemic rumours.  The Guardian reports that the month-long “Spring Festival online improvement” programme is set to target people posting content that could be deemed as rumours by the authorities.

Watch | China: Covid containment still under stress but there is light ahead, says Xi Jinping

As per the national cyber administration, it will undertake an “in-depth rectification of false information and other issues to prevent gloomy sentiments”. It also announced punishment for people “fabricating patient experiences”. This comes as social media has been awash with people sharing their personal stories about their struggle to get treatment and shortage of medicines after contracting the deadly virus.

Following the sudden scrapping of China’s stringent zero-Covid policy last month, the nation started reporting increasingly higher figures of those affected by the coronavirus.

As per a report by the Economic Times, Chinese premier Xi Jinping too has expressed concern about the virus situation in China’s countryside. 

Xinhua news agency reported that the leader said that “he was primarily concerned about rural areas and rural residents after the country adjusted its Covid-19 response measures.”

During the upcoming holiday season in China, millions of people are expected to travel from cities — in what is being called the largest migration — back home to the rural countryside.

However, defending his zero-Covid policy the leader reportedly said that the move had been “a right choice”.

On the other hand, Hong Kong leader John Lee, as per a Time report, showed optimism and said that he hopes to remove the last of pandemic curbs this year. 

In an interview with Hong Kong Commercial Daily, he said, “My hope in 2023 is to remove all Covid restrictions”. He also said he hopes “all problems will be resolved in the first quarter.”

(With inputs from agencies)

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