A Peek Into Every Day China : Shanghai – The Tip of The Covid Iceberg in China By Lt Gen P R Shankar (R)


This is a follow up of my article @

China has a long and ugly history of famine, displacement, and civil unrest. The social contract between the government and the people is that the CCP ensures a steady improvement in quality of life, and people  won’t quibble too much about the path that which takes them there. That is why Chinese don’t rise up against the CCP. As far as there is constant improvement ,even if it is incremental in nature, they remain satisfied. While Chinese make much about their revenge against the humiliation of colonialism they are also worried about the of humiliation of poverty and hunger. In a primal sense , hunger and lack of food worries them.  This is inbuilt in their psyche. The topic of ‘food security’ comes far too much into news and debate. Anything which upsets the overall social balance in China worries the CCP. Their ticket to power is threatened. In this context, Covid worries them most. It threatens to upset their apple cart. For two years they kept it within manageable limits through their ultra-strict zero covid policy. That has been breached in Shanghai. Shanghai is out of control at present. 

The major fear is that If covid escapes Shanghai into the general population the CCP is in trouble. Reasonable estimates put the death toll at upwards of 5 million people. China is at a critical stage. If things are not brought under control they are faced with the possibility of civil unrest caused by scarcity- either from lockdowns, or by a shortage of workers able to deliver supplies due to illness. Most of this preamble is not my imagination but from Chinese social media leaks. 

To give flesh to what I have said so far I have presented recent  news items emanating from the South China Morning Post with my comments and some analysis from New York Times. The idea as always is to give you a ‘Peek Into Everyday China’ from Chinese sources.  


Headline : Shanghai Covid lockdown: Chinese community officials feel strain of sleepless nights, mounting workload @

Excerpts : Community officials organise Covid-19 tests, distribute necessities and coordinate transport of coronavirus patients and close contacts to isolation…Many are feeling the strain of China’s worsening coronavirus outbreak…A resignation letter by a Shanghai community official and a recorded conversation between another community official and a resident have emerged on Chinese social media, revealing a picture of low-level officials struggling in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic…. he was resigning due to his frustration from his work in the anti-Covid-19 campaign…The recorded conversation was between a resident of Hong Kong Beauty Garden, a compound in the Hongkou District, and their community’s party secretary Liu Miao.

My Comments: Officials who are handling the execution of the Zero Covid policy are human after all…the strain seems to be showing them.  

 Headline : Shanghai lockdown tests limits of China’s dynamic zero Covid-19 policy

Excerpts :  As the financial powerhouse battles to control infections, its 25 million people and the country’s economy are paying a high price…Strict pandemic measures across the country could cost US$46 billion per month in lost economic output as social acceptance also wears thin…Soon after midnight on Thursday, a group of 7,500 medical staff boarded buses in Jiangsu province, on a round trip to Shanghai around 300km (186 miles) away, a total journey time of 12 hours…They arrived at the stricken metropolis in the early hours, donned protection suits and spent the day swabbing the throats of hundreds of thousands of residents for Covid-19, before starting the long drive home that evening….Similar journeys were made by more than 30,000 other medical staff from at least 15 provinces to help the city carry out mass testing of its 25 million people, currently enduring the largest effort to control the virus since it was first reported in Wuhan two years ago.

My Comments : What happens when the virus hits other areas? A similar exercise will commence from other districts/areas I suppose. This is a huge exercise which we will see in China from hereon on a regular basis. Ominous.  


Headline : China was the world’s biggest Covid-19 vaccine exporter. Not any more @

Excerpts : Shipments have dropped off this year and Chinese vaccines no longer make up the bulk of supplies in low- and middle-income countries.That is partly to do with the availability of other vaccines with better efficacy data, analysts say, but it’s also because there is less demand

My Comments : This proves it beyond doubt that Chinese vaccines are poor and will not prevent Covid. 


Headline: No home isolation for mild Covid-19 cases, China’s chief epidemiologist says

Excerpts : China will not let asymptomatic Covid-19 patients isolate at home because of the risk of spreading the disease or developing severe illness, according to one of the country’s top epidemiologists….“There remain risks if the so-called asymptomatic carriers are quarantined at home,” said Wu Zunyou, chief epidemiologist at the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention …as he defended the policy to send all asymptomatic carriers to centralised quarantine facilities….“There are two kinds of risks. First, they may further spread the disease [at home], and second, the person might have missed the best chance for treatment [if he shows symptoms later]. The person may become severely ill or face the risk of death…

My Comments: Chinese will defend their logic of the Zero Covid policy to the hilt. It appears that their fixation to root out the virus through lockdowns keeps getting reinforced by the day. In fact they have no other choice.


Headline : China’s premier flags ‘sense of urgency’ to provincial leaders in call to action@

Excerpts: With economic challenges mounting from both internal and external sources, Li Keqiang implores local-level authorities to do their part…amid growing frustration over China’s restrictive zero-Covid efforts…Beijing is attempting to put the country on high alert for “unexpected changes” both domestically and externally, with a fresh warning of mounting downward pressure on the world’s second-largest economy….The premier called on the local authorities to keep employment and prices stable, to help shore up the Chinese economy.

My Comments: if the PM has to start warning public about unexpected changes…then the situation is grim indeed. 

Headline: Guangdong lockdown ‘would be a disaster’ for Hong Kong’s logistics sector, industry players warn @


Excerpts : A Covid-19 lockdown in the Guangdong region in mainland China could spell trouble for Hong Kong’s logistics sector, industry representatives and lawmakers have warned, as local distributors begin stocking up on consumable items to ensure a continuous flow of supply….The concerns were raised after Guangdong province tightened pandemic prevention measures despite logging only a dozen daily cases in the past week, with cities including Shenzhen launching mass testing in some areas and Guangzhou imposing entry curbs on most arrivals.


My Comments : This is a typical domino effect which one should expect to see in China henceforth.  

Headline: Shanghai Covid lockdown spurs race to stockpile food across China @


Excerpts : Reports of food shortages in the country’s commercial capital have prompted a flurry of interest in what essentials to hoard…Multiple survivors guides are circulating online and some bloggers are even selling survivalists guides…Stockpiling has become a hot topic on Chinese social media as news spreads of the plight of Shanghai residents who are struggling to secure food supplies under lockdown.

My Comments : Panic…panic and panic…

Headline: China to enter an era of snap lockdowns after Shanghai’s failed Omicron experience@

Excerpts : If everything goes as planned, Shanghai will successfully bring the current wave under control in the coming weeks, but the question being asked is ‘what’s next?’…China could enter a period of frequent and localised lockdowns, but if brief and confined to a specific district or county, the rest of the country won’t be affected…The ongoing lockdown in Shanghai looks puzzling on the surface. On the one hand, official data shows that the Omicron Covid-19 variant has done very little, if any, damage to human health as there’s only one reported serious illness and zero deaths…On the other hand, the draconian measures – with the stated purpose of protecting life and health in the city – have created numerous cases of human suffering, even if economic losses are not calculated.

My Comment: China cannot let go…if they let go the virus will eat them…if they lockdown and lockdown and lockdown…their economy will suffer and people will get even more disgusted… 

New York Times View


Headline : Lockdowns in China Block Truck Shipments and Close Factories

Excerpts: China’s Covid lockdowns and restrictions are holding up truck drivers who carry crucial components among factories and take products to ports, posing a new disruption to the global supply chain.…A growing number of Chinese cities are requiring truck drivers to take daily Covid P.C.R. tests before allowing them to cross municipal borders or are quarantining drivers deemed to be at risk of infection. The measures have limited how quickly drivers can move components among factories and goods from plants to ports…“The problem is not ships — it’s that there’s no cargo coming because there are no trucks…But as lockdowns stretch on in cities like Shanghai, Changchun and Shenyang, factories are starting to run out of materials to assemble. Some are sending their workers home until further notice.

Headline : Shanghai Seethes in Covid Lockdown, Posing Test to China’sLeadership@


Excerpts : As the coronavirus races through Shanghai, in the city’s worst outbreak since the pandemic began, the authorities have deployed their usual hard-nosed playbook to try and stamp out transmission, no matter the cost. What has been different is the response: an outpouring of public dissatisfaction rarely seen in China since the chaotic early days of the pandemic, in Wuhan…The crisis in Shanghai is shaping up to be more than just a public health challenge. It is also a political test of the zero tolerance approach at large, on which the Communist Party has staked its legitimacy…. For now, the government looks largely unmoved. A Chinese vice premier visited Shanghai and demanded that officials focus on eliminating cases “without hesitation.” Public health experts have warned that China is unprepared to live with the coronavirus, with just over half of people aged 80 and over fully vaccinated

My Overall Comment : “Those whom the gods wish to destroy they first make mad“. The CCP is fighting for survival at one level and Xi Jinping wants to make an ageing China into a superpower at another! The problem is widespread and the situation is worse than we think…Shanghai is only the tip of the iceberg…this is going to be compounded by the geopolitical divisions emanating from the Russo Ukrainian war. 


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