One hashtag about Beijing “pop-up windows” started on Oct 5 and generated over 12 million views by Tuesday. At least one similar hashtag was censored.
“I’m a pregnant woman that has done nothing. This pop-up window has delayed my pregancy check in Beijing. How can people live like this?” user monianOPQ wrote on Monday (Oct 11).
In May, Xi called out critics of China’s zero-COVID policy amid widespread anger at a months-long and often chaotic lockdown in Shanghai, China’s most populous city. A lockdown in Beijing during Congress would be an even larger dent on Xi and the Party’s unwavering commitment to zero-COVID.
Besides the COVID “pop-up windows”, Beijing authorities recently introduced a series of measures to show their commitment to keeping the Congress virus-free, from reinforcing COVID-19 monitoring teams at key airports and railway stations to increasing the frequency of COVID testing for office workers.
“UNITE AROUND COMRADE XI”
Red banners with slogans written in a large white font have been placed on bridges overlooking major thoroughfares in Beijing. One reads: “Closely unite around Comrade Xi Jinping as the core of the Party Central Committee.”
Xi is widely expected to break with precedent and win a third term as party general secretary, China’s most powerful post, securing his place as the country’s most powerful leader.
As authorities seek to avoid any potential risk ahead of the big event there were signs that certain services in the capital were being curtailed.
“You cannot send out certain packages from Beijing and won’t be able to receive certain packages coming from outside of Beijing at the moment due to the Party Congress,” a delivery worker at SF Express, a major Chinese courier firm, told Reuters late last month. SF Express did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
A banker, who declined to be named due to the sensitvity of the matter, told Reuters that applications for new financial products or businesses were on hold ahead of the Congress.
“If you want to apply for a new product, or if you want to upgrade a new system in October, that’s all suspended,” the banker said.
“Regulators would tell you that new products involve risks (and say) ‘Couldn’t you just wait for another 30 days?'”