Chinese censors deleted what appears to be a misleading quote by a senior Communist Party official published in state media Monday saying the country’s stringent “zero-Covid” policies would last in Beijing “for the next five years,” CNN reported.
Beijing Daily had earlier reported that city Communist Party chief Cai Qi said on Monday that “for the next five years, Beijing will resolutely implement Covid-19 pandemic control measures and uphold the ‘zero-Covid’ policy to prevent imported cases from coming in and domestic cases from rebounding,” according to the cable news broadcaster.
The reference to five years “sparked a huge backlash on Chinese social media,” CNN said. “In response, Beijing Daily removed the line, describing it as an ‘editing error’ while leaving his other remarks about pandemic controls intact,” CNN said.
CNN said it reviewed the entire speech. “While the published quote from Beijing Daily was misleading, Cai did discuss at length the possibility of keeping zero-Covid policies in place in the capital over the next five-year period,” CNN said.
Covid-related lockdowns and transportation restrictions have disrupted supply chains, cut into China’s economic growth, and triggered departures of long-time expatriate entrepreneurs from the country this year.
China media have said the lifting of its zero-Covid policies could lead to the death of as many as 1.5 million people.
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