amw (amw) wrote,

Tomb Sweeping Weekend

This weekend is a long weekend for Tomb Sweeping Day. Traditionally people go to visit cemeteries and spend time with their ancestors, but this year the government has advised everyone to stay at home.

I kind of hate this lockdown even more then the lockdown we had before. This is a lockdown of the mind.

On paper, all businesses have reopened. In theory, everyone has gone back to work. The schools are still closed so parents are at home, but that's understandable. What's depressing to me is, now that the government made their measures advisory, how many have decided to continue voluntarily shutting themselves out from society.

Guangdong province has over 100 million people. According to the government, only 8 people here have died of coronavirus. That number has been unchanged for a month or more. While it's very likely that the government under-counted and hid some coronavirus deaths amongst the normal deaths that happen every day, there's no way they could've covered up tens or hundreds of thousands more deaths than normal. Whether that means that coronavirus never made it to Guangdong, or whether it means that the hospitals successfully absorbed the extra cases, doesn't really matter. What matters is this thing is not a big deal in Guangdong province, and it never was.

So why the fuck is everyone still freaking out? Why has the government still got the urban villages fenced off? Why are they allowing nightclubs to open on one hand, but telling people not to sweep tombs on the other?

They are playing some kind of have your cake and eat it game. Nobody in China trusts the government numbers. But if a few percent of the country had really been knocked off by this thing, literally everyone would have lost extended family members. You can't cover that up in a culture where family ties are so important. But many people aren't rational: they distrust the government numbers, while also completely trusting the government advice to use totalitarian location-tracking apps and avoid all unpoliced gatherings.

This is exactly the shit i have been complaining about since day one. The CPC has used this virus as an excuse to bring extreme, Xinjiang-style policing to the rest of the the country. They calculated that if people distrust them on the numbers, they can parlay that fear into a widespread acceptance of authoritarian measures. Checkmate, Xi wins.

But it's a dangerous game, because if the government makes people too paranoid, they run the risk of collapsing the national spirit. I'm pretty sure the CPC knows if they turn China into DDR-era East Germany, they lose.

It's the same game politicians are playing in the west. Governments seem keen to make everyone terrified of a virus which in reality will not wipe out the vast majority of the people it infects. This isn't the zombie apocalypse, for fuck's sake. But the politicians know that unless people are terrified, they will not stay home, and if they do not stay home, it will expose just how precarious the healthcare systems are, which is bad news for the government. Much better to keep everyone scared and try spin this whole thing as a feel-good story of national solidarity.

Nothing like that classic feel-good story of banning foreigners from entering your country, banning outsiders from entering your town, banning people from taking a walk, forcing returnees into quarantine, and then continuing with months of treating strangers like they're walking clouds of anthrax.

Oh well.

Yesterday i got tattooed, an angry scrawl of calligraphy. It felt good to lie there and hurt, something in my life i still have some kind of control over right now.

不自由毋寧死 - it means "without freedom, i'd rather die" and is used in China as the canonical translation for "give me liberty or give me death".
Tags: china, freedom, politics

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