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White House Releases Statement On COVID-19 Lockdown Protests In China

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On Monday, the Biden administration released a statement on China’s strict COVID-19 lockdown policies following protests by the Chinese people who say that the lockdowns contributed to the deaths of 10 people in a fire at a residential building in Urumqi.

The Biden administration’s statement focused on the lack of efficacy of a “zero COVID” approach rather than the freedom of the Chinese people.

“We’ve said that zero COVID is not a policy we are pursuing here in the United States. And as we’ve said, we think it’s going to be very difficult for the People’s Republic of China to be able to contain this virus through their zero-COVID strategy,” a National Security Council spokesperson said in a statement.

“For us, we are focused on what works and that means using public health tools like: continuing to enhance vaccination rates, including boosters and making testing and treatment easily accessible,” the statement added. “We’ve long said everyone has the right to peacefully protest, here in the United States and around the world. This includes in the PRC.”

On Friday, a deadly fire at a residential building in Urumqi, the capital of China’s far western region of Xinjiang, killed 10 people and injured nine others. The incident resulted in mass protests over China’s COVID-19 lockdowns as many argued the restrictions contributed to the deaths as residents of the city have been prevented from leaving their homes for months.

“Much of Xinjiang, a region of 25 million people, has been under lockdown for more than 100 days as part of the authorities’ heavy-handed response to Covid outbreaks. In some cases, the lockdowns have left residents in dire straits, with trouble securing food and other necessities, like medication and menstruation supplies,” the New York Times reported.

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