The Olympics, scheduled to take place in February, have been under intense scrutiny for years over China's atrocious human rights record, in particular the ongoing genocide of the Uyghur people of East Turkistan. Activists, victims of Chinese oppression, and, increasingly, athletes are calling for the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to relocate the event to a country that respects fundamental human rights. In the event the IOC does not do so – and the IOC has loudly backed doing business with the Chinese Communist Party – supporters of the anti-Olympics movement have urged countries to boycott the event.
On Wednesday, the day before Christmas Eve, officials in Xi'an announced a city-wide lockdown, banning residents from leaving their homes. The timing is notable in part because of Xi'an place in early Christian history: it is the home of an artifact known as the Xi'an Stele, which documents the arrival of Christian missionaries to China in 635 AD – more than a thousand years before the current state religion, communist atheism.
The Global Times – emphasizing that Xi'an is home to the Terracotta Warriors of first emperor Qin Shi Huang in an apparent attempt to distract from the city's Christian history – admitted on Thursday that the lockdown was in part a measure to protect the Olympics.
“Xi'an has seen its epidemic triggered by imported sources spread to Beijing, which increased the epidemic prevention and control pressure on China for the Beijing Winter Olympics,” the outlet observed.
“Chinese public health experts said in addition to its grim and complicated epidemic situation, several factors led to the necessary decision of lockdown of Xi'an, including the upcoming major holidays of New Year's Day and Spring Festival, and the Beijing Winter Olympics,” the Global Times reported, “and as multiple community transmission chains were unidentified.”
The Global Times reported that the Communist Party had already started purging local members in Xi'an as retribution for the public health embarrassment.
“Disciplinary authorities in Xi'an have punished 26 people and four local Party organizations and other institutions since December 4 when the city reported an imported case from Pakistan,” the outlet asserted.
China has repeatedly blamed foreign sources for its ongoing coronavirus outbreak, despite minimal evidence supporting this claim. The current outbreak appeared to begin in October, when the Communist Party encouraged national travel to celebrate the founding of the Party, a phenomenon the Chinese regime has dubbed “red tourism.” A tour group from Shanghai first tested positive with the Chinese coronavirus while on tour in Inner Mongolia. While the first cases of the current outbreak were all Chinese nationals traveling domestically, the government insisted that the true source of the outbreak was the packaging of imported products coming into ports in Inner Mongolia.
“There is currently no evidence that people can catch COVID-19 [Chinese coronavirus] from food or food packaging,” the World Health Organization (W.H.O.) said.
The Global Times insisted on Thursday that the manic scramble to lock down the important metropolis “doesn't imply the epidemic in Xi'an is out of control.”
“The epidemic in Xi'an has entered its peak period and will not be brought under control immediately,” a different sentence in the same article read.
China's Xinhua News Agency boasted of the onerous work hours the Communist Party is forcing on essential employees in Xi'an to ensure residents do not violate the lockdown.
“Police officer Li Fuli, 40, began work at 8 a.m. Wednesday and was still patrolling local communities at midnight. Li has not seen his 7-year-old son for almost a week,” Xinhua noted in an article on Thursday. Li's wife is also an essential government employee, leaving unclear who the son has been staying with while the government forces his parents to work.
The Communist Party claims the extreme measures taken in Xi'an were caused by only dozens of cases. By Wednesday, the Global Times claimed the virus had spread to 234 people in two weeks. The newspaper asserted that the cases appear to be caused by the delta variant of the Chinese coronavirus, a more severe but less contagious variant of the one currently dominant in America, the omicron variant.