The Chinese coronavirus originated in central Wuhan, China, in late 2019 – a fact the Chinese Foreign Ministry has repeatedly denied, floating instead an unsubstantiated conspiracy theory that the virus originated in Maryland. A year ago, the Communist Party enthusiastically shared images of large crowds celebrating the New Year in Wuhan in tightly packed spaces, a sign of triumph over the pandemic. International corporate media covered the celebrations but largely failed to follow up with the nationwide outbreak of coronavirus cases that followed two weeks later.
Similarly, the Chinese Communist Party promoted nationwide “red tourism” in October to celebrate the anniversary of the Party's founding, resulting in a tour group from Shanghai spreading Chinese coronavirus throughout much of northern China. The outbreak rapidly spread to at least ten provinces. While Chinese authorities have not confirmed that the two are related, the Inner Mongolia outbreak preceded a larger one in Xi'an, the capital of northern Shaanxi province, that prompted authorities to lock down the city of 13 million on the day before Christmas Eve. Xi'an is home to one of the most important artifacts in ancient Christianity, the Nestorian Stele, which provides evidence of Christianity existing in China as early as the year 635.
“This is getting more and more ridiculous. I never thought in my lifetime I would be unable to sleep because of not having food to eat,” a comment on Weibo, China's government-run social media outlet, from a Xi'an resident read this week.
Xi, who has played no public role in responding to the outbreaks (and no evidence suggests he has worked in any way to contain them), omitted any mention of the grim atmosphere in the country in his New Year's Eve address. Xi claimed that China spent 2021 “making confident strides on the path toward the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation” and painted a portrait of a joyful, disease-free year. Xi also notably claimed that the world was celebrating China, the origin country of the pandemic, for its pandemic response.
“In my phone calls and virtual meetings with foreign leaders and heads of international organizations, I have heard many times plaudits for China's fight against [Chinese coronavirus] and contribution to the global [Chinese coronavirus] response,” Xi said in the televised statement. “To date, China has provided two billion doses of [Chinese coronavirus] vaccines to more than 120 countries and international organizations.
“Only through unity, solidarity and cooperation can countries around the world write a new chapter in building a community with a shared future for mankind,” Xi asserted.
Elsewhere in the speech, Xi applauded Chinese citizens for their “unity” in accepting China's draconian coronavirus measures.
He lauded “…[T]he whole nation staying united in solid [Chinese coronavirus] response,” along with other purported achievements, which he said marked 2021 as a year of “many memorable Chinese voices, Chinese moments and Chinese stories.”
Xi spent more time during his speech celebrating Chinese astronauts (“taikonauts”) and the anniversary of the Communist Party than addressing the pandemic within China.
“On July 1, we solemnly celebrated the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China (CPC),” Xi recalled. “Standing on the Tian'anmen Rostrum, one could only marvel at the extraordinary journey traveled by this major Party, a journey of Chinese Communists leading the Chinese people, in their hundreds of millions, in an unyielding struggle against all obstacles and challenges, and scoring spectacular, epoch-making achievements over the past century.”
Xi also mentioned his ongoing campaigns to subjugate the formerly autonomous region of Hong Kong and the sovereign state of Taiwan.
“The complete reunification of our motherland is an aspiration shared by people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait,” Xi said. “I sincerely hope that all the sons and daughters of the Chinese nation will join forces to create a brighter future for our nation.”
Xi's tone towards Taiwan was significantly more conciliatory than his threats two years ago, when he vowed in a speech, “Anyone who attempts to split any region from China will perish, with their bodies smashed and bones ground to powder.”
The state news agency Xinhua celebrated Xi's poor leadership on the pandemic on Friday as “lighting the way forward” for the rest of the world.
“Attending a series of bilateral or multilateral cloud events in the past year, Xi has demonstrated China's firm commitment to upholding international justice, helping the world defeat [Chinese coronavirus], and promoting balanced, coordinated, inclusive, and green development,” Xinhua claimed, failing to mention that, under Xi, China has actively ignored International Court of Justice (ICJ) rulings, is committing an ongoing genocide, and is the world's worst polluter.