Business & Investment

What can be learned from China’s blockade policy


During the pandemic, authoritarianism against democracy became common, and the former is often portrayed as a more effective regime type in dealing with COVID-19. The Chinese Communist Party’s own story equates China’s success in facilitating a version of this argument and keeping incidents and deaths low with the “superiority” of its political system. This is despite the successful containment by some democracies.

But it is problematic to argue that the world should ignore the style of governance and instead focus on learning from Chinese policy. It relies on the assumption that policies can be simply ported from one political system to another. In order to implement policies from different types of regimes, those policies must be adapted to fit the system in which they are absorbed.

The blockade of China is an important example. They succeeded in controlling the transmission because they followed a clear logic underpinned by the nature and characteristics of their political system. To learn from the Chinese blockade, we need to understand both the logic behind it and the importance of the context in which they occurred.

The blockade of Wuhan began on January 23, 2020. At 2 am, without public debate, authorities ordered that all public transport inside and outside the city must be shut down at 10 am. He was then ordered to stop carrying cars online, close the tunnel under the Yangtze River (through the city), and ban the use of cars. The city was forced to stop.

However, the logical consequence of stopping transportation was that the government itself had to provide an alternative. It ordered the district to provide the means of transportation for transporting patients and the taxis needed for use in the area.

After stopping, the government turned to building and recruiting hospitals exclusively for COVID-19 patients. After that, we were able to start dividing the population. It stipulates the isolation of four categories of people from others: confirmed cases, suspicious cases, people with symptoms for which infection cannot be ruled out, and contacts. The first subset was sent for treatment and the latter three were sent to a centralized quarantine facility.

This is paired with measures to limit the movement of all but the four categories. Nationally, to promote compliance, the government has called on community workers and volunteers to set up 24-hour checkpoints at neighborhood entrances to register people in and out. This formed two approaches. It is a collective effort by the government to throw a wide net to eradicate, treat or quarantine the last people considered to be at risk of infection, and to successfully limit the movement of citizens.

These measures called for large-scale mobilization, including countless residents, community workers, party members, local militias, and staff drawn from government and state-owned enterprises. A quickly organized team staffed checkpoints, carried supplies, moved from door to door, and asked people about their movements and health.

All of this — large-scale classification of people without apology, mass mobilization, replacement of citizens’ choices with government-sponsored alternatives, and transfer of people who are considered transmission risks — is sufficient and the existing core capabilities of the Communist Party. The party and its government used the methods practiced in. That logic makes sense for a society familiar with this government system.

This same logic is currently being applied in very different situations in Hebei Province, which borders Beijing. The three core elements of that logic are to limit movement, enable compliance as well as be persuasive, and eradicate those who are considered to be the source of risk.

Shijiazhuang’s Gaocheng District is a city with more than 11 million people, occupying both rural and urban areas, and is at the center of a new outbreak. Everyone and cars there are prohibited from leaving. The district court warned that anyone who did not cooperate could be criminally charged. Meanwhile, the second city, Nangu (where 500,000 people live), has been banned from leaving the house and has informed its citizens that rule violators will be detained.

The logic remains the same, but the isolation policy is evolving. Changed who is separated and how it is separated. The government is building a makeshift mass quarantine facility for those who may be infected. Due to the lack of hotels and other recruitment facilities in rural areas, we are building quarantine centers from scratch to prevent the virus from spreading to villages and private homes.

Instead of separating only the contacts, the secondary contacts are now also separated. Shijiazhuang discovered 986 new cases, but in Gaocheng, authorities ordered the entire 15 villages (more than 20,000) to relocate to “centralized quarantine.”

It applies and extends the principle of “isolate everyone who must be quarantined” as explained by experts at the China Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as part of China’s core package of success. In Gaocheng’s case, “everyone” means a villager who has at least one case. Only villages with zero cases were allowed to quarantine at home.

Authorities have just announced the adoption of this isolation model nationwide. Municipalities need to develop forecast plans to request sufficient buildings for contacts and secondary contacts. In rural areas, you must prepare to build a large quarantine facility.

As countries face new blockades, China’s successful actions encourage reflection on our own approach. According to Chinese policy, quarantine includes everyone who appears to be infected, and quarantine seeks to reduce the risk of domestic transmission.

China’s management methods combine government coordination of everything from population classification, dynamic ability to detect potential infections, strict compliance, and how people access food from quarantine locations. .. These methods are overwhelmingly dependent on the mobilization of the entire system, with the Chinese people playing an important role. At the core of China’s response is to replace citizens’ choices with government command and organization.

However, in the UK, the emphasis is on public debate, as well as individual choice and responsibility. To take policy from China, we need to adjust it to fit this context. If British are required (not forced) to quarantine, they must be able to do so financially. Home quarantine should be facilitated by clear, consistent and accessible guidance that helps limit the risk of domestic transmission. Also, when considering centralized isolation, we need to provide people with a means of compliance.

Looking back on the one-year blockade, there may be something to learn from China. But a good place to start is to recognize that for a policy to be successful, it must follow consistent logic and adapt to the political system in which it is used.


William Wang is a PhD candidate in the Faculty of Social Development and Public Policy at Beijing Normal University. Holly Snape is a postdoctoral fellow at the British Academy at the University of Glasgow.

What can be learned from China’s blockade policy What can be learned from China’s blockade policy

Back to top button