Coronavirus News Asia

China puts up another great wall around Beijing

Beijing has virtually walled itself off to outsiders with drastic measures to protect China’s seat of power against the threat of a second wave of coronavirus infections from other regions.

After largely getting the outbreak under control, China has banned foreigners from entering the country as authorities fret over an increase in cases imported from abroad – though most have been Chinese citizens.

But Beijing has gone a step further, imposing a strict 14-day quarantine on people arriving from other parts of China, regardless of whether they test negative for Covid-19 – a measure not required in other cities.

Beijing, of course, is not like any other Chinese city.

The ruling Communist Party postponed its once-a-year congress, known as the “two sessions,” in March and experts said it likely wants to make sure the thousands of delegates who participate are not at risk before a new date is set.

“Strengthening management of people returning to Beijing has become the most critical priority, otherwise it is impossible to create the right conditions for the two sessions to start,” said Ma Liang, a professor at Renmin University’s School of Public Administration and Policy.

The measures are ultimately meant to shield the Communist Party elite from the virus, said Alfred Wu, associate professor at the National University of Singapore’s Lee Kwan Yew School of Public Policy.

“In this moment, the central government and core leadership are highly protected, so ordinary people will have to pay the price,” he said.

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