Saturday, April 30, 2022

Hu Xijin: Censored Speech in China is Better than Free Speech in the West

Hu Xijin (胡锡进), former editor of the state-sponsored media outlet "Global Times," is no stranger to censorship. Here are some examples of his own editorials and articles being censored:

Hu also has experience with self-censorship, as evidenced by the time he acknowledged he had to delete a series of Weibo posts he made contending that without those such as Liu, Ai, & Pu, China would be North Korea ("没有刘、艾、浦等,中国就是朝鲜。"). 

And Hu has been clear that he thinks there is such a thing as "Western" free speech, and that its not right for China:

Some people argue that it is acceptable in the Western world that people can launch verbal attacks on their government and even their presidents, so why is this not allowed in China? The argument seems ostensibly reasonable, but the same activities are usually regarded differently in two divergent political and legal systems. 

See: State Media: "Western Speech Freedom Not Fit for China"

On April 23, 2022, Hu posted a Weibo with his perspective on Internet censorship following the censorship of a video entitled "Voices of April" that had been posted the day before. See: Covid-19 Series - Censorship of the "Voices of April."

Below is full translation of Hu's Weibo post.

After being locked down for a long time, Shanghai people have some grievances, and need  channels to release them. People in other parts of the country are somewhat anxious, and have the same need for release. People express themselves on the Internet, and there's nothing odd about that.

The fact that network administrators delete posts does not mean that local governments do not take opinions seriously. On the contrary, expressing opinions on China's Internet is far more effective than complaining in Western countries. The reality in China is often like this: As the post is deleted, the government pays attention to the content and sentiment of the post, and efforts to improve will follow. The situation in the West is that when you express dissatisfaction, you can often say whatever you want, but basically no one listens to you, so speaking is pointless.

The Internet was invented by the West, and it was tailored to their system. When it entered China, it needed to be "sinicized" to a certain extent to address the realities here. China must have network management, otherwise the Internet will politically "transform" China. It is necessary that some posts be deleted. At the same time, various measures should be proportionate, and the deletion of posts should not be polarized. Network management should not only maintain social order, but also leave due space for people to express their opinions.

To tell the truth, this is a very difficult process of exploration. It is necessary and desirable, the intent is good, and the implementation can lead to all kinds of encounters. I believe shortcomings are normal, and the goal should be to do the best one can.

There will be some friction, and even conflict, in such a process, which I don't think is really worth making a fuss about. Our society needs to be resilient to these frictions and situations. Friction in governance needs to be desensitized. Is it possible for such a big country to be too calm and too regulated? We need to adapt politically to "there is no problem here, but there is a problem there," and constantly maintain dynamic stability and balance.

In my opinion, the enormous scale of Chinese society is what gives it a particular stability. No matter how raucous something may be at a given time, it is likely to be quickly consigned and replaced by something new. Don't be afraid that there are many problems, some we can solve, and some we can't, but as the tide rises, they sink and their harm recedes. Whether its the government or the public, the whole of society should have confidence in China's resilience.





Original URL:

Below are translations of the top five comments on Hu's post.

Let the people speak, the sky won't fall [38,000 likes]

Let the people of Shanghai speak! Don't block their messages pleading for help! [12,000 likes]

This is a purely rational statement, but in this world, people still have emotions, psychological construction and support, and even in some extreme moments, the power of sensibility will be greater than that of reason. The inner support has collapsed, and it is useless to say anything rational. [9,309 likes]

[Thumbs Up][Thumbs Up][Thumbs Up]"The reality in China is often like this: As the post is deleted, the government pays attention to the content and sentiment of the post, and efforts to improve will follow. The situation in the West is that when you express dissatisfaction, you can often say whatever you want, but basically no one listens to you, so speaking is pointless." [3,401 likes]

I really feel more and more that this society is too divided. Two extremes are colliding and fighting every day, the extreme left and the extreme right. Where is the future? [2,411 likes]







Sunday, April 24, 2022

Covid-19 Series - Censorship of the "Voices of April"

PRC based websites are once again censoring discussion of a matter relating to public health and government accountability. Past examples can be found here: Examples of Censorship and Sanctions of Speech About Public Events in China, which discusses the censorship of:

  • Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS)
  • The 2008 Wenchuan Earthquake
  • Babies Poisoned by Melamine in Milk Formula
  • Babies Poisoned by Mercury in Milk Formula
  • The 2011 Wenzhou Train Collision
  • The 2012 Beijing Floods
  • The 2013 Mass Suicide Attempt in Beijing
  • The 2013 Lushan Earthquake
  • Chai Jing's 2015 Anti-Pollution Video "Under the Dome"

This time, the target of censorship is a video. On April 22, 2022, a video began circulating on the Internet titled "Sounds of April" (四月之声, or "Voices of April"). What's On Weibo described it as "a compilation of real audio snippets from conversations recorded in Shanghai throughout April, providing an emotional and heart-wrenching account of what residents in Shanghai have gone through since the Covid crisis started in their city."

Censorship on Social Media

These screenshots were taken on April 24, 2022, and show that searches for " 四月之声" on Sina Weibo and Tencent's Sogou's Weixin (WeChat) vertical returned no results.

Sina Weibo told users "Apologies, unable to locate results relevant to 'Voices of April.'" (抱歉,未找到"四月之声"相关结果。)
Tencent's Sogou telsl users searching for Weixin posts "We did not find any relevant articles on public Weixin accounts." (没有找到相关的微信公众号文章)

Censorship on Video Platforms

These screenshots were taken on April 24, 2022, and show that searches for "四月之声" on the video verticals for Baidu, Sogou, and Qihoo returned no results for that video.

 By contrast, here is a screenshot for the same query taken on the same day on Bing's video search (from an IP address outside of China).

Censorship on Zhihu as Seen In Baidu Search Results

Here is a look at what kinds of results Baidu web search returned on April 24, 2022 for a search for "四月之声."

The following are translations of the Zhihu snippets featured on the Baidu results page.

Zhao Yingnan's thoughts: Do you know "The Voices of April"? - Zhihu
2 days ago, Posted on 2022-04-23 00:11 ​ 13 ​points
Result URL:

What do you think of the repeated deletion of "Voices of April"? - Zhihu
April 23, 2022- How to view "Voices of April" being deleted ...
Result URL:

Why was the Voices of April deleted? - Zhihu
April 23, 2022-Why was the Voices of April deleted? Close...
Result URL:

What do you think of the "Voices of April" video in Shanghai 404 affair? - Zhihu
April 23, 2022-How to view Shanghai's "Voice of April…
Result URL:

赵英男 的想法: 你们知道“四月之声”么? - 知乎
2天前 你们知道“四月之声”么? 发布于 2022-04-23 00:11 ​ 13 ​分
Result URL:

如何看待“四月之声”被反复删除这件事? - 知乎
2022年04月23日- 如何看待“四月之声”被...
Result URL:
四月之声为什么被删? - 知乎
2022年04月23日- 四月之声为什么被删? 关...
Result URL:

如何看待上海“四月之声”视频的404事件? - 知乎
2022年04月23日-首页 会员 发现 等你来答 ​ 无障碍 登录 如何看待上海“四月之声…
Result URL:
The screenshots below were taken on April 24, 2022, and show that in every case clicking on Baidu's Zhihu result links leads to either a "404" or a notice that the content has been removed (该内容已删除). 

Censorship on Zhihu As Seen in Yahoo! Search Results

Baidu does not provide caching of its Zhihu results, but Yahoo! does. Here is a look at what what kinds of results Yahoo! web search returned on April 24, 2022 for a search for "四月之声"

Documentary "The Voices of April"
2022/4/22 · Documentary "Voices of April". 14. [N.B. - the snippet starts with a line from "The Dream of the Red Chamber," which is difficult to translate. Here, it could be taken as a sarcastic comment that even in a civilized society its not possible to satisfy all the people all the time] . . 21 people endorsed this article. I am so angry that my hands are shaking, I am so angry that I can't express it. . Scan the code to see, I need to take a moment. . Posted on 2022-04-22 09:00. Voice of April. › topic › 25445349

Voices of April - Zhihu
Documentary "The Voice of April". 14.
[N.B. - the snippet starts with a line from "The Dream of the Red Chamber," which is difficult to translate. Here, it could be taken as a sarcastic comment that even in a civilized society its not possible to satisfy all the people all the time] . I am so angry that my hands are shaking, I am so angry that I can't express it. . Scan the code to see, I need to take a moment. . …. Number of questions. 0. › p › 503349547

Voices of April - Zhihu
2022/4/22 · A recent video called "Voice of April" has been widely forwarded on major platforms, and it is constantly being harmonized. Its video clips of all kinds of Shanghai voices since April, which makes it uncomfortable to watch, but it is all real.... › p › 503329787

Trauma and "The Voices of April" - Zhihu
"If you want to rebuild social order and comfort the victims, the first task is to remember the atrocities and expose the truth" - "Trauma and Recovery." Today a video called "The Voices of April" is being widely shared among circles of friends, and its being harmonized as soon as gets spotted on a web page. The video is clips of April. . . › question › 529442203

How would you rate "The Voices of April" from Shanghai? - Zhihu

2022/4/22 · Zhao Lijian also read a lyric from the song "The Answer is Blowing in the Wind" by Nobel Prize winner and famous American singer Bob Dylan, "How many times must a person turn his head and pretend he doesn't see?  How many ears must a man grow before he can hear the people cry; how many lives must he sacrifice before he knows that too many have died? › topic › 25445349

Voices of April - Zhihu
Zhihu, a high-quality Q&A community on the Chinese Internet and an original content platform where creators gather, was officially launched in January 2011, with the brand mission of "letting people better share knowledge, experience and insights, and find their own answers". Zhihu, with its serious, professional and friendly community atmosphere, unique product mechanism and structured and accessible high-quality content, gathers Chinese Internet technology, business, film and television... › p › 503381255

Voices of April - Zhihu
2022/4/22 Is it necessary to delete the Voices of April?

纪录片《四月之声》 - 知乎
2022/4/22 · 纪录片《四月之声》. 十四. 纵使举案齐眉,到底意难平。. 21 人 赞同了该文章. 气到手抖,气到无法言表。. 扫码可看,我需要缓冲一下。. 发布于 2022-04-22 09:00. 四月之声. › topic › 25445349
四月之声 - 知乎
纪录片《四月之声》. 十四. 纵使举案齐眉,到底意难平。. 气到手抖,气到无法言表。. 扫码可看,我需要缓冲一下。. …. 问题数. 0. 刘看山 知乎指南 知乎协议 知乎隐私保护指引. › p › 503349547
四月之声 - 知乎
2022/4/22 · 最近一篇叫《四月之声》的视频在各大平台广为转发,又不断被和谐。视频剪辑了四月以来各种上海声音,让人看得难受,但这又都是真实的。关注 我们跳走了 发 四月 可获取 ... › p › 503329787
创伤与《四月之声》 - 知乎
“想要重建社会秩序,让受害者得到抚慰,首要任务就是记住暴行,并揭露真相” ——《创伤与复原》今天一个叫做《四月之声》的视频在朋友圈大量转发,又不断看到被和谐的页面。视频中剪辑了4月上海疫情爆发以来的各… › question › 529442203
如何评价来自上海的《四月之声》? - 知乎
2022/4/22 · 赵立坚还念了诺贝尔文学奖得主、美国著名歌手鲍勃·迪伦的歌曲《答案在风中飘》中的一段歌词,“一个人要转头多少次,还假装视而不见;一个人要长几双耳朵,才能听见民众哭泣;还要牺牲多少生命,他才知道太多人已经死去? › topic › 25445349 
四月之声 - 知乎
知乎,中文互联网高质量的问答社区和创作者聚集的原创内容平台,于 2011 年 1 月正式上线,以「让人们更好的分享知识、经验和见解,找到自己的解答」为品牌使命。知乎凭借认真、专业、友善的社区氛围、独特的产品机制以及结构化和易获得的优质内容,聚集了中文互联网科技、商业、影视 ... › p › 503381255 
四月之声 - 知乎
2022/4/22 · 四月之声有删除的必要吗 无障碍 写文章 登录 四月之声 扫眉才子 医生 8 人赞同了该文章 四月之声有删除的必要吗 发布于 2022-04-22 23:41 四月是你的谎言(动画) 赞同 8 ...
Below are screenshots showing Yahoo!'s cached results (left) and what users see if they go went to the Zhihu links at that time (right).

Below is a translation of one of the censored Zhihu posts from the Yahoo! search result page.

Trauma and the Voices of April
Sun Yunting, Counselor

It may be that its not external walls that bind you, let's work together on what's on the inside.

75 people liked this article

"If you want to restore social order and comfort the victims, the first task is to remember the atrocities and expose the truth"
---------- "Trauma and Recovery"

Today a video called "The Voices of April" is being widely shared among circles of friends, and its being harmonized as soon as it gets spotted on a web page. The video is clips of various voices since the outbreak of the Shanghai epidemic in April. The warm, loving, powerless, angry, sad video is constantly being both harmonized and preserved, and the process of forwarding is very similar to those clients who come for counseling about a traumatic experience.

"The Voices of April" is nothing but a true account of what happened in Shanghai in April, but the  process of harmonizing it seems to raise doubts – Is this what happened? Is it that serious? Forget these bad things, and remember the voice of positive energy! Just act as if nothing happened!

Just like those patients who had severe trauma in their early years (emotional abuse or physical violence, long-term emotional neglect, etc.), their parents or the people around them denied or ignored their injuries. Such voices accompanied them as they grew up: What happened couldn't have really been that serious. Isn't it good to look forward now, what the point of thinking about that? Why do you always remember those bad things? Why don't you think about the good things? Why are you so melodramatic? You focusing on these things is really putting your parents out. They love you.

As they sit in the counseling room they are unable to confirm the reality and pain of their physical and emotional abuse, and they want to prove to themselves and the counselor that they have been hurt, like the police collecting evidence. This process continues for a long time in the beginning of the counseling. Counselors and clients work together to identify injuries, especially for those who have been emotionally abused. They are unable to identify their own injuries, and many times the feelings and facts are seriously denied and distorted. The city of Shanghai and we have also experienced a similar process. For example, YS News reported that Shanghai was peaceful, but the people of Shanghai were in dire straits.

In the past 100 years, our nation has experienced many great collective traumas. Our grandfathers have experienced wars, the Cultural Revolution, and famine. The elderly in Shanghai have to experience such things again in their later years, which is incredibly hard to take. When suffering is in the past, looking forward is the way to survive. But when one is in the midst of trauma and suffering, crying, fear, anger, shouting, and pleading for help is also a human instinct and right.




今天一个叫做《四月之声》的视频在朋友圈大量转发,又不断看到被和谐的页面。视频中剪辑了4 月上海疫情爆发以来的各种声音,温暖的有爱的无力的愤怒的悲伤的视频不断被和谐又被留存、 | 转发的过程,像极了在咨询中那些有过创伤的来访的经历。

《四月之声》只是在真实记录4月上海发生的事情,但是和谐的过程似乎在质疑,这些发生过吗? 有那么严重吗?忘记这些些糟心的事情吧,记住正能量的声音!就当一切都没发生过吧!

就像是那些早年有过严重创伤(被情感虐待或肢体暴力,长期情感忽视等)的病人,父母或者周围 人否认或者忽视他们受到的伤害,这样的声音伴随他们的成长过程,哪有那么严重重都过去了,向前 看现在不是挺好的吗,想那些干什么?你怎么总是记住那些糟糕的事情呢?不想点好的?你怎 么这么矫情,计较这些你父母也是不得已,他们爱你。

他们在咨询室中无法确认自己被身体及情感虐待的实及痛苦,像是警察搜集证据一样想要向自己 及咨询师证明他们受过的伤害,这个过程在咨询开始的很长一段时间持续着,咨询师和来访一起去 确认受到的伤害,尤其是那些被情感虐待的来访,无法确认自己受到的伤害,甚至很多时候感受和 事实被严重地否认和扭曲。而上海这座城市及我们也经历着类似的过程,例如YS新闻报道上海一 片祥和,可是上海人民处在水深火热之中,一些求助的声音被404,《四月之声》被404.

我们这个民族在近100年,经历了很多大的集体创伤,爷辈经历了战争,文化大革命,饥荒而 上海的老年人到晚年还要再经历一次这样的事情,真的是难受。受苦难,过去,向前看是存活 下来的方式。但是在创伤和苦难中哭泣、恐惧、愤怒、呐喊、求救也是人的本能和权利。


Friday, April 22, 2022

Covid-19 Series: PRC Websites Delete Editorial by "China's Top Respiratory Disease Expert"

Shortly after midnight on April 19, 2022, the PRC government news service Xinhua published an article titled "Scientifically Implement 'Dynamic Zeroing' To Win the Initiative for China's Development." (科学精准落实“动态清零”,为中国发展赢得主动). Some excerpts:

Despite facing the most severe epidemic prevention and control situation since 2020, China adhered to the general policy of "dynamic zeroing" and won the tough battles one by one.
. . . .
Adhering to the "dynamic zeroing" is to race against the virus, to create a safe and stable development environment for China's economy, and to fight for the time and space for the follow-on science-based and orderly opening up.
. . . .
China has made it clear to the world that by striving to achieve the greatest prevention and control effect at the least cost, and to minimize the impact of the epidemic on economic and social development, great things can be accomplished that are beneficial to the people.


. . . . 


. . . .


Later the same day Xinhua published an English language article under the title "World Experts Deem Dynamic Zero-COVID Approach Best Choice for China, Boon for World." The "experts" cited in that article were:

  • "China's leading epidemiologist Liang Wannian" 
  • "Gerald Mbanda, a Rwandan researcher and publisher"
  • "Bulent Ertugrul, an expert from Reyap Hospital in Istanbul"

Neither article mentioned Zhong Nanshan (钟南山) who, according to the state-sponsored media outlet Global Times, is "China's top respiratory disease expert." 

On April 19, 2022, Hong Kong's South China Morning Post published an article titled "China's Top Expert Writes of Eventual Return to Normal, but Article Deleted at Home." An excerpt:

China's top Covid-19 expert Zhong Nanshan has said the country cannot pursue "dynamic zero-Covid" in the long term and should reopen to bring social and economic development back to normal, and adapt to global reopening.

The editorial titled "Strategies for reopening in the forthcoming Covid-19 era in China" was published in the English-language National Science Review journal on April 6. A Chinese translated copy of the article was published on mainland news sites on Monday but has since been deleted.

Zhong's original English language article is available here:


Below are two examples of the deletions of the Chinese language translation of Zhong's article:


At 3:04 p.m. on April 19, 2022, the government license website Zhongchengwang (operating under the sponsorship of the Professional Committee of Livable Cities and Urban and Rural Governance of China National Architecture Research Association (中国民族建筑研究会宜居城市与城乡治理专业委员会)) published an article titled "Academician Zhong Nanshan's Latest Article: It is Impossible to Achieve Prolonged Dynamic Zeroing" (钟南山院士最新文章:长期的动态清零是不可能实现的). Some excerpts:
On April 6, 2022, the National Science Review (NSR) published an English editorial article jointly signed by Academician Zhong Nanshan, mentioning that in the long run, long-term dynamic zero cannot be achieved, and China needs to promote social and economic development and reopen, and put forward five strategic suggestions. Recommendations included increasing vaccination rates, prioritizing the use of antigen kits in the community, accelerating drug development, conducting follow-up studies on cases to adjust the minimum quarantine period, and adjusting policies in designated cities or regions.
. . . .
The dynamic zeroing policy has been adopted for maintaining effective disease prevention and control. However, China needs to reopen so as to normalize socio-economic development and adapt to global reopening. Prolonged dynamic zeroing cannot be pursued in the long run.

2022年4月6日,《国家科学评论》(National Science Review, NSR)刊发了钟南山院士联合署名的英文社论文章,提到长远来看,长期的动态清零无法实现,中国需要为了社会经济正常发展而重新开放,并提了五点策略建议。建议包括提高疫苗接种率、在社区中优先使用抗原试剂盒、加快药物研发、对病例进行随访调查研究以调整最短隔离时间,以及在指定城市或地区调整政策等。
. . . .

These screenshots show that the article was deleted the next day and replaced with a notice saying "The article you accessed has been withdrawn!" (您访问的文章已撤回!).

 Original URL:


At 4:30 p.m. on April 19, 2022, the government-licensed media outlet NetEase published an article titled "Zhong Nanshan: Prolonged Dynamic Zeroing Cannot be Achieved, Pilot Investigations are Crucial" (钟南山:长期动态清零无法实现,试点调查至关重要). The content was substantially similar to the Zhongchengwang article. These screenshots show that the article was deleted the next day, and NetEase was redirecting people attempting to access it to the NetEase home page.

Original URL:

Impact on Search Results

The impact of these deletions on search results is illustrated by these two screenshots showing Baidu search results for "Zhong Nanshan Prolonged Dynamic Zeroing" (钟南山 长期动态清零) on April 20 (left) and April 21 (right). 

Below are translations of the top three "news" results from each of those days as shown in the above screenshots:

Saturday, April 16, 2022

Covid-19 Series: 3 Censored Weixin Posts About the Shanghai Lockdown

A Plea For Help

On April 8, 2022, a Weixin user posting as "Stormzhang" posted an essay on Weixin titled "Plea for Help!!!" (求救!!!). Some excerpts:

Hello everyone, my name is stormzhang, I live in Pudong, Shanghai, today is the 22nd day of being locked down, I am an Internet blogger, but today I want to use this article to let everyone see that under the epidemic, the real living conditions of the people of Shanghai, and also here plea to everyone for help, I hope you will read patiently to the end.

. . . .

[T]he basic living security of Shanghai people is currently facing great problems, and most of the people of Shanghai spend their whole life every day looking for ways to find and get a hold of food.

For a long time many people around me have relied on porridge and instant noodles every day to survive.

I know that many people don’t believe it. If I were not personally experiencing it, then to tell the truth I wouldn't believe it either that today in 2022, people in an international metropolis people can’t buy vegetables every day and eating is a problem. But it is really happening.

大家好,我是 stormzhang,人在上海浦东,今天是被封的第 22 天,本是一位互联网博主,但是今天我想借这篇文章,让所有人看到,疫情之下,上海人民的真实生存现状,也在这里向大家求救,希望大家耐心看完。

. . . .



我知道说出来很多人不信,如果不是亲身经历者,说实话你告诉我,在 2022 年的今天,国际性大都市的人民每天买不到菜,吃饭是问题,我也是不信的,然而它就是真实的发生了。

Original URL:


The screenshots below show that, by April 9, 2022, Tencent had taken down the essay and replaced it with a notice saying:

Unable to view this content because it violates regulations

Upon receipt of relevant complaints, this content violates the "Administrative Provisions on Internet User Public Account Information Services" (接相关投诉,此内容违反《互联网用户公众账号信息服务管理规定》)

An Account of Being Quarantined

On April 9, 2022, a Twitter account, apparently created specifically for the purpose of promoting a Weixin essay posted the following:


Some excerpts from the Weixin post (originally in English):

My experience in the Fangcang-Hospital
Original Leona LeonaCheng 2022-04-09 14:54

I know everyone is facing a hard situation now and has already burst into too much negative and terrible news. So the third part of this text is about some happy records here. You could read it from that part. But it is also necessary that we should face to the difficulty and think about whose fault caused all of these and how to avoid it next time.

. . . .

Merkel said this in her New Year's speech of 2021. A previously unknown virus is invading our bodies and our lives. It hits us where we are most human, in close contact, in hugs, in face-to-face conversation.

I feel so deeply touched and a bit shocked. Because in Xi's New Year's speech of 2021, he talked about the Chinese people's collective overcoming of the epidemic, the economic progress we have achieved together, and many achievements that the whole country has achieved. But he never mentioned what each of us, as individual, experienced, felt and perhaps feared.

I think we're awake after the Enlightenment and the Renaissance because we started to think about how to achieve our own value as individuals, and we also started to learn to enjoy happiness as individuals.

But in China we always emphasize the collective. We always ignore the individual. In this way, we have achieved amazingly rapid development and effectively eliminated poverty. It is true that material civilization is the basis of spiritual civilization. But have we ever really cared about the mental feeling after the economic development?

To pursue the goal of zero confirmed case, we sacrifice solicitude of staying with friends and family; we ignored the yearn for freedom; we are afraid of losing our pet…

I think Chinese policies really protect most people from poverty, hunger and virus.

But I feel the way my motherland protects us more like treating cattle. She gives us enough to eat and nice places to live. But she doesn't care how we feel or what we think. Surely she doesn't care what we are screaming for, because it's just a howling in her ears.

I thank her for her kindness in letting us all get through the hard time, but I always think whether it's better to live happily like livestock or bitterly, but as a person with a clear self-awareness and self-consciousness?

Original URL:


The screenshots below show that, by April 10, 2022, Tencent had taken down the essay and replaced it with a notice saying:

Unable to view this content because it violates regulations
This content was reported and confirmed by the platform of the following: violating relevant laws and regulations. 

A Piece of Prose

On April 14, 2022, a Weixin user posting as "Blackstarclub" (黑星俱樂部) posted a piece of prose on Weixin titled "The Patience of the Shanghainese is Far From Exhausted" (上海人的忍耐还远远没有到极限). Below is a full translation, which has attempted to retain the original formatting and punctuation:

The Patience of the Shanghainese is Far From Exhausted
In fact, it is not just the Shanghainese
Chinese people's patience is far from the limit
Most of our actions remain contained online
We repost  content that will be harmonized in short order
So many people in this world with any sense of normalcy weep when they see it
Outrageous, magical, inhuman events and news
But we're only sad for a day or two
Does anyone in Feng County mention it again, or dare raise it again?
Douyin influencers wipe their mouths after dining on bread leavened with human blood
Are you still going about your days happy as usual?
Is anyone really coming to speak for us?
Are there any voices speaking for the dead and dying in Shanghai?
Some, but not many. But where do we get off asking others to speak up?
We dare not even take any action on our own behalf
The only thing to do is to repost and repost
And hope "someone" can take care of it
What is "banal evil"?
Take a look at today's Shanghai
Many people say that this is not the Shanghai they know so well
I beg your pardon, the Shanghai you know so well doesn't exist.
It's just that the time for it to be truly tested hadn't arrived.
We grew too accustomed to exchanging freedom for some imaginary security
But what did we really get in exchange? What was it that we wanted?
I won't say more, because I'm no different, impotent to exert myself
We are still those Chinese people who laugh at the wasted youth of Hong Kong
The magical reality that we can bear, there's much more to come
Our patience is far from exhausted


其实 不只是上海人
那些 离谱 魔幻 毫无人性的事件和新闻
但是 我们也不过是难过个一两天 而已
丰县还有人再提吗 或者说 敢再提吗?
抖音大号们吃完人血馒头 擦干净嘴
有但不多 但 凭什么要求别人去发声呢?
很多人说 这不是我们熟悉的上海
不好意思 你熟悉的上海根本不存在
更多的我也不再说 因为我也一样 无能 为力
我们能承受的魔幻现实 还有很多

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The screenshots below show that, by April 16, 2022, Tencent had taken down the essay and replaced it with a notice saying:

Unable to view this content because it violates regulations
This content was reported and confirmed by the platform of the following: violating relevant laws and regulations.



Thursday, April 14, 2022

Zhengzhou Lawyers Association Bans Members from Contradicting the Party's Line

On March 31, 2022, the Zhengzhou Lawyers Association (郑州市律师协会) and the Henan Lawyer's Association Local Branch (河南省律师协会直属分会) jointly issued a notice titled "Notice on Strict Professional Disciplinary Norms for Lawyers' Online Speech Conduct" (关于严肃执业纪律规范律师网络言论行为的通知) on the Zhengzhou Lawyers Association website (archived here: 

Parts of the Notice appear directed at the kinds of civil-rights actions that led to subversion charges for the "7.09" rights defense lawyers - and in fact several of those prosecutions related to actions that occurred in Zhengzhou. For more on that see Section 6 of "State Prosecutions of Speech in the People's Republic of China" available at

Some excerpts from the Notice:

Individual lawyers are keen to use online self-publishing platforms to make inappropriate remarks about cases (events), disclose the facts of the case, sensationalize cases in violation of regulations, and even express nonobjective and improper comments on the Internet on major decisions and operations of the Party and the State, as well as social hot-button issues.
. . . .
1. Lawyers and law firms shall adhere to a correct political and public opinion orientation, and shall not publish the following types of remarks, articles or information through the Internet:

  • Contradicting the Party’s line, principles, and policies;
  • Denying the leadership of the Communist Party of China;
  • Denying the socialist rule of law with Chinese characteristics;
  • Inciting dissatisfied feelings toward the Party and the government;
  • Creating opposition between the Party and the masses and intensifying social conflicts;
  • Initiating, mobilizing, or participating in organizations that endanger national security;
  • Supporting and mobilizing people to participate in activities that endanger national security;
  • Using current political news, social events, and other "hot button" issues to take advantage to sensationalize a situation and affect national political security

. . . .
2. Lawyers and law firms shall not use the Internet  to handle cases in the following ways to influence administrative organs, supervisory organs, judicial organs, and procuratorial organs:

  • Coordinating groups, co-signing petitions, and publishing open letters;
  • Organizing online gatherings and solidarity actions;
  • Publishing or inciting or instigating the parties or other persons to publish misleading, false, speculative and other inappropriate comments on the case through the Internet, etc., to create an influence;
  • Maliciously sensationalizing a case being handled by oneself or other lawyers or law firms in order to create pressure from public opinion and influence the handling of the case in accordance with the law;
  • Other acts of sensationalizing cases in an improper way.

. . . .
Disciplinary action shall be taken against anyone who does not monitor the online speech and behavior of Association lawyers, and anyone who discovers problems but does not correct them in a timely manner, including warnings, notification of criticism, and public condemnation. If the circumstances are severe, disciplinary sanctions will be imposed with a suspension of membership rights. If the circumstances are particularly severe, the Provincial Lawyers Association will be advised to impose the disciplinary action of disqualification of membership in accordance with the procedures.
. . . .
Each law firm shall conduct a centralized study and discussion on this notice and relevant laws, regulations, and rules, and communicate the relevant requirements to each practicing lawyer.


1. 律师、律师事务所应当坚持正确政治方向和舆论导向,不得通过网络发表下列言论、文章或信息:违背党的路线方针政策、否定中国共产党的领导、否定中国特色社会主义法治;煽动对党和政府的不满情绪,制造党群对立,激化社会矛盾;发起、动员参与危害国家安全组织;支持、动员参与危害国家安全活动;利用时政新闻、社会事件等"蹭热点",借势进行渲染炒作,影响国家政治安全。
. . . .
2. 律师、律师事务所不得利用网络以下列方式影响行政机关、监察机关、审判机关、检察机关办理案件:串联组团、联署签名、发表公开信;组织网上聚集、声援;通过网络等发布或煽动、教唆当事人或其他人员通过网络等传播媒介对案件发表误导性、虚假性、推测性等不当评论,制造影响;恶意炒作自己或者其他律师、律师事务所正在办理的案件,借以制造舆论压力,影响案件依法办理;其他以不正当方式炒作案件的行为。
. . . .
. . . .

Several law firms posted accounts of their training sessions on their websites. For example, the Tanyan Law Firm (坦言事务所) posted this image under the caption "Participants discussed the boundaries of lawyers' online speech based on the content of the Notice and their own circumstances, and said that they would adhere to the bottom line, enhance their risk awareness, maintain a clear understanding of sensitive topics and areas, and abide by laws and regulations to prevent inappropriate speech conduct." (参会人员就通知内容结合自身情况,对律师网络言论边界进行了讨论,并表示一定会守住底线,提升风险意识,对敏感话题及领域保持清醒认识,依法依规,杜绝不当言论行为的发生。).

The sign on the wall reads "The Party Membership Oath."
Original URL:
Archive of Google's cached version:

The Yuzun Law Firm (豫尊律师事务所) said on its website that "This intensive study improved our lawyers' professional risk control ability and political consciousness" (经过本次集中学习,提高了本所律师的职业风险把控能力及政治觉悟).

The sign behind the white board reads "The Party is in My Heart."
Original URL:

A senior partner at the Yilong Law Firm (怡龙律师事务) told the firm's lawyers that "all lawyers must improve their political stance" (全体律师一定要提高政治站位), and that they should "further strengthen their management of established social networking groups such as WeChat and QQ, and self-publishing platforms such as WeChat official account and short videos" (进一步加强对建立的微信群、QQ群等网络社交群和公众号、短视频等自媒体的管理). 

The sign behind the group says "One Party Member, One Banner, One Branch, One Fortress."
Original URL:

Tuesday, April 12, 2022

Covid-19 Series: Censored Essay on Covid Strategies for China

Between April 9 and 11, 2022, an article titled "Epidemic Prevention Strategies to Minimize Loss of Life"  (生命损失最小化的防疫策略) by Liang Jianzhang (梁建章) was deleted from the following PRC-based news outlets: Caixin, Phoenix, and Sina:




Liang originally posted the article on his Tencent Weixin account on April 8, 2022 at As of April 11, however, that essay had been replaced with a notice reading: "Upon Receipt of Relevant Complaints, This Content Violates the 'Administrative Provisions on Internet User Public Account Information Services'" (接相关投诉,此内容违反《互联网用户公众账号信息服务管理规定》). The original post is archived at 

According to Wikipedia, Liang earned his bachelor's and a master's degree in computer science from the Georgia Institute of Technology. In 2011, he earned a PhD in Economics from Stanford University. He is a co-author of the book "Too Many People in China?," which analyzed the impact of the one-child policy and the adverse effects of demographic changes on China's economy, and a 2018 book, "The Demographics of Innovation."

Below is a machine translation of Liang's censored essay.

Epidemic Prevention Strategies to Minimize Loss of Life

2022-04-08 10:36

It has been more than two years in the fight against the epidemic. Under the guidance of the concept of life comes first, the government resolutely implemented policies such as the lockdown of Wuhan in the early stages of the epidemic, which reduced the number of infections and deaths to a minimum in a short period of time, and achieved world-renowned epidemic prevention achievements. But two years later, the virus has evolved from Alpha to Omicron. Compared with the previous strains, on the one hand, the virus has reduced toxicity and the mortality rate has dropped significantly; on the other hand, the transmissibility has been greatly enhanced, which makes our "anti-infection strategy" more expensive. This essay analyzes how to balance the benefits and costs through the impact of different epidemic prevention strategies on life expectancy, and then chooses the strategy with the least loss of life.

Two Anti-Epidemic Strategies

Infection prevention strategy: Quarantine policies are the mainstay, which includes a large number of nucleic acid tests and epidemiological investigations, as well as the closure and control of localities or even entire municipalities. The purpose is to block the infection chain and eliminate the infection to the greatest extent possible.

Death prevention strategy: Focus medical resources on treating seriously ill patients. For high mortality groups such as the elderly, vaccination is strengthened, and effective specific drugs are introduced to minimize the number of deaths.

Model diagram of epidemic prevention strategy:

The above diagram shows the logic of the model. For strains with high mortality and strong transmissibility, the anti-infection strategy is better, because the cost of infection prevention is low and the benefits are high. Conversely. For strains with low mortality and weak infectivity, the strategy of preventing death is better.

From the above model, it can be seen that the key to the selection of the best strategy is to quantitatively analyze and compare the extra cost and life loss of the "anti-infection strategy" relative to the "anti-death strategy."

1) Life loss due to infection prevention strategy = loss of life expectancy due to economic loss of isolation and containment.

This loss rises with the spread of the virus.

2) Life loss from death prevention strategies = loss of life expectancy due to death from infection.

This gain decreases as the virulence of the virus decreases.

The relationship between GDP per capita and average life expectancy

We can analyze the relationship between average life expectancy and per capita GDP by studying the historical data of various countries. It is an obvious fact: the higher the per capita income of a country, the longer its life expectancy. Because rich countries are more able and willing to invest in health care, infrastructure and environmental governance, thereby reducing mortality and increasing life expectancy.

Figure 1 Relationship between per capita GDP (USD) and average life expectancy in some countries in 2019

Source: World Bank

Note: The abscissa has been logged, and the actual per capita GDP value is marked after the name of some countries

It can be seen that the per capita income is halved, and the average life expectancy is reduced by 1-3 years; China's per capita GDP in 2010 was about 45% of that in 2020, and the life expectancy was reduced by 2.5 years.

Figure 2 The relationship between per capita GDP and average life expectancy in China's provinces


Source: World Bank, National Bureau of Statistics

Note: The abscissa has been processed by log, and the graph also shows the historical data of China and the corresponding per capita GDP

From the above figure, we can also see the relationship between per capita GDP and average life expectancy in various regions of China. The richer the province, the longer the life expectancy. In modern peacetime, there have indeed been periods (if infrequently) of sharp declines in per capita income, such as when the Soviet Union collapsed, during 1991-1993, per capita income fell by 20% and life expectancy fell by four years. So in the face of a 50% change in income, even a very conservative estimate will lead to a one-year reduction in per capita income. To put it into perspective, for every 1% decrease in per capita GDP, life expectancy will decrease by about 5 days.

Statistical Life Value

We can also test this hypothesis through the theory of Value of Statistical life in economics. In the field of economics, "statistical life value" is a relatively mature concept, which refers to how much a society is willing to spend to reduce mortality. Some people may be disgusted by this concept, thinking that there is no need to calculate the value of life, because life is supposed to be priceless. From an ethical standpoint alone, the above point of view is certainly not wrong. However, in the actual operation process, regardless of work life, business operation or social management, a balance must be pursued between reducing the risk of death and input cost. As for how to find this balance, it is necessary to calculate the "statistical life value" scientifically and rationally.

For example, companies and governments also need to balance risk and cost when providing various means of transportation and transportation infrastructure. For example, when the government designs a road, if it builds more lanes, or sets up special non-motorized lanes, or wider sidewalks, etc., it is possible to reduce the fatality rate of traffic accidents. But obviously not all roads have such a setup. Does this mean that the designer disregarded the safety of life? it's not true. As a designer, if a seemingly absolutely safe road costs 10 billion to build regardless of the cost, it is very likely that this road cannot be built at all, leaving ordinary people with nowhere to go. So for such a construction project, how much is it worth to spend to reduce the mortality rate? Here, there is also an implicit calculation of the balance of life value. In fact, economists have already calculated the value of life in an economic sense based on data from various countries. Chinese scholars have also done some research on this [1] [2], and concluded that the value of China's vital statistics is generally in the range of 1 million to 7.2 million, and we will temporarily take the value of 5 million.

The Cost of Infection Prevention Strategies

Assuming that the economic loss of 1% of GDP due to large-scale isolation and control, then it is one trillion. According to the calculation of "statistical life value" of 5 million, it may increase the risk of accidental death by 200,000 (persons). If the average life expectancy is reduced by 20,000 days per accidental death, 200,000 people will be 4 billion days, and overall, the average life expectancy in China will be reduced by about 3 days. The calculation of this loss of life expectancy does not take into account the impact of secondary deaths on life expectancy caused by the lack of timely treatment of other diseases due to the occupation of a large number of medical resources by tasks such as nucleic acid testing.

Therefore, combining the previous two methods of calculating the cost of life, a loss of 1% of GDP will reduce the average life expectancy by 3-5 days, which is the cost of isolation and containment required by the infection prevention strategy.

The next question is, how much GDP will Omicron cause? This is of course difficult to calculate, but we have a preliminary analysis, that is, the stronger the transmissibility, the stricter the closure and control measures will inevitably be, and the greater the loss of GDP will be. The strength of transmissibility can be expressed by R0 (basic infection number), and the value of R0 is simply understood as "one person gets sick, how many other people he can infect". The initial Alpha is R0=2-4 (the R0 of influenza is also around 2), the R0 of Delta is about 4, the transmissibility of Omicron is very strong, and the R0 is about 10, which is much stronger than any previous strains, so yes The GDP cost of its anti-infection strategy is also much higher.

In the past two years, we have adopted an anti-infection policy, which has successfully blocked Alpha and Delta, and only paid a relatively small loss of GDP as the price. However, the transmissibility of Omicron is several times that of Alpha and Delta, and a large-scale isolation is often required, so the economic loss of preventing and controlling Omicron may be far greater than 1% of GDP. For example, not long ago, Shenzhen was only closed and controlled for a week, causing a loss of 60-70 billion. According to a study by Professor Song Zheng of the Chinese University of Hong Kong [3], the closure of first-tier cities like Shanghai for one month will reduce the real GDP of the whole of China by 4%. In fact, with the increasing spread of the virus, precise epidemic prevention has become almost impossible, and the frequency of city closures has to be greatly increased. According to statistics, in the first quarter alone, Shanghai, Changchun, Harbin, Xi'an, Shenzhen, etc. have implemented or are undergoing city-wide lockdowns, and more than a dozen first- and second-tier cities have had large-scale partial lockdowns. The closure and control of these cities alone will cause a loss of more than 4% of China's GDP in the first quarter. Moreover, the overall economy is already under great downward pressure. If a large-scale lockdown is imposed for a long time, it will cause negative effects such as rising unemployment and an increase in the number of people returning to poverty. Not to mention the secondary loss of life caused by the occupation of medical resources.

After calculating the cost of the anti-infection strategy, let's calculate the relative benefit of the anti-infection strategy, that is, how many deaths and life expectancy are avoided, and then we need to estimate the fatality rate of different variants. According to a study conducted by British scholars on confirmed cases of different variants in the second half of 2021, the case fatality rate of Alpha is about 1.1% [4]; according to a study of patients infected with Omicron and Delta variant viruses in Ontario, Canada. A retrospective whole population matched cohort study [5], the Delta case fatality rate was 0.3%; according to the statistics of the 2018 influenza season published by the US CDC [6], the case fatality rate of influenza is about 0.1%. The main preliminary research and data show that Omicron is different from previous strains and generally does not invade the lungs. Therefore, the fatality rate of Omicron is much lower than that of previous strains, and may even be lower than that of influenza. We will analyze Omicron in detail later. of the fatality rate.

Influenza Prevention Strategies

We use this model to calculate epidemic prevention strategies against influenza. Since the fatality rate of influenza is about 0.1%, if it is very pessimistically estimated that 50% of the population will be infected (the actual infection rate will be much lower than 50%), it will cause a mortality rate of 5/10,000. Assuming that the average life expectancy of patients who die is 70 years (assuming that the average life expectancy of patients is 80 years), then each patient who dies will be shortened by an average of 10 years of life. Then in terms of mortality rate of 5 in 10,000, life expectancy is reduced by almost 1.8 days (10 years x 5 in 10,000). Therefore, on average, a large-scale influenza outbreak has an impact on the entire human society, equivalent to a reduction in life expectancy of about 1.8 days. For the infection prevention strategy, the gain is only 1.8 days of life lost. However, as we calculated earlier, if we adopt a large-scale infection prevention strategy, only the loss of 1% of GDP will reduce the average life expectancy by 3-5 days. Because of this, we cannot use large-scale isolation and sealing to prevent infection. control strategies to prevent influenza.

The Best Strategy for Dealing with Initial Strains of Covid-19

We can calculate the earliest mutant virus Alpha in the early stage of the epidemic. If Alpha's case fatality rate is 1%, which is about 20 times that of influenza, then the loss of life expectancy is not 1.8 days but 40 days. Then the relative benefit of the infection prevention strategy of large-scale isolation is 40 days. Far greater than the 3-5 day life cost of 1% of GDP. Therefore, for the Alpha virus, the strategy of preventing infection is better than the strategy of preventing death, and it was the right choice to decisively shut down Wuhan at the beginning.

Best Strategy Against Omicron

Let's analyze how to deal with Omicron. First of all, logically, if the fatality rate of Omicron is higher than that of Alpha, and the transmissibility is weaker than that of Alpha, then an infection prevention strategy should be adopted. Adopt a death-prevention strategy. In detail, if a large area is isolated, the resulting loss of life expectancy is: the percentage loss of GDP * (3-5) days (for simplicity, it will be calculated as 4 days later); infection prevention can avoid death and thus obtain The benefit of life expectancy is: (case fatality rate) S*10 years*50% (assuming that 50% of the whole population will eventually be infected), that is, S*3652*50% days.

Compare the life loss caused by the two strategies, that is, when the percentage loss of GDP * 4 days < S * 3652 days * 50%, the anti-infection strategy should be adopted, otherwise the anti-death strategy should be adopted.

From this, it is possible to calculate the threshold value of the fatality rate S of the death prevention strategy under the assumption of different GDP losses: when the GDP loss is 0.5%, the threshold value of S = 0.12%, that is, when the case fatality rate is less than 0.12%, the death prevention strategy should be adopted. Strategy; when GDP loses 1%, S's threshold = 0.22%; when GDP loses 2%, S's threshold = 0.44%, when GDP loses 4%, S's threshold = 0.88%. According to the current level of closure and control required for Omicron, the loss to GDP is at least 4%. It can be seen that even if the fatality rate of Omicron is slightly higher than that of influenza, because of the strong transmissibility of Omicron, the cost of preventing infection may be much higher than that of influenza, and a strategy of preventing death should be adopted. We can be sure that Omicron is much more transmissible than the flu. So what is the fatality rate of Omicron?

Omicron's Case Fatality Rate

According to research data released by Ontario, Canada, the case fatality rate of Omicron is about 0.03%. However, since European and American countries no longer require nucleic acid tests and no longer accurately count the number of infected people, the calculation of the fatality rate is not accurate. However, Asian countries are still counting the number of infected people more accurately, so we can look at the case fatality rate statistics of some Asian countries that are closer to ours.

According to reports, based on the cumulative number of deaths and positive cases from January to February 21, 2022 by the Japanese Ministry of Health and Welfare, the confirmed case fatality rate of Omicron is estimated to be 0.13% [7]. According to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KDCA), since December last year, the case fatality rate of the Korean Omicron variant is about 0.18% [8]. Through the data of the past two weeks, we found that the recent confirmed case fatality rate has been reduced to 0.1% [9]. According to the statistics of the case fatality rate in the past 28 days by the Ministry of Health of Singapore, this value is only 0.05% [10]. Through the data of the past two weeks, we found that the confirmed case fatality rate in Singapore in the past two weeks was only 0.03%. Similarly, according to the analysis of confirmed and fatal cases in Vietnam in the past 28 days, the case fatality rate is about 0.03% [11].

Look at Hong Kong, China. According to the epidemic data released by the Hong Kong government [12], there were 7,732 deaths in the fifth wave of the epidemic, and the cumulative number of confirmed and reported cases was 1,150,607 (2021.12.31-2022.4.1), and the calculated case fatality rate was 0.67%. However, since Hong Kong has never had a complete national nucleic acid, it is likely that there are many confirmed cases that are not included in the statistics. The Faculty of Medicine of the University of Hong Kong has calculated through a mathematical model that the actual number of infections far exceeds the official reports or statistics. This estimate has reached 4 million [13]. According to this estimate, the actual fatality rate is below 0.2%, but it is still relatively high.

Case fatality rate in some Asian countries, vaccination status of elderly people and proportion of deaths, proportion of population over 80 years old

Remarks: The vaccination rate and the proportion of deaths in the elderly are from the government websites or public information of each country/region, and the population proportion is from the United Nations database

Explanation of confirmed case fatality rate: South Korea: data from the national statistical database, data time is 2022.3.17-3.31; Singapore: data source Singapore Ministry of Health, data calculation time is 2022.3.17-3.31; Japan: data source Japan Daily News, calculation Time January-February 2022; Hong Kong, China: Data from Hong Kong Department of Health and University of Hong Kong, calculated from December 2021 to April 4, 2022; Vietnam: Data from Johns Hopkins University, calculated from March 2022 .8-4.6; Mainland China data is from the National Health Commission, and the calculation time is from January to March 2022.

It can be seen that the general mortality rate of Omicron is close to or even much lower than that of influenza, with the exception of Hong Kong, China.

Why is the Fatality Rate in Hong Kong so High?

To explain the high death rate in Hong Kong, we need to look at the age distribution of those who died. According to the figures in the third column of the above table, it is not difficult to see that the elderly are the main group of deaths. In Hong Kong, the vaccination rate of the elderly over the age of 80 is only 43%, while the vaccination rate of the elderly in other countries exceeds 90%. According to the data, both domestic vaccines and MRNA vaccines are highly effective in preventing severe illness and death. Therefore, it is not difficult to conclude that the vaccination rate of the elderly in Hong Kong is much lower than that of Singapore, which is the main reason for the high mortality rate in Hong Kong. If Hong Kong, China, can increase the vaccination rate of the elderly to the level of other countries, the case fatality rate can also be reduced to about 0.1%, which is similar to the level of influenza.

The overall vaccination rate in China is relatively high, and the full-course vaccination rate for people over 60 years old has reached 80%. China's overall proportion of 80-year-olds in the total population is only half that of Hong Kong, but the vaccination rate of the elderly over 80 is still relatively low, not reaching the level of Singapore and Japan. The case fatality rate of Omicron in China that we recently observed is already very low. In the first quarter of this year, the case fatality rate of the new coronavirus in mainland China was only 0.004%, which was an order of magnitude lower than that of Singapore. The case fatality rate in Jilin, where the epidemic was more severe, was 0.007% in the same period. Shanghai is 0 [14]. If we continue to increase the vaccination rate of the elderly, we can maintain the fatality rate of Omicron at the level of Vietnam and Singapore, which is 5/10,000, then the reduction of the cost of life expectancy from the death prevention strategy will be less than 1 day, and now it is estimated that the prevention of infection The loss of GDP caused by the strategy will exceed 4%, and the reduction in life expectancy is 16 days, which is much higher than the impact of the death prevention strategy. If the case fatality rate is maintained at 5 per 10,000 (50% infection rate), the number of deaths per year is more than 300,000. More than 3 million people die of cancer in China every year, and the five-year survival rate of cancer in China is 20% lower than that in Japan and South Korea. If we use 1% of GDP to improve the overall medical level, then cancer alone may save a lot. 600,000 people have room for improvement.

Let's review the epidemic prevention model diagram again:


For the current variant of the new coronavirus with high transmission rates but relatively low infection mortality rates, if a mortality prevention strategy is to be adopted, the focus should be on increasing the vaccination rate of high mortality risk groups such as the elderly over 80 years old. The domestic vaccine is also effective in preventing death. Therefore, we must increase the vaccination rate of the elderly as soon as possible. If the mortality rate continues to remain at a very low level, we should actively switch to the death prevention strategy. The anti-death strategy is not a "flattening" policy that is completely ignored, but to allow people with cold symptoms to self-isolate and test, freeing up valuable medical resources for the rescue and observation of critically ill and elderly people, so as to reduce the mortality rate. drop to lowest. Adopting different anti-epidemic strategies in the future does not mean that China's previous prevention and control was in vain. On the contrary, according to our model, the previous anti-infection and containment strategies were very correct, and they won more than two years of precious time. In the stage when the vaccination rate is still relatively low and the virus toxicity is relatively high, a large number of deaths can be avoided at a relatively small cost.


This essay established a model to analyze and compare the impact of different epidemic prevention strategies against different viruses on life expectancy. It concludes that the best strategy for epidemics such as Alpha and Delta is the anti-infection strategy. Omicron, however, is completely different from those previous strains. The mortality rate of Omicron is much lower and the transmissibility is much stronger, resulting in a substantial increase in the cost of the anti-infection strategy. According to the Omicron case fatality rate statistics in most countries and regions, if the Omicron case fatality rate is close to that of influenza, the life cost of the death prevention strategy is lower. The high mortality rate in Hong Kong is likely due to the low vaccine penetration rate among the elderly. Whether the strategy of the future is to prevent infection or prevent death depends on when we can achieve universal vaccination rates for the elderly.

We believe that as long as we adhere to the concept of people first and life comes first, take into account the life and work order of the people, adopt optimal epidemic prevention strategies scientifically and rationally, and efficiently allocate medical resources and social resources to deal with various diseases including Omicron , the overall loss of life can be minimized.


[2] ZhaoYang,PanLiu,XinXu: Estimation of social value of statistical life using willingness-to-pay method in Nanjing, China

[3] Jingjing Chen, Wei Chen, Ernest Liu, Jie Luo, and Zheng (Michael) Song:The Economic Cost of Lockdown in China: Evidence from City-to-City Truck Flows.


[5]The Journal of the American Medical Association:,%25)%20among%20matched%20Delta%20cases

[6]Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:










Translation: Xu Zhiyong's Statement in His Own Defense

 Source: China Digital Times: On April 10, 2023, Xu Zhiyong, a well-known human rights de...