China is tightening its grip on the nation as it pushes its zero-COVID approach to eliminating the virus inside their borders. The communist state has resorted to mass lockdowns despite only having a handful of COVID cases detected.
Its zero-COVID approach even calls for heavily monitored or even closed borders, strict quarantine mandates, and stringent contact tracing systems. They're also resorted to killing animals. According to NBC News, a pet dog was killed by Chinese pandemic prevention workers and was caught on video, sparking widespread outrage in China.
The recent development also raised questions on how far China is going to take their zero-COVID policies. A home security camera of a person who owned a dog captured how one of the two figures wearing a hazmat suit hit a corgi on the head with a rod.
The video was posted on Weibo and showed the dog running into another room, outside of the camera's view. The Chinese pandemic prevention workers eventually emerge from the other room, holding an object in a yellow plastic bag. Xizhou district officials said that the pandemic prevention workers were sent to disinfect the residential building in Shangrao city in the southeastern Jiangxi province of China in response to the spread of the COVID Delta variant.
Mission Network News reported that local officials later apologized for killing the dog, but such "bizarre stories" show just how much Chinese districts are pressured to comply with the communist state's zero-COVID policy. China is now racing against time to achieve zero-COVID cases as the 2022 Winter Olympic Games in Beijing is fast approaching.
China Partner's Eric Burklin reported that even the smallest COVID outbreaks cause massive shutdown of entire cities. One pastor in Nanjing, which is home to an 8 million strong population, said that "They had maybe 10 or 15 cases in that town. And everyone had to stop going to work. They had to show up in their districts for testing sites. And were literally testing everybody, the whole population."
Citizens who test positive for COVID are sent to hospitals for quarantine, while most areas continue to uphold mask mandates, even in outdoor spaces. Burklin remarked that the Chinese government is aiming for "stability." He explained that he spoke to a pastor in Hong Kong, saying, "That's the keyword that they are saying in China right now: stability. They want everything to be stable. They want everything to go smoothly for the preparations of the Olympics."
So what does the zero-COVID policy mean for Christians in China? It means that they cannot gather in large numbers to worship God just yet. But the ministry will not be stopped by COVID. Burklin reassured the Christian faithful in China that they are "in regular contact with pastors over WeChat who are rejoicing" in the fact that Jesus remains as the center of the church and community.
"Even though the local churches are shut down, they meet in small groups, but a lot of the house churches were already doing that anyway," Burklin remarked.