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HomeNewsChina zero-COVID regulations save lives but not livelihoods, outrage grows

China zero-COVID regulations save lives but not livelihoods, outrage grows

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Beijing – China ultra-strict COVID-19 controls are putting a strain on businesses and job seekers, as Beijing emphasizes the need to continue its zero-tolerance policy to the virus in order to save lives, if not livelihoods.

China has documented 5,226 COVID fatalities among its 1.4 billion people since 2020. In the United States, however, over one million people have died as a result of the disease.

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Keeping China’s COVID death toll under control has come at a cost to the country’s economy. Protests have gone to the streets in response to the policies. “Nerves are high,” CNN writes, with Chinese people demanding freedom and declaring “no to lockdowns.”

Cai Xu, 36, from Beijing, has closed four of his five bars in Beijing and Chengdu in three years. Temporary closures to comply with COVID policies initially impacted the business. Almost no one enters the store these days.

“I’ve been scared, confused, and bewildered since the outbreak, and then the bars started to close down one by one,” said Cai, who quit his work as an architect at a state-owned firm in 2016 to launch his first establishment.

Cai has started live broadcasting music performances at his pub to people isolated at home to offset the decline in walk-in customers, which has been a surprise hit. For the time being, that will suffice while Cai looks for alternative means to keep his remaining Beijing bar running. Apart with COVID limitations, China is seeing protests against a banking fraud scandal and mortgage strikes.

China’s GDP hardly developed from January to March as officials battled the highly transmissible Omicron variety. The urban unemployment rate reached 6.1% in April, the highest level since February 2020. Unemployment among individuals aged 16 to 24 reached a new high of 19.9% in July.

Zheng Mili, 30, has sent hundreds of job applications and attended dozens of interviews in Beijing since July. However, the most promising ones pay only half of what she used to. “One employer phoned me up for an interview and told me before I went that they had received hundreds of applications in one day,” she explained to Reuters.

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“In only one day, thousands of people applied for a position that pays 10,000 yuan ($1,390) every month,” Zheng exclaimed. “The work market is quite difficult right now.”

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