In a rare admission to the public, the municipal government of Lhasa City on Saturday 17 September admitted mishandling the COVID-19 outbreak in Tibet’s capital since the beginning of August.
Since the COVID outbreak in Tibet began on 7 August, both Tibetans and Chinese tourists, migrants and settlers have expressed their grievances, pleas and criticisms of the official Zero-COVID policy and the official measures in particular that have caused enormous hardship to the public. There have been multiple posts on Chinese social media (subsequently taken down) highlighting that due to the lockdown continuing for more than a month and a half, people have had no income for a long time, and the pressure of life is high.
The sheer scale of public outrage, most prominently from Lhasa, on Chinese social media apparently led the municipal government of Lhasa to issue a public statement to assuage the Lhasa public anger. Admitting the hardships caused to the public and the failure to provide services, the statement, however, stopped short of admitting the failure of the Zero-COVID policy formulated by the Chinese Communist Party leadership in Beijing. On the contrary, “Tibet Autonomous Region” (TAR) Party Secretary Wang Junzheng declared during the TAR CCP standing committee meeting on the morning of 19 September that there would be no change in the Zero-COVID policy. The statement came alongside a stepping up of censorship and clamping down on those who openly expressed their grievances and pleas.