According to news reports from a newspaper operated by the Chinese Communist Party, China’s move to lock down a major city because of COVID-19 cases was in response to international pressure to present a safe environment for the upcoming Winter Olympics in Beijing.
Xi’an is a city of 13 million and is about 680 miles from Beijing and is being isolated in response to increasing case numbers. The CCP has also locked down some areas of Beijing and has ordered party officials not to leave the city before the Olympics to prevent a general impression of fear of a new coronavirus outbreak.
The Beijing Olympics have been controversial for years because of the terrible Chinese human rights record. The most prevalent example has been the genocide of Uyghur Muslims in East Turkistan. Human rights organizations and many athletes have called on the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to move the Games to a nation with a reputation for respecting fundamental human rights. The IOC’s loyalty to the Chinese government has led activists to urge participating nations to boycott the Games.
The COVID pandemic has led to additional concerns about the Beijing Games. Health concerns about China’s role in the origin of the pandemic and its efforts to control the spread of the disease have led to multiple demands for boycotts. Last week, the National Hockey League announced that it would not allow its players to participate in the Games because of concerns about COVID.
Chinese officials announced last Wednesday that Xi’an is being locked down, and residents are prohibited from leaving their homes. The CCP controlled “Global Times” admitted that the lockdown was being done to preserve the Beijing Games. The paper blamed China’s epidemic on “imported sources” and said that government health experts said that upcoming holidays and the Winter Olympics required the city’s lockdown.
The paper also reported that the CCP had purged some party members in Xi’an because of the embarrassment caused to the government. It said that 26 individuals and four CCP organizations have been “punished” because of claims of imported COVID cases from Pakistan.