NEW DELHI: As China prepares to confirm President Xi Jinping as its most powerful leader since Mao Zedong, authorities leave no stone unturned to ensure everything goes as planned.
With the 20 Communist Party Congress (CPC) On Sunday, hundreds of volunteers – called “Neighborhood Security Volunteers” – dispersed on a street in Beijing to follow the proceedings closely.
According to a New York Times report, volunteers were placed “every 100 feet or so” to ensure any perceived threats or wrinkles, from Covid to unsightly waste, were eliminated.

“The fortress around Beijing as Xi prepares for another five years defying precedents crystallizes his success,” the report said.
Double on Zero Covid
In addition to countering any perceived security threats, the volunteers were also fighting an invisible enemy: Covid-19.
Even as the world is emerging from the shadow of a grueling pandemic, China is keeping its defenses tight, especially during the all-important CCP.
The defenses are so tight that those who have traveled to areas with even a single Covid case have been barred from entering the city.
The stranded citizens have exploded with anger on social media, with some saying they need to return urgently for work or surgery.
Some complain that their employers prevented them from leaving Beijing during last week’s seven-day National Day holiday for fear that they would not be able to return.
Separately, the NYT reported that postal department officials have been tasked with checking the ID of everyone who ships anything to Beijing.
“Until the big meeting is over, there will be more people patrolling. Police, all kinds, ”a volunteer told the NYT.
Officials from other provinces have promised all necessary measures, including blockades, to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, “especially in Beijing”.
Over 1.4 million arrested, repressed protests
The extent and size of the conclave every five years is evident from some of the other extreme measures taken by the authorities.
In the capital, armed officers patrolled the streets around the Great Hall of the People to stop cyclists and pedestrians for random checks.
Last month, a government official announced that authorities had arrested more than 1.4 million criminal suspects nationwide since the end of June. The reason: They wanted to create a “safe and stable political and social environment” for the CCP.
Quiet discontent is also spreading among the locals, who are facing the brunt of these extreme restrictions.
Photos of two banners spread over a Beijing flyover have circulated on social media, calling for an end to the lockdown and the overthrow of Xi.
However, public outcry is virtually invisible in Beiing on any day and almost unimaginable in the security grove, the NYT report said.
Any small protests that took place were promptly suppressed by the authorities.
The strict police were also palpable on social media with online censors assiduously scrubbing all the photos posted online.
The report said that the search for the word “Beijing” also appeared to have been limited on the Weibo platform (China’s Twitter), with only verified official account posts being displayed.


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