Simon Leplâtre, the Shanghai correspondent of Le Monde, on November 22, published an article named “In China, youth frustration over ‘zero-COVID’ policy is taking a political turn.'” The article pointed out that the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP’s) ‘zero-COVID’ policy over the past three years has exhausted young Chinese people. As a result, they dare to criticize the CCP more openly.

Stella (pseudonym), 30, is an example. Simply asking, “Are you okay?” was enough for Stella to express all her frustrations. 

The young woman answered, “Five months after the Shanghai lockdown, we are still locked up in China. We don’t know if we can go outside next weekend or even leave our apartment because we are still at risk of being quarantined at the slightest contact in the building. This constant uncertainty is exhausting. I want to go out, to see the world.”

The 30-year-old woman said she felt anxious and angry, describing the policy as inhumane. 

Three years after zero-COVID was implemented, this policy topic is present in many conversations in the city’s financial hub because the policy takes a toll on people’s livelihoods and the country’s economy.

Last month, the International Monetary Fund marked down Chinese growth in 2022 at 3.2%, the second lowest since 1977. It reflected the crisis in the real estate market and the effects of the zero-COVID lockdowns on mobility.

On November 11, the National Health Commission announced an effort to ease COVID restrictions. And it clarified that this was “not a relaxation of prevention and control.”

More and more Chinese are talking about the political issues they usually avoid, even in casual conversations. But unfortunately, it has resulted in a lack of economic opportunity, a lack of leisure-related activities, and a lack of freedom.

As Insider reported on May 25, young adults in China once referred to themselves as the country’s “last generation.” It shows how angry and disappointed young people are. 

Back then, authorities in hazmat suits visited a man living in Shanghai. The Shanghai resident was threatened that his family would be punished for three generations if they didn’t follow the COVID quarantine rules.

When warned, the man responded bluntly, “Sorry, we are the last generation, thanks!”

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