- Kerry Allen
- BBC Monitoring
Chinese state media pays close attention to the World Cup as the matches fuel the frustration of the country’s people who have been left out of the festivities.
In addition to the Chinese team’s failure to qualify for the event, scenes of maskless parties and large gatherings in Qatar angered spectators, who were discouraged from gathering to watch matches.
Many have taken advantage of the World Cup to complain online about China’s current strategies against the coronavirus. The country maintains a “no spread of the virus” policy, in which entire communities are locked down due to isolated cases of the virus, in order to prevent its spread.
China registered this week The largest number of daily cases cOvid since the beginning of the epidemic, Despite the drastic measures. Several major cities, including the capital Beijing and southern commercial epicenter Guangzhou, are experiencing outbreaks.
And 31,527 cases were recorded on Wednesday of this week, compared to 28,000 cases in April as a maximum. However, the numbers are still minuscule for a country of 1.4 billion people.
Football is very popular in China. President Xi Jinping is known to be a sports fan and has spoken of the country’s dream of winning the World Cup.
For this reason, the matches are broadcast on the national network CCTV and State media tried to exaggerate China’s “presence”.
Global Times reported how products made in China, “from buses to stadium [Lusail]and even air conditioners, are well represented at the event.”
Major media outlets such as CCTV also encouraged the presence of Chinese flag bearers at the opening ceremony, noting how two giant pandas arrived in Qatar to “meet” visitors to the event.
But obviously cOvid-19 slowed down the festivities. In major cities, the outbreak has caused non-essential businesses to close again and people have been urged to limit their movement.
With no pubs to go to, the Global Times says some fans are “choosing to watch matches at home with their families”. Others reportedly preferred to go camping.
Flights between Qatar and China remain very limited for those hoping to see the event in person.
Many feel very isolated when watching this year’s World Cup.
An open letter questioning the country’s “zero covid” policy and wondering If China is “on the same planet” as Qatar It was broadcast on mobile messaging service WeChat on Tuesday, before it was censored.
The Twitter-like social network Weibo is brimming with comments from viewers talking about how watching this year’s matches makes them feel cut off from the rest of the world.
Some people share that perception It is “rare” to see hundreds of thousands of people gathered togetherAnd the without masks You do not have to show a recent COVID-19 test.
“There are no separate seats so people can maintain social distance and no one is wearing white and blue [médico] aside. This planet has been divided too much.”
Another said, “On the one hand, there is the carnival that represents the World Cup, and on the other hand, the rules not to visit public places for five days.”
More than one person confirmed that they had difficulty explaining to their children why the World Cup scenes were different from those experienced by people in their own countries.
There are many in China who have criticized the opening up of countries abroad while the World Health Organization continues to evaluate Covid-19 virus from an ‘acute global emergency’.
So far, there is no end in sight to the current measures in China. This week, a spokesperson for the National Health Commission warned “against any relaxation in epidemic prevention and control.” He urged “more resolute and resolute action” to get the cases under control.
Local governments in major cities have reintroduced restrictions on mass travel and testing, finally getting the message across to stay home.
But after three years of these procedures, People are frustratedThat sparked protests last month in the cities of Guangzhou and Zhengzhou.
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