To prevent “rumours” about the epidemic from spreading “gloomy attitudes” during the lunar new year festival, China’s cyber authorities are planning to restrict social media. After health forecasting company Airfinity calculated that more than 600,000 people had died since the government abruptly abolished zero-Covid limits in December, the decision to crack down on censorship was made.
Targeted accounts under the “Spring Festival online improvement” initiative, which will run for a month, including those that the authorities believe, are disseminating “rumours” regarding Covid and the patient’s experiences.

“Deep repair of erroneous information and other concerns to prevent gloomy attitudes,” the national cyber administration declared.

The investigation and prosecution of “internet rumours relating to the pandemic” and “fabricating patient experiences,” along with the dissemination or creation of false virus treatments, were especially emphasised by the administration. The project would “avoid deceiving the public and inciting social fear,” according to the release.

The social media site is flooded with personal accounts of those who caught COVID, about how difficult it was for them to find a medical treatment or medication, or about how the condition caused them to lose loved ones.

The current wave of infections has crested, according to health officials, but they also issued a warning that the infections could spread further as a result of the millions of people who travelled throughout the country.

Meanwhile, China’s population is progressively declining, and policymakers have warned that this will usher in a time of fewer workers and more pensioners. Young couples have been exhorted by state media to take advantage of the possibility to have two or three children under liberal family-size restrictions.

The government announced on Tuesday that the country’s population decreased last year for the first time in six decades, sooner and more sharply than many analysts had predicted, adding to the sense of impending crisis. Many analysts and Chinese citizens believe that despite the Chinese government’s warnings that a demographic Rubicon was approaching, their preparations have not kept up with the long-term demands of an ageing society.

A government that was unprepared for an outbreak of diseases was exposed by China’s rapid suspension of “zero Covid” regulations. In a similar vein, the growing population pressures show that the government hasn’t done enough to prevent having to choose between competing goals in the next decades.

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