China abruptly lifted COVID-19 restrictions in several Chinese cities, after large protests erupted in at least seventeen cities.
China Lifts Some COVID-19 Restrictions Over Protests
The CCP government of China has been cracking down on protests that have spread to at least seventeen cities, but its resolve appear to have cracked a little.
The authorities in the major cities of Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chongqing and Zhengzhou abruptly lifted COVID-19 lockdown measures and restrictions.
On Wednesday afternoon, 30 November 2022, Chinese authorities announced the lifting of lockdowns in four districts in Guangzhou, and instructed local officials to remove “temporary control orders” and to predesignate those areas as “low risk”. They also announced an end to mass PCR testing for COVID-19.
Both Guangzhou and Chongqing also announced that close contacts of COVID-19 positive people will be allowed to quarantine at home instead of being forcibly taken to a quarantine centre, subject to certain conditions.
Shanghai – China’s largest and most affluent city, announced that the lockdown of 24 high-risk areas across 11 of its districts would be lifted on Thursday, 1 December 2022.
The city of Zhengzhou – the location of the massive iPhone factory and earlier protests, announced the “orderly” resumption of business, including markets, supermark1ets, restaurants and cinemas. While lifting COVID-19 restrictions in general, they published a list of buildings that would remain under lockdown.
China Could Quietly Kill Zero COVID Policy Over Protests
China could be preparing to quietly “kill” its Zero COVID policy that had been the hallmark “achievement” of President Xi Jinping.
On Wednesday, 30 November 2022, Vice-Premier Sun Chunlan – China’s most senior official in charge of its COVID-19 response, told health officials that the country faced “a new stage and mission” in pandemic control.
She noticeably did not mention the Zero COVID policy, but said that the National Health Commission (NHC) should take a “human-centred approach”, in an apparent nod to the anti-government protests that have wracked multiple Chinese cities.
Sun also called for China to enhance its “diagnosis, testing, treatment and quarantine” measures, while boosting vaccination rates especially for its senior citizens, and beef up medication and medical resources.
This appears to suggest that the Chinese authorities are at least thinking of further loosening its strict Zero COVID measures, if not killing it completely.
Her comments come a day after top Chinese health officials pledged to change COVID-19 control measures to reduce their impact on people’s lives.
Chinese National Health Commission (NHC) officials said that lockdowns to suppress the spread of COVID-19 should be lifted “as quickly as possible” during outbreaks.
Cheng Youquan – a director at the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said that some control measures were implemented “excessively” by local officials taking a “one size fits all” approach, without regard for people’s demands.
NHC officials also announced an “action plan’ to boost vaccination rates amongst the elderly, which would be necessary if China is to reopen the country.
As of November 28, about 90% of Chinese population received two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine, but only 66% of people over 80 have done so. A very high vaccination rate is critical, because Chinese vaccines have much lower efficacy than Western vaccines.
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Sea Limited – the parent company of Shopee – appears to be in dire straits, pulling out of markets, slashing costs and salaries!
Parent Company Of Shopee Slashes Costs + Salaries!
Singapore-based Sea Limited – Shopee’s parent company – appears to be in dire straits, pulling out of markets, slashing costs and salaries!
In March 2022, Shopee shut down its France operations less than 6 months after kicking off its “European conquest” in October 2021.
Then in early September 2022, Shopee exited Argentina, and shut down its local operations in Chile, Colombia and Mexico. Sea Limited’s Garena gaming unit also laid off hundreds of employees in Shanghai.
Today (September 15, 2022), Bloomberg reported that Sea Limited’s top management staff will forgo their salaries, and the company will tighten its expenses.
In a 1,000-word internal memo to Sea Limited staff, CEO Forrest Li said that the leadership team will not take any cash compensation “until the company reaches self-sufficiency”, as well as these additional measures :
business travel is restricted to economy class flights,
travel meal expenses are limited to US$30 a day,
hotel stays for business trips are limited to US$150 a night
reimbursements for meals and entertainment bills will be removed
Sea Limited + Shopee Have Been Struggling In 2022
Li noted that Sea Limited has been struggling against rising interest rates, accelerating inflation, and a volatile market – conditions that he foresees will likely persist into the medium term.
He stressed that the company’s primary objective for the next 12-18 months will be to achieve positive cashflow as soon as possible.
With investors fleeing for ‘safe haven’ investments, we do not anticipate being able to raise funds in the market.
The only way for us to free ourselves from relying on external capital is to become self-sufficient, generating enough cash for all our own needs and projects.
Li’s comments mirrors the “tough times” concerns recently expressed by HUAWEI CEO Ren Zhengfe.
Sea Limited saw its market value soar to more than US$200 billion in October 2021, but its share prices tumbled 85%, reducing its market value to just US$27 billion.
Last month, Sea announced that its net loss in the second quarter of 2022 widened to US$931.20 million from US$433.7 million last year. Its total adjusted loss before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation for that quarter also jumped to US$506.3 minion from US$24.1 million.
This was despite a 29% increase in total revenue to US$2.9 billion, from US$2.3 billion in the second quarter of last year.
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A hacker is selling data on a billion Chinese citizens, that he stole from the Shanghai national police database!
Find out what’s going on, and what this data breach entails!
Shanghai Police Data On 1 Billion Chinese Citizens Leaked!
A hacker who called himself “ChinaDan” posted in the Breach Forums that he hacked into the Shanghai National Police (SHGA) database and stole more than 23 terabytes of data.
He is offering to sell data on 1 billion Chinese citizens, including their name, address, birthplace, national ID number and mobile numbers, for 10 bitcoins – which is currently worth about US$204,285 / €200,227.
In 2022, the Shanghai National Police (SHGA) database was leaked. This database contains many TB of data and information on billions of Chinese citizen.
Databases contain information on 1 billion Chinese national residents and several billion case records, including: name, address, birthplace, national ID number, mobile number, all crime/case details.
He also posted a sample of 750,000 data entries from the three main indexes of the database, for potential buyers to evaluate.
Shanghai Police Database Left Unsecured For 14 Months!
ChinaDan claimed that the SHGA database was left unsecured on an Alibaba Cloud server. This was confirmed by several cybersecurity experts who had earlier stumbled upon the same database.
Even worse, the database was apparently left unsecured for at least 14 months! Vinny Troia – the founder of dark web intelligence first, Shadowbyte, said that he first discovered the SHGA database “around January” 2021.
Troia even downloaded one of the main indexes of the SHGA database, which contained information on nearly 970 million Chinese citizens (at that time).
And best of all – they made the data available to anybody who registers for an account!
The site that I found it on is public, anybody (could) access it, all you have to do is register for an account. Since it was opened in April 2021, any number of people could have downloaded the data.
Either they forgot about it, or they intentionally left it open because it’s easier for them to access. I don’t know why they would. It sounds very careless.
This Was Second Hack Of Shanghai National Police Database!
Bob Diachenko – a Ukrainian cybersecurity researcher – discovered the database independently in April, and noticed that the databased was attacked in mid-June by a hacker who copied the data, destroyed the copy on the server and left a ransom note demanding 10 bitcoins for its recovery.
By July 1, the ransom note disappeared, but only 7 gigabytes of data was available on the server, instead of the earlier 23 TB.
It is unknown if this data ransom “hack” was performed by ChinaDan, or a different hacker.
Diachenko said that the unsecured and exposed database continued to be used after that, until it was shut down over the weekend, after news of the data leak broke.
Maybe there was some junior developer who noticed it and tried to remove the notes before senior management noticed them.
This is shocking because it suggests that the database administrators were already aware of a prior breach, but did nothing to secure the database, or shore up cybersecurity measures.
Most Of China Affected By Shanghai Police Data Leak!
The Shanghai National Police data leak is currently the largest leak of public information ever.
It does not just cover people who live in, or have been in Shanghai. The database actually has information on over 70% of its 1.4 billion population in almost all counties in China.
The data contained information about almost all the counties in China, and I have even discovered data related to a remote county in Tibet, where there are only a few thousand residents.
– Yi Fu-Xian, a senior scientist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison
This massive data leak acutely demonstrates the risk of government collection of data. China notably collects a tremendous amount of data on its citizens, including digital and biological data through facial recognition, iris scanners, social media tracking and phone trackers.
Once such data is leaked, it is forever exposed, putting people at risk of scams, identity theft, or even extortion.
China Censors Coverage Of Shanghai Police Data Leak
The Chinese government and the Shanghai Police have both refused to comment on the massive data leak.
Instead, they started blocking related words on Weibo, like “Shanghai data leak”, “data leak”, “Shanghai national security database breach”, “1 billion citizens’ record leak”.
Censors have also scrubbed news on this data breach from WeChat, with one popular WeChat user telling his 27,000 followers that he had been summoned to be questioned by the police.
China’s major English-language media like CGTN, Global Times, Xinhua, etc. have also not published any story on the Shanghai police data leak, despite public interest and its wide-ranging consequences for China.
Did China lock down Shanghai, not to fight COVID-19, but to spite US companies over the Ukraine war?
Take a look at the viral article, and find out what the facts really are!
Claim : China Locked Down Shanghai To Spite US Over Ukraine War!
People are sharing an article by Kanthan Pillay, which claimed that China locked down Shanghai not to fight COVID-19 but to spite US companies over the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
It’s a rather long post, so feel free to skip to the next section for the facts…
Shanghai Lockdown Not Because Of Covid -19!!
Two weeks after Russia’s forces moved into Ukraine, China locked down Shanghai.
Let me hit you with some bullet points:
More than 800 multinational corporations have regional headquarters in Shanghai . Among them, 121 are Fortune Global 500 companies, including Apple, Qualcomm, General Motors, Pepsico.
More than 70 000 foreign companies have offices in Shanghai. More than 24 000 of these are Japanese.
The shutdown of Tesla’s operation in Shanghai because of the lockdown has set the company back with lost production of 40 000 units of electric vehicles. That’s just one car company. Volkswagen and General Motors both have factories in Shanghai.
Ford has a global design center in Shanghai.
Let’s talk about Apple: iPhone supplier Pegatron has its major factory in Shanghai and another in nearby Kunshan. Both have been shut by the lockdown.
TSMC , the world’s most valuable manufacturer of semiconductors, has a major production facility in Shanghai. (TSMC makes 7-nanometre and 5-nanometre chips used by the Apple A14 and M1 SoC .)
Pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca has a global R&D centre in Shanghai.
To top this off, Shanghai is the world’s biggest container port moving more than 47 million shipping containers per year. Shutting down the city for more than a month means 4 million of those have potentially been impacted.
As can be seen, the simple act of shutting down Shanghai has delivered a body blow to global giants in the US sphere of influence at a time when they are already scrambling to reset their economies after their disastrous sanctions against Russia.
Now I know that correlation does not imply causation.
But it is a fact that Russia and China laid out the parameters for a new world order in February…
And it is a fact that their respective actions over the next weeks have brought the economies of the western powers to a grinding halt…
“When you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be true.”
Fact #4 : Hong Kong Has More Regional HQs Than Shanghai
In his first “bullet point”, Kanthan Pillay said that more than 800 multinational corporations have their regional headquarters in Shanghai.
What he does not point out to you is that Hong Kong has almost twice as many regional headquarters as Shanghai – 1,457 as of 2021.
If the Chinese wanted to “attack” US companies by targeting their regional headquarters, they would do better to lock down Hong Kong.
But wait – Hong Kong is still NOT under lockdown, even with a massive surge of Omicron cases.
Fact #5 : Regional HQ Not As Important As Factories
Kanthan Pillay does not seem to understand that regional headquarters are not as critical to US companies as the factories that produce goods for them.
Many employees of these regional headquarters can conduct their work from home, even hold meetings virtually from anywhere in the world. So using regional headquarters and design centres as examples of Chinese sabotage is stupid.
Factories, on the other hand, cannot produce goods virtually. Hence, factories that produce goods for US companies are far more important than regional HQs and design centres.
Fact #6 : Shanghai Lockdown Affects All Companies
Kanthan Pillay is apparently unaware thatChina’s lockdown of Shanghai is not limited to US citizens or companies.
The Shanghai lockdown affects all residents, whether they are Chinese citizens or foreigners. Similarly, Chinese companies are affected just as badly as their Western counterparts.
Even more importantly – there are far more Chinese companies in Shanghai than Western companies. More Chinese citizens are being employed by Chinese companies in Shanghai, than Western companies.
If China intentionally locked down Shanghai to spite US companies, they would be sacrificing their own economy to do that.
The Chinese are not quite so stupid as to cut off their noses, just to spite their own faces.
The Chinese medicine Lianhua Qingwen is finally tumbling over concerns about its efficacy against COVID-19.
Find out why it has apparently fallen out of favour with the Chinese government!
Lianhua Qingwen Maker Plunged 10% Over Efficacy Questions
Traditional Chinese medicine company Shijiazhuang Yiling Pharmaceutical saw its shares skyrocket by over 260% since the COVID-19 pandemic started.
Driving its meteoric rise was its Lianhua Qingwen capsules, sales of which eventually accounted for 42% of their revenue.
That came to a halt on Monday, 18 April 2022, when its shares fell by the maximum daily limit of 10%, over questions of Lianhua Qingwen’s efficacy against COVID-19.
On 13 April 2022, Wang Sicong – a Chinese internet influencer, and son of Dalian Wanda Group chairman, Wang Jianlin, posted a video on Weibo questioning the efficacy of Lianhua Qingwen against COVID-19.
He pointed out that the World Health Organisation (WHO) never recommended using Lianhua Qingwen to treat COVID-19. That slashed the market value of Shijiazhuang Yiling Pharmaceutical by $1.05 billion on Friday, 15 April 2022.
Then on Sunday, 17 April 2022, the Chinese health platform Dingxiang Yisheng published an article advising the public not to take it to prevent COVID-19.
That triggered a sell-off that saw its market value plunge by the maximum daily limit of 10% in Shenzhen the next day.
Lianhua Qingwen NOT Proven To Work Against COVID-19
Lianhua Qingwen has been heavily promoted by the Chinese government and the Chinese 50 Cent Army (wumao, 五毛), leading to massive sales in the global Chinese diaspora.
It then gained oversized importance when both Hong Kong and Shanghai distributed boxes of these capsules to help stave off the surge of COVID-19 in both cities.
Yet, the mass distribution of Lianhua Qingwen has done nothing to stop the spread of COVID-19 in both cities.
That’s because there never was any evidence that Lianhua Qingwen can treat or prevent COVID-19.
Its main “call to fame” was a small Chinese study conducted early during the pandemic, which showed that it had only a modest effect on symptom recovery :
time to recover from fever : 2 days, instead of 3 days
time to recover from fatigue : 3 days, instead of 6 days
time to recover from coughing : 7 days, instead of 10 days
There was NO DIFFERENCE in the viral load, or the risk of developing severe COVID-19.
In other words – Lianhua Qingwen only helped to reduce symptoms, and was no different from taking over-the-counter drugs like paracetamol.
However, it was far more expensive, and had potential side effects from long-term use and counterfeit products capitalising on the hype.
The medicine could cause side effects such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and rash.
Fang Bangjiang, doctor from Long Hua Hospital of the Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, said that Lianhua Qingwen has complex ingredients and is mainly suitable for COVID-19 patients with mild symptoms of fever and pneumonia but unsuitable for prevention.
Its ingredients will affect the renal system.
Lianhua Qingwen, incidentally, is nothing more than a mix of common herbs :
None of its ingredients have been proven to cure COVID-19, although poor quality studies have demonstrated that it is effective in reducing fever. Again, you would get the same effect from the much cheaper and easier-to-obtain paracetamol…
And yes, Forsythia was the fake herbal cure promoted by Jude Law’s character – Alan Krumwiede in the medical thriller – Contagion.
Despite longstanding warnings by health authorities like Singapore’s HSA that Lianhua Qingwen cannot treat or prevent COVID-19, it continues to rack up sales amongst the Chinese diaspora globally.
Credit definitely goes towards active Chinese government promotion, and misinformation created and shared by the Chinese wumao and pro-China activists.
There is no scientific evidence from randomised clinical trials to show that any herbal product, including Lianhua Qingwen products, can be used to prevent or treat COVID-19.
Interestingly, official Chinese outlets like Global Times have now published articles about Shijiazhuang Yiling Pharmaceutical’s downfall.
In addition, the Chinese government did not censor Wang Sicong’s Weibo video or the Dingxiang Yisheng article.
That suggests that the Chinese government is looking for someone to blame for their failure to contain the massive outbreak of COVID-19 in Shanghai, and Lianhua Qingwen appears to be the perfect scapegoat for their failing Zero COVID policy.
It is sad, but enlightening, to see that the myth of Lianhua Qingwen is finally being broken only because the Chinese government decided to throw it under the bus.
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