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China censors COVID-related content online as New Year’s Eve prompts reflection by some

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New Year’s Eve in China prompted an outpouring of reflection online, some of it critical, about the strict zero-COVID-19 policy the country adhered to for almost three years.

Many of the stories included in the video, which by Saturday could not be seen or shared on domestic social media platforms, highlighted the difficulties ordinary Chinese faced as a result of the strict zero-COVID-19 policy.

“What a perverse world, you can only sing the praises of the fake but you cannot show real life,” one user wrote, attaching a screenshot of a blank page that is displayed when searching for the hashtags.

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“This virus should just go and die, can not believe this year I can not even find a healthy friend that can go out with me and celebrate the passage into the New Year”, wrote one user based in eastern Shandong province.

While the health authorities cited a “weakening” in the Omicron variant as the reason behind the scrapping of the zero-COVID-19 policy, the reopening began just a few days after China had been rocked by the biggest show of public discontent since Chinese President Xi Jinping took office in 2012.

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