China’s health authorities on Tuesday blamed local governments for their handling of coronavirus outbreaks as Beijing distanced itself from the crisis after unprecedented protests against President Xi Jinping and his zero-Covid policy.
The National Health Commission reaffirmed Beijing’s commitment to the zero-Covid measures and pledged to boost vaccination rates among the elderly, a day after police and security forces appeared to have stamped out demonstrations across at least 18 cities.
Without acknowledging the protests directly, Chinese officials argued that public complaints centred on the implementation of China’s strict prevention and control measures — an area that is the responsibility of local governments — rather than Beijing’s zero-Covid policy itself.
They added that local officials should focus on minimising inconveniences to the public caused by the outbreaks and pledged to increase central supervision.
“Some local governments take a…