As the Chinese regime races to inoculate tens of millions through coercive policies and a propaganda blitz, some local officials are quietly dodging the shots themselves.
Amid Beijing’s aggressive vaccine push, dozens of officials from parts of Liaoning, a province in northeastern China, have cited various health reasons not to take the Chinese COVID-19 vaccine, internal documents dated late March and obtained by The Epoch Times reveal.
In a town called Xintai, located in the center of the province, only three out of 66 officials have gotten vaccinated, with another two on the registration list—showing a dismal willingness rate of less than 10 percent.
Fifty government officers and those with the local judicial office and law enforcement gave reasons such as underlying illness, allergy, pregnancy, recent surgery, or a cold, according to a March 29 chart that summarizes the region’s vaccination efforts.
Allergy stood out as the top reason, cited 22 times. Twenty people also cited high blood pressure while five mentioned diabetes—even though both are chronic diseases that would mark them as highly vulnerable to the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus.
In Tai’an County, which has jurisdiction over the town, only four people in the 56-member Housing and Urban-Rural Development Bureau consented to being inoculated, with three people excusing themselves over “poor health.” In the county’s political and legal affairs committee, a well-funded CCP organ that has direct oversight over the court system, one person mentioned toothache. In Tai’an’s fiscal service center, some said they’re taking Chinese medicine or have unspecified illnesses.
The vaccination acceptance is no more sanguine in the Tai’an Occupation Education Center, the county’s major technical college, where around a third claimed to have an allergic constitution and many said they were recovering from the seasonal flu.
The low participation rate from the officials, who have been tasked with “leading by example” in China’s latest vaccination drive, appears to signal a greater lack of enthusiasm within the country.
The regime has been promoting its homegrown vaccines at home and abroad, shipping free doses to 69 countries and celebrating a record of 100 million administered across China by the end of March. Gao Fu, head of the country’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention, recently told state media they were aiming to vaccinate 70 to 80 percent of the Chinese population to achieve herd immunity.
Yet achieving the vaccination record has taken the mobilization of communist party cadres countrywide. In some cases, overzealous officials have gone door to door to vaccinate residents and even threatened to blacklist the uncooperative.
The campaign has meanwhile been riddled with questions about vaccine quality.
Still very little is known about the Chinese vaccines the regime has rushed to distribute. The leading vaccine maker, state-owned Sinopharm, announced plans on March 28 to conduct third stage trials overseas to observe how long protection from the virus would last. In Hong Kong, at least 12 locals have died following Beijing’s Sinovac shots, although authorities said the vaccine was not the direct cause for their deaths.
Neither company has made its clinical data public, although the World Health Organization on March 31 vouched for efficacy levels being above 50 percent—the minimum bar for a vaccine’s public use.
“We know nothing about this vaccine,” a mainlander surnamed Li told the Chinese-language NTD, an affiliate of The Epoch Times. “There’s no third stage trial data nor analysis on whether it can produce antibodies at all, whether we can still get infected or infect others. We know nothing.
“We are better off simply having a few bowls of chicken soup at home to boost our immunity, don’t you think?”
Amid public skepticism, the regime has been drumming up the pressure. State media anchors have endorsed vaccination slogans urging people to “lend an arm.”
In southern Hainan Province, a local town called Wancheng told residents they wouldn’t be able to take buses or go to restaurants and supermarkets without vaccination certificates.
“If you don’t take vaccines, it will affect your children’s schooling, work, joining the military, and housing in the future,” according to a notice that has since gone viral on Chinese social media. The officials later apologized amid the backlash and rescinded the mandate.
Mr. Wu from China’s central city of Wuhan recently received a text from his local neighborhood committee and his workplace telling him to get the vaccine on a certain date.
Both he and his father, a government official, consider it unnecessary, he said, citing a history of issues with past Chinese vaccines.
“The Chinese Communist Party seems pretty anxious about people’s lack of interest in getting the vaccines,” he said in a recent interview. “A lot of people seemingly support the Party and hate America during normal times, but if you were to ask them to take domestic vaccines no one would agree.”
Another retired Beijing official also expressed concerns about possible adverse reactions.
“A lot of common people are worried about this, and so am I,” he told The Epoch Times in a recent interview.
Luo Ya contributed to this report.
“Every day, Texans return to normalcy as more people get the COVID vaccine. In fact, this week, Texas will surpass 13 million doses administered,” Abbott said Tuesday. “Those shots help slow the spread of COVID, reduce hospitalizations, and reduce fatalities.”
Abbott’s move follows a similar order issued by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican, who cited privacy concerns as a reason for doing so.
“But, as I have said all along, these vaccines are always voluntary and never forced. Government should not require any Texan to show proof of vaccination and reveal private health information just to go about their daily lives,” said Abbott, a Republican. “That is why I issued an executive order that prohibits government-mandated vaccine passports in Texas. We will continue to vaccinate more Texans and protect public health and we will do so without treading on Texans’ personal freedoms.”
According to Abbott, the order exempts nursing homes and long-term care facilities.
So-called “vaccine passport” systems have been proposed in several countries and some airlines have floated the idea. New York state started rolling out its “Excelsior” system that would require New Yorkers to show proof of vaccination at major events, although it is reportedly plagued by errors.
Pro-privacy and civil liberties groups have said such a system would not potentially violate the 1996 Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) law but may create two classes of vaccinated and non-vaccinated people.
At the same time, such passport systems may be contingent on whether a person has a smartphone with a relevant app showing they’ve been immunized. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) said last week that low-income people, in particular, would be adversely affected if smartphones are required.
“A system that is exclusively digital, whether by design or as a practical matter, would be a nonstarter because it would increase inequality. Many people don’t have smartphones, including disproportionate numbers from some of our most vulnerable communities, such as people who are low-income, have disabilities, or are homeless,” the group wrote.
The passport system would also have to be decentralized and not allow tracking—or the creation of new databases, the ACLU said.
“We don’t oppose in principle the idea of a requiring proof of vaccination in certain contexts. But given the enormous difficulty of creating a digital passport system, and the compromises and failures that are likely to happen along the way, we are wary about the side effects and long-term consequences it could have. We will be closely watching developments in this area,” the group said.
Other organizations have said that mandating a vaccine passport system will lead to an increasing number of citizens who distrust the government and health officials.
The Epoch Times and its sister media NTD will premiere the documentary film “Up We Soar” this weekend.
The film follows the true story of seven-year-old Fuyao and her parents in China.
Fuyao’s parents are victims of Communist China’s persecution against Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa. A spiritual practice rooted in Buddhist tradition, Falun Gong is followed by millions and targeted by China’s communist regime. Since July 1999, Falun Gong books have been banned and burned. The regime’s propaganda machine slanders the practice. Hundreds of thousands of followers have been arrested. Many are tortured to death.
Amid the persecution, Fuyao’s father, who was working as a news anchor, was forced to do forced labor. Her mother, a teacher, was banned from her job. Fuyao and her mother were placed under house arrest. Fuyao’s mother had to leave her to avoid being arrested. She was later captured and thrown into prison to serve a seven-year term for distributing Falun Gong flyers and DVDs.
Despite the hardship Fuyao faced, she became a key source of inspiration for her scared mother, who was surrounded by murderers, drug dealers, and brutal prison guards. As her mom gradually regained her inner strength, she nurtured and safeguarded Fuyao during her turbulent teenage years, using extraordinary means.
The animated documentary film, produced by New Realm Studios and NTD Television, is one of a series of documentaries produced by NTD’s Legends Unfolding.
Through animation and live interviews, the film brings to life a true story of courage, love, and perseverance in the darkest of times.
Watch more special programs here.