Massive Unrest as Australia Adopts China's Authoritarian 'COVID-Zero' Approach

Screenshot from embedded video of Australians pushing past police barriers in protest of more draconian COVID lockdowns.

The emergence of SARS-CoV-2 and the resulting illness, COVID-19, has caused mass hysteria on a global scale. Perhaps no response is as shocking as what we see in Australia. The country is included in the group of western democracies globally and among the Five Eyes intelligence community members. Yet, the nation’s response to the pandemic can only be described as authoritarian.


A COVID-19 Delta outbreak emerged in Australia in June. The country adopted a “Covid-Zero” strategy early in the pandemic. The government has repeatedly imposed draconian measures, rigorous testing, and closed international borders to eradicate the virus.

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Restrictions started immediately, but the virus continues to spread in Sydney despite five weeks of lockdown. The military began patrolling with police to enforce COVID orders at the beginning of August, including a 10-kilometer travel limit. The deployment occurred after 3,000 infections and nine deaths in a country of more than 25 million. Dr. Kerry Chant, the chief health officer in New South Wales, told Australians they shouldn’t talk to one another:

“Whilst it’s human nature to engage in conversation with others, to be friendly, unfortunately this is not the time to do that.”

“So even if you run into your next door neighbor in the shopping center…don’t start up a conversation, now is the time for minimizing your interactions with others, even if you’ve got a mask, do not think that affords total protection, we wanna be absolutely sure that as we go about our daily lives we do not come into contact with anyone else that would pose a risk.”

In early August, Melbourne, Australia, imposed a mystifying sixth lockdown because eight cases of COVID-19 were detected. As cases of the Delta variant spread from the early clusters in the cities, nearly every major metro went back to implementing lockdowns. They remain in place and bar people from leaving their homes except for essential exercise, shopping, and caregiving.


Roadblocks began in Sydney on August 15 with the military assisting. Residents planned anti-lockdown protests in several large cities for the weekend of August 21. When this came to the attention of law enforcement, David Elliot, Minister for Police and Emergency Services, told the public:

“If you have a loved one you believe is going to protest this weekend, you are obliged to talk them out of it. If you know someone who attends an illegal gathering this weekend, you must call crime stoppers.”

This warning did not deter the protests as thousands of Australians in Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane clashed with police. Reuters reports the arrest of hundreds of protestors and seven police officers sustained injuries. In Melbourne, protesters broke the police lines.

New Zealand is similarly deranged. After a single reported case, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern ordered a snap lockdown on August 17. Initially set for three days, it now extends through August 24 and may go longer. As of August 20, there were a total of 31 cases.

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Why are two purported democracies using these draconian tactics to control an airborne respiratory virus with a high level of household transmission? Perhaps because of their proximity to China. The Chinese Communist Party insists on a zero COVID strategy as well. One way you can tell this is to influence the rest of the world into taking measures that decades of medical knowledge would reject is by watching who the regime disappears and silences.


Recently, Zhang Wenhong, a well-respected infectious disease expert in Shanghai, theorized that current vaccines might not eradicate the virus. On Chinese social media, he wrote: “What we’ve been through is not the hardest part. What’s harder is finding the wisdom to coexist with the virus in the long run.” He was attacked online and called a traitor for worshiping Western ideas. The university where he works has started an investigation into the accusations.

Zhang touched a nerve. The regime holds up China’s approach and early successes as proof its authoritarian model is superior to the U.S. and other Western democracies. In an editorial, Gao Qiang, General Counsel of the Chinese Society of Health Economics and former Minister of Health, called learning to co-exist with the virus through vaccination and focused protection an “anti-epidemic model.” Without naming Zhang, Gao criticized his statement.

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To what degree do members of the regime lie to their citizens?  According to Gao, humans do not co-exist with viruses:

In a sense, the history of human survival and reproduction is also a history of fighting viruses to the death. Either humans have eliminated viruses or humans have been swallowed by viruses. Humans have never “coexisted with viruses for a long time.” The old viruses are wiped out, and new ones may appear, but the goal of mankind is always to eliminate the virus, not to “coexist with the virus.”


That is an absurd statement as we all know from seasonal colds, flu, and other respiratory viruses like respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). Four human coronaviruses circulate seasonally and cause upper respiratory illness. However, it seems Australia and New Zealand have adopted the view that lockdowns can eradicate a virus known to have animal reservoirs.

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results. Perhaps the leaders of Australia and New Zealand have gone insane. Or maybe their leaders have just come to enjoy the power China’s authoritarian model provides.


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