China lionizes Xi Jinping while touting economic recovery

China staged a press conference on Monday featuring a local package deliveryman amid rising concerns the economy may not be able to withstand the impact of the new strain of coronavirus.

Chinese President Xi Jinping has mostly stayed out of the public’s eye since the outbreak of the new strain of coronavirus in the country. File Pool Photo by Li Xueren/

Li Jie, a Chinese courier who appeared at a Chinese State Council press conference on Monday, said business has been recovering since Feb. 1, and that he and “3 million couriers nationwide” are in agreement.

“We are contributing to disease prevention such that our customers can minimize their need to leave their homes,” Li said in footage that appeared on state network CCTV.

The Chinese government has increasingly focused on assuring the public the country is returning to a normal state of affairs, despite the ongoing epidemic that began in the central Chinese city of Wuhan. More than 3,100 people have died in China in connection to COVID-19, according to official statistics.

China’s national postal service has said more than 90 percent of people employed in package delivery have returned to work.

Chinese state media has also begun to praise Chinese President Xi Jinping for what Beijing claims is a reduction in the number of new cases in the country.

“Under the direction of General Secretary Xi Jinping, an unparalleled people’s war was waged,” CCTV said Saturday. “In that time, the trees have turned green, and a spring filled with blossoming flowers has arrived.”

State media’s lionization of Xi comes at a time when censorship of citizen journalists continues to be evident in Wuhan.

Li Zehua, a former CCTV news anchor who began to report independently on government suppression, has been incommunicado since late February, according to Radio Free Asia and The Guardian.

Li uploaded footage to YouTube showing state security police chasing him by car. Other footage shows Chinese authorities may have tracked him down to his residence.

“I’m sure that they want to hold me in isolation. Please help me!” he said, before his disappearance.

ByElizabeth Shim