After Baoding city, Hebei Province stopped implementing the strict “zero-COVID” policy, many people came down with a fever. City authorities announced that there are only a few new cases, but people who live there say the problem is much worse. In response, netizens protested by pushing the hashtag “Baoding Pandemic” to the top search list.

On China’s Sina Weibo, there have been a lot of posts with the hashtag “Baoding Pandemic.” The posts mention residents’ experience in the area with the local pandemic. 

Many in Baoding sent reports. They described their numbers, and how their families, friends, and coworkers have recently gotten a fever, sore throat, and cough, symptoms of COVID-19. Many people also said they or someone in their family had tested positive for antigens. This means that fevers and infections are spreading quickly in the area.

Despite all of this, since late November, the Baoding health authority said that there have been no new confirmed daily cases. New asymptomatic cases have also been as low as in the single digits. 

One netizen wrote that yesterday, Baoding had 9 cases, and my family had 12. And that’s just one family. 

A resident surnamed Shi in the Lianchi District of Baoding also shared with Beijing magazine “Chinese Philanthropist” the situation in the area. 

She said that the community leader in Lianchi District confirmed that there are many COVID-positive people in the community. In most cases, the whole family got infected. But these cases are not counted in official numbers.

Kang Shuai, a resident from Baoding, said that he and other people had symptoms like COVID-19. His friend paid for a nucleic acid test at the hospital. The results read “abnormal,” but his health code still showed green status, which means normal. 

The difference between what Baoding officials said and what locals said on Weibo made people very displeased. Netizens questioned the big lie in the official data.

On December 5, a member of the Baoding propaganda agency told Henan media’s Top News that things are exaggerated too much on the internet. It’s too big and has too much fantasy regarding netizens’ complaints.

According to the Voice of America, the official’s comments made people in Baoding very angry. They vigorously discussed the issue with the hashtag “Baoding Pandemic” on Chinese social media Weibo. The reaction pushed the topic straight to the top of the popular search list, attracting hundreds of millions views. 

As of December 9, more than 12,000 people have published posts with the hashtag “Baoding Pandemic” and the number of discussions related to this hashtag has exceeded 46,000. The number of views has exceeded 300 million.

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