Amid the citywide lockdown, people from Shanghai have not only lost their freedom but also their identity. In the WeChat group, a popular social media platform in China, whether it’s an epidemic prevention group or a community buying group, people’s identity is no longer their name but their house number.

As Taiwan’s Central News Agency reported on Thursday, April 21, for Shanghainese, the number of groups on WeChat has increased dramatically, such as community buying groups and epidemic prevention groups.

However, the authority asked the people not to use their real names but their house numbers instead.

On the one hand, the government explains that this is for administrative convenience and, on the other hand, to prevent members not from the community from mixing in and causing unneeded trouble.

A Taiwanese citizen who lives in the same neighborhood told the Central News Agency that he has lived in this community for a long time. Although he talks very often with neighbors, he only knows a few of them. Since the outbreak began and the lockdown was rolling out, he has had a chance to talk more to his neighbors through the epidemic prevention group and community buying group.

However, he said, even so, he still doesn’t know his neighbors’ names. So far, he can only call them by their house numbers.

The reporter said, in this situation, whether in group purchases groups or COVID testing sites, the authority’s group leaders or volunteers got so used to calling the residents by their house numbers, such as “Please report the test results, such and such number” or “Please pay for the group purchase, such and such number.”

Under such circumstances, he gradually links himself with the “number.” And as soon as hearing his house number called out loud, he will reply immediately.

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