Testing workers, one of the most important forces in China’s zero-COVID campaign, are off their patience longing for unpaid salaries in Shenyang, the capital of the northeast Liaoning province.  

Multiple unverified photos of them ceasing labor have swarmed the internet. They mostly depict closed doors of testing sites in the city with notices that say “On strike; suspending [operations] due to unpaid wages,” or “On strike, service suspended.”

Claimed Dabais, or China’s famed white-clothed pandemic personnel, said on social media that they were afterward told to erase the pictures.

While other nations rely on vaccines to continue life with the obstinate coronavirus, PCR testing has become the hallmark of China’s pandemic responses. Communities are mass tested during outbreaks. After outbreaks, it becomes a daily forced habit.

Supposedly, companies should have been making huge profits from facilitating Beijing’s pandemic orders. According to China Digital Times, the first-quarter net profit of at least four companies with nucleic acid testing businesses climbed by more than 300%. In that, Aotai Bio enjoyed a surge of 598.18%.

According to a recruiting flier of a district in second-tier city Hangzhou, a COVID-testing sampler was offered 10,000 yuan, over 1,400 dollars, per month for an 8-hour working timeline.

Mr. Li, a journalist familiar with China’s mass COVID-19 testing industry, assumed some local governments are expanding their own PCR testing capacity. This means they might be excluded from state subsidies, hence, the failure to afford workers’ wages.

Speaking with Radio Free Asia, Li also provided another scenario in which the subsidies from the government could be embezzled by local government officials. Li believes there are many cases of this happening.

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