In the weeks before the Chinese Communist Party’s 20th National Congress, many places have put strict lockdowns into place to keep the pandemic from spreading. Yili Autonomous Prefecture’s capital, Yining City, has been closed for almost 40 days now. People are having trouble getting food and finding a doctor. Some old people have sadly hung themselves due to hunger. But the government censored and blocked all the relevant information.

With Beijing implementing the strict Zero-Covid policy, a few cases could end up in harsh lockdown. 

Also, according to official news source Xinhuanet on August 3, the capital of Yili Autonomous Prefecture, Yining City, asked its citizens to “not come to Yili unless it is necessary, and do not leave Yili unless it is necessary.”

People in Yining think that the decision made by the city’s leaders was the start of the city’s eventual lockdown, which has been going on for almost 40 days now.

On September 8, Yining citizen Zhang Yong told Chinese language media Da Ji Yuan

“Since the beginning of August, Yili has been completely closed down. Our local area has been quarantined for more than 30 days, and everyone has no source of income.”

He added:

“Now the epidemic prevention personnel come to do nucleic acid every day. Today they came to test both in the morning and in the evening. Everyone is very anxious, especially some lonely elderly people and sick people, who can’t take care of themselves.” 

There’s also a problem with the food that the local community distributes to residents. He said:

“The local community distributes vegetables. The price of a vegetable bag is 60 yuan, ($8.66) and the price and delivery time are determined by the community. Many of the delivered dishes are rotten dishes that the grocery store usually throws away.”

Zhang Yong mentioned: “The last time I ordered food was 5 days ago. The community said that the nucleic acid test needs to be done in the past five days, and we will not be allowed to order food. Local citizens posted distress messages online, many of which were officially deleted.”

Zhang Yong added: “My friend told me that the government had asked him to delete the post he posted on Weibo’s timeline. Originally, it was the 13th most searched topic for today, but it dropped to 21 after more than 20 minutes, and then the post could not be found.” 

He continued:

“Here we are. The official “dilutes” these posts, allowing some people to share the food they make at home in Weibo, so that the outside world can see the illusion that Yili citizens are living well at home.”

A woman from Yining City also told reporters that she asked for help on Weibo in the afternoon of September 8. She called 120 because her child had a fever of up to 40 degrees C. They said that the car was broken down. The community asked people to call the hotline 12345. This is just for signing up.

Then, an unknown person got in touch with her and asked her to take down the post. She said that the problem with the child’s medical care was solved and then deleted the message. The child of the woman wasn’t allowed to go to the city’s Xinhua Hospital for treatment until that night.

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